This month we're chatting about two of our favorite things: gardening and writing. We hope you'll join us!
Good morning, Lee. Warm weather has finally arrived in New England after about ten minutes of spring. I've been congratulating my perennials, especially my roses, for surviving one of the worst winters in recent times. Now the rush is on to get my vegetables up and running for a good harvest while trying to grow my next book for its September deadline. Tomatoes, beans, squash and apples from my heirloom tree will all demand attention just about the time I'll need to polish my manuscript.
Hi, Helen. I love roses, so I’m happy to hear yours survived the harsh winter! Your irises are looking lovely, too. We had one of the mildest winters on record, and harvested the last of the winter kale about a month ago. One of my favorite things about the west coast is having a winter garden.
My current writing project has well-established roots (I know my characters’ backstories well) and lots of tender new shoots. But I can’t say it’s come into bloom yet because the hero and heroine haven’t realized they’re falling in love. Or if they have, they’re still keeping it a secret. When I’m hung up on a plot point, Finnerty Garden at the University of Victoria one of my favorite places to wander and reflect.
|The pond at the University of Victoria's Finnerty Garden|
A local orchardist tells me I have a Red Gravenstein apple, a volunteer that showed up in our woods and is now thirty feet tall. It bears only every other year so beginning in August I start to make enough applesauce to last for two years. I placed this tree behind the barn in my book Into the Storm, scheduled for release in December, so my characters can enjoy the bounty as well. Beets and potatoes are now sprouting in the raised garden bed where my spinach wintered over—such a treat to pick fresh greens as soon as the snow melts. And of course it's rhubarb time; I really should make a rhubarb upside-down cake, pretty as a mosaic.
|Helen's wildflower garden|
We have a very old heirloom apple tree in our backyard. By old, I mean at least sixty years, and it may be older if it dates back to the dairy farm and orchard that was replaced by this neighborhood in the 1940s. It’s one of the King varieties, possibly King of Tompkins County, and lives up to its name by producing extremely large apples.
I can attest to it being rhubarb time. I baked a deep-dish strawberry-rhubarb pie for our family brunch last Sunday. It was a large pie and there were no leftovers!
One of the heroine’s in my Riverton trilogy is an avid cook—apple strudel being one of her specialties—and I’m working on recipes to include in these books. I don’t know how readers feel about this, but I love to read books that have recipes in them.
|Late-spring rhododendrons at Finnerty Garden|
Happy reading! Until next time,
Lee and Helen