Period/Date: Seeds Only, 03/15

Weather Notes: Not a big deal yet since planting begins inside.

Environment Notes: Windowsill of my bedroom. It’s been cleaned since the last plants I raised in here. The sunlight comes in through my window fairly well, and I made sure to remove my curtains, too. Now the plants won’t complain all day about how dark it is while I do my homework.

Actions: I opened the seed packets today and planted them in the seed tray using pre-fertilized soil I bought last week (specific brand in back glossary). The seeds were ridiculously tiny, so I ended up sprinkling several more than I’d thought I’d be using. Only a small layer of soil was added on top so light can still reach them. They should germinate fine, but I’m worried about how many seedlings I’ll end up with. I’m going to have to snip some of them. . . .

Characteristics: None yet. But I hope none of them turn out like Riley the Rose (she was a thorny headache).

Final Notes: None yet. This section will get REALLY filled up later.


[Side Note: Seeds Only, 03/17. Remembered that mums need warmth to germinate, so I installed a heating lamp over the seed tray. Marcus can see it from my window, and he’s been complaining endlessly that I didn’t have one for him.]


Period/Date: Seedlings, 03/26

Weather Notes: Again, still inside. But it’s been sunny, so that’s great for the seeds.

Environment Notes: The sunlight’s been reaching the seeds well through my window, and the heating lamp has been keeping them warm. It seems like a healthy environment so far.

Actions: I observed the seedlings beginning to sprout. They’re just barely there, so there’s no need to thin any out yet. They’re nowhere close to having their true leaves.

Characteristics: So far, the seedlings have been pretty quiet. One started muttering while I was watching them, which was pretty shocking since it’s only the first day of sprouting.

Final Notes: It’s too early to say anything about how the mums will do. Most of the seeds germinated, though, and I have fourteen seedlings in my tray. They’re pretty hardy seeming so far; it’ll probably be up to chance which ones get thinned out.


Period/Date: Seedlings, 04/01

Weather Notes: Inside. Sunny.

Environment Notes: The heat lamp was feeling a bit hot, and I don’t think the mums need the constant seventy-degree heat anymore since they’ve sprouted. I’ve removed the lamp for now. If any complain, I’ll put it back.

Actions: Removed the heat lamp. I also had to start thinning out some of the seedlings now that the true leaves have come in. Seven out of the fourteen have been snipped. The mumbling one from before yelled at me over that.

Characteristics: The seven that I removed were still quiet even though their true leaves had come in. I think they might’ve been mute, or at least weren’t developing at the same rate as the others. The remaining seven all freaked out during the thinning, but they cooled down a bit afterward and started chatting with each other. The mumbling one (who I’m debating calling Mumble) was the loudest. He’s also the tallest one so far. Go figure.

Final Notes: Personalities may begin manifesting soon in these seven seedlings. I don’t know if I’m going to thin out any more, especially since I only planned for about four mums total. If I keep all seven, I’ll need to buy more pots for their final indoor growth spurts. The spurt should occur soon. Also, none of them have noticed I can hear their thoughts.


Period/Date: Seedlings, 04/11

Weather Notes: Inside. Had a few cloudy days, but mostly sunny.

Environment Notes: Still at the windowsill, but the seedlings started complaining to each other about feeling wet and damp. Looked it up online, and mildew is pretty common for mums. I’ve turned a small fan to face the windowsill now in the hopes of keeping the area drier.

Actions: The seedlings were big enough to transfer to pots. I decided to buy three more pots at the store, so I’m officially keeping all seven. I transferred each seedling to a pot and cleaned out my seed tray, putting it back in my closet afterward. Also set the fan to low, letting it blow constantly at the windowsill where the pots are lined up.

Characteristics: The seedlings are about three to four inches high at this point. In a week or so, they’ll probably be big enough to move outside to the garden. They have already manifested unique personalities, which is impressive for such a clustered group of seeds.

Mumble is the ringleader of the group and the tallest at four, nearly five inches. He never shuts up, and I’ve noticed him jabbering about me all the time to the other seedlings. He likes to critique my hairstyle and clothing, especially by comparing them to plants in the outside garden. It seems he’s already picked up a flower’s innate attraction to bright, vibrant colors and blooming, attention-grabbing patterns. My dull clothes and plain, flat hair don’t jive with those petal-based preferences. Oh well. I’ve dealt with this from other flowering plants before, and I can deal with it again (I hope he blooms an awful shade of orange or something later, though).

Trixie is the only seedling that can compete with Mumble for chatter-time. She’s spunky and vibrant, and she’s the only one that dares interrupt him or tells him to shut up. She agrees with him about my fashion sense, though, so she’s not much help in that department.

Peanut is utterly adorable. He’s the smallest of the seedlings (he barely hit three inches yesterday), and the others never let him forget it. He’s really sweet despite their teasing and compliments his brothers and sisters over just about anything.

Sophia is very elegant and calm. She’s the one that keeps the others in line and tells them to go to sleep when the sun goes down. She also reminds them (and me) about feeding and watering times, keeping the rest on their best behavior when I come around with the watering can.

Barb is quiet and definitely the shiest of the group. She rarely speaks, except when spoken to, so it’s a good thing I put her pot next to Mumble’s. He’s gonna crack open her quiet shell if it kills him. I just hope he doesn’t take all the oxygen while he’s at it.

Suzan is a nature nut, which is a funny thing to say about a plant. She likes bird-watching out my window and updates the others on what she notices in the plants from the garden. I think she and Marcus have been waving leaves at each other through the window, if you know what I mean.

Tristan is my final mum, and he’s a bit aggressive. He’s pretty rude to the other seedlings and he gets in arguments with Mumble a lot over who’s in charge of the group. The only one who tolerates him well is Peanut, so they have a special corner in the windowsill together.

