Those Bloomin' Gardens (and Giveaway) . . . by Kate James

If you visit our blog regularly, you might recall my April post when I took you for a walk through our gardens. If you'd like to revisit what the gardens looked like then, here is the link to that post. Well, spring finally arrived and with it came lots and LOTS of rain. So much rain, in fact, that records were broken and some low-lying areas flooded.

With all the rain, our gardens did quite a bit of catching up, and all the perennials seem to be back on schedule, if not a little ahead of their normal bloom times.

As it's a beautiful, sunny afternoon as I write this post, I thought I would take you for another walk, but this time I'd like your help! I (sheepishly) admit that I don't know the names of all the plants in my gardens. Please help me identify the plants that I don't know. One person will be chosen at random from those naming (correctly . . . I'll check!) at least one plant to receive the prize pack detailed at the end of this post. You'll get one entry for each plant you name correctly.

So, let's get started! And please feel free to correct me, if I have some of them wrong.

This first picture is of one of the gardens edging our back patio. The purple and yellow flowers in the background are pansies, the white ones are a type of impatient, but do you know what the salmon-colored ones in the foreground are?

Picture number 2 is the same garden from a different angle. Doesn't that little stone dog look like he is inhaling the sweet fragrance of the flowers? There are hostas behind him, daylilies (not yet in bloom) to his left and more impatientspink in this casebut what is that deep burgundy, feathery plant in the bottom right quadrant of the picture?

Picture 3 shows another garden by our patio. This was actually a window-box planter that I purchased and put in the ground. I plants with the red flowers are dragon wing begonias, but what are those plants behind the begonias with the purple spikes getting ready to bloom?

This is one of my very favorite things in my gardens! Picture 4 shows the flowers of a beautiful ornamental tree. I have no idea what type of tree it is, but I love these flowers and refer to them as cartoon flowers, as that's what they make me think of. Can you name the tree? Anyone who gets this correct will get two entries for the prize draw!

This picture was taken at the foot of the stone steps leading from the upper garden to the lower garden. There's no guessing required here, as I know that the purple-and-white flowers are bearded irises and the clusters of small white flowers are bleeding hearts. Am I correct? (Yes, I have both pink-and-white and all-white bleeding heart plants.)

Picture 6 shows a hosta and more bleeding hearts, but do you know what the yellowish ground cover between them is called?

I believe the flowering bush in picture 7 is commonly referred to as a beauty bush. Am I correct? Do you know its proper name?

This one is easy. It's a red peony, and picture 9 below is its pink cousin!


I think the plants in picture 10 are pink and purple lavender, but I'm not certain. What do you think?

I am fairly certain that this is a rhododendron, but I would appreciate confirmation.

Picture 12 shows more irises, but also that yellowish ground cover again.

Picture 13 shows my banana plants (they grow like weeds but, sadly, they are only annuals in Ontario), daylilies, hostas and some flowering annuals in the front.

This is another portion of the same garden shown in picture 13. Does anyone know the name of the flowering bush behind the fence?


And I thought I would end the tour with a pretty planter. You have been very patient touring my gardens with me, and now I would like to share the contents of the prize pack with you.

The prize pack contains an autographed copy of When the Right One Comes Along, the first book in my San Diego K-9 Unit series, a collection of bookplates and bookmarks, and a bejeweled notepad and matching pen. The giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada. If the winner has already read When the Right One Comes Along, I will happily substitute another one of my previously released books of the winner's choosing.

As a reminder, to enter, all you have to do is help me identify any of the plants in my gardens that I am unsure of, and you get two entries if you correctly name the tree with the "cartoon" flowers. When naming the plants, please refer to the picture number. You have until end of day, Friday, June 23. I will announce the winner at the bottom of this post on Saturday morning.

In closing, here is some information about my 2017 releases. 

Purchase links:

March 2017                   July 2017                   October 2017

Huge thanks to everyone who supports my writing!

