Life as I know It

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

Monday, November 5, 2012

"Please give me a room with a view of a tree."

Simple request, right? A room with a view of trees. Sometimes the hotel is able to do that for me; other times it is impossible. What I have learned, as we travel the long highways of America (4,000 plus miles so far) is that I am happiest and most at peace when I can see trees. 

Our car glove compartment, the side pockets, and baskets and boxes are stuffed with leaves and an array of acorns from oak species around the country. Props, clothes, suitcases, and, of course, too many books (is there such a thing?) are crammed into every inch of the car and trunk. I pity anyone who tries to steal this vehicle, which is like a moving museum. It has to be like a museum because I am talking to groups of inquisitive, intelligent children, like these that visited me at my Lemuria Bookstore event in Jackson, Mississippi.

The kids are holding up their thumbs so they can learn how owls grab and hold their food with their opposable (like our thumbs) talons.

Jackson is on the Southern Literary Trail, which includes the homes of Faulkner and my favorite, Eudora Welty. Her home is the most intact of all the author's homes, with stacks of books and other family pieces that make it look like she just stepped away from her typewriter to gaze out her window to the street (which is something she loved to do).

Eudora Welty 

Piles of books everywhere. I loved seeing what Eudora liked to read. She loved mysteries (I saw Nero Wolfe and Ross Macdonald), she read John Clare's poems, Faulkner (of course), and I was happy to see the garden writing of Vita Sackville-West, and southern writer-gardener (who I adore) Elizabeth Lawrence. 

Eudora's home, which has docent led tours (you need a reservation).

The fabulous staff of The Natural Gardener in Austin honored me with this great display of my Workman Publishing books. After my talk and signing, the visionary founder of The Natural Gardener, John Dromgoole, treated us to a personal tour of his gardens, which are sustainable, practical, water-wise, AND gorgeous.

The Kitchen Garden sign is hung from a spoon and a butter knife.

This is the charming and bountiful Kitchen Garden at Natural Gardener in Austin,Texas. Jeff and I spent an hour just sitting nearby and enjoying the scents and sights of all the birds and people enjoying the garden, which was designed by cookbook author and personality, Lucinda Hutson.

The powerful zings of color are signatures of Lucinda.

John took me on a tour of his gardens...

...which are watched over by this giant Mockingbird sculpture.

To get a sense of scale, John stands at the end of his Willie Nelson guitar garden of grasses. John is a visionary and wanted to honor "Trigger," Willie Nelson's famed guitar, with a special garden.

The sign above the rustic arbor reads, "Life's a journey-Enjoy it!"

I love this sculptural bench made with iron and rake heads for the back.

A perfect little spot for growing the tender greens that deer and rabbits love. They won't be able to get these!

So here I am in Stephenville, Texas, and I have a room with a view of trees, which makes me feel contented.

Tonight I give a talk to the Stephenville Organic Gardening Club at GreenMaker Nursery in Stephenville, TX, tomorrow we head back to Austin to tape a segment on "Central Texas Gardener" on KLRU (Austin PBS), which is produced by Linda Lehmusvirta and features Tom Spencer as my gracious host (not that Linda isn't gracious too). The show will air in December.

After Austin, we head to Tempe, Arizona's Changing Hands Bookstore. Maybe I'll see you there! Our California garden beckons us. Our grands want us home, and little Luke, who now weighs over five pounds, awaits us. I'll finally be able to hold him.

By journey's end, we will have traveled over 5,000 miles. We've seen glorious sights, met wonderful people, had great adventures, shared the sorrows of our northeastern neighbors, worked hard, and enjoyed every moment.

Sending love from the big, long, Texas highway,



Terra said...

Goodness you are working hard with all this travel and book talks. I love the mockingbird sculpture and the bench with rakes for a back. Whimsy that makes me smile. It is also fun to see inside an author's house so thanks for the peek into Eudora Welty's home.

Julie Marie said...

Hi there Sharon... and Jeff!... wow, you have really traveled alot of miles, and seen alot of wonderful sights... thanks so much for sharing them with us... love the display of your books they did for you!... I also love those gardens, especially the bench with the old rake heads!... your "views with trees" are just beautiful!... so happy you are having a nice time, and I would be like you, gathering acorns and treasures from the trails all along the way!... much love to you, xoxo Julie Marie

Blondie's Journal said...

I've always wanted to go on a road trip, are living my dream! And yes, I would want a room with a view of a tree or garden or something other than a parking lot (which my husband has a knack for getting us!). Your journey has been so interesting to follow, but I hope you find your way back home soon so that you can kick back and relax. You wear ME out, sweet lady!


Marigold Jam said...

One of the reasons I have never fancied a cruise is that there'd be no trees!! You certainly do seem to be covering a lot of ground - you'll be glad to get back home eventually I'm sure.

Vee said...

