A 200 word challenge over at members.enchantedfolks.com
The challenge was vague - just a descriptive passage. This version is 204 words.
Everything was tame. Even the giant pine trees of the forests were in ordered rows. Birka wondered if they shaped them with trimmers to get their perfect shapes, as she'd witnessed on smaller plants in the garden, where flowering vines were sculpted into perfect towers and arches. Taya would love the idea of a garden - of taming growing things into something of only aesthetic use. Birka would have found it wasteful, if someone had suggested the concept to her a handful of months previously. Then, she hadn't walked through the warm green shadows and been awed by the snowy white falls of flowers. She hadn't smelled the clean, earthy smell that the garden was wrapped in before coming to the South, and she'd never imagined that round beach stones could be changed into something so ordered as the enormous, round-curving paths that wound through symmetrically carved orchards. She would have laughed at the idea of spending energy and effort to make water flow in carved stone falls for the sound of it, or the waste of raising fish that only lived for one season and couldn't be eaten.
They did it for the beauty of it, Birka reminded herself. She couldn't deny their success.