Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sweet Charity of My Garden

Spring is peeping through my living room window. Nectarine, Ceanothus, and Fremontodendron in full bloom. Rockers are one of my passions. 

The common name for this bee-friendly native is Flannel Bush for the silvery-gray flannel fuzz on the backs of the leaves.

Hello Friends,

I LOVE hearing from you and learning about your writing dreams and projects. Good for you. You know it is a lonely road, but you're doing it now. The only way to make your dream come true is to stick out your neck and go for it...and you're doing it!

Tomorrow I read the final chapters of my "tween" Maine island adventure. Then it is time to revise, revise, revise, and did I mention, revise again? This is far, far from being published. It will probably take another two years, but in the meantime I am also working on two other smaller nature-oriented projects.

Please check out the April 2014 issue of This Old House (on linked page, click the magnifying glass and search "Sharon Lovejoy") to see the "Retro Redo" four page article  about our little kitchen makeover. Photographer Mark Lohman and producer Sunday Hendrickson did a great job.

Front cover, but no, that isn't my house.

My kitchen isn't usually this bare. They "edited out" some of my favorite things. 
(Click here for an unedited look at the kitchen.)

We have been traveling, and I have given a few talks to some great groups including the Midwestern Herb and Garden Show in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. (Evidently I mentioned traveling in the last posting, but forgot to mention where and why). We really enjoyed the passionate gardeners we met. We were treated like royalty and spoiled by our hosts and hostesses. I would love to return there sometime.

My talk for the San Luis Obispo Chapter of the California Native Plant Society was "Wild at Heart" because though I grow herbs, heirlooms, fruit trees, and veggies, I always have a good supply of natives to keep the local birds, bees, and beneficials happy. Sweet charity for my visiting critters. They were a great group of enthusiastic native plant lovers who work so hard to keep California's natives thriving.

We really enjoyed working at/visiting the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas, California. On Friday night I gave a short talk to some major garden supporters, the mayor, some council members, and docents. On Saturday another talk and book signing, and Sunday a talk on container gardening and another book signing.

We met so many great people and enjoyed Julian Duval, the CEO-Director, and his lovely wife Leslie. Also got to visit a bit with creative topiarist Pat Hammer and other invaluable members of the staff.

Little pot child in the Seeds of Wonder Garden.

Ah, Pat, you're a genius. Pat used to do the topiaries at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. She is so great.

Oh, and did I mention Sam, Julian's 600 pound Galapagos tortoise? How could anyone overlook him? He loved my yellow shirt and green and white jacket; they looked like his favorite foods–bananas and leaves. So, he kept swinging his big head toward me and opening his huge, beaked mouth, but he seemed happy when I stroked his neck. Phew.

Please visit and enjoy the San Diego Botanic Garden when you're down in Southern California. You will be amazed and absolutely in love with the children's garden. It is accessible to all; even children in wheelchairs can enter the amazing and magical tree house. I felt the presence of Jane Taylor (Michigan 4H Children's Garden guru) throughout the grounds. The gardens are wonderful. You'll come home with a gleaning of great ideas and projects. I sure did.

I haven't had much time to peruse many blogs, but one thing I've noticed is that blogs are getting less and less attention. So many of us lapse and don't post for weeks, sometimes months at a time. My friend wrote and said, "Please don't stop posting. I love our visits." Well, I won't stop, but it isn't happening as often as I hoped. Patience please! In the meantime, I do try to post something small (inspirational quotes or my musings) and one of my photos on my Facebook page. So every day I receive dozens of e-mails and comments on the postings. I try to answer them all.

I am so proud of my friends Dee Nash (Red Dirt Ramblings blog) and Rebecca Sweet (Gossip in the Garden blog), both have new books out this spring. They are both EXCEPTIONAL garden books filled with two lifetimes of garden passion, love, and knowledge.

Dee's book, The 20-30 Something Garden Guide: A No-Fuss, Down and Dirty Gardening 101 for Anyone (and I do mean anyone) Who Wants to Grow Stuffis heavy with photos and has some great, simple illustrations for projects and designs. Dee has this incredible sense of humor that shines through on every page without undermining the absolute hands-in-the-soil knowledge on every page. Some of her chapters ("Keeping Small and in Charge" or "Stay the Course, but Try Something New") had me hysterical. This is a great book! This is from St. Lynn's Press of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Rebecca Sweet, my sweet, sweet friend who I've known for nearly two decades (she went into labor in my Heart's Ease gardens and her daughter is about 19 now), has written yet another book (Garden UP! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces was her last one). This one is Refresh Your Garden Design With Color, Texture and Form. LOTS of colorful photos, which inspire and instruct, and lots of Rebecca's design ideas (she is often featured in magazines). She handles color, texture, and form along with "Seeing with Fresh Eyes." Harmony is what she is all about! This book was published by Horticulture Magazine.

OK, now I want to announce the winner of Trowel and Error,

which we'll ship immediately with an extra gift, and one of the first copies of Running Out of Night, which we can't ship until it arrives in November. Thank you for participating!

The winner is: Barbara Stillman. Congratulations, dear Barbara. Please send us your snail mail address, and we'll ship some goodies out to you this week.

Finished planting lettuces, endive, red mustard, dill, and fennel today. None of my poppies have germinated. NOT ONE. They are my favorite flower, and they won't do me the courtesy of growing here. Judith Larner Lowry of Larner Seeds and author of Gardening with a Wild Heart said you have to sow the seeds and stomp on them. Maybe that is what I did wrong. Not enough stomping.

Right now a gentle rain (thank goodness!) is plink, plonk, plink, planking into my watering cans and buckets standing together under the roof line. Soon they'll be filled with the blessing of rain water. Hurrah!

Signing off for now and sending love to you.


p.s. Watch for my next posting with a drawing for a fire pit giveaway.
p.p.s. Anonymous commenters, please begin your comment with "Sharon" if you wish to remain anonymous. I get a lot of spam from "Anonymous" and I don't want to advertise unsolicited products and services disguised in comments. Anonymous without "Sharon"= delete.