Final Notes: The seedlings should all be big enough to transfer outside soon, and I have some ideas of where I’ll put them in the garden. They still haven’t realized I’m psychic, but I think Mumble’s catching on to me. He’s commented on how I usually make changes as soon as they complain about something, and he casts suspicious glances my way every now and then. Hopefully I can move them outside before he outs me to the group.


Period/Date: Seedlings, 04/28

Weather Notes: Clear skies today. The last frost of the spring season was yesterday, so we just missed it. The dew point in this area is a little lower than others, but the weather was cold enough to reach it, so there was some light dew throughout my garden. All in all, a good set-up for the mums to begin experiencing real nature.

Environment Notes: The mums have a new corner on the left side of my garden. I’ve planted the stems of the seedlings twenty-four inches apart, in two columns. They’re right next to a lot of my other flowers, and I know the soil in this corner is very good. I expect the mums to reach two or three feet in width, or close to it, so this spacing should be fine.

Actions: I moved the chrysanthemum seedlings from their pots to the garden today. I’m actually thrilled about it since I won’t hear them yapping about me every two seconds or arguing with each other about cramped space on the windowsill.

Characteristics: The seedlings are six to eight inches tall now, and I’ll just have to do general upkeep and pruning on them while I wait for them to flower. I have a feeling Mumble will be an early bloomer, but the others are all looking fairly average in growth so far. Peanut’s the other exception—he’s barely at the six-inch margin. I’m worried about how his flowering will go.

Final Notes: The mums had lots of opinions on where they wanted to be planted when I first brought them outside.

Mumble demanded to be placed near Trixie or Barb since he likes talking to them the best. Barb also wanted to be near Mumble, surprisingly, so those two got the row in the back.

Trixie and Sophia are in the row right in front of them. They’re practically best friends at this point, and both of them serve to keep Mumble in line when he gets out of hand. It made sense to place them there.

In front of the ladies are Tristan and Peanut. It was obvious that these two were going together since Tristan still blows his pollen at everything any of the others say. Peanut usually calms him down, and Tristan has taken to defending Peanut from all the teasing about being undergrown. It’s actually very sweet.

Suzan was my outlier, and I gave in to her pining wishes and planted her in the rose section of the garden with Marcus. Marcus was thrilled to have her there and immediately launched into his usual pompous self-introduction about how wonderful he is. He proceeded to introduce her to every rose in the garden and demanded that they all treat Suzan like one of them. Only after all of that did Marcus finally stop to ask for Suzan’s name. Or, as the plants have dubbed it, “the thing the gardener calls you indoors.” Honestly, if they’re all going to use my names for each other, why do they have to sound like they’re complaining about getting them?

But in any case, Suzan seems happy to be near Marcus, and I’m honestly touched that Marcus took an interest in her before she’s even bloomed. He’s usually so stuck on appearances—I think they really click with each other.

I’ve also made it through the close-quarters growing stages without any of the plants discovering my psychic abilities, so I can safely observe them from a distance. Only Mumble and Sophia thought something was off after they saw how accurate their placements were. I made sure to “mess up” the amount of water I gave them immediately afterward, so their attention turned to what an incompetent caretaker I was. Their slightly flooded roots have washed away the last of their suspicions of me. I’ll make sure to ruin a few more things here and there for the next two weeks so those suspicions don’t return. If I’m convincing enough, my future entries should all be about what I notice from the flowers and their thoughts.


Period/Date: Pre-Budding Plants, 05/12

Weather Notes: It’s been sunny, and the light winds have been keeping the garden fairly dry. There’ve been a few rain showers here and there that helped me so I didn’t have to water as much.

Environment Notes: All the plants seem comfortable where they are in the garden. Marcus, as usual, is complaining that the wind is cold. But I’m ignoring him in favor of focusing on my new mums. They think it’s fine.

Actions: Basic watering and pruning. I’m making sure the chrysanthemums are well kept so they can flower as largely as possible.

Characteristics: Same as always. Mumble is too tall. Peanut is too short. No one’s been sick or acting oddly.

Final Notes: Here is the start of some of my major observations.

Mumble seemed a little nervous today, and he kept glancing at Barb, like he’d been doing more often. He’d started noticing the slight changes in his sister as the days had gone by, and today, as their leaves grew ever-greener and tiny bulbs seemed to form on Barb’s soft, verdant branches, he’d noticed one very important thing: Barb had become an exceptional flower.

Not just because of the elegant bulbs on her branches or the green of her leaves, but the way she carried herself in daily life. She was kind, attentive, and always willing to lend a leaf if anyone wanted to vent or chat.

She was an ideal flower for a garden—one that grew steadily and attractively, and helped soothe away the problems of those who stopped to talk to her. Mumble himself tended to irritate others with his constant chatter, and while he was the farthest along in his growth among the mums, that didn’t mean he’d make the best blossom once they all grew up. A beautiful flower couldn’t serve its purpose if viewers weren’t comfortable going near it, after all. He wanted to draw others in just as Barb did, but that was one thing the prideful plant didn’t know how to talk about.

Barb, for her part, had actually been admiring Sophia and Trixie as the ideal flowers over all the other chrysanthemums. The elegant Sophia had been teaching Barb about the importance of self-care and the need for the somewhat painful pruning that the gardener put them through every now and again, always reminding her sibling about the importance of appearance. Trixie chimed in with far more energetic lessons, encouraging Barb to stretch toward the sun, curl her roots deeper into the nutrient-infused earth, and soak in the vibrancy of life. A flower was a part of nature, and Trixie was firm in her beliefs that all of their growing beauty stemmed straight from such nature.

Barb found Sophia’s calm sophistication and Trixie’s vibrant beliefs inspiring, and nearly all her attention (when it wasn’t being snatched up by Mumble) was riveted on her two sisters.

