My love of gardening has spanned over 40 years. I love the seasons, every single one of them. In Northern California we get to garden year round. I find it relaxing, soothing, and something I just must do every day.
There was a time we thought perhaps we would have to move, and honestly, leaving behind my garden was harder than leaving the house or the privacy we have here. No neighbors. I can water my garden in my nightie. Or worse! It is the only place I can be seen in a bathing suit. I like to get dirty, to dig and prune and support new life.
I don’t even mind that our sprinkler system hasn’t been repaired since the house fire that destroyed most of our dwelling and surrounding trees. And it was headed up the hill, and could have easily taken acres. We border a great Merlot vineyard owned by Jess Jackson. My hope was for some day to have a few vines of our own.
Gardening has taught me two things: patience, and serenity. Some things grow with lots of sunlight, and other things need shade and low temperatures. I learn what grows well where the more I work the garden. I try new things, new varieties. I dead-head and work with the old plants that send babies back as volunteers year after year. It’s been several years since I’ve planted a calendula, or a hollyhock, or Shasta daisy. They just keep sending their offspring back to me to grow and delight everyone.
I have over 40 rose bushes. My favorite? Chrysler Imperial. I dare you to find a more sweet rose-smelling red rose. Mr. Lincoln comes a close second. Perfumed Delight, Peace and Chicago Peace are also favorites. And for yellow: Gold Medal. For a climbing rose? Joseph’s Coat.
I enjoy my seasons in the garden just like I enjoy my seasons with writing. New stuff that has to be pruned. Old stuff that has to be dead-headed and revived, or cut completely. Training plants so they grow strong and give longevity, like writing that is strong, but could be made stronger. Fixing a story line so it holds up and supports a great bloom of a plot twist or character surprise.
And patience. Everyone wants to be an overnight success. To write every day and have people begging for more. To have your agent say “this is the best thing I have ever read!”
And in between those times (which exist in my dreams and daydreams, while I’m sitting in the garden enjoying the color) I just write. I write about my Guardian Angels and my SEALs and my vampires. And love blooms in the gardens of the heart.
Because, after all is said and done. That is really what I do best, and what I enjoy most of all.