In early July of 2011 the relationship between the humans and the garden finally snapped under the strain.
Negotiations broke down, with the garden refusing to restrict its buddleia population voluntarily. When the weeds that covered the ground between the east and west walls rose up in support of the two major buddleia masses the garden was in danger of being lost for good behind a barricade of nature. The humans had hoped that the weather would be a factor and the exceptionally long period of drought and high temperatures would naturally limit any expansionist moves from the garden, but, alas, this hope was in vain.
For a long time the garden had very gradually increased its occupying forces but after a short period of covering rainfall in June there was a sudden surge of growth, taking advantage of any disinclination on the humans’ part to intervene during inclemency. This brazen act was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
On Sunday, the third of July at a little before nine in the morning with the sun already high, bright, and hot, the back door to the garden was opened by the humans; first-line defensive measures left by the garden – spiders cocooned around the frame and crack woodlice units lined along the threshold – were caught unprepared and dispatched swiftly by the 21st Forward Broom Brigade.
The humans immediately committed one half of their forces to assault the eastern buddleia division. Precision strikes from the long-handled secateurs initially met little resistance from the garden inhabitants but as the buddleia was thinned out its roots and branches left became steadily thicker and tougher. The attack slowed and the temperature started to exert a sweaty toll on the offensive side.
Buddleia that had been killed in the war dropped to the ground where weed allies supported it further obstructing human inroads against the garden. This necessitated a change in tactics but it was one that had been prepared for. The use of a rake was authorised and ground was cleared.
A cleared passage into the heart of the garden had now been made but this created a vulnerability for the humans. Supply lines of Ribena were at risk of being cut off by a swift counterattack at the rear and there had still been no movement against the western buddleias. Understanding the danger the humans now released the remaining forces – the elite Special Wife Services – tasked to protect the back of the first assault and, simultaneously, open up a second front to the west.
At about this time the humans discovered evidence of biological weaponry for the first time; nettles – not previously seen in the garden in the decade and a half in which relations between the humans and garden had existed – were found during another ground-raking. Both humans were wearing protective gear and were in no immediate danger of stinging but this was a worrying development and added to the already-high tension.
The garden finally recovered enough to mount a limited retaliatory strike on the humans. Butterflies, flies, and numerous other insects attacked from the air. Some plunged into the faces of the humans (and even into the mouth in one gruesome, horror-of-warfare instance) and others alighted on exposed arms to feign potentially battle-winning arachnid attacks; psychological war at its worst. But the feared Spider Platoons themselves were only ever seen in retreat, dropping from the buddleia and fleeing across the exposed ground using the weeds as shields, and the battle was effectively over.
Total defeat of the garden could have been achieved had the humans pressed on but the fight had taken a heavy dehydrating toll on them and injuries sustained – muscle aches, eye-stinging sweat, jitters from anything even remotely spider-shaped – were mounting up. With the promise to return an occupying force more frequently the humans pulled back to the house.
The assault had been swift and decisive and it arguably prevented many more atrocities had events and relations been left to deteriorate further. At the end practically all of the buddleia to the east and west had been eradicated while the central population of weeds had been reduced in size to the point where it could be later shovelled. It was a major victory for the humans.
UPDATE: The buddleia population was incorrectly identified as lilac. The fog of war.