Story: The Ghost in the Garden

A few days ago, I noticed that buds and sprouts had begun peeking out from twig and earth in my garden. It was warm, in the mid-sixties.

Which is why I didn’t want to believe the weather report; temperatures were expected to plummet into the twenties that night.

A deep freeze like that would burn the delicate greenery of my awakening plants. 

Before we headed to bed, my husband and I hunted for vulnerable shoots and leaves and covered them with plastic bags and a white cloth we had used previously in late-spring cold-weather snaps.

I paid particular attention to my clematis, climbing vines with gorgeous flowers of purples, pinks, and whites. Clematis and I have a tumultuous relationship; I’ve lost way too many  to early freezes, oblivious landscapers and my ex-husband’s errant lawnmower.

I have one plant that grows on a tall garden obelisk; it’s  the one that has survived the longest.

Here’s what it looked like last spring.

Clematis Nelly Moser

Last year’s clematis growing on the garden obelisk


Clematis Nelly Moser

Clematis Nelly Moser close up

You can see why I’m somewhat protective.

That night, I noticed tiny clematis leaves had just starting to unfurl. The only way to protect the plant, already twiggy and entwined in the rungs of the obelisk, was to wrap it.

I covered up what I could, called it a night and hoped my plants would survive the cold.

The next morning, I took the dogs out as usual. Almost immediately Tucker let out a series of barks usually reserved for the most serious infractions and incursions.

He stared through the slats of the deck, barking madly.

Jasper and Lilah were confused. They didn’t smell anything. Nothing seemed particularly out of order.

I looked in the direction Tucker was barking. A ghostly shape stood tall in my garden, shrouded in white, it’s robe moving softly in the wind.

Garden obelisk wrapped

The ghost in the garden

I could see why it would look a bit menacing to a dog. It stood stiffly, unmoved by the barkage.

The dogs were still on their leashes as I walked them over to the ghost so they could see it was harmless. Tucker kept barking. Lilah was a bit unnerved. I couldn’t read Jasper.

Trying to balance camera and leashes, I unhooked Tucker and Lilah and in the process dropped Jasper’s leash.

Even though Tucker was still barking nonstop, Jasper decided the ghost was not a threat. His opinion is best understood by watching this 18-second video.


Jasper’s commentary can be summed up with a quote from a popular film of several years ago: “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!” (Extra points if you can name the movie.)

Seeing Jasper’s reaction emboldened Tucker, and I encouraged him to get a closer look sniff.

I guess it's okay.

I guess it’s okay.

The ghost was declared subdued.

I’m still giggling over Jasper’s response.


Have your pets ever reacted strangely to new items, changes in his or her environment, unusual-looking objects?







4 Comments on "Story: The Ghost in the Garden"

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  1. Sandy says:

    That’s hilarious – very brave (and smart) of Jasper given how quickly he assessed there was no threat! Sorry you probably had to hose off that plastic though : )

  2. kolytyi says:

    Poor, poor Ghost! He (or she?) was so elegant – and then came Jasper’s devastating act, and dignity got lost forever.

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