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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 Ellie Gustafson, who will be sharing her gardening story and her newest book garden story, where the heroine, Linda, has an award-winning garden with an unexpected visitor. Welcome, Ellie!


Beginner garden

God planted a gardening seed in my soul–perhaps genetically. An aunt routinely won blue ribbons at the local flower show. When I showed interest in flowers, I was granted a small patch, perhaps two by three feet, to plant johnny jump ups and small marigolds. My tiny arrangements got only token ribbons, but I was hooked.

 First rose garden

As a teenager, I fell in love with roses. I dug a bed, maybe 6 x 6, in the middle of the lawn and planted some beauties. It was, however, a bittersweet experience. My parents were not getting on, and the little picket fence my father provided for the bed was frowned on by my mother. I didn’t know how to handle it, so after I left for college, the roses bit the dust.

Wedding flowers

Daughter Rachel planned an unusual wedding. The church was empty of flowers, with only a number of sheet-covered boxes up front. During the Pachelbel Canon processional, assorted friends carried in vased flowers and set them on boxes. Then came the wedding party, with Rachel carrying a large bouquet of just-picked flowers from my best-ever annual garden.

During the ceremony, one of the bridesmaids noted a spider exploring Rachel’s veil—making her spider-wed!

Shrinking gardens

As life went on, strength and energy dictated a slowdown of gardening. Today, after a frigid winter, even my beloved roses took a hit. The perennials are still there, but so are weeds. Thus, my focus has turned to………

Linda’s garden

Linda Jensen of Westchester County, New York, has a magnificent spread. She says, “I was born rich, and my parents loved flowers. My entire life centered on pulling weeds. My mother took me from the cradle and plunked me down with clear orders: ‘Pull this, but not this.’”

In one of her blogs, Linda focuses on weeds:

Go for a walk along a country road and search for plants we commonly call weeds. Note which ones like to hang out in your garden. Study them closely. They self-select their location, putting down roots in the most hospitable conditions. Your garden suits them well, and there they grow into sturdy little fellows that are neither fussy nor fragile—just happy to settle into your space. Dandelions, clover, assorted grasses—these guys are quick to flourish and tough to dislodge from our manicured beds.

What can we learn from these lowborn beauties? Maybe nothing. Maybe we just breathe in their simple charm and then go home and dutifully hold the hands of the elegant darlings we have chosen to showcase in our gardens. We pay a high price for our sort of beauty; weeds simply are.

Weeds simply are. We all must deal with weeds—in our gardens, in our lives. But a day is coming when weeds will be forever gone. Might we call Jesus the Good Gardener, as well as the Good Shepherd?

About the Writer/Gardener

  • Ellie Gustafson
  • *Born in a NJ county that had more cows than people.
  • *Went to Wheaton College IL.
  • *Married a multi-tasker, 3 kids, 8 grands.
  • *Tried on the cloak of writing; found it fit well.
  • *God first touched me through story, and he still speaks through story. I love Him passionately.

I write contemporary, literary fiction, and aside from the unpresentable theme of the novel, the heat level is pretty low. Heat, yes, but carefully contained.

Connect with Elli at her website: www.eleanorgustafson.com/

An Unpresentable Glory

By Ellie Gustafson

“I trusted you, and some day, you may know just how much you hold in your hands.”

Linda Jensen leads a relatively quiet life in Westchester County, New York, as the owner of a highly-acclaimed garden. Inherited from her parents, the garden is her pride and joy. What is not so joyful is finding a strange man sprawled near her delphiniums! The mysterious man is sick, unable to do anything more than drink water—and beg for secrecy. Ignoring all alarm bells, Linda sees to his needs, but her caring act takes on unexpected significance, an unpresentable glory.

Seeds of trust, and perhaps love, are planted in Linda’s garden haven. But as secrets are revealed and scandal hits the headlines, the act of caring for this man threatens to tarnish both of their reputations. Like weeds in Linda’s garden, circumstances threaten to choke out their fledgling relationship, and small moments prove to be the biggest influencers—on a national scale.

An Unpresentable Glory is available at Amazon