Sophia somewhat reveled in Barb’s attention, as most flowers do when they notice such an appreciative viewer. She chatted with Trixie about their mutual admirer whenever they knew Barb’s focus was elsewhere, and the two of them often schemed over ways to maintain their idolized status. For Sophia, being a flower was all about an elegant, attractive appearance, and she prided herself on the refined straightness of her stem, as well as the aesthetic scarcity of her bulbs that drew the eyes of her closest-planted siblings. These aspects were what she believed she should maintain above all else.

Trixie was more interested in the pieces of herself below the surface: her twisting, gnarled roots that bathed in the life-giving soil below. Her roots were a web of nature, one that a viewer wasn’t meant to see, but whose efforts were evident in the bright colors she presented to the world. To Trixie, a flower took the gifts of life and made art with them for others to appreciate. She was determined to grow even deeper into the earth to create that art.

Tristan and Peanut were fairly removed from the concerns of their siblings about ideal flowers and viewers. They were more interested in talking about the world around them rather than their role in it (a rather unusual perspective for two growing flowers, if I’m being honest).

Peanut loved watching the clouds go by, and he had a fondness for rainy days since it brought so many more interesting shapes for him to ogle. Stems and bulbs didn’t carry much weight for him—he liked pointing out the far more interesting shapes in the sky to Tristan, who gave it his best effort to see what the sweet plant was talking about. Most of the time, he couldn’t, but he would go along with Peanut’s imagination anyways to keep the smaller plant happy.

Tristan had also grown far more protective of Peanut now that they’d entered the outdoors, and though he never told his brother this, he was always worried about the way the garden seemed to be affecting Peanut’s health. Peanut grew cold easily, colder than he should’ve in the mild spring winds, and sometimes shriveled slightly for a day or two. On top of that, even though he loved the rainy days that came their way, they often left him even colder than before, and more drowned-out at the roots than refreshed like Tristan and the other mums.

To combat this problem, Tristan had taken to absorbing the water around Peanut’s roots as well as his own. He was even growing angled toward Peanut in the hope that he might block some of the wind coming the small plant’s way. Peanut never noticed the various things Tristan did for him, or the weakened condition of his own body. He kept cheerfully chatting with the taller plant day in and day out, none the wiser to the dangers surrounding him.

As a side note, Suzan and Marcus were doing fine, as well. The latter often doted on the former and attempted to show off for her in various ways, displaying his impressive petals and the vibrant, red colors he’d bloomed with. Suzan was thrilled to be near Marcus and to chat with him about all the things he’d seen in the garden before her arrival. The roses had also accepted Suzan as readily as Marcus had asked, and she was quite happy in their section, even without her siblings.

I’m going to have to keep an eye on Peanut in the coming days. Tristan might be on to something more serious than he realizes about Peanut’s health.


Period/Date: Pre-Budding Plants, 05/31

Weather Notes: The wind has picked up lately. I’m not sure if there’s a front moving in, but it’s been going pretty steadily for a few days. We’ve been getting more rain, too. It’s strange because everything is also getting hotter as we approach summer.

Environment Notes: As good as I can make it for all my flowers. But I’ve noticed a growing presence of aphids in the garden, so I’ll be buying pesticide soon.

Actions: Basic watering and pruning. Mostly observing (and worrying over) the mums today.

Characteristics: Most of the mums are going strong, beginning to show the signs of some flower buds (but I won’t call them budding just yet). Peanut isn’t budding, though, and he’s been shriveling up more and more lately.

Final Notes: Here are some of the thought ramblings that I picked up from the flowers today.

Mumble chatted with a nearby sunflower after Barb fell asleep one night and realized that he’d soon be flowering. Though the weather was growing hotter, his buds were definitely getting farther along, and his stem much stronger. The sunflower could tell him that he wasn’t any kind of flower that had been planted in the garden before, so neither plant knew what to expect from Mumble’s blooming. It would be the first the garden had seen of his sort.

Mumble was determined to make it an incredible one.

If he bloomed as vibrantly as the sunflowers had, then surely he’d draw in viewers despite his irritating nature. Even with Barb’s soothing presence as competition, a more brilliant, never-before-seen blossom could grab the attention he felt he was lacking. He just had to focus on growing as much as possible before the time for his blooming came. Only then could he truly match up to Barb as an ideal flower.

Barb, Sophia, and Trixie were still none the wiser to Mumble’s envious, shared focus on their exact goal. Each of the sisters had been working on their own definition of a flower’s beauty, one they wanted to embody even through the oppressive heat bearing down on their garden beds. Sophia was still set on her ideals of aesthetic appearance above all else, a sort of beauty any beholder could admire. Trixie was as determined as ever to paint the works of nature, and was now easily the largest sister as a consequence of her consistent focus on absorbing the nutrient-gifts of the earth. Barb was finally beginning to mesh the two ideas together, careful of her positioning aboveground and below, to create the most wholistic beauty she possibly could.

All three had heard about Mumble’s future blooming from the gossip in the garden, and they were each excited to see what they could learn from his ever-approaching bloom.


Suzan was concerned about the passing days as well, for an entirely different reason. She wanted to tell Marcus how much she admired him, and how grateful she was to him for accepting her into the roses. However, as spring drew to a close and summer started to kick in, the other roses on the bush were busy talking about their next blooms. Several had had repeat blooms already, and the majority were preparing to bloom in the next few weeks. Once their blooms had come, Suzan didn’t think she’d ever be able to catch Marcus’s attention again with her plain, bulbed stem.

She had no idea what to do, and the growing excitement of all the roses—including Marcus—only increased her self-consciousness and anxiety about her barren form.

Tristan’s anxiety was at a high, as well, directed toward his beloved brother Peanut.

