Undead in the Daisies

By Holly Casey

A plan of action for keeping your garden healthy and beautiful while dealing with the monstrous horde at the door

The question of how to deal with botany-unfriendly, undead nuisances while trying to keep your garden looking its best is one of the most frequent questions I receive. By the time I hear the question, people are frustrated, confused, and angry. Underneath the rhetoric, the real question is, “How do I get rid of these unholy monstrosities?”

With that in mind, I think there are a number of reasons why gardeners everywhere have trouble keeping their landscapes lovely during this growing apocalypse.

  1. The small band of survivors they have joined up with has a pattern of only protecting the vegetation they deem “useful.” The begonias and roses are left to be trampled underneath the hooves of hell spawn while the corn and squash are ruthlessly defended.
  2. They have never seen someone bludgeon the rotting head of a zombie to stop it from limping through their marigolds, or, if they have, it was a big, messy situation.
  3. They are so uncomfortable with conflict that they are unwilling to defend their meticulously planted plot of greenery against the ungodly mutations inexplicably attracted to the bright colors.
  4. They feel guilty “wasting” clean water on decorative plants.
  5. They worry such an extravagant show of fantastic life against the backdrop of this ravaged land — infested with beasts and monstrosities that come from both hell itself and the foolish, unknowing, undeserving hands of man — will lead them further into a spiraling depression that they had hoped to escape using this one spot of beauty.

Despite its discomforts, confronting the undead horde can be one of the most important tasks of gardening you’ll face. Many a gardener has spent hours pruning, weeding, and watering, only to have all their hard work dug up and destroyed by a roving pack of werewolves one night when the blood-red moon is full, looking upon our world as if it was the emotionless eye of the cruel god who has forsaken us. Of course, the truth is any type of accursed beast has the potential to ruin your plant life, and the real question is just which kind are you dealing with.

If you remember The Days of Innocence — a time before the oceans were a constantly thrashing and churning white foam that could no longer sustain life because of their violent restlessness; a time before the technology we relied upon failed us as radiation leaked out of unseen cracks, power lines refused to carry a charge, and computers randomly fired missiles; a time before the earth was split open like an egg to release a terrible brood of ravaging fiends from hell — well then you remember what it was like to deal with all the annoying insects and animals in your garden. And, I bet you remember what a hassle it was to deal with them! Just one remedy would not get rid of all those pests, and the same thing still holds true.

Now if you’re a younger reader, you may not know what an insect or an animal is (they were given a quick, sweet release from this world that we humans were denied), but I bet you do know that while a stake to the heart will take out a vampire, it will do little to a zombie, and the same principle holds true when keeping these monsters away from your freshly trimmed topiaries. You’ll have to use a different deterrent for the varied amount of depraved horrors that turn up at your door.

  • Demons and Vampires: Since both of these are highly satanic creatures, you can use similar tactics to protect your garden from them. Crosses around the edges of your flowerbed will work fairly effectively, but holy water is definitely your best bet. If you can find a man of faith who hasn’t cursed the god he once believed loved us, definitely try and get him to bless some water for you! Also, as an added punch against vampires, plant garlic. The bloodsuckers hate the stuff, and you’ll have a fangtastic new seasoning!
    • Werewolves: This one is a bit more difficult. These tortured beings only take their twisted form once a month, but they can do a lot of damage when in the throws of an agony that only comes from existing in a mind-breaking limbo between human and beast. Any type of silver will deter them, but your best bet is just to shoot them with a silver bullet, it’s the only way to kill them, and put an end to their trouble for good.

Protip: If your friend has soil under his/her nails and smells of your honeysuckle bush that was dug up during the full moon last night, try stabbing him/her in the neck. If your friend doesn’t die, you have your answer about what really happened to that plant!

  • Mutants, Zombies, and Those Simply Driven Insane by this Never Ending Nightmare We Inhabit: Now, these are probably the hardest little buggers to keep out of the petunias. They have no inherent weakness except for the classic headshot, and, except in some individual cases, there are no substances you can simply place in your garden to repel them. My only advice for this is to join with those who are just as willing as you to fight to the death for the last living things of beauty to remain on earth. For example, I have joined a convent sworn by blood to keep flowers alive. We have created a towering wall, made from the bones and gore of those aberrations of nature determined to undo our sacred work, that encircles the new Eden we have nurtured. Many of my sisters have lost their lives fighting off the devils that would try to break through our wall of death to obliterate the only elegance, the only delicacy, the only poetry left in this world. Also, since everyone in the convent is a gardener, we all have fun planting tips and trivia to share!

As you can see, each monster has a different remedy, but the most important thing to remember when dealing with whatever would threaten your garden is to have a firm hand. If you hesitate, falter, or just don’t go after this threat with everything you have, you will fail. You will lose the one thing you cared for in this scarred world. You will find yourself in a darkness that will be all the more complete, all the more consuming, because you, if even for a fleeting moment, held the promise of light.

Of course, if you do manage to protect your garden, it will be safe, secure, healthy, and appealing! Now doesn’t that sound nice?

Holly Casey grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee with two siblings, parents, and a number of different animals over the years. Currently, she is finishing her last year as a student at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and will graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dramatic Arts and a minor in Creative Writing. Though she has been reading and writing from a young age, Undead in the Daisies is her first story to be published.

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