Monday, April 17, 2017

Welcome to my Spring Garden (and giveaway) . . . by Kate James


If you follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you probably know that winter just hasn't wanted to give up its hold on southern Ontario. When discussion spring with my husband, I used to insist that winter (weather wise) was over at the end of February. Well, this year taught me a lesson to NEVER say THAT again! Our last major snowfall was this month. But now . . . spring is finally here! I love the warmer temperatures, the sound of birds chirping early in the morning, critters making their presence known (even if it is that deer that keeps eating the tops of all my tulips) and everything starting to green up. 

Since I've worked hard the last few days to clean up the garden, I thought I would take you for a walk around our property to show them to you. It's nice and warm now, so you won't need a coat.

Let's start at the back of the house. Here is the little stone dog who sits in the garden just outside our back door, where we take Harley and Logan out for their walks or to play. This is the first garden we come to as we walk by our back patio. The perennials aren't visible yet. I tend to plant quite a few annuals here to give a blast of color all summer long!

This time of the year, I always have to remind Logan NOT to go running through this garden in his enthusiasm to reach the backyard first.

This is the part of our backyard where Harley and Logan like to chase their "Chuck It" balls. I'll have to get a video of Harley as he races out the back door, dancing in little circles in his excitement to play. (It's very cute!)

This is the garden near the back patio. It has stone stairs in the middle, leading down to the lower level of the backyard. 

This is the side of the same garden. This section doesn't get a lot of sun because of the mature trees nearby, so most of the plants here are shade-loving perennials.

This is the same garden from the lower level of the backyard. You can see the stone steps leading to the patio. The bottom portion of this garden gets sun for most of the day, so it's a terrific spot for all sorts of plants that prefer full sunshine. There are a number of rose bushes in this garden and low-growing perennials. It also contains lots of spring bulbs, lilies and irises, all sprouting now.
Here is a clump of daffodils . . .
. . . and the very first daffodil to bloom!

Although this picture doesn't do it justice, this is the view of the valley behind our house. It's nice to finally see all the trees start to get their leaves.
We've walked by the back of the house to the other corner. This garden contains mostly lilies and hostas.

The next pictures are of a couple of the front gardens. They're not much to look at just now, but with all the bulbs and other perennials coming up, they will be full of color soon.


Now we're at the other side of the house and back to where we started: Harley and Logan's favorite play area.

And speaking of Harley and Logan, what would one of my posts be without a picture of the boys! Here they are just after they got home from the "spa," last Wednesday. They were clean and fluffy and smelled very nice. The spa lady always puts cute bandanas on them. Aren't they handsome?
Since you were kind enough to take the time to walk around the property with me, the least I can do is offer a giveaway. I'm giving away a signed copy of When Love Matters Most, some bookmarks/bookplates, and a very pretty bejeweled, heart-shaped notebook and matching pen.

You can enter by leaving a comment below about what you like most about spring, or by tweeting. The contest runs until end of day Friday, and you can enter each day. I will announce the winner at the bottom of this post Saturday morning. The prize pack is available for US and Canadian residents. I will substitute two eBooks, should the winner be from outside the US/Canada.

And the Winner is . . .


Congratulations to Penney W. for winning the prize pack!! Penney, please e-mail me your address to readers @ kate - james  .  com (without the spaces).

Huge thanks to everyone who visits our blog, participates in our giveaways and reads our books.

Happy reading!
Kate



Sanctuary Cove - available now





Her safe haven

New York based communications executive Emma Meadows never imagined that sticking to her principles against an act of corruption would cost her her job and her relationship. Heartbroken, she retreats to her lakefront cabin in the Adirondack Mountains.



Aiding an injured animal at the side of a rain-drenched road, she meets local veterinarian Joshua Whitmore. Gradually, Josh’s charm and persistence overcome her defenses. But when Emma’s past abruptly intrudes—putting reputations and even lives at stake—it threatens everything she and Josh have begun to build together.



Home to Stay (book four in the San Diego K-9 Unit Series) - available for preorder



She's bringing his son home


A missing little boy triggers San Diego K-9 officer Shannon Clemens and her canine search-and-rescue partner into instant action. For the rookie cop haunted by a childhood tragedy, bringing Sawyer Evans's son safely home is more than a job. It's a mission she can't fail. But forging a friendship with the father is a tactical error that could compromise her first solo assignment. Yet the deepening bond between them is almost impossible to resist…

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76 comments:

  1. Hi Kate! I'm so happy winter has released it grip in your area. The property is really beautiful and so peaceful. On Friday, I was thrilled to see our first hummingbird of the season. The males return first and they're quite camera shy...so no photos yet. Enjoy spring!