Little Peanut hadn’t begun budding like the rest of them. Due to drinking all of Peanut’s excess water and nutrients, Tristan had actually hit something of a growth spurt. He now almost rivaled Mumble in height and vitality. While Peanut saw no problem with this, and cheered on his brother’s growth surges happily, Tristan couldn’t help but feel guilty.

He wondered if taking all of Peanut’s resources had been a bad idea after all, and if doing so was contributing to the smaller plant’s weakness. Of course, the weather itself was probably the most serious contributor. The silvery clouds that excited Peanut’s imagination had crashed over their heads a dozen times these past few weeks, pouring down buckets of wet droplets that chilled Peanut to the roots.

Those delicate roots had been flooded several times, the little plant wilting every now and again until the gardener and Tristan could help remove some of the water. Peanut was cold nearly all the time, even with the summer months cranking up the heat around them.

Despite all this, he still smiled and enjoyed his time outside, chatting with Tristan about all of the things he wanted to see in the garden as he grew. Tristan could only hold the conversations with him with a fake smile, unwilling to ruin his brother’s happiness even as his own fell with each chill that struck Peanut.

I’ve decided that if Peanut keeps wilting by the midpoint of June, I’m going to bring him back inside. I know he’ll be upset since he loves the garden so much, but I don’t want to lose him. Maybe I’ll bring in Tristan so he has company.

And so Tristan doesn’t go on a murderous rampage, attempting to overgrow into all the other mums and plants when Peanut isn’t around to wrangle him in.


Period/Date: Budding Plants, 06/15

Weather Notes: It’s been very hot and the winds have left. Summer’s been hitting the garden hard, and I’ve increased my watering schedule to compensate. I’m also handling indoor weather now, but that never really changes.

Environment Notes: The garden environment has been altered only in that there are a few less chrysanthemums in it. Meanwhile, my pot set-up is back inside my room on the windowsill, with two mums placed on the sill together.

Actions: I took Peanut and Tristan out of the garden today. The other mums cried out in shock and demanded to know what was happening. I can hear them thinking the worst about what I might be doing to them, especially since Peanut had gotten sick. Thankfully, they’ll be visible from the windowsill, so things should settle down by the time I’m back in the garden tomorrow.

Characteristics: Mumble is growing even larger, as though he’s racing to bloom before anyone else. He’s definitely going to start flowering in July at this rate, though I’m pretty sure the others won’t begin flowering until September. Peanut caught a mildew sickness, and I’ve been treating him with a solution from the store (specific brand in back glossary). He’s also been drowned out too many times to grow properly, even though summer is here in full force. Being inside is definitely best for him. Tristan is also pretty large at this point, but I suspect he’ll average out (unlike Mumble) now that he’s not taking extra nutrients on for Peanut. Trixie is still growing faster than the other sisters, though, and shows no signs of stopping.

Final Notes: There’s definitely been a few changes around the garden and some major observations to make on the plants’ reaction to them.

Mumble was certain everyone was shocked when Peanut and Tristan were taken away. It was one of those things that seemed so sudden, even though you felt it coming. Like the constant rain showers that had hit their flower patch, again and again, or the sudden rise in temperature that threatened to dry out their roots nearly every day. It was an unpleasant shock, but everyone had felt it in the air.

Mumble yelled at the gardener as they were taken away, just like he’d yelled so long ago when the gardener had taken away his first seven siblings. He could still remember that day clearly, and he remembered that those siblings had never come back. The gardener couldn’t take Peanut and Tristan away like that.

Even though Tristan was a stubborn idiot who was rude to absolutely everyone (and Mumble personally had no idea how Peanut could stand him), he was still their brother. And Peanut was the sweetest one out of all, always willing to spare a kind word even when he was shriveled up and freezing to his roots. Neither of them were ideal flowers, but they didn’t deserve to be uprooted for it.

Mumble had yelled some choice words at the gardener, straining after the hated figure desperately when his brothers had been carried away. And yet, he hadn’t been able to stop the removal in the end, only watching helplessly as they both vanished into the house.

For the first time, Barb’s attention had been pulled away from her explorations in beauty. The shy chrysanthemum was shocked into silence when she saw her brothers lifted into pots and carried off. She didn’t know what was going to happen to them, but judging by the frantic protests and shouts of her siblings, it couldn’t be anything good. Mumble’s shouts had been the loudest of all—something that was no surprise to Barb—but this time, the shouting made her take notice of him.

For the first time, Barb truly saw Mumble as he stood above the rest of them, taller and prouder than any young plant in the garden. He was willing to shout incredible profanities after the gardener who had stolen their brothers. His determination was evident in the stiffness of his stem and the twisting of his upper branches. He cared about them all so much, and unlike Barb, he wasn’t afraid to stand up in order to protect them.

Despite the horrible situation, Barb finally realized that Mumble was an incredible flower as well, for entirely separate reasons than mere beauty.

Trixie had been the second loudest plant. She’d turned all her spunky energy and attitude toward screaming after the gardener, her voice mingling with Mumble’s as she’d twisted after them. She hadn’t stopped for an instant, shouting any insult she could think of at the cruel figure carrying her brothers away.

It didn’t even matter to her if she suffered later because of her insults. Who cared if her water supply was cut, or if she was removed from her precious earth, or if a dozen other things happened? She wanted her brothers to be okay, and that was final. She’d even convinced the ever-sophisticated Sophia to scream alongside her, shouting curses together after the gardener until they couldn’t think of any more. But despite all their efforts, Peanut and Tristan had still vanished into that distant house.

Sophia had never screamed before in her life. Not when her first seven siblings had been taken away. Not when she’d giddily realized her admired status among her siblings. Not even when she’d heard Mumble was going to bloom before any of them, and outshine her beauty in a way she could never compete with. Not a scream had ever escaped her, no matter how staggering the situation.

Until today.

Today, Trixie had turned toward her with power flowing through every leaf and bud, and demanded that she scream for her brothers. Scream for their safety, for their rights to remain in the garden, for anything else she could think of. And Sophia had, unbelievably, done it.

