What’s In Your Garden?

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, How does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row.

We know she had a nice tidy little garden with flowers.  What does your garden look like?   A writer always has a garden, but it may not be the type you think.  While some have flower gardens, herb gardens, or even a vegetable garden, writer’s often have ideal gardens.

My garden is a year round ongoing venture.  Some ideals are just seedlings, while others are fully ripe and ready to harvest.  I’ve been neglecting my garden lately, and it’s bursting with ripe fruit.

My ideal garden looks like a vegetable garden that’s gotten out of hand.  I haven’t tended my garden properly, because I can tell there are weeds amongst my ripe fruit.  I have a strawberry bed, that’s in a similar state at the moment.  I’ve been limited in my mobility with my knee injury, and the weeds are about to outnumber the strawberry plants.  I’ve already harvested about five gallons of berries – yes  you heard me, five gallons.  You’ve got to have a lot of berries to make jam, not to mention the fresh berries and strawberry shortcake.

With the mild winter and early spring, my plants are doing their job, even though the dandelions and purslane are trying to choke them out.  Now that I’m able to get out there and do the weeding, the strawberries are just about done doing their thing.

My ideal garden has suffered the same plight.  I’ve been having a bit of a pity party for myself, mostly over this injury.  I know, you’d think with all the pep talks and self-help motivational stuff I listen to and repeat back to you I wouldn’t be such a pill.

This past weekend I did some assessment of my ideal garden as we are coming into a new month – tomorrow!

There were definitely some weeds in there.  Unfortunately, the biggest ones I planted myself.  Weeds of  excuses in several varieties.  Hmmm, somehow I think they may be related to the nightshade family.  Weeds of poor time management, bad habits, and past failures.  There were also weeds of the Inner Critic, that nasty little beastie that lies within me, ready to pounce at the first sign of weakness.

There’s the varmints to deal with – the critics that can’t wait to tell you what you’re doing wrong, and the ones that say you’ll never amount to anything.  Evidence of bunny trails crisscrossing my plants were noticed and residue of pests  were also detected.

In natural gardening there are beneficial pests, as well as benefits for certain animals in our gardening.  For example, a snake – as much as I loathe snakes – is useful to eat the mice and rabbits that are munching on your ripe fruit and veggies.  They also keep the poisonous snakes at bay.  Creepy, but useful.

I spent the weekend assessing the garden, seeing what I need to plant, what I need to tend, and what weeds need to be yanked out.  I gave the snake wide berth, I know he’s there, and while I may not like everything about him, he is useful.  It’s interesting, after pulling just a few weeds out, it was starting to look like a garden again.  I got excited!  some of those ideas have been in there for a long time.

Friday afternoon I felt defeated, my best laid plans were cast aside as  “life happened”, you know those parts of our lives like wife, mother, sister, employee?  Yeah, well I can’t very well cut out the paying job to “play” in my writing garden, as it was told to me.  I was ready to chuck it all, cry myself a river, and sit by the bank and watch it all flow away.  What would that get me? Not what I want, so I chucked that ideal – it was a weed after all.

Saturday, amidst the family stuff, I did some research, and organized my thoughts.  I planned  my attack for the next month, and planted a new ideal seedling.  Like a new baby, a new ideal seedling attracts a lot of attention, but I have to focus on my nearly ripe, so close to being finished WIP’s.

I’ve come up with a simplified gardening plan for my ideal garden for this next month.

  1. Do It!  Yep, just like the Nike ad, just do it.  1000 words a day adds up over a week, or a month.  During NaNO I managed to crank out 75K words.  Surely I can manage 15K over this next month.  That would complete Both WIP’s.
  2. Go to my Zen Den.  Mine isn’t an actual hard and fast location, it’s more of a state of mind where I block out all those other demands, and focus my best efforts.
  3. Post the Scarecrow You know what the purpose of the scarecrow is right?
  4. What If?  Every writer knows this is the Miracle Grow to our ideas.  This takes your ho-hum puny plant to be a producing giant with whopper tomatoes!
  5. Game ON!  this means I bring my A-game.  I pour my heart and passion into it the way I should.  Pursue my dream with passion, zeal and fervor.


That’s it. That’s the plan.  I’ve got a million and one more things I could say about it and you’ll hear them eventually – over the next few weeks, in progress reports, and updates.  I have some cool things planned for this next month, I hope you’ll stay tuned to find out.

Write on my friends, and write now!



Confessions of A Killer

Springtime! The garden departments are overflowing with a variety of plant  starts. From twenty varieties of tomatoes to flowers of every shade; a paradise  of flora awaits.

I’m drawn like a moth to a flame. The scent of peat mixed with the delicate  fragrance of flower blossoms create a euphoria that I’m unable to resist.

I drool over begonias, loading them into a plastic tray. My heart races at  the vibrant pinks of Dianthus. Beads of sweat dot my upper lip as I brush my  hands over the supposedly hardy geraniums. Giddiness overwhelms rational thought  as I load multiple trays of beautiful starts into my cart.

Then, it happens. I never intend for it to, it just does.

Once home my true nature manifests. I am a cold-blooded plant killer – yes, a  plant sadist. I try every year to make appealing arrangements like my neighbors.  The outcome is always the same: They end up dead.

If they require full sun, they end up in shade. If they require shade, they  get the full sun. If they require little water, I drown them. Those requiring lots  of water shrivel immediately.

I spend hundreds of dollars to buy plants that will beautify our home, only  to end up with dull lifeless carcasses. The remains of previous victims are  scattered across our back patio as harbingers of the new plants eventual fate.  My conscious efforts to nurture them are overruled by unconscious murderous  tendencies.

If you could hear their little voices, there would be tiny little screams  from my cart. I try – honestly, I do – to make them thrive. It only gives them  false hope, putting off their inevitable fate. Eventually, they die. Not a quick  death, but rather a slow tortuous agonizing demise.

Some people have a green thumb, mine’s black. The black thumb of death. I  can’t seem to stop. I’ve killed cactus, ferns, various flowers, and even a  mother-in-laws-tongue. Someone told me they would never die, even if you  neglected them forever. It took a while, but I killed them.

Ironically, I can grow a vegetable garden. If I can get them in the ground,  they stand a fair chance of survival. But then there are the horn worms, aphids,  and squash bugs vying for their lives. Eventually, the stress wears them down,  and they surrender to the gaping maw of death that taunts their very  existence.

My husband spotted the trays in the shopping cart and pleaded to stop the  senseless brutality; to give the poor plants a chance and put them back. I  conceded when I spotted two bright pink azalea bushes that were beckoning.

I needed something to replace the dead viburnum at the end of the driveway.  As I placed the trays back on the shelves, they seemed to be drooping. Maybe it  was just my imagination.

As we paid the cashier, my husband asked if she could hear the screaming.

Oh,  the horror!