And the winner is . . . 

Thank you to everyone who visited our blog and took the time to help me name the plants in my garden.

With so many helpful comments, I decided to pick not one but three winners. And the winners are . . .
  • Anne Rightler,
  • Winnie Thomas, and
  • Lynn Brooks.
Congratulations, ladies! You will each receive a prize pack, consisting of a signed copy of When the Right One Comes Along, bookplates and bookmarks, and a bejeweled notebook with matching pen. Please e-mail me at readers @ kate - james . com (without spaces) with your mailing address and I will get your prize pack in the mail to you.

Thanks, again, to everyone who participated. Watch for more giveaways in the near future from me and the other authors with July releases.

Happy reading!


  1. I love the red peonies, Kate! My hummies would love those. Everything in the garden is absolutely beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing your photos with us. I'm looking forward to reading HOME TO STAY!

    1. For you, I should have hid a little green frog somewhere and asked if you could find him! :)

  2. Oh, Kate! What a botanical garden tour! This was a lovely way to start my day. Most all my perennials are either past bloom or waiting to see what happens in the early summer heat!
    I'd love to sit in that garden with you and chat.
    For anyone who wants to know , Home to Stay is marvelous read. I could not put it down! Pre-order this one for sure!
    Thanks for the tour!

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed Home to Stay, and I look forward to sharing a release day again with you on July 1st!

      As for my gardens, it's a good thing I took the pictures when I did, because we've had a couple of days of very heavy rain and the peonies, especially, have been flattened! Still . . . there are more plants waiting to bloom!

  3. Kate, I went walking just yesterday and came across what looks like the tree you have for this contest. I'm not 100 % sure but I'm saying the tree I seen looks like what you have posted! I'm going to say it's a white dogwood tree! I hope I'm correct as I'd love to win!!! Pam Hamblin

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Pam, and for taking a guess at the name of the tree. Please remember to check Saturday morning to see if you are the winner! :)

  4. Beautiful gardens Kate!

    Pic 1 -- Begonia
    Pic 2 -- Celosia ... and you also missed one, the purplish red leaf with green trim is a Coleus
    Pic 3 -- I don't know! :)
    Pic 4 -- It's a variety of a Dogwood tree .. just not the one you see most with the little clip out of it's flower petal
    Pic 5 -- You are correct ... the Bearded Iris is a favorite of mine!
    Pic 6 -- I don't know! :)
    Pic 7 -- It looks like an Azalea to me
    Pic 8 & 9 -- Gorgeous!
    Pic 10 -- I'm used to a straighter leafed variety, but based on the bloom, I think it must be lavendar
    Pic 11 -- Yes it is
    Pic 12 -- Lovely!
    Pic 13 -- You have such a vast beautiful garden area!
    Pic 14 -- I'd have to see the bloom closer, but possibly an Oleander .. definitely looks too big of a blossom for a Honeysuckle
    Pic 15 -- I so enjoyed touring with you! :)


    1. Thank you for taking the time to help out with each of my questions, Lynn. I only wish you could have toured the gardens with me in person rather than virtually. The pups would have loved it, too!

      Please check back on Saturday morning to see if you are the winner.

  5. I guess a dogwood, too! Please don't enter my name though, Kate. I have When I Found You--great story. Good luck to everyone in the contest. It's a very pretty package.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Moira.

      I'm so glad you enjoyed When I Found You!

      I'm looking forward to reading your first Heartwarming release. :)

  6. Gorgeous, Kate! It does look quite a bit different from your April post. Peonies are one of my very favorite flowers. Hope you're managing to keep those bunnies at bay(:

    1. Thank you, Carol. Unfortunately, the peonies look quite different right now . . . after two days of very heavy rain. Looking on the bright side, at least the warned-about tornado didn't touch down.

