The Fishing Garden
Everyone knows there are certain items in Neopia commonly considered junk. They are here for the sole purpose of entertaining eccentric collectors, of whom Neopia does have considerably more than its fair share.
These are the items known for clogging the Money Tree and Secondhand Shop, from piles of dung to the latest Key Quest prize. One of the main sources known for giving away items considered junk with the purpose of filling a safety deposit box or discarding, rarely even worth donating, is fishing. Soggy boxes, hundred of shoes without their match and piles of kelp are donated, discarded and left to rot in SDBs till the end of time. This is a story about one of those items, the marvel that is kelp.
I’m Radny, a typical white Kyrii these days. A youngest pet, I was pretty carefree in my early days. By the time my owner came home with me, life in her neohome had a routine. Oris, he was a red Zafara back then, was the oldest and would go with my owner, QP, to deal with daily life, like Tombola and wheels and games. My sister Lyowna, a brown Aisha, would look after the house, keep things running smoothly and would even work at the Golden Dubloon a couple nights a week. The next is my sister Cassy. A white Uni when I was created, she ran the tea gallery with my owner's help as well as constantly reading about Altador, the stars and fashion.
There was very little for me to do except play and run wild in the Haunted Woods. Skate boarding around the fairground and climbing trees that look like they want to eat you was how I grew up.
Now my owner wouldn’t let me just skip around forever; she is all for everyone earning their keep no matter how small a task they do. But as has been said, my family ran pretty smoothly. There was no way I could help out in the kitchen. For how quiet Lyowna generally is, if you mess around in her kitchen, you'd better run for it. I wasn’t the cheapest paint color, which has always been held by Oris, even though he has been painted three times. So dailies were out for me. And I just didn’t have the proper social skills to help in the gallery, too loud and rambunctious. The people who stop there for teatime are looking for more quiet conversation and gossip, which Cassy is more than capable of providing.
So really I just helped out where I could and had fun. That was until QP completed our neohome.
I must admit, as it was being built, I was quite proud of our neohome. Three floors with the entire top floor devoted to bathrooms. Necessary when you have a Uni, who was morphed into an Usul, and a Kyrii living together. None of those are considered low maintenance pets. Not to mention that with five people in the family, bathrooms are in high demand.
The second floor was really the floor for living in with all our rooms and the library while the most important rooms on the ground floor were the kitchen and dining room.
The most interesting thing about this house was it was all built around a garden with clear glass windows covering it. The whole house surrounds this, and instead of stairs, there are ladders running up the walls of this room to the different floors.
When the house was being built, this was always our favorite play area; however, now that the house was built, our owner could focus on what she was most excited about. The gardens. She has always been fond of gardens and was super eager to begin designing ours.
Anyway, when she first started planning what she was going to do with them, she came to me and asked if I would help. Since I knew I would be stuck helping out somehow at some point and sitting in a nearly constantly empty shop didn’t sound like my idea of fun, I agreed.
First we started with deciding where the gardens would go. Actually, she explained to me where they would go. There was to be an entry garden, to give our house the right mood and feel to visitors. The interior garden, that little room in the center of our house, and a small back garden for fun and such. The rest she wanted to maintain as native woods, with little brain tree seedlings (they aren’t nearly as smart) and other such things as are found in the woods.
With that decided, we headed to Central to see what we already had in the SDB. QP led me quickly through piles of Christmas decoration from advents, rotten shoes, cheap Battledome weapons and gross foods. She led me straight to the back where piles of dried up kelp, ferns, grasses and fungi were kept and immediately started organizing them to be delivered to our home.
I couldn’t figure out what she was doing. It was all junk that Oris had fished up, good for nothing but a pack rat avatar. Why on earth did we need this delivered to our neohome? When she explained we would be planting our gardens with this, I was even more shocked; why on earth would we use these? Our gardens would be awful. That led right into the neopoints don’t grow on trees lecture.
“Radny, you have a cousin in Shenkuu who needs a paint job, an expensive one, you need a new paint job, Cassy needs a new coat, and potentially a paint job, Lyowna needs species specific wearables and with all that we just don’t have money to spend on fancy plants. Besides, all these need is a little TLC and they will perk up like nothing else. We will have a fantastic garden, don’t you worry.”
I was still a little doubtful so QP agreed that if I was really good at taking care of the garden for two months, we could go to the garden center and pick a few things out. So I grudgingly helped her arrange for the delivery of the dried up plants that I was pretty sure were dead anyway.
The next day QP and I sorted through the pile of, well, junk. I don’t know how she could tell the difference between those dehydrated plants; even the Cubical Sea Fungus was flat and, well, dead. Yet QP seemed to have some magical gift to tell them apart. She would tell me where to put them and I would run off and dump them before coming back for the next load.
After that, her main concern for the day was to plant the plants out front so that they wouldn’t get stolen. I didn’t bother to tell her no one would steal them.
She claimed that the front the door would be lined with Void Plants, the path with Cinderblock Fungus and the rest of the yard would be planted with Grey Sea Fern and Darigan Seaweed to give a less than welcoming vibe to the front yard. It was a fairly traditional feel for front yards, houses, and just in general in the Haunted Woods.
After we got good and muddy we went and misted all the other plants. I don’t know why; I was still pretty convinced they were dead. Then we headed to the top floor and hit the shower. This is why we had more than one bathroom.
The next day QP was already in the front yard by the time I had gotten up. She said she wanted to water early. The plants still looked as dead as they did the day before. After she had finished that, we went out back to start arranging plants.
I still couldn’t see the difference between the dead plants, but once again QP had no problem. She was busy directing me with “Let's put all the Cheery Plants by the door; the garden should immediately feel like a cheerful place” and “No, no, that’s not going to work, move that Prismatic Fern over in the green ones.” Not to mention “the Spongy Algae needs to go in that low spot where the water gathers; they need so much water. And keep those Mossy Rocks away from them; they won’t get enough water near the sponges.” When I asked why we needed Mossy Rocks, she simply said it was a real ‘wow’ feature.
Lyowna brought us out lunch as we started planting, and when we were done, QP figured we still had enough time to plant the inside garden.
She had a whole different attitude towards these plants, warning me constantly to be gentle and careful and that they were fragile. I couldn’t see the difference, but she assured me they were Magic Crystalline Kelp and Shimmering Sea Grass, both very delicate. After carefully placing and planting each individual plant, she sent me to water the front again while she watered the interior garden and out back.
This set the theme for the next few weeks. Water in the morning and at night, weed during the day. Then, a few weeks in, I saw the first evidence of our effort. When coming out for breakfast in the morning there was a faint shimmer over where the Shimmering Sea Grass was planted. It was so exciting and rewarding to see that our work had paid off.
I ran into the kitchen to where QP and talking to Lyowna while having her morning cup of tea. She simply smiled and took me out front to show me how the Void Plants were coming in.
After that, the garden came in pretty fast. Prismatic Ferns peeking though Green Kelp, Darigan Weaweed twining with Grey Sea Ferns. The most exciting day however was when the Magic Crystalline Kelp came out. I realized why QP was so careful when planting them. It was beautiful with the light from the Shimmery Seagrass combined with the crystal and the natural light from the glass roof. And all from plants most people donate to the Money Tree if they don’t just discard it.
Now I still hang out around the Woods, but I also spend days at the Money Tree grabbing kelp and such people have donated, as well as planting them and caring for the garden. It’s true that these plants do incredibly well and make a fantastic garden.
Though I will take QP up on buying some more plants, I am trying to convince her to let me have another lot for a garden to grow food. It is just so rewarding to work with plants people completely discount and make something amazing.