Greenfingered Growths #2 with Murdoch Brimley
by James C. Holland, 3.24am Sept 10th 2021

Hello, my green-fingered friends! Spring is here! The bees are abuzzing and the worms have returned to their holes. Even my Eaves-Ear Fungus is blooming and I only cultivated the spores a couple of months ago! Unfortunately, the verdant garden has attracted “land snails”. I am constantly picking them up and throwing them at the garden wall as hard as I can. It’s quite satisfying to hear their shells shatter and watch the quickly dying goop slither down to be recycled into the soil. But it’s a slow process!

Snails aside, I’ve had many compliments about the new flowerbed in my front garden. Please drop by and have a look if you’ve not seen it yet. It’s a variety of pink hyacinths planted in the shape of two figures holding hands – myself and Mrs Brimley. Yes, I am a sentimental old romantic under my grubby and frayed gardening gear. She has said this herself during one of our conversations which we’ve had indoors which is where she has been these last couple of months which is why you haven’t seen her.

I had the idea for the display around Valentine’s Day and planted the bulbs following a pattern staked out with twine. I recommend Boyle’s Twine if you can get it. It’s very hard to break.

“But Murdoch,” I hear you cry as you throw your copy of the Gazette to the floor, “You can’t plant hyacinths in February and have them come up the same spring! You must have planted them in the fall!” 

If you would please pick the newspaper up again… Thanks. Now, I can explain. It’s all down to a mix of green-fingered know-how and my own specially-homemade compost. Nothing more suspicious than that. 


The compost I call, “Soil and Green” because it’s regular soil but with a special ingredient which makes everything bloom. It’s soil… and green! Obviously, I can’t tell you the special ingredient. It’s a “trade secret”! Haha! But it includes a particular bonemeal produced through an age-old process of bludgeoning, crushing and grinding.

This is all I could tell the Sherriff when he visited the other day …and he was quite insistent about it! Apparently, one of our Bear Creek residents has been spreading rumours that myself and Mrs Brimley have been murdered and replaced. I said, “I think I’d recognise if I weren’t myself. Bless my beard!” and I tugged at my beard to show it didn’t come off. 

But there was more! They claim my romantic flowerbed is just the hyacinths outlining the two bodies buried beneath!

What nonsense! How ridiculous! I said to the Sherriff, “Dig it up! Have a look if you must! I certainly don’t mind but my many visitors will be upset. I wonder which neighbour would be most distraught to find the police have destroyed the flowerbed only to produce no recognisable intact body parts? Mr Eggers? Miss Plumridge? Mrs Wrought?”

He would not be drawn. But I must say it’s a sick individual who can come up with a story like that.

The Sherriff stayed with me and Mrs Brimley, who is inside the house and quite happy by the way, to investigate further. He was with us for a couple of days so I introduced him to my gardening practices and a couple of new plant species. Happily, I can now tell my neighbours that he’s come round to our way of thinking and the flowerbed will remain unruffled. The garden is growing stronger and bushier.


I’ve got a new Vermillionwort bush now. Oh! And I didn’t even tell you about the Eaves-Ear Fungus. 

Amazing things fungi! I say, “fungi” using the plural, but really it is one giant organism. A vast outreaching network of interconnected mycelium that, since I seeded it, has spread under the town. I can now simply put my ear to a bloom and hear what anyone is saying! I’m sure Mrs Wrought will bear this in mind the next time she has a problem with my gardening. No need to ring anyone, Mrs Wrought! Just speak out loud, wherever you are, and I will hear you!

I will have to do some pruning this week. I don’t like hurting the plants but it’s for their own good. It’s like the snails. I kill them to maintain the balance of nature. It’s nothing personal. If only I control the tiny minds of the snails so they just ate the stalks that needed pruning, then there would be no problem! …Now there’s a project to work on!

Please get in touch with Bear Creek Gazette if you wish to purchase any Soil and Green. I have recently acquired some more bonemeal and have plenty in stock