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Welcome to A Writer’s Garden where writers who are gardeners or just love gardens will be sharing their garden and flower stories, as well as a bit about their writing gardens—aka their books.

Today’s guest is Bonnie Engstrom. Roses inspire her, especially the Candy Cane rose. I’ll let her tell you the story of how a rose inspired her. Welcome, Bonnie

Candy Cane Rose

My “Rose Garden.”

Yes, it’s in quotation marks because I can’t exactly call it a garden. It’s more of a fitting in with the community status quo. I’m not exactly trying to keep up with the neighbors with my roses – not a chance. But, they have inspired me.

When we moved from California twelve years ago, I left one small elegant rose bush in my back yard. The mother of one of my daughter’s high school friends gave it to me as a thank you for something I did for her daughter. It bloomed in spite of my neglect.

Our current home next to our neighbor Harriet’s is intimidating. Her roses are glorious. Judith across the way had beautiful ones, too. I was jealous. I learned later that Judith had a rose expert come weekly to pamper hers. Harriet did her own rose pampering. She agreed to accompany me to the most well-known nursery in Phoenix to help me choose some bushes. She gave excellent advice.

As part of my new infatuation I wrote a story based on Candy Cane roses. But, just writing about them wouldn’t do. I found a Candy Cane rose bush at our local Home Depot. Much smaller than the already planted and flourishing bushes, it does produce blooms striped with red, but not as large as the yellow, white, pink and my favorite magenta ones. I just googled magenta – what fun! It says, “Magenta is the color of the non-conformist, the free spirit. It pushes you to take responsibility for creating your own path in life and increases dream activity while assisting you in turning your ambitions and desires into reality.” Wow! I hope that’s me.

The idea of the Candy Cane roses inspired me. In the first book in my Candy Cane Girls Series, Noelle’s Christmas Wedding, the hero, Braydon, is a rose expert. He gives a presentation to her mother’s Newport Beach garden club and offers to plant a rose bush for her. Noelle gets to help while listening to Braydon whisper Scripture. She learns he is the rose expert for the famous Sherman Foundation Gardens in Corona del Mar, California. He takes her on a garden tour and proposes. Well, not there, but in a Santa suit. Can you guess where they marry?

Sadly, I am not much of a gardener. My only success was strawberries in one of those special pots where you can’t go wrong. Not even the easy to grow tomatoes survived, nor the basil. Although, it lasted long enough for me to use it in spaghetti sauce once. I depend on the weekly gardening service to prune and feed my rose bushes. I do have beautiful roses . . . occasionally. When I do, I often take one to my daughter at her work. But, I hate those thorns!

I wish Braydon was real and could jump right out of my story to tend to the roses, at least the Candy Cane ones.


About the Gardener/Writer

Bonnie is a long time member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a Pro member of Romance Writers of America.

Visit Bonnie’s website http://www.bonnieengstrom.com/ to see all the grandkids and sign up for her newsletter Life On The Lake.

She loves to hear from readers, so be sure to email her at bengstrom@hotmail.com with BOOK in the subject line.

You can see her books and the collections she is in at http://amzn.to/2CVT8Mc. All her books are available on Amazon.


Noelle’s Christmas Wedding

By Bonnie Engstrom


Noelle Day finally has the courage to break off her ill-fated engagement with her volatile fiancé and cancel their Christmas wedding. It’s embarrassing, and she has to share the humiliating reason with her friends The Candy Canes. The other five girls were to be her attendants in red taffeta gowns.

When she faints and falls into the arms of Braydon Lovejoy, the now former wedding florist, Braydon is confused by her abrupt manner. Who is this beautiful woman with the sepia hair and the huge brown eyes? Is she a damsel in distress as he suspects? He prays for an opportunity to find out.

Then he backs his delivery van into her precious red car, and he’s sure she would never go out with him, especially since he was hired to deliver a huge bouquet of roses to her from a secret admirer.

Noelle isn’t sure how to respond when Bruce, the school principal, physically forces himself on her. After all, he is her boss, and she’s just a first year English teacher.
She finally accepts a lunch date with Braydon, and he takes her to Sherman Gardens in Corona del Mar where she learns he is the local rose expert. But, Noelle worries their friendship is happening too fast and calls a respite.

One of the Candy Canes has a tragic accident, and the women bond together. But Braydon, who is not sure why he is involved, becomes their anchor.

Will Braydon’s prayers heal the hurts, physically and emotionally? Will the injured Candy Cane forgive the woman who caused her accident, the woman who is related to Bruce the principal?

Will Noelle ever have her California Candy Cane Christmas?