She’d let loose a scream like no other, shouting alongside the far louder Mumble and Trixie, hoping that it would do something to bring Peanut and Tristan back. But—just like when she’d tried subtly soaking in more nutrients in the hope of catching up to Mumble’s bloom—it had been a fruitless effort. Nothing changed, and her brothers were removed from the garden in minutes.

Suzan had barely seen her brothers being pulled from the garden, but the glimpse of Peanut’s wilted stem being carried into the house was enough to stir up her fear, even in her position nestled safely among the rosebushes. She’d discarded her plans to catch Marcus’s attention that day, focusing instead on the house and willing her brothers to appear somewhere in its windows.

She kept her body turned to the house all day, as rooted in that direction as she had been to the garden before when looking out from the windowsill. Every fiber of her being seemed drawn to it, incapable of moving away lest she miss a sighting of her brothers.

Marcus had been concerned about her, wanting to ask what was wrong, but the various other roses on the bush had all begun blooming in droves that day, and their excited clamor had drowned out his desperate calls to her. It wasn’t until late into the night that he was actually about to call out to Suzan and ask what had happened earlier.

And by then, Suzan merely turned to him with a relieved curve in her stem, and told him it was nothing to worry about. He didn’t see the two chrysanthemums watching from a familiar windowsill that evening, practically glowing under the moonlight shining down on them. But he did hear the thankful cries from the chrysanthemum patch, and their shouts of gratitude to the gardener that echoed long into the night.

I’m too tired to really write about what Peanut and Tristan had thought when I brought them inside today. Both had been scared initially (Tristan being more scared for Peanut than anything else), but they’d realized what was happening as soon as I brought them into the room.

When the truth struck him, poor Peanut had burst into tears, his stem wilting further down than I’d ever seen it. Tristan had tried to comfort him, but not even the taller plant’s sincerest efforts seemed to help the stricken chrysanthemum.

I left them alone in their pots on the floor for a while, hoping it would make it easier on Peanut to not see the garden just yet. I didn’t end up coming back and putting them on the windowsill until late in the evening, but by then, the two had seemed to work things out.

Tristan was giving Peanut a pep talk about all the cool things they could observe inside the room, and Peanut was eagerly reciprocating with how he could have a view of the entire garden now instead of just their small corner. The two had been happy to be placed on the windowsill once more, their stems instantly twisting toward the window as they chatted about what they saw.

I passed out instead of paying attention to their conversation, but I do know it was filled with lots of laughter and the first thoughts of relief that Tristan had experienced since Peanut’s illness.


Period/Date: Budding and Flowering Plants, 07/05

Weather Notes: Hot and sunny, like the rest of the summer. There are calls for a few small storms sometime later this month or early the next, though. I’ll have to make sure I have a tarp over my garden to protect it. My room is the same as always.

Environment Notes: There’s a bit less space in the back row of the garden with Mumble and Barb now. The windowsill is doing great—Tristan and Peanut are in pots on opposite ends of the sill, but they’re close enough to chat with each other. I’ve taken to opening the window so they can shout to their siblings in the garden, too, and so that Peanut gets a better look at all the clouds he loves so much.

Actions: Basic watering and pruning. Treating Peanut with the last of the solution (it seems his mildew illness is all but gone). I tested out the heating lamp with Peanut to see if he needed it, and he seems to really like it. I’ll keep the lamp on low for him and position it over only his side so that Tristan can keep growing unobstructed.

Characteristics: Mumble has officially begun flowering. His buds sprouted and they’re going to be a bright, golden yellow, tipped with scarlet. I hate to admit it, but the petals are gorgeous. He’ll be one stunning flower once he’s in full bloom. The others are very eager to start blooming now that Mumble’s done it, but I still don’t anticipate anything more until September. Except for Tristan—he’s far along, and his buds look close to blooming, too. He might make it by the end of July.

Final Notes: The flowers are all in a buzz about Mumble’s petals. Boy, oh boy.

Mumble had known he was going to look good when he blossomed, but he hadn’t expected to look this good.

The bright colors of the petals sprouting from his head were stunning, almost like the sunshine that cascaded down on him and his siblings during these summer months. The petals drew eyes from every corner of the garden, even from the sunflowers, who whistled in appreciation at Mumble’s vibrant colors. Mumble was thrilled to note that even his secret idol Barb seemed to be noticing him, the shy plant complimenting him on how regal the petals made him look.

Mumble thought Barb had been noticing him a lot more, actually, ever since mid-June. She’d spoken to him more often and actively participated in his rambling conversations. It almost felt like an affirmation from her that he too could earn the attention they all desired.

He couldn’t remember a happier time.

Barb was indeed impressed with how incredible Mumble was, and her attention was nearly fully fixed on her proud brother after his flowering. Suddenly, with the crown of summery gold and red ringed on his lushly green stem, she saw the stunning image of a chrysanthemum he’d fostered all this time. His healthy leaves and branches were apparent, and the way he lifted strongly toward the summer sky despite its heat gave Barb an incredible angle of the light glancing off his bright petals.

He was a gorgeous flower, and Barb couldn’t help but watch him shine as she eagerly awaited her own blooming.

Sophia was anxious for a blooming as well. With the attention of every flower in the garden on Mumble, Sophia knew her stately elegance could no longer compete in terms of beauty. Her stem and bulbs were utterly bland juxtaposed with that golden crown, and she couldn’t bear the thought that the appearance she’d worked so hard on would be washed to the wayside. A bloom was the only thing that could save her, restore her back to the admired status she felt she’d lost to her shining brother.

