I love gardening. Sometimes, like now, when the yard is a mess, the grass is all matted and the garden needs to be seriously cleaned out from last year’s overgrowth, and one hour outside yesterday just turning and feeding the compost pile was exhausting, I wonder why. . .but I do. I don’t know if gardening can be in your DNA, but I think it’s in mine! Both of my grandparents, though I never knew them, were farmers. My father once told me I was like his father, Jack, because I’ve had the urge to garden since I was a kid. My father also had a wicked green thumb, as did my mom, so I guess it’s in my blood.
The craving usually starts sometime around the New Year, when I normally will put in a seed order for things I want to plant. Then I drag out the gardening magazines, and start taking notes, making changes based on the previous year’s successes or failures. Then when March and April roll around, the bug really bites and I pace in front of the windows, waiting for the snow to go so I can get outside and start in.
Then, when I get out there, I realize what hard work it is, and wonder why again. LOL But I know why – partly, it is because I like the hard work. There is no exercise on the planet like gardening – there is no workout like what you will get turning a compost pile or digging sod. Even planting and pulling weeds is a good bit of exercise as well, as well as being outside for hours. Many days in the summer, I need no other exercise.
Then there is the reward of the flowers, vegetables and fruits. . .watching them grow is a sense of accomplishment, and I enjoy all of those goodies in the kitchen and long into the bare winter – we preserve jams, jellies, fruits and salsas, and I will freeze fresh and roasted tomatoes for sauce and other dishes.
Some of my favorite things to grow are sunflowers (the beauty of them for us, the seeds for the birds), and heirloom tomatoes. Other annual favorites are beets (I really love growing beets, it’s weird), Swiss Chard, and lettuce. We have a large rhubarb patch as well as berry patches and fruit trees, and love it all. Newcomers this year will be asparagus, given to me by a neighbor, and I’m going to try my hand at growing potatoes. It’s supposed to be easy – we’ll see.
What occurred to me today is that for all of my love of gardening, I’ve never written a book with a gardening character – clearly, that will have to change at some point. Maybe in the winter, when I am pining for my garden and hating the blank slate of the snow, I’ll write some gardens for my romances.
Do you get bitten by the gardening bug? Do you have favorite books, magazines or tips for gardening? Share, and I’ll give away a signed copy of my January Blaze, Unforgettable, and a print copy of my Samhain anthology, Strangers on a Train, with a story by me and four other great authors.
*** Samantha's winner is Di! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing info.***