Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Season of Change by Lynn Patrick


It’s that time of year again, when those of us up north prepare to say goodbye to our gardens for nearly half the year. After living in the same apartment for three decades, this was both heaven and hell. The garden, which had suffered greatly from a winter that broke records of both cold and snow, was off limits to me. I had lost my delphinium, my largest lavender, a wonderful potted hydrangea, half my salvia, and many other plants were miniature in size. And I could do nothing to replace them.


 The construction crew used the garden to cut wood and tile and covered my remaining plants with dust that kicked up my asthma, forcing me to stay away. And so the summer passed without my being able to read or write outside or to revive my garden. For me, it’s especially sad, because I missed most of the summer. In deep renovation – moving from the second floor apartment of my city 2 flat to the first floor now duplexed with the lower level – I spent those glorious days running interference, not to mention running from box store to box store looking for the exact things I wanted to make the new digs special.

Even so, the garden retained a beauty I still appreciate. And now, with winter coming, and with me cleaning it up and preparing it for a season of change, I am making plans to renovate the garden next spring. More changes that will make the garden even more special.

Houses and gardens aren’t the only things that require renovating. Sometimes careers do, as well. I usually write as Patricia Rosemoor, but I am also half of Lynn Patrick. My writing partner Linda Sweeney and I wrote 23 books together before she stopped writing about fifteen years ago to focus on her academic career as a professor with an adult reading/writing specialty. 


Blossom on harness & lead


 Heartwarming started as an experiment, with some of our previously published books re-edited to meet the wholesome guidelines, including two Lynn Patrick titles – now called Shall We Dance? And The Marriage Assignment. And then we were honored to be asked to write new stories for the line appropriate for every woman, young or old. Lynn Patrick stories are set in the fictional town of Sparrow Lake, Wisconsin – Home to Sparrow Lake, A Forever Home, and, coming in April, 2015, The Long Road Home. 
          


To bring this season of change full circle, Heather, our heroine in A Forever Home, has taken my love of gardening (and my background as a U of I trained Master Gardener) one step farther. Being a landscaper is the change she has long dreamed of, and I was able to use my knowledge not only of landscaping and plants but of ways to control stormwater by creating a rain garden with native plants to help her create a wonderful plan for the mysterious Flanagan Manor situated on Lake Michigan.

We all have seasons of change in our lives, sometimes quite unexpected. If something unexpected has happened to better your life, we’d love to hear about it.


Visit Lynn Patrick at her Facebook author page.

24 comments:


  1. My favorite aunt gardened. I remember following her from flower to flower, plant to plant, and her telling me what they were.
    Sometimes, when the busyness of the days overwhelm me, I think she was wiser than I. She made time for the soul.

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  2. Hi, Pamela -- it's interesting how putting my hands in the earth change my mood. It brings me back to nature, to a simpler time without so many demands. During a typical summer, I try to work on something in my garden even if only for 15 minutes (usually much longer) because it always makes me feel good. Connected with life, if that makes sense. And with beauty, of course.

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  3. Thanks, Liz. I tried to make the garden look as good as I could. That shot with Blossom is a sad one. the sea of green next to her should be filled with salvia and echinea and lavender. Sigh. Next Spring...

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  4. btw, if I'm missing for several hours this afternoon, it's because I will be at a sympsium at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Experts will talk about changing gardens in changing climate and whether or not we can rely on the same native plants that once populated our area. If you don't know the value of native plants, they are disease and insect resistant and a miracle when it comes to controlling storm water because the roots go so deep.

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  5. Beautiful! I love to garden, too, but am definitely an amateur compared to you. For me, there's something about planting a vegetable or a flower from a seed and watching it grow and bloom that is so exciting and satisfying... Love to be outside and admire the fruits and flowers of my hard work!

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  6. What a lovely garden. I had a rock garden when I lived in New Jersey, filled with peonies, yucca’s and violets with a fence on one side covered in wisteria. My neighbor and I sat in it for hours drinking tea and talking. How wonderful to be able to include your passion for gardening in your book.

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  7. I might be able to grow a rock garden minus any flowers. :-) Not that I don't love flowers...I just have a black thumb. You want to kill a plant, give it to me. Although I do have a peace lily that has survived almost 18 years of my care. I have no idea what it's secret is.

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  8. Patricia - what lovely photos and how nice to meet Blossom. How sad that your terrible winter destroyed so much of what you love, but I like that you're already planning for next spring. As I write this, it's raining torentially here in Oregon - we could use some of your knowledge regarding saving plants from storm water. I have fuschias and geraniums on the porch - probably the tabby cat of the plant world, but they're beautiful and make me feel good every day. Inside, we have philodendron strung all over with fairy lights in them, and Christmas cactus that are just starting to go crazy with blooms. My husband spent a lot of time in Wisconsin as a child and talks about it all the time. Will have to look into Flanagan Manor!

