Life as I know It

My photo
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.


Kay G. said...

The blessing of rainwater, I love the sound of that!
I have seen you bring a hummingbird back to life, and now I have seen you petting a tortoise, you are my kind of gal!

I would hate to see how much work I would give a magazine editor, they would want to edit out my ENTIRE kitchen!!! Take care, dear Sharon, you are a hero to me!

Julie Marie said...

Hello dear cousin Sharon... so happy to wake up early this morning and find your post!... how fun to be traveling all over, visiting those beautiful gardens and speaking at so many fun places... love love love Sam!... and it looks like he loved getting some special love from you... your corner by your window is so beautiful, how I would love to be sitting in one of those rockers next to you and chatting away!... what a relaxing and gorgeous spot there... will look for a copy of This Old House today, can't wait to see your kitchen (one of my favorite rooms in your house!)... congratulations to your friends on their new gardening books, they look fantastic. And congratulations to Barbara!... still too early to plant many seeds here, but my Oriental poppies re~seed themselves always and are coming up everywhere!... wish I could get some to you... will email a photo when they are in full bloom... enjoy your gentle Spring rain... sending you lots of love, xoxo Julie Marie said...

Nice article about your kitchen...ohhh those tall pantry cabinets, how wonderful! We now visit Longwood Gardens in PA regularly.

La Table De Nana said...

Good to hear from you and happy to see you have been busy and on the go:)
Take carre..
I do love the girl topiary:) and your kitchen and I am sure I will love the new book.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon,

I can't believe my name was drawn from the drawing to receive your very generous gift!! I Thank You so very much. And Thank You for all of your inspiring posts on your blog. You are a blessing to all of us who have a passion for gardening.

Barbara Stillman
(I've sent you my address to your email)

camp and cottage living said...

I enjoyed hearing what you have been up to!
I loved the topiaries you shared-what an artist Pat is.
Your kitchen reminds me of days gone by, so warm and cozy.
And lastly, congrats to Barbara!

Pat said...

How busy you have been - yet you find precious moments to share glimpses as Spring arrives in your garden - giving those of us in the snow covered northwoods hope.

Such a beautiful view from your windows! Wishing you continued success with your wonderful writings!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Hello dear Sharon ~ With all that you have going on in your life, it is always a joy to see and read a new blog post from you.

Your kitchen is lovely.

Congrats to the winner, and I love that photo of you holding your book. You are a lovely, sweet, gentle lady.

Happy Spring to you ~ FlowerLady

Vee said...

I am just happy to find you whenever you are able to come in for a landing. You are a busy gal and a working one so I get it. Gosh, that is a beautiful window overlooking your garden. What a pleasant place for you to rock away some time. Congrats to Barbara!

Dee Nash said...

Dearest Sharon, Thank you so much for putting my book on your blog and for writing a blurb on the back cover. Your friendship means the world to me. I'm so glad I made you laugh. ~~Dee

Anonymous said...

Sharon--reading your blog is like getting a letter from a like-minded friend. Acorns! I have boxes and bowls of them. I moved to El Paso last year and my sister thought she might finally be free of my hunting and gathering, but we went to the farmers' market in Las Cruces and oak trees lined the street! After looking at the food and crafts, I was searching the ground for acorns.
I can't wait to read your new novel.

Beespeaker said...

I am in LOVE with your kitchen!!!!

Patti said...

I love your retro redo! I've been trying to incorporate a vintage look and feel to my home. It's so cozy and inviting, just the place for family and friends... is it not?

La Petite Gallery said...

Great post and a lucky winner.
Love the kitchen. yvonne

Vicki Boster said...

Dear Sharon-- that window photo is SO inviting- if love to be sitting there with my knitting right now-(instead of this dreary rainy day with snow expected tonight!!)

How wonderful that your beautiful kitchen is featured- congrats for a lovely publication and photos- it must be so rewarding to see your dream kitchen in the magazine:)

Beautiful garden photos-- how I long for green anything--

Much love to you-

Pom Pom said...

Your book looks good! Yay!
So many fun things in this post!
Happy spring, Sharon!

Dee Nash said...

Thank you dear Sharon for sharing my book and giving us a window on your world. None of my poppy seeds have germinated this year either. So frustrating! I will stomp on them next year.~~Dee

Bonnie K said...

I certainly enjoyed seeing a post on gardening. I am hopeful and bought some stuff to start seeds. Bummer they edited out some of your stuff. Congrats on making the cover. I want you to know I love Trowel and Error. It is always right next to my chair. Enjoy gardening. Please do a little for me.

Cro Magnon said...

Your kitchen sink is one of the most extraordinary I've ever seen. Maybe you could do a whole piece, explaining its history etc.

Julie Marie said...

Dear Sharon... I could not find This Old House at any of our bookstores or magazine racks here... so, I ordered it to my Nook and was able to see your gorgeous kitchen remodel... I just love it all, it's my favorite room in your house!... and I can just taste all the yummy meals you prepare there... love you, xoxo Cousin Julie Marie

Heaven's Walk said...

Hi Sharon! I'm so glad that my blogging sister, Julie Marie (your cousin) mentioned she was related to you today when we were chatting via email. Your name struck a chord in my memory banks and when she said you used to write for Country Living, THAT's where I remembered you from! I loved your articles and am now your newest follower! :)

xoox laurie

Anonymous said...

you are such an inspiration, so busy you are, what amazing photos, the topiary is amazing, I love your kitchen, its perfectly you! Busy is a good thing, although my eyes will no longer allow me to garden I can vicariously through you, lol

Blondie's Journal said...

Dear, dear, Sharon!! I've been having problems falling off follower lists and when I thought of you recently and hadn't seen any recent posts of yours, I knew that had to be it. So I will be catching up as I can.

How exciting to be in the magazine...I'll definitely pick it up. You've been a busy lady but I look forward to seeing what you will be doing in your Maine garden this year!


White Lace and Promises said...

Your window view is beautiful. I've always wanted to write. Well, I do, sort of, through my blogs. I've had a writer's and blogging block for awhile. I write best when I'm emotional. I guess we all do. Been sorta blah lately. Your photos are great-even those from the magazine. I found your blog while visiting around.

Maybe you can visit sometime.


AnaGF said...

Well, I don't mind if your posts get scarcer, as long as you don't stop posting! I can imagine how busy you must be right now... I wish you luck with the revisions of your new book as well as your other projects.