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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. Today’s writer/gardener guest is Christa MacDonald who will be showing off this year’s seedlings.

Welcome, Christa!

 

Off to the Races

by Christa MacDonald

As much as the early part of the year seems to drag along garden-wise, it truly accelerates once spring gets here. All winter long I dream and plan for the next year’s garden. Whether seed catalogues, gardening vlogs, or actual TV shows, I absorb every bit of information that I can find. From perusing plant varieties and buying seeds to counting off square feet in back yard, I plot and plan in happy anticipation. This is the phase of gardening that makes the long winters here in New England bearable. When the seeds start arriving after January I line up the packets in rows by plant date and count down the days until it’s time to get my fingers in dirt.

This year I lost my mind and started six varieties of tomato from seed.

I have almost fifty tomato plants, and this is after I thinned them out twice while potting them from tray to pot to bigger pot. It’s insane, since I have room for just about twenty at a push. It’s nice to have the extras to give to family and friends. Along with the bevy of tomatoes, I’ve also got melons, chilies, and a few flowers growing. Everything else will be direct sow. The radishes and peas that I had planted outside have had a brush or two with the lingering cold. After our last frost date it will be everybody in the pool.

Once June hits and everything is up and running, it will be all go, go, go; weeding, harvesting, etc. The pace is steady in summer. You really can’t skip a day or you’ll be overrun. It actually reminds me of when I am working on a series in my writing life. I’ll be working on book two while still promoting book one and plotting book three. It’s hectic and demanding, but ultimately rewarding. I love that time in late summer where you can sit in the garden and appreciate the beauty. There’s less work at the end, more enjoyment. That’s true in the literary world as well. After my trilogy was completed in 2018 I began work on a new project, but there wasn’t a deadline looming, and so none of the pressure.

In gardening there are definitely deadlines. Ask anyone who missed the window on sowing peas or starting tomatoes. The deadlines are changeable as well. Have a mild winter and suddenly everything is two weeks ahead. A late spring holds everything back, freezing off buds and killing the seedlings of impatient early gardeners. In the garden you’re at the mercy of nature. In writing you’re at the mercy of your own nature. Without an editor prodding you along you have to find a way to keep yourself motivated and on task. For some it’s second nature; for me… I find a million reasons not to write and they’re all sensible. I’m so good at talking myself out of getting a thing done. I wish I could steal some of my garden-motivation, but it simply doesn’t translate.

The world is still on lockdown and existential angst is usually just a news story away, but my tomatoes are gorgeous. Joy fills my heart when I look at these beauties.

There’s just nothing like taking something from seed to harvest. It’s that ‘creator joy’. I wonder if God feels it when He looks at His creation. I was recently reading through my first book to look for quotes to use for a promo and I had one of those blissful moments where I read a line and asked myself, “I wrote this?” I don’t know which feeling is better, that or watching something that was grown from seed finally bloom. I’m hoping that after all my seedlings are in the ground I’ll have the motivation to write a few more of those. Happy gardening and writing, friends.

 

About the Writer/Gardener:

Christa MacDonald is a lifelong gardener and writer living in New England despite its terribly short growing season. She’s the author of the Sweet River Redemption contemporary Christian romance series. The final book in the series, The Redemption Road, is now available.

Social media link: Website

 

The Redemption Road

by Christa MacDonald

It’s redemption that he needs, and she’ll pay any price to help him find it.

As the new game warden in Sweet River, Alex Moretti is focused on enforcing Maine’s wildlife laws and little else. Moving from tragedy to a fresh start, all he wants is a way to fix his life in the tranquility of the north woods. Until he meets Annie Caldwell at Coffee by the Book. But his own bitter, dark life is a threat to Annie’s sweetness and light. It’s better for him to stay away.

Annie doesn’t know how to label her relationship with Alex, but she is determined to figure it out. After a few false starts and a kiss under the Christmas lights, their romance goes from fiction to fact. Annie has fallen hard. Then trouble shows up. Someone is stalking Alex, seeking to punish him for a mistake which ended in deadly consequences. When Annie becomes a target, he tries to push her away, but she won’t abandon him. Alex is desperate to keep Annie safe while he attempts to reconcile the past, but what he really needs is redemption. And she will risk her life to help him find it.