AntipodeanSF Issue 307

By Lynne Lumsden Green

“Have you heard the news?” whispered the Spring Breeze to the fairy woman, as the breeze made the water on the pond ripple in the sunlight. The zephyr always had the most up-to-date gossip.

“Please don’t tell me that another hailstorm is on the way. We’re still recovering from that last one,” said the Rhododendron Fairy. “Most of my darlings can cope with the cold, but not hailstones the size of grapefruit!”

“Worse. The committee are talking about digging out all the non-native plants. They want to return the gardens into a more natural environment. Encourage the survival of the local native animals.”

The Rhododendron Fairy had been making her final preparations for Spring. All her charges were prepped, buds quivering, ready to flower. She had sent her annual invitation to the bees. All that was needed was the warmth of the sun and some dainty showers, and everything would be perfect.

Most people didn’t know — or care — that the rhododendron flower symbolised danger because some species were toxic, so toxic even their honey was poisonous. Native animals and most insects couldn’t eat the leaves or flowers. However, the Gardens weren’t part of a natural ecosystem; they were in a park in the middle of the city. They weren’t big enough to support a viable population of native animals.

Still, if the committee did decide to go native, most of her lovely plants would be among those dug up and discarded. She cherished all her cultivars, from all over Asia and the Himalayas. It was so unfair … nothing was as lovely as a garden of rhododendron shrubs in full flower. People visited the Gardens especially to see them. 

“We shouldn’t be too concerned if they’re only talking about it,” said the fairy. “The committee makes a lot of plans that never happen. Anyway, I have a good proportion of native Australian rhododendrons and their hybrids in my gardens. Why throw out the rest? The committee is just trying to appear environmentally sound. It won’t come to anything.”

“Not this time. Stan the Man is the one pushing the change.”

Stan the Man was worse than any hailstorm; at least a hailstorm didn’t think it was always right. He had been behind the removal of many a foreign specimen in the gardens: trees, shrubs, ground covers. If they weren’t Australian, Stan wanted them gone. The fairy feared her shrubs were doomed. Unless…she had the inklings of a plan.

“Does Stan still have his pre-meeting morning tea at the Garden Café? Does he still take honey on his crumpets?” asked the fairy. 

“Yes, to both questions,” replied the Spring Breeze, shaking the leaves in the gum trees. “He never misses the opportunity to boss around the servers.”

 The fairy smiled and said, “Good. Now I just need to chat with the bees. Maybe we can sneak a little rhododendron honey into his meal.”

“You’re not planning to murder him, are you?”

“Nothing so dramatic. But wouldn’t it be a shame if he came over too ill to attend the next meeting or two.”

The wind whistled through the branches. “OoooOOOoooooo. Clever!”

“Generations ago, humans sent my flowers to impart the message: ‘beware the choice you make.’ It’s time that Stan learnt that lesson.” She grinned. “And — as a concession to Stan’s dedication to preserving the ecology — I’ll ask the help of the native bees as well as the honeybees.”

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About the Author

 lynne lumsden green 200Lynne Lumsden Green lives in Subtropical Australia, with twelve overstuffed bookcases.

Her short stories have been published in over a score of anthologies and online magazines.

If you want a further taste of her recent work, you can find stories in AntipodeanSF and articles in the Aurealis magazine.

You can find her blog at: <>.


Issue Contributors

The AntiSF Radio Show

antipod-show-50Our weekly podcast features the stories from recently published issues, often narrated by the authors themselves.

Listen to the latest episode now:

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show is also broadcast on community radio, 2NVR, 105.9FM every Sunday evening at 7:00pm.

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Meet the Narrators

  • Sarah Pratt

    sarah pratt 200Sarah Pratt is an avid fiction writer and a Marketing Consultant.

    She is currently working on her first novel but loves diving into short stories to bring a little lightness, intrigue or humour to the day.

    Her work has appeared in Sponge Magazine and The Commuting

  • Laurie Bell

    lauriebell 2 200

    Laurie Bell lives in Melbourne, Australia and is the author of "The Stones of Power Series" via Wyvern's Peak Publishing: "The Butterfly Stone", "The Tiger's Eye" and "The Crow's Heart" (YA/Fantasy).

    She is also the author of "White Fire" (Sci-Fi) and "The Good, the Bad and the Undecided" (a

  • Tim Borella

    tim borellaTim Borella is an Australian author, mainly of short speculative fiction published in anthologies, online and in podcasts.

    He’s also a songwriter, and has been fortunate enough to have spent most of his working life doing something else he loves, flying.

    Tim lives with his wife Georgie in beautiful Far

  • Michelle Walker

    michelle walker32My time at Nambucca Valley Community Radio began back in 2016 after moving into the area from Sydney.

    As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I recognised it was definitely God who opened up the pathways for my husband and I to settle in the Valley.


  • Ed Errington

    ed erringtonEd lives with his wife plus a magical assortment of native animals in tropical North Queensland.

    His efforts at wallaby wrangling are without parallel — at least in this universe.

    He enjoys reading and writing science-fiction stories set within intriguing, yet plausible contexts, and invite readers’ “willing suspension of

  • Emma Gill

    Emma Louise GillEmma Louise Gill (she/her) is a British-Australian spec fic writer and consumer of vast amounts of coffee. Brought up on a diet of English lit, she rebelled and now spends her time writing explosive space opera and other fantastical things in

  • Barry Yedvobnick

    barry yedvobnick 200Barry Yedvobnick is a recently retired Biology Professor. He performed molecular biology and genetic research, and taught, at Emory University in Atlanta for 34 years. He is new to fiction writing, and enjoys taking real science a step or two beyond its known boundaries in his

  • Mark English

    mark english 100Mark is an astrophysicist and space scientist who worked on the Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn. Following this he worked in computer consultancy, engineering, and high energy research (with a stint at the JET Fusion Torus).

    All this science hasn't damped his love of fantasy and science fiction. It has, however, ruined his

  • Juliette Cavendish

    juliette cavendish 200Juliette Cavendish was born in Liverpool UK and is of Welsh and Norwegian heritage. Juliette has an interest in Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Science and writes in both Science Fiction and Contemporary Fiction genres. Juliette was fascinated with space as a

  • Marg Essex

    marg essex 200Margaret lives the good life on a small piece of rural New South Wales Australia, with an amazing man, a couple of pets, and several rambunctious wombats.

    She feels so lucky to be a part of the AntiSF team.


  • Alistair Lloyd

    alistair lloyd 200Alistair Lloyd is a Melbourne based writer and narrator who has been consuming good quality science fiction and fantasy most of his life.

    You may find him on Twitter as <@mr_al> and online at <...

  • Sarah Jane Justice

    Sarah Jane Justice 200Sarah Jane Justice is an Adelaide-based fiction writer, poet, musician and spoken word artist.

    Among other achievements, she has performed in the National Finals of the Australian Poetry Slam, released two albums of her original music and seen her poetry

  • Geraldine Borella

    geraldine borella 200Geraldine Borella writes fiction for children, young adults and adults. Her work has been published by Deadset Press, IFWG Publishing, Wombat Books/Rhiza Edge, AHWA/Midnight Echo, Antipodean SF, Shacklebound Books, Black Ink Fiction, Paramour Ink Fiction, House of Loki and Raven & Drake