Birds, Bees, Blossoms

This has been a pretty perfect week for me.. When I get five days running of solid, productive, largely uninterrupted writing time–and that time has a story unfolding for me–I’m ridiculously happy.
 
It’s not always easy to sit inside at a keyboard when the sun’s shining (at last!), the breezes are warm and fragrant, but we do what we do. So when that effort’s rewarded by pages that seem not so bad even in a first draft, that’s celebration time around here.
 
My personal celebration includes getting that workout finished–a balance to sitting in front of the keyboard all day–then pouring myself an adult beverage and walking around my gardens with the dogs.
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Those are happy times in my world.
 
To have five consecutive days of that? Perfection.
 
Tag a bright, beautiful, HOT Saturday onto that? A single tear of unspeakable joy trails down my cheek.
 
I like the hot, I like Saturdays that follow a good, productive work week. I like spending that Saturday working in the garden.
 
Because it’s going to be a hot one, BW and I start early. We set out hostas in an area we had cleared and mulched last season. They’ll fill some of that landscape, add some interest. He gets to dig them in while I get my big tub and start weeding and deadheading.
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I like weeding. It’s mindless, again productive, and I get to see all my flowers up close and personal. Though once the temps start to rise and stick, snakes add a distress factor. I’m very snake aware (read paranoid) so the idea of coming across one while pulling weeds from a clump of dianthus adds an edge. (This has happened, more than once.)
 
My personal rule on seeing snakes? Make some embarrassing girlie sound, run away. If BW is around, become the classic damsel in distress and tell the man to deal with it. If he’s not around, go in the house and stay there until he is.
 
Fortunately my perfect week remained so as no snakes slithered into my garden.  
 
I end up with a productive tub of weeds for the composter, and get my trowel. The two weeks or so of rain, rain, rain has my basil looking sad and pitiful. So I have new plants to replace them. But I can’t just toss them. Maybe they’ll revive, and I feel they need a chance. Not their fault, after all, and I’d feel like a murderer if I tossed them in the composter with the weeds. So I dig them up, put them in individual pots, strip off the really damaged leaves. If they pull through, I’ll have a bumper crop of basil.
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The new plants look so green, so healthy–I hope they inspire the others to thrive.
 
BW and I discuss the right place to put the doors I got in Louisville. We think we’ve decided, but want to mull a bit more.
 
I move onto divide and conquer. I have tons and tons of Black-Eyed Susans, so dig some up from the clumps to try to fill in other areas around that need more.
 
The deer also enjoy the Susies, so we’ll spray them often. So far–and I’m knocking madly on wood–the repellant is working.
 
More weeding in these other areas, more digging, watering. Temps are rising, so I’m dirty, sweaty, and having such a good time.
 
I discover when I check and water my lower patio pots (potatoes are sprouting!) Parker, who appears to enjoy the scents, has nosed deeply into the dirt. Bad dog! We must now buy some dog repellant.
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BW heads off to a parade, but I prize my garden time and stay home. While I work, birds are singing, bees humming–and I go in for another round of sunscreen as I’ve surely sweated off the first.
 
My peonies are popping! I walk back for clippers, take a few for a vase. I think peonies are how heaven smells. Guzzling water I take a walk around with the dogs to see if I’ve neglected or forgotten anything. I want to side dress the beds with compost, but that’s for tomorrow.
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I decide, since I’m already sweaty, to do a workout–shorter than my usual routine, but let’s get that done.
 
Then it’s time to clean up, pour that adult beverage and sit by the water feature. To add to the delight, this lovely week, this lovely day includes time for reading–with my feet up.
 
Perfect.
 
Today the gardening tasks are light, and even the shoveling out of the house, neglected sorely during this perfect and productive week, won’t take much time and effort. I see more reading time, maybe outside in some dappled shade. Perhaps, since it’s a holiday weekend, we’ll add an adult beverage. Ahhhh!
 
I hope your weekend, however you spend it, includes some blossoms and birdsong.
 
And for us here in the States, let’s remember why we have this long, lovely holiday weekend. My deepest gratitude to our men and women in uniform, past, present, future, for their service and their sacrifice–and to their families and loved ones for theirs.
Nora

44 thoughts on “Birds, Bees, Blossoms”

  1. I love reading your blog….it is very refreshing, and your garden is lovely. Living in Florida, I miss peonies (alot) and hostas…it’s just too hot here.

    1. I’m surprised Hostas won’t grow in Florida. It’s so much hotter in Oklahoma and they do well here. Go figure. I guess when I move there I will also be missing them

      1. In most of Florida, it doesn’t get cold enough in the winter for hostas to go dormant long enough to thrive. I have heard some people grow them in pots and put them in a refrigerator for 40 days in the winter.