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    1. It is peaceful and this time of the year I can see the changes in the gardens daily. I'm so glad your hummies are back--a sure sign of spring!

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  2. What a lovely way to start my Monday, Kate, with a walk around your garden and property. I'm very envious. Our city lot is small and jammed with neighbors. Squirrels are the critters I get to watch from my patio windows. But you describe perfectly how rejuvenating and inspiring spring can be after the long winter. Thanks for the tour!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the walk with me, Janice. We have plenty of squirrels, too. They've dug up most of my tulip bulbs!

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  3. Hi Kate! I have a few flowers around my place. Just a few years ago I got a hosta from a good friend. That next spring I seen green an white , thin, leaves. I didn't know what it was until I noticed crocus in another yard. It was crocus! I had to wait one more year for it to re-bloom and they are purple. my fave color!! This last time out of three I had only two, which is okay with me.Sadly they don't last even past 3 days when they do bloom. I can see the hosta coming up as well as I seen the first dandelion in the yard! I'm waiting to see if my tulips do anything, too. My iris's are my fave as by the many pictures I take of them! Pam

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    1. Thank you for "sharing" your spring garden with me, Pam! I would love to see some pictures on Facebook! :)

      Good luck with the giveaway.

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  4. wuch a lovely place - our daffodils this year bloomed for about 6 weeks total with the crazy weather we have been having too!

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    1. Thank you, Teresa! All the plants are growing by the day now, and I can hardly wait for them to bloom! I'll share some photos on Facebook, once there's some color in the gardens!

      Best wishes with the giveaway!

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  5. I love your gardens! And I'm super jealous. My husband's number one requirement when we bought this house last summer was a low maintenance yard. Meaning not too many shrubs or flowers. I did get to plant my rose bushes. At every home we've ever owned, I plant a yellow rose bush for my mother and a red rose for my Granny. This year I have a plant box full of annuals, so I have a splash of color in the front, which I'm super excited about.

    Can't wait to see pictures of those gardens in the summer. I bet they are gorgeous!

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    1. Yes, there's a lot to maintain, but I enjoy most of it. (I don't enjoy weeding, but it's a necessity!) I will share pictures, as the flowers start to bloom.

      How wonderful of you plant rose bushes for your mother and grandmother.

      Best wishes for a terrific week!

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  6. You have such a beautiful property, Kate. I bet those buds will be blooming soon and the colouring will be so much better than brown grass, lol! Love the photo of Harley and Logan wearing the scarves. Such handsome boys :)

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    1. Thanks for visiting us virtually, Darlene. As I've said before, there's lots of space for pups to play! :)

      Harley and Logan thank you for the compliment.

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  7. Hi Kate,
    I'm so glad winter has finally called it quits in S.Ontario. Here in Pennsylvania we seem to have to weird weather for spring too. One day nice the next cold again.
    Mother Nature should just turn up the heat and let us all enjoy.
    Summer is actually my favorite season but I do enjoy the flowers and new life that sprouts in the Spring. Plus, it's a promise of warmer weather to come. 😁💐
    Thank you for sharing your garden with us,I can't wait to see it in full bloom. Have a great day.

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    1. We are still experiencing odd weather shifts, too, Stephanie. We had one beautiful, sunny day. Yesterday was warm, but overcast and very windy. Overnight, the temperatures dropped to 5 C. I'm in full agreement with you that Mother Nature should turn up the heat . . . and leave it there for a while!

      Thank you for stopping by!

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  8. I absolutely LOVE spring! It's the time of regrowth and rebirth - time to start fresh. Everything is starting to come to life and show the beauty of their blooms or greenery after a long winter. Critters are multiplying and tending to babies which are so adorable to encounter. You can get out and dig in the dirt planning both flower and vegetable gardens. How can that not be fun - growing a feast for the eye and the table! We can take a lesson from nature and also take this time after the time of reflection during the winter to make changes for the better in our lives putting the past behind us and going forth and growing in the light.

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    1. Thank you for the thoughtful and uplifting comment, Kay! I love to walk our property this time of the year, as I find new beauty--and inspiration--each day.

      Thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts!