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  9. Thanks, all for the compliments. Yes, once I cleaned up the renovation dust and then cleared weeds and extra growth I couldn't get to earlier, my garden is looking better. But this is missing so many plants that died last winter. The photo with my cat, who insists I take her out so she can go to sleep on a chair, shows an area that should be filled with plants. But I will replant in spring. Carol, I was definitely a lucky amateur for many, many years. I didn't know what I was doing exactly, but it was still pretty. Just keep on. And Marion, yuccas in New Jersey? That's something I didn't know. I would have thought yuccas in the southwest. And Patricia, rock gardens can be pretty. You might talk to someone at a gardening center and ask for a suggestion or two of plants that just can't be killed :)

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  10. To those of us in the dry, dusty southwest, your gardens still look beautiful. Love the color. I count it lucky if I have some cacti blooming. And in my back area I resorted to pots with colorful metal flowers. They don't die in the extreme heat. Looking forward to your books.

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  11. Roz, what are those bushes that climb walls and have brilliant flowers? A friend of mine in Arizona has them, and I just can't remember what they are. I'm sure the flowers are probably limited to a month or so every year, but they are gorgeous. The metal flowers sound ingenious, though!

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  12. Muriel -- Here is a link to Oregon native plants http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_native_Oregon_plants

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  13. Need to leave for my symposium now, but I'll return this evening :)

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  14. I too missed the summer this year with my garden. Really, my husband does the big stuff while I do container gardening on our deck. But the deck was being replaced so I never even got my tomatoes started. Next year, I have promised myself. In TN we had a bad winter--for here and lost the heather in the front yard by the road. Everything else seems to have come back. Love your pix and how cute that Blossom likes to take a nap in the sun.

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  15. Hi, Leigh -- for years I had such joint trouble that I left the digging to my handyman, and I stuck to the pots. Used to do tomatoes in pots until one summer, having seen many of the heirloom tomatoes (6 plants) would be ready to pick the next day, I went out to do so. And there was not ONE tomato left on my plants. That was the last time I planted tomatoes.

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  16. I am always sad when it's time for my garden to go to sleep for the winter!

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  17. Becoming acquainted with the Harlequin Heartwarming books and authors has unexpectedly made my life better. These were the books I've been waiting for; and such interesting, talented and creative writers to read about has been a joy.

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  18. Dana -- probably we ought to create a small indoor garden for ourselves.

    Laurie -- what a nice thing to say! I'm glad you love our books. :)

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  19. Saw lots of signs of fall when driving through Utah. Yes, that time of year for change. Have fun with that garden.

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  20. Thanks, Sandra. What does Utah look like in Fall?

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  21. I'm so envious of your garden. Here in California we've been suffering from a drought. We lost 4 trees this year and I thought now would be a good time to replant some - except the El Nino we'd been predicted to have this winter is now cancelled (when did this happen?). So shrubs are gasping and we have no shade. Sigh

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  22. Melinda, so sorry. I hate the idea of losing even one tree. They are not only good for our psyches but for the environment, for our health, to keep stormwater in check, which is a huge problem for us in Chicago now.. Believe it or not, while we had a triple abundance of rain this year, two years ago, we had a drought Spring and Summer. Which didn't seem to do a lot of damage until all the ash trees started showing signs of dying the following year. The drought made them vulnerable to the emerald ash borer, which is decimating ash trees all over the Midwest. I was heartbroken, because I could see that mine was sick, and I grew that tree, even though it was a parkway tree, meaning the city planted it and was responsible (theoretically) for it. We were told that any ash tree still 50% viable would be injected with a vaccine that would kill the borers and the trees would have at least a 50% chance of survival. But it was being done over two years and the city was divided up like a quilt. Only my area was not in the original injection area. I had to wait a year and maybe lose the tree that had a 25" diameter. So I paid hundreds of dollars to a private company to do it. And that kept it alive enough that this year the city not only injected it again, they cleaned up the trees, took off all the weird growth that signaled illness. What they didn't do was get rid of the DEAD huge branches in the top third. I have one sitting over my roof. Another over the middle of the street. One nasty storm could take them down. I've put in for work on the tree twice, the first time last spring. Still nothing. Unfortunately, about 20% of our city trees are ash and they are all sick. Yesterday, I went to a sympsium at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Scientists are now figuring out what to plant according to the changing climate. Things that never grew here before do now. So see if you can find information on your area. You might be able to plant trees that wouldn't grow there previously. That is, trees that grew fine in hotter climates. Hang in there. We can hope the coming weather will be kinder to us. :)

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