Flower Gardens

Spring is my favorite time of the year. As a gardener, I relish removing the dead debris from the previous year and making room for new growth. It’s inspiring to see those tiny yet determined sprouts force their way into the world. In fact, that bright, fresh green of new blossoms is probably my favorite color.

Whenever I work in my backyard—weeding (aka, reestablishing battle lines), pruning, watering, fertilizing—I think of writing. There are so many analogies, but the one that sticks with me has to do with flower gardens.

Alliums in the rain.
Alliums in the rain.

I so admire flower gardens!

You know a truly special one when you see it: flowers purposefully planted by increasing height and shape in complementary hues, every single one thriving, and something interesting blooming throughout the entire season.

These gardens are a lifetime pursuit. They take decades to grow, nurture, and turn into splendid colorful scenes that are reminiscent of a Monet painting. They require patience, trying different flower types, careful care, and inevitably trial and error (irises are my Achilles’ heel, despite supposedly being one of the easiest flowers to grow).

alyssum
Highlighter-yellow alyssum.

I’ve been working on establishing a flower garden in my backyard ever since my husband and I moved into our first home 5 years ago, and there’s always something new to learn.

Along the way there are beautiful blossoms to admire—the golden yellow of alyssum, sweet fragrance of lilacs, cool spherical shape of alliums, and tight-knit community of grape hyacinths. But it’s bringing them all together that’s the hard part.

Likewise, writing is a craft that takes a lifetime. It’s only with patience, hard work, continual learning, and perseverance that we can thrive. We must foster new skills while not forgetting old ones, branch out, plant something different where experimental flowers didn’t take, and never lose sight of our vision.

And you know that amazing book you recently read that flowed so seamlessly? It didn’t burst forth into the world as is. It took years of hard work behind the scenes to get to that point.

Do you have a flower garden? What does it make you think of?

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Author: Kate Lansing

I write mysteries, YA novels, and short fiction. I also read A LOT, travel as much as possible, and take way too many pictures of my cat.

9 thoughts on “Flower Gardens”

  1. What a great post and what lovely flowers. I wish I had a flower garden. I do try, but the weeding defeats me. My absolute favorites were the spring bulbs when I lived in Maine. I loved how they would poke their way through the snow and one day, the yard would be full of color. Then the wildflowers would burst into bloom in the meadow. Waves of color. Lovely. Someday, I promise myself, I will have a garden, even if it’s only a tiny side plot!

  2. What lovely flowers. Every time I’ve tried to do a flower garden, Nature has defeated me. Either in the form of weather or wildlife. So I’ll just have to admire yours – while I work on that writing thing, of course.

  3. When I lived in a condo, all I wanted my hands in dirt. So when I bought the house, I put in beds and rocks and paths. No grass. Spring comes later to Alaska so my lilacs are still coming to life, peonies are coming up, iris is coming up, roses are coming to life but the forget-me-nots and the pansies that aren’t supposed to survive winter are blooming. Now I spend hours tearing down old vines or crawling around on my hands and knees, planting more plants (you don’t have enough if you can still see the dirt) and ripping up the evil horses’ tail. Having my hands in dirt is like breathing. Every once in a while a scene will come to me that I’ve just written suggesting its rewrite but mostly I’m listening to birds. It is good to let your mind go when your hands are in the dirt.

  4. PS Your alliums are fabulous. Mine are maroon and won’t be blooming for another couple of months. I definitely need some that color. Heigh-ho, off to the garden shop I go.

  5. Love your garden! I have a new “secret” garden to get to know, and it has all new varieties of flowers. Such fun to learn new surprises!

  6. Such a lovely comparison. And this part beautifully sums up the importance of persistence > “It’s inspiring to see those tiny yet determined sprouts force their way into the world.” Great post, Kate!

  7. I love that the photo of your alyssum is right next to Sue Star’s “Cash Crop” cover, on my computer anyway. Looks like it was planned. I hate to garden so when we had to redo both yards, I made sure it was low maintenance. So far, so good. I’ve learned that if I set my timer for 15 minutes most days and just do it, I don’t despise weeding. Like editing, I love it when it’s done!

  8. I’m a pot gardener. No, not that kind. Pots are easy to plant, easy to maintain, and easy to scrap and start over if things go wrong. I guess that means I should write short stories? Maybe I have a commitment issue?

  9. Thank you for all the thoughtful comments, ladies!

    Kait, I love spring bulbs, too, and the contrast of bright tulips and white snow. Oy, weeding is so hard! There inevitably comes a point every year when I give up and let them have their way 🙂

    Keenan, your garden sounds incredible! I’d love to see pictures! I planted Forget-Me-Not a couple of years ago and am amazed that it still comes back (some of the seeds even made their way from the backyard into the front yard!). “Having my hands in dirt is like breathing” — so true. It just feels so natural!

    Sue, new secret gardens are wonderful! Have fun learning what all the lovely plants are 🙂 We discovered raspberry and strawberry shrubs when we first moved in and now get to enjoy fresh berries every summer!

    Becky, it shows up like that on my screen too! I hadn’t even noticed! Hahaha! Weeding always makes me think of editing, removing all those superfluous words so the story has room to shine 🙂

    Ooh, Peg, I love the idea that potted plants are like short stories! I’ll have to think on that some more…

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