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  9. Can't wait to see pictures in full bloom. I live in an apartment and need to enjoy others gardens

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    1. I am happy to share pictures of our gardens, Pamela!

      Thank you for stopping by, and good luck with the giveaway!

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  10. You're a woman after my heart.We've always had Labs also. Yours are very handsome. smile And that ceramic dog (first photo) We had one of those. Does yours have hats and signs for the seasons? One of my cats knocked it over and finally broke it. :( Oh yes, your books look inviting.

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    1. Aww, thank you for the compliment about Harley and Logan, Sandra. They're sending you full-body wags right now! The little lab holding the welcome sign was originally my husband's. The little lab holding the sign was my husband's and reminds us of one of our beloved former dogs. (You can read the story of how Harley and Logan adopted us, after we had to say goodbye to our other three here: http://heartwarmingauthors.blogspot.ca/2014/09/a-dogs-life-by-kate-james-and.html) We don't have hats or seasonal signs, but it's a terrific idea! The ceramic dog in the back came with the house. Although the dogs always come first , thank you for the comment about the books, too!

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  11. What beauty you are able to enjoy. The peace and serenity it must bring. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words! I do love the peace and serenity, Melanie!

      Good luck with the giveaway.

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  12. Kate--I also start expecting warm weather in March and at least in DC, March can be 30 degrees or 70. Love your backyard--thanks for sharing the natural beauty with us.

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    1. We had a couple nice warm days, but today it's darn chilly again! I wish we all lived closer together so we could have a Heartwarming authors' retreat here! :)

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  13. I enjoy all the baby animals being born and the spring flowers!

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    1. I love seeing all the baby animals, too, Uma! A few years ago, we had bunnies everywhere. It was really cute, until I realized they were eating all my plants! :)

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  14. Thanks for sharing your garden. I love seeing all the green grass and new shoots. Summer is coming.

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    1. My pleasure, Beth. I really enjoy walking our property this time of the year, because each day I can see new growth!

      I'm hoping we're done with the snow!

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  15. What stunning surroundings you have. It actually looks a lot like the stage of spring here is Northeast WI. A few warm days have brought the flowers out a bit now. Your gardens are so lovely they resemble what I see when I go to my local Botanical Gardens! The dogs are cute, too.

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    1. Thank you for the wonderful compliment, Virginia. I'm looking forward to everything blooming. All the colors make a huge difference, after a long, gray winter!

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  16. Beautiful pictures!

    Thank you for the chance!!

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    1. Thank you, Susan.

      Good luck with the giveaway!

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  17. Thank you for Sharing your garden. What a gorgeous yard. I can only I imagine what it looks like in full bloom. Harley & Logan are adorable :)I love spring and seeing all the beautiful flowers. I especially love the sun shining
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Thank you very much, Carol. The gardens definitely look nicer when the plants are in full bloom! I love the sunshine, too, especially after a long, gray winter.

      Happy spring to you, and good luck with the giveaway!

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  18. What a beautiful property Kate!! I can see it's going to be a knockout garden(s) once the perennials really begin blooming. I'm glad you're finally getting springtime weather. And yes, Harley and Logan are extremely handsome boys.
    Love the cover of your soon to be released new k-9 book. ( :

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    1. Oh, and I forgot. I love the sound of birds singing and the bright blooms and mild weather best about Spring.

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    2. Yes, the gardens are much nicer when in full bloom. The boys thank you for the compliment, and send tail wags to KitKat.

      I hope you are enjoying spring, Laurie!

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  19. A bejeweled notepad! This is so me! Lovely to see the garden!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting, John.

      Happy spring to you!

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  20. The flowers and new spring babies! LOVE spring!

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    1. I love spring, too, Rhonda . . . and all the little critters that make their presence known this time of the year.

      Thank you for visiting and best wishes with the giveaway!

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  21. I love you gardens, and the boys are so handsome,

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    1. I thank you and the boys thank you, Tina!

      Thank you for stopping by, and good luck with the giveaway!

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  22. I love you gardens, and the boys are so handsome,

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  23. Love your gardens, especially the rock walkway. Love Harley and Logan too!

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    1. I'm glad you like the gardens . . . and, of course, Harley and Logan! Thank you for visiting our blog, Judy, and good luck with the giveaway!

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  24. I love the spring flowers. My creeping phlox is pretty right now!

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    1. Oh, I love spring flowers, too. Thank you for mentioning creeping phlox. It's a terrific foundation plant, and it comes in some wonderful eye-popping, bright colors.

