Have I forgotten you? Not a chance. I've been busy preparing for the long-anticipated Country Gardens photo shoot in our urban, country garden. When we returned from Wisconsin last week, we knew that the clock was ticking. Time to buckle down, weed, finish laying stones (thanks Jeff), transplant potted specimens, clean up the grounds, deadhead, and plant the remaining flowers for our new 3-B garden–birds, butterflies, and beneficials.
To say that we worked 10 to 12 hours a day is no exaggeration. Some afternoons Jeff would look at me in my muddy nightgown and utter one word, "PITIFUL." We forgot to eat and drink, we lost our senses of humor (HEY, gardening is NOT supposed to do that), but after all, we'd been away so much that the garden had gone wild. We had lots of catching up to do before the photographer Lynn Karlin (Maine Farm, Gardens Maine Style, Gardens Maine Style Act ll, and more) arrived late Saturday.
We picked Lynn up at our little SLO airport and deposited her in my studio-loft. She had traveled all day with a few plane changes. We expected her to sleep in on Sunday morning, but when I woke at 6 and stumbled outdoors, she was already in our garden and shooting like a crazy person. Maine is still in its late spring sleep and our place looked like the tropics to Lynn.
On Sunday, stylist Andrea Caughey arrived. Why a stylist?? They're trained to know where and how to place things so that they show to their best advantage in the photos. She knows how the camera lens sees things and how to weed out extraneous objects. Believe me, I have plenty of those. Andrea would paw through my quilts, watering cans, arrangements of pots, and pillows, and pull out just the right one for a shot. You've seen her work in many, many magazines and books. She is one of the best.
We all know that it never rains here in mid May. Right? Wrong. It sizzled while I worked in the gardens, but the minute the crew arrived it clouded up and began to rain. RAIN! A blessing for the garden, but the bane of photographers. Jeff had to stand next to Lynn with a big umbrella to keep her camera equipment dry.
The photo shoot is over and will be only a slightly painful memory until the story is released. Was it worth the work? Let me tell you a short story about work. When I was writing Roots Shoots Buckets & Boots, my editor asked, "What do you know about potatoes? Can you write about growing them for the container garden? I need it on my desk by tomorrow morning."
So, I bent over the keyboard and typed a 3,500 word chapter. I worked through the night and at about 5 a.m., Jeff proofed it and sent it off so that she would find it when she arrived to work.
That morning the phone rang and it was my editor. "What in the world were you thinking?" she asked. "I told you to write something about growing potatoes, but you wrote an entire chapter...I only needed a couple of paragraphs."
When I moaned in pain and exasperation, Ruth said, "Well, Sharon, no work is wasted." For me, right at that moment I felt like jumping off the swinging bridge and straight into the Atlantic. But Ruth was right. I learned that whenever I pushed and worked until I felt like I would drop, well, I became a better person, did a better job, and felt good about things in the long run. So, was all the worry and work worth it? Yes, because no work is wasted.
We took Lynn to the airport at 5 this morning. She mentioned that she really never saw the sun the entire time she was in California. She'd packed for warm weather, but wore double sweaters as she did her photography. Her plane took off and the brilliant California sun broke above the mountains. Sorry Lynn.
Sending love to you all and asking you to wish us well. We're leaving on a five week US book tour (I've heard from many of you and know I'll be meeting you in person) and then to Maine. Our wonderful caretaker is moving in here at Sunflower House, and my son will also be helping to care for the garden. Oh yes, and the garden...it has never looked better and I will miss it.
P.S. Please visit my newest garden post on Lowe's blog and leave your valued comment. Working on these short, personal pieces has been a real hoot.