    2. I grow most of my hostas in pots on a very hot(for England) south facing patio, just water a lot

  2. Your gardens look and sound amazing! My husband has recently been transferred to Maryland for his job from Alberta. He has been telling me of the wonderful green. I am arriving next week with our 2 “kids” and I’m looking forward to see it! I am also looking forward to checking out “Nora country” as I’ve been reading so much about it from your wonderful books! Thank you for all the years of reading entertainment you have given me!

  3. Your gardens are beautiful and all your fans are doing a happy dance that you’re happy with your writing! We’ll get to enjoy those blossoms as well. I’m also with you on the snake thing!
    Lastly, I echo your words of gratitude for all those who have served and continue to do so today, as well as for their families who support them. Blessings to all.

    1. Weeds are fine to compost, I twist off the root and any seed heads as I don’t want them growing again just like I do with any plant. Cutting them into about 3 inch lengths speeds decomposition as the micro organisms have more edges to chew on!

  4. Wonderful weekend here in PA got most of my mulching done hot and sweaty work but I also love it my gardens are also looking great love yours as well have a blessed weekend what’s left of it

  5. Do you blend your own repellent or buy a commercial? I have horrible rabbit issues myself. Large families under shed.

    Your garden is beautiful.

  6. Happy for YOU that you got to spend so much time in the garden!
    Happy for US that you had a productive week in writing!!
    We are both recipients of the fruits of your labor!!!
    And amen to the gratitude we should all feel for those who serve their chosen countries and for the loved ones who support them as they do.

  7. We’re only days past the last (maybe) snow, so only a few of my perennials are daring to show themselves. After Memorial Day is usually considered safe to start planting. I’ve a bumper crop of leaf lettuce I’ve been making my salads from the last few days. Thank you again for sharing your lovely garden with us! Thanks also for remembering our troops, my cousin’s only son just graduated from Annapolis and we’re all so proud of him even while we worry.

  8. Sounds like a delightful weekend with your beautiful gardens. I so enjoy your writing. I listen to your books on tape while I work (seamstress/tailor) . Thank you.

  9. I love your gardens wish I had the space to do more. I have pots with Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, and Mint and a ton of cherry tomatoes that I will eat right off the vine. I just planted peas and more basil from seeds because I make a huge batch of home made pesto can’t wait for it all to grow and I really can’t wait to order the second book in the trilogy I keep waiting to place the order can’t wait to hear what you were working on

  10. Lovely review as always.

    Yesterday the DD and the grands came over to help me, well actually do for me, the planting of posies in pots for my back porch wall. The eldest, a year younger than your Kayla, was wonderful. Not so much the youngest who has little interest but her diligent mom was terrific and Kelsey just a dream, even sweeping the soil dropped by emptying pots into planters. She turned 13 on Wednesday. She is tail, slender and a real beauty, just like Kayla. We are blessed Grams for our eldest grand girls. I bought a flat of calibrachoa from the youngest’s school. They have a green house and the kids get to signup to work and learn. I love these flowers, so pretty in a yellow, a delightful blossom.

  11. I enjoy your gardening escapades. Especially your take on handling your snake experiences. BTW, when you retreat into the house, do you write during this time? Just wondering if this abundance of emotion makes it way into a book?

  12. I’m so glad the writing is going well. Your gardens are lovely- I especially love the waterfall feature- there’s nothing like the sound of trickling water in a garden. Besides snakes, the bees you mentioned scare me, & chase me out of the garden. I’m talking big black bumble bees.My son actually blows up from a single bite- I always have benedryl on hand. I’m also impressed with your discipline- all that bending and digging is great exercise- to add a workout afterwards, is mind-blowing to me. But it’s the same discipline that keeps you writing at your desk, when you’d rather be out in the sunshine. We are the lucky recipients of all that discipline.

  13. Your garden is beautiful. My peonies are up, & my lilac s are still hanging around, my irises are also blooming. I also have tons of hosta . I think they multiply every year. I can’t wait for the new book you are working on, I am also looking forward to bay of sighs, apprentice in death.

  14. Glad you have him to help with snakes. My hubby is more terrified of them than I am (and I refuse to even go in the reptile house at the zoo.) The last time we had a copperhead on our drive way I had to deal with it while he “kept an eye on it” for me, from on top of his truck. I believe he was the one who made the girly noise that day?

