A Spot of Greenery   7 comments

Do any of your characters garden? Or keep houseplants? How about you?

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Fictional Gardening

Wow, I hadn’t really thought about gardens and my characters. I had to actually think about it. This is probably because I do a lot of my writing in the winters here when the weather precludes gardening.

In Daermad Cycle (Fount of Wraiths comes out tomorrow, October 26, getting it on pre-order only costs 99 cents, it goes up to regular price after the launch), Padraig does a lot of gardening because he’s an herbman. His job is to sell and prescribe herbs to people who are sick and injured. He spends the winter in Fount of Wraiths growing crops in the warm and rainy coastal plain. He enjoys watching the plants develop, knowing they will fill his saddlebags with the means to save lives.

Although Lord Howedd in Dun Llyr doesn’t get his own hands in the soil, his plans to grow vegetables under glass during the winter will have a powerful impact on the course of the ongoing war among the Celdryans, which will need to be resolved before the Svard fall on the kingdom.

Peter in What If Wasn’t actively hates the rose bushes his mother left behind when his father divorced her. This topic gives me something to think about for his future.

The town of Emmaus in Transformation Project is surrounded by corn fields. Many of the characters are farmers. Shane isn’t, but he owns two massive corn fields. His father Rob also isn’t a farmer (he’s mayor and he owns a feed store), but his family’s holdings include a Metis allotment that they grow corn on. Because of the EMP, they don’t have adequate heating in their houses, so house plants are mostly dead from the cold.

Welcome to My Life

My front window is filled with plants. Since everything else is icy white and gripped in an ice-nap for 5-6 months of the year, it really helps us to have hope for warmer days. I keep telling my husband we need to spread the greenery around, but he prefers them in one location, so whenever I put a plant somewhere else in the house, he moves it back. We have pothos (absolutely indestructible), spider plants (which spend the summers on our deck and are now HUGE), and a shamrock plant (very finnicky, but beautiful if you learn how to grow them). Pothos don’t mind growing in a northern window, even in the winter. They are like a foundation plant in most offices around here because they’ll even survive under fluorescent lights. I think our bedroom would look lovely with a plant on the corner of the highboy, but he keeps moving them back, so…. He loves his jungle window.

Pothos Plant Care 101: Meet the Vine That Thrives Just About Anywhere - Bob  Vila

In the summers we try to grow a garden. We have to start plants indoors in March and April. This year spring was late, meaning the plants didn’t get in the ground until the first week of June, so we really didn’t get a great harvest. We grew cabbages and broccoli. The broccoli bolted in the July heat and so we have a lot of stalks for soups in the freezer. We only got one meal of actual broccoli. The cabbages didn’t get big — they needed another two weeks when it snowed in mid-September. We literally harvested them in the snow. They’ll get added frozen to stirfry. We’re planning to try bokchoy next summer, probably with carrots. We usually only grow a handful of items because our garden area is only 20-30′ so we don’t have a lot of room. We either plant one half of the garden in peas or some years, we plant the whole garden. Peas are really good for the soil.

What we do grow a lot of are tomatoes and cucumbers on the deck. While our garden is on the shadier side of the house, the deck is in full sun about 15 hours in a 22-hour day. We start the plants indoors in March or April, then move the buckets out to deck in May. Usually, the tomatoes aren’t red by late August, so we move the buckets into the house. We pull them off as they redden. This year we harvested the last of the plants October 15 and we now have two huge bowls of red tomatoes and are eating my favorite sandwich – the BLT — every other lunch. The cucumbers plants this year were very pretty, but they didn’t produce any blossoms so our neighbors bees didn’t visit them and so there were no cukes. I have no idea why. We also accidentally grew some pepper plants, which also never produced blossoms or peppers. They were pretty, but sometimes gardening doesn’t work out.

So now I’m wondering what my fellow authors are up to about this topic. I suspect Richard Dee does some gardening.

Posted October 25, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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7 responses to “A Spot of Greenery

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  1. Gawdamighty. I had to put down the only James Lee Burke I picked up for all the flora descriptions, by name. One shouldn’t need a freaking botany handbook to get down a gulf coast driveway. The same with Block’s fine art and philately excursions. Or Melville’s whaling textbook. I get the niche attraction for everything from baking to cats, but too much of that cuts 75% of an audience interested in a story that’s not wrapped in a hobby out of the picture. Yeah, tend the garden. Start inserting gardening tips and long plant names and it’s like the girl said to the bullshit artist – yeah, I was gonna fertilize the garden but maybe I could just get you to talk to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. I sprinkle plant knowledge into Padraig’s narratives sometimes, but I can’t grow half the things he’d plant (too cold here), so I’m not going to write as if I’m an expert, so I just touch on the subject and get away from it before I destroy Padraig’s credibility.


  2. We grew tomatoes, runner beans and potatoes for the first time this year. Not much of a harvest, but we’re not that good at it yet.


    • We can grow beans and potatoes outside — expecially the potatoes are happy with our cold soils. I know people who grew tomatoes fully outside, but it never works for us, so we plant ours in buckets on the south-facing deck while it’s warm and drag the indoors when it starts getting cold at night. They redden up in the sunny front window and we have tomatoes until November. We’re eating the last one with tonight’s salad, actually.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The great thing about peas (besides being good for the soil) is they grow up instead of out and don’t need much room.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry, apart from the farming in my books, I’m limited to carrying bags of compost and grit around. Oh.., and building the occasional shed. My daughter has the ability to kill reputedly indestructible houseplants.

    Liked by 1 person

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