Trixie was also captivated by Mumble’s radiant, sunbeam-hued petals. His rapid growth assured her of her ideals, unlike Sophia’s, and reinvigorated her desire to soak up everything the earth could give her. If she absorbed those wonderful nutrients as well as Mumble had, surely she could sprout an equally impressive painting on her own stem one day. Beauty had to come from nature’s strength, as Mumble’s sun-like bloom proved.

Trixie couldn’t wait to see what aspect of nature she would represent.

Suzan was jealous of Mumble’s blooming. She could see it all the way from the rose patch, and it only reminded her of how plain she looked in the midst of the fancy roses. Marcus assured her daily that she looked beautiful without a single petal, and Suzan was genuinely grateful for his undying support.

But it didn’t change the fact that she wanted those petals after seeing how brilliant Mumble looked with them, and she would constantly fume at Mumble from afar.

Peanut and Tristan were thrilled to see Mumble’s handsome bloom. From their view on the windowsill, he almost looked like a glowing beacon, full of light and life. Peanut had turned eagerly to Tristan after admiring Mumble’s blossoms, noting the near-bursting buds along his taller brother’s own head.

“You’ll be sure to bloom even better than Mumble!” Peanut had said proudly, completely certain of the fact as Tristan’s buds swelled. “I can’t wait to see what they look like! I hope they’ll be pink or purple.”

“Hope that for your own blossoms! Not mine.” Tristan had growled in response, eying the tulips in the garden that were nearly all shades of those colors. “I want something unique that none of those other flowers has.”

“Blue, then!” Peanut had chirped eagerly in response, his stem twisting in delight at the thought. “Oh, I hope they’re blue!”

Peanut and Tristan had chatted for a long time about the color of Tristan’s flowers, with Tristan assuring Peanut every few seconds that the smaller plant would get his own flowers eventually. And even though Peanut was secretly a little hesitant to believe that, especially after catching his illness, he did feel much stronger now than he had in months.

His roots were firm in the pot, his leaves weren’t wilting anymore, and the nice heat lamp angled at his head kept him cozy even when the wind blew in through the window. He’d really come to like being inside again, being healthy again, and growing properly alongside his wonderful brother, Tristan. He only hoped his blooming wouldn’t take too long, so that all of his siblings in the garden could see his petals one day, too.

I hope the other flowers bloom fast so that Mumble’s head doesn’t swell up too much over his petals. I’m really banking on Tristan to pull some of the attention away from the pompous chatterbox before it’s too late.


Period/Date: Budding and Flowering Plants, 7/11

Weather Notes: Still threats of storms, but no signs of them yet. Just more hot weather that’s taking itself out on my family’s water bill.

Environment Notes: Everything is shipshape in both of the growing areas. Also, the pesticide I bought and used in the garden seems to be keeping the aphids away.

Actions: Basic watering and pruning. And taking Tristan outside briefly under the pretense of getting some sun to show him off to the other flowers.

Characteristics: Tristan was the second to flower! Peanut was right about the colors that he ended up being—his petals are a dazzlingly pale blue, almost moon-like in appearance, with a tip of deep indigo that really works for him. He’s like a night sky personified, in comparison to Mumble’s sunbeam crown. They’re very handsome flowers.

Final Notes: The only big change in the past few days was Tristan’s flowering, so I’ll just be summing up how the other flowers reacted to it.

The flowers in the garden outside were shocked to see Tristan’s marvelous petals. So many thoughts went flying around regarding their unique color, one that had never been seen in the garden before.

Mumble was a little miffed that his hard-earned spotlight had been taken, and he was especially irritated when the gardener had brought Tristan out and held him up in the air, as if showing him off. But overall, he was just as admiring as all the others over Tristan’s unique appearance.

Tristan was a little bashful to be lifted in front of the garden, merely grunting aggressively and throwing down a few insults to the awestruck flowers staring at him. The only thing keeping him going was Peanut’s cheering, which he could hear from the windowsill behind him, as the smaller plant eagerly watched his display.

It seemed like forever before the gardener brought Tristan back inside and set him by Peanut again. He was relieved to be back indoors, away from all their stares. Peanut was the only one he could handle looking at him for long periods of time.

Though the gardener tested even that measure of patience when his and Peanut’s pots were pushed closer together that night, allowing Peanut to ogle the petals on his head up close. It was embarrassing, especially since every other word out of Peanut was some kind of compliment, but Tristan bore with it for the sake of his smaller brother.


Honestly, I think Tristan and Peanut have a very sweet relationship. They balance each other out well, and I’m glad they still get along, even after all these months they’ve spent together.

I’m also not afraid to admit that I favor Peanut far more than Tristan, and will always bend to Peanut’s whims over any boundaries Tristan may have.


Period/Date: Budding and Flowering Plants, 08/28

Weather Notes: A monsoon hit earlier in August, far stronger than any of the storm forecasts had predicted. The tarp over my garden wasn’t enough to protect the flowers. They were all either drowned, torn apart by the rain, or ripped up by the wind.

Environment Notes: The garden is gone. It was completely destroyed in the monsoon, and I had to uproot all the broken, dead flowers left in its soil in the aftermath. I’ll be starting from scratch with a field of soil after this. My bedroom is fine; the windowsill didn’t even get damp during the storm, and the heat lamp didn’t lose power once.

Actions: I finally got up the energy to write about what had occurred during the monsoon. I obviously couldn’t do it on the actual day of the storm. I was too busy trying to see if any of my flowers could be saved, if I could still hear any of their voices or thoughts. I admit, it was hard for me to hear anything over the screaming sobs of Peanut, who had to watch everything from that windowsill. By the time I’d gone through the entire garden, and declared everything dead, his sobs were ringing in my ears so much that I didn’t even realize when he’d stopped crying.

Characteristics: Peanut and Tristan are the only two flowers I have left. Both have started wilting considerably since the monsoon. For Peanut, it was almost like watching all of the progress his health had made completely revert, and he was back in that shriveled, wretched state. For Tristan, his stem drooped and some of his petals began falling out, even though they had just come in. Both are depressed, and grieving over the loss of their family. Their thoughts have been reflecting their sorrow.

