The sign in the flower tent had her name on it. There it was as clear as day, ‘Ms M.Mary – Gold Award – Best In Show’ and underneath it one of the judges had scribbled, “Just like a row of pretty maids.”
She should have felt elated but she didn’t, on the contrary, she felt extremely nervous. She looked around to see if there was any way out of this nightmare but, just as she was making a dash for the exit, a voice stopped her in her tracks.
“Mary! Mary Mary. Congratulations. I didn’t realize what a talented horticulturist you were.”
Mary looked behind her. To her horror she saw Jane Dobson, Chairwoman of the Women’s Institute, local snob and village busybody, bearing down on her.
“I was just talking to some of the ladies on the committee,” said Jane, “I was saying, we must get young Mary Mary to come to our next meeting and tell us the secrets of her hollyhocks.”
Mary felt quite faint. This was her worst nightmare. How on earth could she talk about something that she knew nothing about? They weren’t her hollyhocks. She had so wanted to enter this year’s village flower show but everything she’d tried to grow had just withered and died.
She realized now that it had been a silly idea to go out to the local B&Q last week and buy some beautiful looking hollyhocks to enter in the show. She never dreamt that they would win.
“You’re certainly a dark horse,” prattled Jane Dobson, “I thought you didn’t like gardening. Why only the other day I’m sure I overheard you telling the Vicar that you couldn’t grow anything. My but you are a contrary one Mary. Whenever I’ve been past your garden it just seems to be full of shells, I’ve never seen any flowers.”
“Well, yes, but no, you see ………” stammered Mary.
“That’s it!” interrupted Jane Dobson, “That’s what we shall call your talk – ‘Mary Mary Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?’ – splendid, we look forward to hearing what you’ve got to say. Will a week on Wednesday be OK?”