Rose Garden


Our Story of the Week is Rose Garden, an amusing story from the writer Barbara McHallam.

Barbara’s ambition to become a writer began when she was in her twenties, however, it felt like an impossible goal. It took completing the NaNoWriMo challenge a few years ago to give her the confidence to throw herself into her writing.

Now she is an active member of a local writing group, Pennine Ink, who meet each week in the back room of the Woodman pub in Burnley. She has self-published two novels, Precious Moments and It Began in Barbados. Her third novel, Matches, is a domestic noir story. She has recently self-published Eye for an Eye, the first book in a trilogy of crime fiction novels.

In Rose Garden, Barbara weaves a deceptively innocent story with an amusing twist.


“Hiya Margery,” the young woman called over the back-garden fence. “How’re you feeling?”

Morning Tracey. I don’t feel too bad today. The pills help. I must be taking so many now it’s a wonder the pharmacy has any left for anyone else.” Margery paused, took off her gardening gloves, pushed her wispy grey hair out of her eyes and wiped her forehead with a tissue from her pocket. “Anyway, never mind about me. I’m just a grumpy old woman. How’s young Tyrone? He was a bit peaky last week?”

“It was just a cold. He’s okay now, thanks.” Tracey watched Margery for a few moments. “I love watching you prune those rose trees. You’re so gentle and loving. It’s as if – oh, I don’t know, as if it’s a person you’re caring for.”

The two women chatted for a few more minutes until Tracey heard the noise of squeals and yells from her kitchen. “Kids,” she yelled before dashing off towards her open back door.

Margery continued with her gardening, humming quietly to herself as she sprayed the shrubs with a fungicide to stop the black-spot disease from destroying the leaves, and then she put more fertiliser round the base of the tree. She stood up slowly from her bent-over position; wincing as the pain in her back reminded her she was almost eighty years old.Read more…