      BTW, after your fantastic Sit-down Saturday post, Summer at the Shore catapulted to next up on my TBR pile! :)

  7. I'm guessing the same a dogwood tree.. very pretty pictures and I know from living way down south Louisiana, when it gets hot your flowers are not as pretty they are a lot of work to keep them looking good in the summer heat weather...

    1. Thank you for visiting, Donna, and helping me with the naming of my favorite tree!

      Please check on Saturday morning to see if you are the winner.

  8. I love bearded lady irises. They so pretty. Like Donna I live in the south and everything blooms so pretty with the heat and water. Glad to have joined

    1. They are very pretty. We have a relatively short growing season, so I am always thrilled to see the gardens bloom.

      Thank you for stopping by, Debra!

  9. I love magnolias and have a few on my property. So beautiful when they bloom.

    1. Ours get bright pink flowers. They are very pretty!

  10. Beautiful gardens! Thank you for sharing! Irises are my favorites! mauback55 at gmail dot com

    1. Thank you, Melanie. I'm glad you like the pictures.

  11. Lovely gardens, Kate, with clearly much love put into them - like your books! Looking forward to Home to Stay.

    1. Aww, thank you, Janice! It really is a non-stop endeavour, but I enjoy the work . . . and the results!

  12. It's like a tour of the botanical garden near my house. Gorgeous blooms and equally gorgeous books covers. What a great year for releases and you garden. Those of us up in the northern realms have to enjoy the gardens around us during their brief but lovely window of time.

    1. Thank you, Virginia, for joining me for the tour! We have a relatively short growing season, too, so I try to make optimal use of it! :) Congratulations for your debut Heartwarming. I wish you much success with it!

  13. Replies
    1. Thank you, Liz. I wish you could see it in person!

  14. I am the worst gardener in the world, so I'm not even going to take a stab at it. I just call them those pretty purplish things, ect. My garden consists of one wooden planter box with whatever flowers Walmart had available. You are having record rain and here in AZ we are having record heat. We need to meet somewhere in the middle.

    Loved touring your garden and am really jealous of it!

    1. I would love to meet in the middle . . . or just about anywhere with you! :)

  15. Replies
    1. Thank you, Mary! :) Please check back on Saturday to see if you are the winner!

  16. Wow. Three books out this year and beautiful, weed free gardens. How do you do it? Did you know there is a biblical story that goes along with the dogwood tree?

    1. I can't claim the gardens to be weed free right now. The mosquitoes have been so bad, I haven't been able to keep up since I took the photos. I'll have to look into the biblical story . . . unless you'd like to share it, T.R.

  17. I'm thinking the burgundy feathery one in #2 might be celosia. What a beautiful garden/s you have. The deer get my hostas so have to find something else to plant. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you for that, Anne. I'll look it up and see if it is, in fact, celosia. Please check back on Saturday to see if you are the winner!

      As for the deer, we have them visit on occasion, too. They like to eat the evergreens up to head-height! I've had to plant some shrubs in front of them to cover up the bald spots! ;)

  18. I'm late, but here are my guesses. Not an entry, though, I have (and love) all your books.

    1. Balsam (a type of double impatiens)
    2. Coleus
    3. Salvia?
    4. Dogwood
    Yes, bleeding hearts & iris
    Not sure about the chartreuse groundcover
    Or the beauty bush, but it is beautiful.
    I think 10 is veronica
    Love the rhodendrens
    Is 14 mock orange? Does it smell wonderful?
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden, Kate. I love the flowers.

    1. Thank you for this, Beth. Timing is everything! I don't know if the bush in picture 14 smells wonderful, as it's not an area of walk by, nor is it a spot that requires a lot of weeding. I'd go out and check now, but sadly all the flowers are gone. :(

  19. I love looking at your garden. Today in AZ, it got up to 118. My bougainvillea is a mere skeleton and the grass has wilted. LOL

    Can I come visit you?

    1. Absolutely! If you bring your pup, Harley and Logan, will be thrilled, too!!


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