Oh those children are so attentive! You have them eating out of your hand. We'll not worry about this fixation you have with trees. =)

Oh to cross those miles back to home where you find a baby grand waiting for you to hold. Brings a tear to my eyes. It'll be such sweetness.

Traveling mercies to you both...

rebecca said...

What wonderful, full posts the last several of yours have been - much like your life these days!!!

I would love to visit Eudora Welty's home one day. In this past year, we visited Carl Sandburg's in N.Carolina. It, too, was just as if he'd stepped out the door.....

Thank you for including all the wonderful garden, front porch, and downtown scenes. I've enjoyed traveling from from the comfort of my couch :)

Pat said...

How wonderful that everyone has rolled out the red carpet (or is it one of soft green grass!)along your that rustic arbor and the sign above it.

Continued safe travels and soon you will be home to hold precious Luke.

Lemon Verbena Lady said...


Glad to share more of your travels. Love the bench with the rake back. Stay safe. Think of you often. xxoo Nancy

Michelle said...

You really are traveling on! I really enjoyed these garden pics and the bench with the rakes is a treasure.

cheris said...

Sorry we had to miss you this visit. Glad the weather was better for you than last time. :)
Cheris, Violet & Graham

cheris said...

Sorry to have missed you this visit. Glad the weather was better for you than last time!
Cheris, Violet & Graham

Bonnie K said...

Wow what a trip! I loved seeing you talk to the kids. Such beautiful gardens. Glad you could share all of your traveling, so I don't have to go. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through your eyes.

Hindsfeet said...

oh Sharon....I *love* this Eudora Welty quote that you posted in this blog.....*thank* you for this tonight...

(and happy you got your trees ; ) )


Lorrie said...

What a road trip! Lots of trees along the way. I love the thought of you asking for a view of trees from your hotel room.
Safe travels and sweet arrivals.

Pondside said...

You've had a grand adventure! What I appreciate from your sharing is how clear it is that you feel privileged to be on the journey. I love how you enjoy the big bits and the small bits of experience. Come home safely.

Sharon Lovejoy said...


I did look for you, Violet, and Graham, and was sorry to not see your smiling faces.

Maybe next time?



Jim Long said...

Sharon, you and Jeff are like a couple of politicians, covering the country. But unlike politicians, you are inspiring yet another generation of young gardeners, birders and naturalists. I admire your dedication but most of all your talent. Safe travels and always a view of a tree!

Pam G. said...

so happy you've had a good trip....I bet you are tired and ready for home, esp. with your darling grandson at the end of the trip! How wonderful!

Joan S Bolton said...


Thanks for sharing your journey. That display at The Natural Gardener was amazing!


As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

So glad you had a good time at Lemuria--it's my alma mater and I miss that place on a weekly basis.

Welty's home is a special place. I'm glad that my adoptive home state treated you well!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I did get a chuckle about the leaves and such.

A few years ago I came home from New England with three or four Holiday magazines stuffed with leaves in between their pages (as if I didn't have pretty leaves in my yard but these WERE gorgeous).

Somehow I completely forgot about a couple of the magazines and when I pulled them out again the next Christmas, there were beautifully pressed leaves!

TexWisGirl said...

glad you are enjoying your visit to texas. austin is an especially lovely area filled with good hearted outdoorsy folks. :)

glad you liked my barred owl photos. :)

Susan said...

Dearest friend, thank you for allowing us to follow you in this wonderful adventure. I bet you've lost count of all the smiles you've created with this latest book. I have two for my grands put away for Christmas. I can't wait to share their experience in bird watching thanks to your genius, XOXO

Lori ann said...

Ah Sharon, the things you see and do, and always smiling too. I hope you forever get a room with a view of your beloved trees.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I read of all of your stops, and I thought you must be tired. Yet, you sound so energized by what you've seen. Is it possible to be energized and tired simultaneously? I think so.

Oh, to stand with you at Eudora's house. It is on my to-do list. I was fortunate to see Elizabeth Lawrence's house and garden, so Welty is my next great stop. Love and hugs my friend.~~Dee

Tanna said...

You are traveling in some of my favorite parts of the state! So glad you stopped by so that I could find my way here for a visit. Enjoy Fredricksburg!! blessings ~ tanna

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dee honey,

MY DREAM is to visit Elizabeth Lawrence's garden and home. I LOVE her work. Gardening for Love is one of my all time favorites, but also loved all the market bulletin writings.

Miss you, but see you soon at Northwest Flower and Garden Show.



Vicki Boster said...

Sharon your cross country tour is taking you to such varied and interesting places. I'm living the garden tour and a peek at the famous literary home of Eudora.

How wonderful to see the children-- so excited toward new things-- they will always remember your visits.

Stay safe in your travels--

Lili said...

Oh my goodness, I am in love with that mockingbird sculpture! It's always fun to get a glimpse of the many sights and tours you manage to squeeze into your schedule. xo