Life as I know It

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

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ah Spring–Nursemaid to My Garden Dreams

Every Spring morning is full of adventures and discoveries. My wall of single (for the hummingbirds) Indian Spring hollyhocks is thriving, but in my tiny herb courtyard, the hollyhocks have a bad case of rust, for which, I have to admit, they are famous.

I turned to my friend Nancy Hillenburg's recipe for healthy hollyhocks, which I included in my book Trowel & Error.

Early in the morning (before the sun is high and hot) make a mixture of:

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 Tablespoon canola oil or horticultural oil
1/2 teaspoon of soap
1/2 cup of white vinegar
1 gallon of water

Blend all the ingredients, pour into a spray bottle, shake thoroughly, and apply to the top and bottom of leaves. I remove diseased leaves and throw them into the trash, not the compost or worm bin. I don't want the problems spread throughout the garden.

Beds of lavender and California poppies bordered by nepeta are thriving and filled with the sound of bumblebees rolling around in the poppies' golden blooms, like kittens in catnip. Many of the new fruit trees are in bloom now, including the diminutive Pink Lady apple, the Bonanza peach, quince, Fuji apples, Panamint nectarine, plucots, citrus, Kafir or wild lime, the Shinseiki Asian pear, Tropical King peach, and too many more to name. It feels like Paradise here, and I appreciate it more each morning when I step outside.

I have already written over 100 pages of my new book and have completed about 100 illustrations. It is a joyful task for me because I know that many parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors will share my cooking, growing, crafting, and traditions with the special children in their lives. Our hopes and future depend on the healthy and well-rounded children we nurture and love.

Sending Spring blessings out to all of my family of nature lovers and gardeners. Dig in and Grow!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures, Sharon! They make me long for Spring which is so slow to arrive in New England ...

I cannot wait for your new book ~ it sounds amazing! Do you have a projected publication date?

I will keep your newest endeavor in my prayers ~ it will be a blessing to us all. :)

Happy Spring, dear Sharon!

debijeanm said...

Thank you for posting again! I was thinking of you today as I grieved the realization that I will NOT be able to drive up to Cambria this week. Usually I visit Heart's Ease on a visit. It dawned on me - since you've moved from Cambria, is Heart's Ease no longer there? Yes or no, I want you to know how much I have enjoyed my visits and my purchases.

Hope you're having a wonderful spring.

Marcie said...


I'm so glad you posted. I pop back and check once every week or two. It was nice to see a glimpse of spring on your blog. Today I saw crocuses blooming in a nearby town, the first I've seen this year. Mine are only little leaves, without buds, peeking out where snow has just melted. I cannot wait for something to bloom! Thank you for sharing what is blooming where you live. It does look like a little bit of paradise!

Anonymous said...

Sharon, I'm so glad to find that you have a blog to share your ongoing thoughts and photos with us. I'm a big fan of your books, and look forward to reading your new one when it comes out. -Jean

Anonymous said...

Sharon, thank you for your visit to my place. I had a great time reviewing Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots, and my readers have been very excited about it. And I get to give it away to one lucky person next week! Your illustrations are so lovely, they make the book complete.

After we plant our pizza patch garden and sunflower house, I'll post the pictures and let you know. Thanks for the wonderful ideas! I wish you the best on your upcoming book.

Kelli said...

Thank you for visiting my blog, Sharon! I've been walking on cloud nine all week. :0) Also, thank you for the sunflower house tips, I will be sure to let you know how the project goes. I hope that your Hollyhocks end up being ok. I'm planting some for the first time this year!

Anonymous said...

My first visit - wonderfully interesting blog, Sharon. You, indeed, seem to be living in a veritable paradise.

Spring has finally arrived in New England and now, as if everything's catching up all at once, we're surrounded with an explosion of bloom, here in the North Shore area of Massachusetts.

Your photos, information and creativity are enough to inspire any gardener and lover of wildlife. Thank you for what you do and much success as you complete your latest book!... Deb Lambert

Candace said...

Hi Sharon, Thanks for stopping by my blog today.
I just love your books and wanted others to be able to do so.
I would be honored if you would ever consider a guest post on my blog-maybe a teeny tiny sneak peek at your new book.

Anonymous said...

so happy to find your blog! Your books are amazing and I was so surprised when reading to see who you were. You see, I grew up in Cambria and went to Heart's Ease throughout my childhood. So many days I would walk down the hill to visit your garden/shop and have many fond memories of the space.

Happy to find your blog and books...

Anonymous said...

I read your interview at The Artful Parent today and I was inspired by your words! I loved your thoughts about making each day "a joyful expression of your vision of the way you wish the world could be." What amazing words to live by -- they brightened my day!

My son and I love Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots. We built our Moonflower tent and can't wait for it to grow. I posted about it here: And we are planning on planting in my husband's work boots for Father's Day. Won't he be surprised!

Thanks again for the inspiration.

Happy spring,

Esther Plaster said...

having just ordered Roots, Shoots... from our local bookstore i am eager to read and apply to our life here in rhode island! i read soulemama blog and ordered her book the creative family - which sent me to ordering your book after her recommendation. thank you for your pictures especially - they remind me of my childhood in pasadena, ca and the way my mother gardened. continue to your forging in the city! warmly, esther (stay at home mama of 3 + 1 on the way!)