  15. This is the first time I’ve read a blog of yours & I did find it quite interesting. Did that sound patronising ? Sorry! We’ve just had a week away & the garden has tried to escape us,so my partner has spent the last 2 days now weeding & planting out new tubs & veggie plants. Me? Oh I’ve done my bit keeping him hydrated & supervising where I wanted these new plants to sit. My peonies are looking good & fat. The Poppies have so many buds this year I’ve stopped counting & 2 popped while we were away. I love Heucheras & have several & they too look good. Bring on summer. Bring on your new reads.

  16. Do you have a favorite variety of Hosta, Nora? Mine is Baby Mouse Ears. It’s so tiny and adds a lovely touch to my garden beds.

  17. Thank you for sharing the lovely pictures of your garden. I love reading your blog as well as your books.

  18. I agree, Nora, that peonies possess a heavenly scent. Their fragrance, for me, comes second only to that of hyacinths. My Dad planted hyacinths in the flower beds near both the front and back doors when he and my Mom bought their home in 1976. My three brothers and I grew up in that house, and my parents still live there. The scent of hyacinths evokes a sense of nostalgia, a feeling of coming home. When my husband and I get around to planting the flower beds, there will be hyacinths everywhere! Right now, we have only the daffodils and surprise lilies planted by the previous owners. Both are beautiful in their own right, the lilies a favorite of my Mom, so we will fill in around them when the time comes. Oh, and I also substitute cottage cheese for the ricotta in my lasagna because my husband, like you, prefers the texture. Hopefully, Kayla will outgrow the ick, since it appears she’s becoming quite the culinary artist!

  19. Nora, I just love your gardens! Enjoy the extra basil . . .if you have an overabundance at the end of the growing season, it dries really well ( pick the stalks, and hang them in a cool, dry place until they dry, then take the leaves and store them in a ziploc bag.) . . better than commercially dried!

  20. Always enjoyable to read this blog. I felt like I was right there weeding along side you – dang it though, I’m having to weed here, too. LOL Thank you for sharing your life (and especially your books).

  21. Thank you for sharing your lovely gardens with us as well as your amazing tales!! It is also nice to know that someone else has exactly the same reaction to snakes that I do!!

  22. We had a pretty horrific hail storm this week (Colorado Springs) and it started out sounding like nothing more than a pleasant thunderstorm (I was actually enjoying it) and ended with marble sized hail that looked like someone shot our garden with a machine gun. When I saw the damage, I literally cried…and ran out there to brave the hail and cover the already doomed garden with tarps. We just planted it 2 weeks ago (tomatoes, green peppers, jalapenos, basil, cucumbers and cabbage)…my husband is military so we’ve moved a lot and this is the first location where we don’t have A.) too many deer that eat even deer resistant plants, and B.) a desert climate (we lived in Phoenix for his last job) ….before that it was apartment living, no plots of land. To make a long story longer (ha ha), we got some new plants this weekend and I also potted some of the ones that are probably goners, bc they might make a comeback, right?

    Also, just stumbled upon this blog today and I’m SUPER excited to go back through all the posts…I love your books…LOVE them. They make me want to be a better person, seriously. They make me feel positive when I’m usually stressed out (2 young kids, military lifestyle, new city, no friends here yet, full time job from home, part time etsy business…husband leaving in August for a 2 month training…not to brag or anything but I’m only 33 and I’ve already had shingles once).

    Your books make me take every day with a better attitude. Your characters are truly inspiring. Just the thought of getting to read one I haven’t read before makes me feel better about anything stressful happening in my life. Okay..I’ll stop now. Thank you.

  23. Hi Nora.

    We had huge thunderstorms and some flooding I hear. We live on a hill that is on a hill, so we are pretty much safe with all that water. My poor dog can hear thunder miles away and while I enjoyed the lightening show and thunder, he didn’t. A good storm always reminds me of Mia Devlin in Face The Fire and I take joy in seeing the skies light up and the smell and energy of the coming rain.

    Your gardens are beautiful. I am totally a Girly Girl when it comes to snakes. I can tolerate a garden snake (From a safe distance) but that is it. Seen too darn many cotton mouths, copper heads and other ikky snakes that scare me because I know how dangerous they are.

    My favorite flower is the Peonies. I detest apartment living on so many levels but my main gripe is that I live on the bottom floor and people steal my gorgeous pots of flowers. There is no great light in my apartment so I am stuck admiring from afar.

    My weekend was a really nice one. I slept in all 3 days, and my daughter came over and cooked enough lunch that we had that for dinner two days. I was chased out of my kitchen unless it was to refill my coffee cup. I spent one of those days working on new scrap pages for one of the designers and then I did one for fun. And also did a page for a friend of mine who is with her dad at the hospital. Oh and I played a couple of games.