      Thank you for visiting our blog, and good luck with the giveaway!

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  25. Kate, thank you for the tour! What a gorgeous property you have. I love the spot with the rock steps (shelves?). I bet it's stunning when flowers are in full bloom. We're thrilled to finally be getting a taste of spring here, too. I've never been so happy to see a daffodil blooming in my life as I am this year. Congratulations on your new books!

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    1. Oh, Carol, you have NO idea how happy I was to see that first daffodil bloom! I wish we could have a Heartwarming authors retreat here, when the gardens are in full bloom. There's a large rock to one side of the rock steps, and I love to sit there and read!

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  26. The warm weather & being able to do things outdoors with my kids. :)

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    1. I am a HUGE fan of warm weather, sunshine and doing things outdoors. Thank you for the comment, Susanne, and happy spring to you!

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  27. I love those stone steps. Thanks for giving us a tour of your lovely garden.

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    1. My pleasure! I hope spring is off to a great start for you.

      Best wishes with the giveaway!

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  28. I love, love, love to see spring gardens! Thanks for sharing!
    Janice
    pjrcmoore@windstream.net

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    1. I do, too . . . although I prefer them when the flowers are actually blooming! :) Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.

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  29. I love the bright green color of spring. Flowers in bloom though my allergies dont like them. It is when warm weather arrives and shakes of the cold weather of winter. Winter doesnt come to the South until January ... It is a mixture of cold and colder all from November until then. No snow..... well let me repharse that.....last time it snowed this far south was December of 1983 i believe....an extreme rare occurance.

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    1. The first thing I notice now when I look outside is how green the grass is! The trees are still brown, but soon their leaves will start to unfurl and turn green, too.

      I hope your allergies aren't too severe, Beverly, and you can enjoy the miracle of spring! :)

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  30. I love the blooming of the flowers and trees during spring! It tells me God makes everything new again in His own time! Thanks for the chance!

    dowelljanet@hotmail.com

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    1. Beautifully put, Janet!

      Thank you for stopping by, and good luck with the giveaway.

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    1. Thank you, Dora. And Harley and Logan thank you, too! :)

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  32. I love that my cats can all go outside. I shelter elderly cats, and they all love to be outdoors. I get to reclaim my bed.

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    1. How wonderful of you to shelter elderly cats, Misty! I bet they love to soak up the sunshine!

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  33. Wow, you made me want to attend a writers' retreat at your house. One that has the motto: bring your dog too! My Lucy would love it at your place. Right now, she's in trouble. Yup, ate one of Mike's toothbrushes AGAIN.
    I'm in awe of your talent.

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    1. I'd love to host a writers' retreat, dogs included, of course! If it helps, Toronto's airport has direct flights to all major US cities, so it would be easy to get here! :)

      As for Lucy . . . I'd make sure she'd have lots of chew toys to play with here, so she wouldn't go looking for toothbrushes!!

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  34. Hi Kate, I love the look of your gardens It's hard to have such places here because of the amount of water would be needed to keep it up. We have long hot summers here in New Mexico and so I have a few rose bushes that bloom near the windows and brings in such wonderful scent, Thank you

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    1. I'm glad you like them . . . you should see them when they're in full bloom! :) Yes, the dry heat can be a problem. Last summer was unusually dry. Although the gardens are covered by the sprinkler system, since we have a large yard, not all of it is. Large portions of our grass died and will need to be reseeded this spring.

      I can imagine how nice your roses smell!

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  35. I love spending time in the garden and flower beds, In Spring.

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    1. Oh, I do, too! Especially after a long, cold and snowy winter.

      Hopefully, you have a good book with you, Shirley, when you do spend that time in the garden! :)

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  36. we have a apartment and a very small patio but I do have pots with flowers in them
    Penney

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    1. Patio gardens can be lovely, Penney! Thank you for stopping by and good luck with the giveaway.

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  37. Surrounded by all that beauty, it's no wonder you write such beautiful stories! Can't wait to get my hands on your latest releases!

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    1. Aww, Loree, that means a lot, coming from one of my favorite authors . . . and people! If only you were close enough to visit and take a real not virtual walk with me! :)

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  38. I love all the rain in spring. If only it weren't for mosquitos!

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    1. In my excitement about spring finally having arrived, I forgot about the mosquitos . . . and the black flies! A warm, spring rain can be nice, and good for the plants.

      Thank you for sharing your comment, and good luck with the giveaway!

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