Final Notes: A recounting of Peanut and Tristan’s thoughts during the monsoon and afterward.

At first, Peanut hadn’t realized what was going on. He’d seen the sky darken from beyond the closed windows of the bedroom, and he’d simply thought that another rain shower was coming.

He’d been excited at first, since it had been a long time since the last shower, and he’d stretched eagerly toward the glass to watch the dark, rolling clouds above. Something had seemed slightly off about the clouds this time, though, something that made anxiety curl in the tips of his roots.

When the wind started picking up, creating a low, howling sound in the air, that anxiety only increased. Then the wind had torn at the strange, blue covering the gardener had placed over all the other flowers, the edges of it flapping violently as the whole thing shuddered. Eventually, before Peanut even knew what was happening, the entire cover was uprooted from the ground, a blue flash of shiny, hard plastic shooting up into the wind and taking off in a bruised sky.

The flowers of the garden were now revealed to Peanut again, and for some reason, he was terrified to see them. They looked so vulnerable, where before they had looked so free and strong.

Then the rain began officially falling, and Peanut’s heart had fallen with it.

He’d watched in horror as heavy rain droplets, ones far larger than any he’d ever experienced himself, began to tear down from the sky, smashing atop the exposed heads of the flowers in the garden. Each one shattered like a sunbeam on glass, sending sprays of water bouncing in every direction to tear through the plants around them.

The droplets punched holes in his siblings’ leaves, tore off their swelling buds or (in Mumble’s case) their blooming petals, and wreaked havoc on the flowers’ bodies in general. The wind helped whip the droplets along, directing them through every part of the patch so that nothing was safe.

As more rain poured down, Peanut saw it begin to fill the earth around the flowers, choking out their roots and overflowing in rivulets. His siblings began to shout and scream as they were drowned, whipped around, and beaten mercilessly by the destructive storm.

Peanut screamed with them, crying out helplessly as each second that ticked by became worse than the last. Strange bolts of white light lit up the sky. Crashing sounds that rattled his pot on the windowsill followed, mixing with the roaring cacophony of the violent wind. It was a horrible display of noise and light, overwhelming Peanut as he watched his siblings suffer.

When the first one was ripped up from the earth—Trixie—he couldn’t even scream anymore.

He could only watch as the wind mercilessly tore her still-budding body into the air. It whipped her away faster than the flap of a butterfly’s wings, delicate roots trailing limply after her.

He could hear Sophia’s mournful screams after Trixie was uprooted, though they didn’t last long. Because of the clod of earth that had been ripped up with Trixie, water was pooling fast in the space beside Sophia, and seeping even faster into her roots. They were no doubt swelling painfully beneath the ground, drowning in the excess of water, and Sophia herself could only give a few more screams of Trixie’s name before her whole body shuddered and fell to the earth.

Water seeped over her quickly, covering her body from Peanut’s pained sight.

Barb was ripped up, too, just like Trixie, the shy plant now screaming for the first time in her life as terror filled her airborne roots. She was whisked in a different direction than Trixie, her stem already too battered to allow any hope of survival even if she had been left in the ground.

Many of the other flowers were ripped up shortly after Barb, a swirling mess of petals and leaves snatched into the air and blasted away by rain and wind. Others that stayed rooted were left to drown, as was the case for Marcus and Suzan, the two of them tangled together as water seeped over their roots and took them in the same manner as Sophia.

Several seconds of choking, chilling pain, a single shudder, and then a collapse into silence atop the sopping ground.

Not even the strong sunflowers escaped these fates, some of them snapping in half from the force of the wind, others drowning miserably as they stayed glued to the garden.

There was one flower that remained upright, through the entire storm.


The golden-crowned flower had bloomed wonderfully in the month before the monsoon struck. His petals stretched out several inches into a near-full chrysanthemum bloom. He radiated the gold of the sun, touched by a lively, unbroken red, and his bloom formed a spherical shape atop his strong stem just like the sun he was so similar to.

Within the dark, gray destruction of the monsoon, Mumble stood bright and unyielding, upright even in the tearing winds. He seemed to bounce back every time he was blown over, yelling defiantly with every droplet that tore off another spectacular petal. Mumble fought the storm, a single flower against a nightmare, and Peanut could only hold his breath as he prayed that if nothing else, Mumble might make it out alive.

Mumble gave him hope through the storm, a beacon shining that could last through anything, that shouted over anything trying to cut him down. Peanut wished he bore even half of Mumble’s strength and power.

The little flower’s focus stayed glued to Mumble the entire time, hope clustering in his mind as his brother fought the rising menace of the monsoon.

And finally, when the monsoon had cleared and sunlight shone down once again, Peanut saw Mumble still standing out in the garden, solitary and alone.

But not a single petal was left of his crown. Not an ounce of strength was left in his stem.

His body merely twisted up to look at Peanut, frail and trembling as Peanut had never imagined it could be. Then, across the ruins of the garden, directed at the windowsill where his two brothers watched him unflinchingly, he simply said, “Be strong.”

Then his stem snapped and Mumble’s bare head fell to the soil.

Peanut couldn’t handle the emotions that shot through him after Mumble’s death.

He screamed and cried all over again, as though the storm had just begun, as though he was still watching his poor siblings die before his eyes, even after the gardener showed up and tried to save them. He screamed after Tristan tried to calm him, after the gardener took him away from the windowsill, after he’d drained himself of every ounce of energy he’d regained from his stupid indoor sanctuary.

Peanut screamed his soul out and then broke entirely.

Tristan had watched everything alongside Peanut. Every moment of horror that Peanut had witnessed, he had shared. Every dashed hope, every fleeting prayer that had been demolished was one he had also felt. And just like Peanut, he had watched Mumble with the dying belief that someone, anyone, would survive this catastrophe.