    June 3rd my daughter and I are taking my grand daughter to the park to watch a Ballet Under The Stars. This one is called Blanc and with long dresses. So that is what I am going to be looking forward to this coming week and your blog. Have a great week and thank you so much for remembering our soldiers that have fallen and the men and women today that is giving their all….. Much love, Beth

  24. Happily, I’ve only seen garter snakes on my gardens over the years, & hope it stays that way. I’m always barefoot, unless running power equipment such as mower, etc, and one time, started to step, & realized there was a garter snake crossing just where my foot was going. I threw myself backward too fast; landed on my rear, and just sat there & watched him. Just was not going to actually step on a snake!!!

    I love hostas; all the different shades of green plus the textures of the leaves. I am also very surprised they don’t do well in Florida; maybe too wet? I’ve got some that I planted decades ago along the front of the patio and the only moisture they get is the rainfall coming off the patio roof, but they are thick & lush every year; we dig some up & separate for other beds every so often & you can’t tell it the next year.

    And that’s a gorgeous peony you shared with us! Is it a tree peony? The white flowers are clematis? I’ve never had good luck with clematis; that wilt gets them every time. I think my garden is too shaded.

    I have been told that you shouldn’t put the weeds in the compost heap; that the seeds survive & will sprout when back in the ground. But where else am I going to put them? The trash can? Rumpke Mtn. (Regional trash company and one of their areas is visible from US 27–we’ve commented about skiing it during the winter!) continues to grow fast enough without adding that to it as well!

  25. If you are sick of the rain feel free to send it this way. My part of southern Ontario, yes Canada, is experiencing drought type conditions. We, and our friends further west, could really use buckets of it. My grass if burning already. Now Nora if you are looking for some therapeutic weeding my front flower beds are in rough shape so let me know and you can have at it. My peonies are in bud but no blooms yet. got any advice on how to split and transplant peonies?

  26. Can’t stop wondering what you’re reading but before none-of-your-business 😉 remark I’ll just say that your contentment flies from, overlaps your words on this post. I’m glad. For me weekends are also about plants, blooms and fortunately no snakes in my neck of the woods… I once come up to one tiny one already dying – so I really felt sill with my squeal – but the man of the house never minded (according to him I squeal with the same enthusiasm when I spot a new flower I forgot I had planted and is now blooming :jerk:) but my tiniest dog (bigger dogs were napping in some shadow and must belong to Team Man) run to my rescue and did quite a show trying to save Mama 😉 from the big evil).
    The simple idea of coming across one would put a dent in my garden enthusiasm. I hate it 🙁
    Soon, here, all this freshness and happy times will wilt away in the heat we’ll have but meanwhile let’s enjoy and have fun.
    Thank you for sharing!

  27. First I have to say I LOVE Roarke and Dallas. Love the way they “argue” mostly fair. And I love how they “know” each other’s needs. I think they should get pregnant.. I see her denying the fact, while he’s preparing a nursery. She will love the baby, but be intimidated by “her”.. He will be Mr Mom and love every minute of it. It will not keep her from her job. You could write this with such humor… Eve’s sarcastic comments 🙂 and his loving comments.. Eve handing the baby over to him while secretly loving the baby and Roarke even more !!!
    Just wanted to say what a rich and fulfilling life you seem to lead! This is my first newsletter 🙂 Could you tell me who the people are that you mention? And also more about your family?? Thanks ?

    1. Love Roarke and Eve. Had a whole “bunch” written, but it didn’t accept it
      My first newsletter
      Could you tell me who are the people you mention? And about your family? Thanks ?

    2. Go back and read Nora’s other blog posts . . .those will answer your questions (about her family and the In Death series) and many more! BTW, she has said that there will be NO baby!

  28. Just love the characters in The Obsession they make you feel as though your in the room with them to laugh with the dog or look over her shoulder when she was taking pictures in the woods. Feels like watching a soap opera , you are addictive. Can’t wait for your next novel.

  29. Just finished reading the excerpt from “Apprentice in Death”. Can’t wait to read it! Nice to see why the “magic” coats are going to be so important.
    I got the urge again, and just completed reading the entire JD Robb series from the beginning . With the anthologies, do you realise there are 53 books out?! I’m so addicted, it’s pathetic!
    My peonies are coming up beautifully again this year. I have one that’s over 24 years old, and it’s always the first to show signs of life in the spring; big beautiful deep red blossoms. I have 6 more and they all bloom after my oldest is done for the year. The scent of them is glorious.
    I have about 10 – 12 varieties of hostas and have given clumps from all away over the years. None of my family or friends have to pay for plants if they’re smart. They know to come to me and I’ll give them whatever they need.
    Can’t wait for your next reads, Nora. You give such joy to so many.

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