CHAPTER ONE - UNCLE TWOTREES
One stormy night many years ago a great hurricane swept through the garden county of Kent in England and destroyed almost everything in its path, including my Garden center.
I didn’t dare go out in the night as the house shook so much. I thought it was going to fall down and there were so many objects flying through the air. I must have dozed off at some point as I awoke just as the sun was rising to total silence. I nervously opened my door and stepped outside to find all the fences, sheds and greenhouses smashed and broken. All the pots, barrels and tables that had filled the garden center the previous day had disappeared; all taken by the hurricane wind.
That was bad enough but worst of all was the sight of tree after tree, plant after plant, and flower after flower crushed and broken. They were like my own children. I had lovingly grown them from seeds and helped them become strong and beautiful. Suddenly my legs went weak and I slumped to the ground unable to take it all in. Tears began to run down my face.
As I sat there crying, I noticed that the air around me was perfectly still. There was not a breath of wind or cloud in the sky. The sun was shining so brightly that it hurt my eyes as I squinted through my tears at the damage all around me.
Then! All of a sudden, I thought I saw something move. I blinked, rubbed my eyes, and saw the movement again. As I stared at the spot with my tear stained eyes something began to take shape, but what was it? It can’t be I thought, I must be seeing things.
For there before me was this human looking person only a meter tall, leaning on what looked like a golden spade sparkling in the sunlight; and all around him where these amazing colours of the rainbow.
I sat there in shock, unable to move a muscle.
“Good morning human. I’m Uncle Twotrees.”
Where on earth did the voice come from? I hadn’t taken my eyes off this colourful being with his red cheeks and tall green hat, so I knew he hadn’t spoken, as his lips didn’t move. I carefully looked around afraid of what I might see.
“Hello, it’s me, I’m Uncle Twotrees. I’m talking to you with my mind.”
I turned and looked at him. He smiled and gave me a little wave.
“I thought it was time we met, as we’ve lots to do if we’re going to make this the best garden center in England,” said the little colourful character.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing or hearing. Here I was in the middle of a total disaster, listening to an orange hairy person wearing wellington boots telling me it will be the best garden centre in England. I leaned over and splashed my self with freezing cold water. The shock was sure to bring me to my senses. Not so! There he was and he was laughing at me.
I decided to pretend he was really there and being foreign looking I replied in a LOUD voice, which many grown-ups seem to do when they meet people from foreign parts.
“WELCOME TO MY GARD……….”
To my utter amazement he suddenly started cart wheeling and rolling backwards towards the pond as if the hurricane had returned. He stopped suddenly at the very edge, about to fall in.
“Help me, “came a voice in my head.
I thought of throwing him a rope but there wasn’t one around. But out of nowhere a rope suddenly appeared and it was travelling through the air towards him. He grabbed one end and I naturally grabbed the other and began pulling him towards me until he stood once again in front of me.
“Thank you, human. You saved my life as I haven’t learnt to swim yet.”
What? I thought. I didn’t do anything.
“Oh! But you did. In my world thoughts are real. What you think happens.”
I was now totally confused. Here I was thinking things, and this person called Uncle Twotrees was answering me, without speaking.
“Let me explain”, said a voice in my head. “In my world we find it quicker to use our minds to speak to each other. You should try it? “If not, please speak very softly as a human voice is like a gale force wind and you can see how much damaged a strong wind can do.”
“Use my mind? What is he talking about and where did he come from?” I thought.
“I come from a world called Plant World where we use our special powers to help grow and protect living things in your world.
“Why haven’t I noticed you before,” I enquired
“Oh, but you have,” replied Uncle Twotrees.” You simply didn’t believe what you were seeing. Just like most grown-ups”
I suddenly remembered those moments when I found plants that had been watered and moved, flower beds that had been weeded, and many other things I couldn’t remember doing. I thought it was my imagination or old age making me forgetful.
“Yes, that was us,” replied Uncle Twotrees, reading my thoughts again.
“Pardon, did you say us” I asked, suddenly realising that there must be more than one because of all the work done in the past.
“Would you like to meet them?” asked Uncle Twotrees.
I was suddenly no longer afraid; quite the opposite in fact. I had a sudden desire to learn more about Uncle Twotrees and the Plant World.
“I want you to close your eyes and relax and imagine the Garden centre before the storm,” said Uncle Twotrees with his mind.
” Now, when you open your eyes you are going to see something so beautiful that it will send a shiver down your spine. Are you ready?”
“Yes” I replied. I could feel the excitement building up inside of me.
“Open your eyes”, commanded Uncle Twotrees.
As I did so, I could not believe the brightness of the colours before me. I had never seen such vivid colours before. Everything was a little fuzzy at first, but gradually, I began to recognise the buildings, greenhouses, and sheds of my Garden Centre but they were much, much smaller, like Lego land. I felt a shiver go down my spine as I noticed hundreds of little plant people all surrounded by rainbows. They hadn’t seen me as they appeared to be going about their daily business carrying flowers and plants that were ten times more colourful than those in the human world. My mouth dropped open in amazement.
I looked around to see the grass was greener, and the sky was bluer than I had ever seen it before. There were tables stocked full of shrubs and plants. It looked exactly like my garden centre. There was even the Old Oak tree that I named the Garden Centre after. Even in Plant World it looked enormous and very old, protecting everyone and everything around it.
I suddenly felt a moment of panic, and the Plant world disappeared. I quickly stood up and looked behind me afraid of what I might see. Thankfully, it was alright. There in the centre of the garden centre stood the Old Oak Tree. It had survived the hurricane, even if some of its leaves and smaller branches and twigs were missing. I sat down again in relief and wanting very much to see the Plant World again, afraid that I had been dreaming it all.
I tried concentrating very hard but nothing happened. Maybe it had been a dream after all. Surely, not! I tried again but nothing happened. Then a tiny voice came into my mind telling me to relax and to remember the colours.
In an instant I was once again in the centre of Plant World surrounded by colourful characters busily doing things. I had re-entered a world where my very thoughts could harm these strange characters who where to become my lifelong friends.
I am telling you all this because the Plant People want to share their secret world with you. They want you to learn how to love and care for all living things and to NOTICE the beautiful and fascinating world that is around you at all times.
Before I introduce you to more Plant people please promise to keep their world a secret. And very importantly make sure there are no unhappy grown-ups around when you enter their world. Do you remember the words you must use to warn the Plant People of your arrival?
I PROMISE TO PROTECT AND CARE FOR ALL LIVING THINGS, ESPECIALLY PLANTS FLOWERS AND TREES.