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 Betty Thomason Owens. Betty is sharing about the joy and surprises in her garden. Welcome, Betty!
My word for this year is the phrase, “Choose Joy.” What a nice word. Surely blessings were headed my way. I had no idea.
We have lived in the same house for over thirty years and in that time, my flower beds have evolved from mulch and shrubbery landscaping to a softer, old-fashioned country garden. My husband would prefer something with more precision, but oh well. He married a girl who grew up playing in her grandma’s garden, loving all the surprises she found during every season of the year.
Of course, I wanted to recreate that kind of garden, nurturing not only beautiful blooms, but memories as well. I love lantana, especially the bright red and orange blooms. They are annuals here and must be replanted every spring. The blooms always remind me of Aunt Goldie, who lived in El Paso, Texas. She grew lantana in her flower beds beneath the pepper trees.
When you plant purposefully, and include plenty of perennials in the mix, you will always be assured of blooms. Our year starts with big yellow buttercups, white narcissus, purple columbine, and a Korean Spice Viburnum (my favorite). Lavender iris put on a showy display in early May and remind me of our beautiful Aunt Mary and her Mississippi garden. She always sent us home with cuttings which once included a bright green gecko.
Then the red roses bloom and fill the air with their sweet scent. My climbing rose was a Mother’s Day gift from my eldest son and his wife. When it blooms, I think of them with a thankful heart. Of course, roses are a lot of work, mainly because of the aphids that think their leaves are delicious. They also tend to get black spot, so I spray often. One year, I sprayed the climbing rose and it dropped all its leaves. I checked and found (to my horror), I had picked up the weed killer instead of the organic bug spray (the bottles look exactly alike).
Thankfully, the rose did not die completely. The following spring, it sent up one long shoot. It has now fully recovered, and I have learned an important lesson. Always read the label.
Another gift from Aunt Mary is in bloom right now, but I have no idea what you call it. In the deep south, it will take over, but up here, no problem. I can easily keep it in check by growing it in the small space between the driveway and the house.
⇐ Aunt Mary’s Unknown Flower
This year we have faced problems at every level. Spring came early to north-central Kentucky, followed by a 100-year frost event. The killer frost, followed by several days of freezing temperatures wiped out crops and delayed many other plants, including my hydrangeas.
An abundance of rain throughout the growing season brought plenty of blooms, except for my small, blue hydrangea. No flowers on that one. I’m just happy it’s here. My well-meaning hubby mowed it down last fall, thinking it was a big weed. I mulched it heavily and prayed. When it sprouted this spring, I rejoiced and quickly built a small brick border to keep the mower away.
Because of all the rain, the fire and ice hydrangea grew taller than normal, well over seven feet tall, and bloomed late. I’m enjoying the flowers, especially since they attract more butterflies and hummingbirds.
My garden has given me blessed relief through this season of pandemics and unrest, making “Choose Joy” easier. Though small in area, I managed to pack it full. Yesterday, I looked out just in time to see a beautiful yellow swallowtail. Not the usual yellow and black variety common to Kentucky, but one with blue markings at the base of its wings. Of course, I didn’t have my phone handy to take a picture, but I will never forget it.
About the Writer/Gardener
Betty Thomason Owens’ love of flowers began at an early age as she toddled around in her grandma’s garden filling her little fists with pretty blooms. She writes historical fiction that always includes a sweet romance and often hints of suspense. She and her husband, Bob, live in Louisville, Kentucky. They raised three sons, and now have eight grandchildren. A part-time bookkeeper at her day-job, she writes for Write Integrity Press, and has eight novels in publication. You can connect with her on her Facebook author page.
What will it take to teach a spoiled heiress about the greatest legacy?
Amy Juliana Emerson might be a cultured debutante, but she is doing her best to follow her mom’s rebellious footsteps. Her desperate attempt to escape her father’s control, however, comes at the worst possible time.
Robert Emerson has received a threat against his family in an attempt to take over his company, Sanderson Industries. To guarantee his willful daughter’s safety, he sends her to work on a produce farm run by her Aunt Rebecca. Maybe her quiet strength and unconditional love can work on Amy, keep her from becoming the prodigal daughter she seems insistent on being.
Matt Wordsworth is the man Robert calls upon to make sure his daughter stays in line. His only interest in the beautiful girl is purely part of his job. Purely. Amy considers him a fuddy-duddy which suits the situation perfectly, allowing him to stay close to her without concern for her losing her heart to him. And his own heart …well, his feelings didn’t matter. This was business.
Humiliated and angry, Amy contemplates a path that will lead her even farther from home and away from Dad’s protection. Rebecca’s influence begins to change her feelings about everything, even about Matt, but Amy might find she’s playing into the hands of the enemy.