So, everyone, you’re in for a treat today! Less of my babble, and more from a guest author! I also really like this topic, because as you can see, I like flowers and gardening as well. (Yes, all those pictures of flowers on my header/background? I took them in or around my parent’s house.) Anyway. Olivia Waite is here to talk about, well, gardening, in a way, with a really sweet post.)
My family is full of women who are gardeners — my mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my aunt. There seems to be a mysterious genetic switch that gets flipped at some point and sends us into a tizzy of weeding, planting, fertilizing, pruning, and trimming.
I’m nearing thirty, and that switch is still unflipped. Every houseplant I’ve tried to tend has died. My own small backyard is a wilderness in miniature. There are the usual dandelions, strange green grasses, some small blue flowers I find appealing in a Sound of Music kind of way, and a few menacing raspberry vines that should probably be taken care of now while they’re still young and weak. If we let them get too firm in the root, they could take over the whole backyard and make it really difficult for our miniature dachshund puppy to do his business. He’s having a hard enough time with the dandelions, most of which are taller than he is.
But I must admit it’s fun to watch him sniff the white dandelion clocks and sneeze when they tickle his nose. At eight months of age, he’s never seen spring before, and it’s clearly puzzling him why the garden that was a damp and frigid huddle of muck in the winter should suddenly smell so different and grow so full of stuff.
Part of the challenge with our backyard is that it’s difficult by nature: one half is at the base of a small hill and stays perennially damp and shady, while the other half has been dried out by the leavings of the former tenant’s two dozen cats (seriously — she was kicked out by the housing board and the whole place remodeled) and not even the dandelions will touch it. The week before I got married, my mother and bridesmaids cleared out every weed in the place and put in some lovely desert grasses that were less lovely when they drowned a week later while we were on our honeymoon. I don’t want to put in anything else just to watch it die — and so, the weeds live on, smug and victorious.
And yet — I dream of moss.
Someday, when the gardening gene kicks in, I will take out all the tall plants and transplant as many kinds of moss as I can find locally or purchase in specialty stores. I did a lot of research once I realized how poor our backyard was. Moss is fairly forgiving and needs only shade and water, things we have in abundance. What’s more, there’s something soothing about moss gardens, the softness and the gentleness of them. A moss garden sounds like an excellent place for writing.
Last fall, in the flush of enthusiasm, I actually cleared a small space and gave moss transplanting a try. The transplant not only survived but flourished — and I’ve noticed other patches growing on their own around the yard, at least three different species. My transplant is a small, brilliant patch of emerald to the right of the backdoor steps. Every time I see it my heart lifts a little.
There may be hope for me as a gardener yet.
Olivia Waite stole her first romance novel at the age of five from her mother’s bedside table. She kept reading them secretly all through college and graduate school, until finally she sat down and put together a book of her own.
Now she writes some very scandalous historical novellas for Ellora’s Cave. Caffeine gives her superpowers–or at least makes her feel that way. She lives in the Seattle area, blogs frequently, and loves emails, postcards, skywritten messages, and communication of all kinds.
Olivia has very kindly offered to do a giveaway here today, and two lucky commenters will win a book! So tell me. What do you think of gardening? Do you have a green thumb or a black thumb? Did you grow up with anyone who loved to garden?
And of course, questions for Olivia about her books are always welcome!