And when Mumble had fallen, Tristan didn’t know what to do.

“Be strong,” their brother had said, right before dying. Tristan wasn’t sure what that meant. Was it a plea for them to grow healthy and live past this storm? Was it a request that they not grieve over him as much as they wanted to? What was it?

Tristan didn’t know. He could only cry as Peanut shook with heart-wrenching sobs, feeling as lost as if he’d been ripped off into the air with Trixie and Barb.

He’d stopped crying sooner than Peanut, and had tried to calm his smaller brother. But it hadn’t worked, and Peanut had continued to yell into the apartment in grief, stopping for nothing and no one.

When Peanut finally did stop, the sounds still ringing in Tristan’s mind as he looked hesitantly at his smaller brother, the little flower wasn’t the same anymore.

He was silent and sad. He let himself shrivel up without a care, like it wasn’t worth hanging on. He didn’t look at the sky to find shapes in the clouds. He didn’t chat endlessly with Tristan about every good thing that happened each day.

Peanut began to wilt.

And with his beloved brother in such a miserable state, unable to do anything to pull him out of it, Tristan began to wilt, too.

He couldn’t help himself. Every time he looked at Peanut, silent and sorrowful instead of bright and cheerful, he felt he’d failed somehow to protect the smaller plant. That Tristan should know what to say to make sure Peanut could be strong, like Mumble had wanted, but was too stupid to figure it out.

That he should’ve been in that garden with the others, instead of sheltering with Peanut, and that he should have been killed as well.

Tristan’s guilt and sorrow weighed him down, dropping his stem toward the wooden sill beneath him instead of the sun, and several of his beautiful, dazzling petals began to fall.

But he didn’t care anymore.

I don’t know what I’ll do. Tristan and Peanut both seem to have given up. I can’t take hearing their sullen, sad thoughts all day. I’m leaving with my family on a long trip tomorrow and we’ll be gone for four weeks. I’ll be doing schoolwork so I don’t fall behind while I’m gone. A friend is watering Tristan and Peanut for me. And when I get back . . . I don’t know what I’ll find.


Period/Date: Flowering Plants, 09/26

Weather Notes: Getting chilly now that it’s fall, especially near the window. It’s a good thing I bought that lamp heater.

Environment Notes: The lamp heater is now adjusted to cover both Tristan and Peanut.

Actions: I took a picture of Tristan and Peanut. I called my friend and cried on the phone while thanking him.

Characteristics: Peanut actually began to bloom; more details below.

Final Notes: Peanut’s petals finally came in, before the predicted time of October. These are the thoughts I got from Tristan and Peanut about the bloom when I returned.

Peanut and Tristan had both given up on almost everything for a long time. There was only one thing that kept them going, specifically Tristan, and he used it to keep Peanut going as well: what Peanut’s petals would look like when they came in.

Tristan wanted to keep going, if nothing else, until he at least saw those petals. He made Peanut promise to hold on until they came in, so that they could both flower in honor of their family members who hadn’t been able to.

The new gardener watered them every day and fertilized their soil properly, just enough to keep providing Peanut with the nutrients he needed to maintain himself. Every day, Tristan inspected his buds, like Peanut had once done for him. It was Tristan who gave all the compliments now, all the supportive feedback, all the eager guesses about what the petals would look like eventually.

Peanut simply took it all in, and said nothing in return.

Then finally, one day, the petals bloomed.

They were tiny, just like everything else about Peanut had always been. They were his petals, no doubt about it, if that diminutive size was anything to go by. And yet, as Tristan and Peanut both stared at the petals peeking shyly from the top of Peanut’s head, those petals looked so exceptionally familiar.

Because they were a bright, shining gold, tipped with the richest hue of scarlet.

In the instant when Peanut and Tristan had seen the petals atop Peanut’s head, both had burst out crying, recalling every one of their lost family members and every incredible thing about each of them.

Trixie’s spunkiness.

Barb’s attentiveness.

Sophia’s elegance.

Suzan’s adaptability.

Mumble’s strength.

Every aspect of those ideal flowers, their beloved siblings, all came back, through that familiar golden crown adorning little Peanut’s head. It felt as though at least one small piece of their siblings—a piece they’d all gathered around and admired for weeks—had been brought back from the grave. And it brought the last chrysanthemums back to reality for the first time since the monsoon.

Within days, Tristan and Peanut were perking up, their vibrant colors returning to their stems and leaves, and their petal blooms growing larger and larger. Peanut slowly began to talk again, the sunbeams on his head encouraging him onward. He only had a small tuft, nothing like the gorgeous sphere Mumble had borne or that Tristan now proudly displayed, but it was enough.

The two chrysanthemums spoke happily of the past and the future, after a long time of silence, their laughter returning to the windowsill. They’d even managed to laugh when the old gardener came back and broke down in tears upon seeing them.

The gardener took pictures, rambling happily about how they looked like a little sun and moon, glowing on the windowsill. Another phone call thanking the temporary gardener for his hard work spurred more tears from their gardener, and more happy laughter from Tristan and Peanut.

They’d only been blooming on the windowsill for a short while, but Tristan and Peanut were certain they were going to last much longer. Until they were too large to fit on the windowsill. Until they were out there in the sunlight of the garden, two or three feet wide and flowering where their siblings had once stood. Until the gardener brought in all kinds of new flowers to fill up the garden again, with new stories and new voices to bring to the soil patch.

Tristan and Peanut would bloom on, vibrant chrysanthemums glowing like the sun and moon, against all odds.

And I think that’s a good note to end these entries on for now. I’m going to head outside into my garden and start thinking about where I’m going to fit those two.

Before they bloom too much and completely block the view on my windowsill with their laughing, dazzling petals.