Wednesday, April 18, 2012

THAT TALL! Gardening, week 11

Hi, everyone.  I was away for almost a week and when I returned...  Oh, my how everything had grown. Outside the bluebells opened and the lilacs bloomed.

Inside... While we were gone, our pet-house sitter watered every day and turned the trays so the plants weren't always facing into the light the same way.  I had planted paste tomatoes before we left and asked that she water those from the bottom and spray the new plants as they popped up. The lights were on timers and the heat pads were still on at three of the stations.  We had warmer weather and the basements warmed up, too, which I'm sure helped the growth process.  This morning I moved many of the petunias to a sun porch greenhouse--one I purchased at Lowe's. At night I'll lower the plastic covering.  Earlier today I also transplanted some of the tallest tomatoes and staked them.  For stakes I collect strong outside branches that fall.  I also have some bought at Lowe's that my husband sawed in differing lengths. I use a heavier twine to tie the plants loosely to the stake.  This will change as the plants grow.  I might transplant again, substitute a taller stake, and retie as needed. But we're on our way!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

BENEFITS, Gardening as Therapy, Week 10

Up until now, I've written mostly about the planting process, not the therapy benefits of gardening.  Here are those that I consider most important.


When I'm exploring my gardens or planting in them, I'm absorbing vitamin D!  After about 20 minutes, I use organic sunscreen.


Whether I'm in the basement at my potting bench before the weather turns warm enough to work around the patio, or just absorbing the flowery scents and colors and textures all around me outside, something about working in the earth with young plants is calming, soothing and peaceful.  It takes about ten minutes of breathing deeply and forgetting about what I've left upstairs or in the house before stress begins to fall away.


The great thing about the physical benefit is the way you can tailor it to fit your needs.  My husband goes at this much more vigorously, digging the gardens, clearing them, readying the ground and filling large patio pots for planting.  On the other hand, just the standing time is good for me, walking around the yard, carrying the pots, trays of growing plants and sprinkling cans.  Once I plant the seeds, this process is a daily routine.


We're fortunate to have a field just beyond our backyard.  Deer visit all year.  In the spring, bunnies cavort under the pines and in the grass while blue jays, bluebirds, cardinals and finches sing in the trees, swoop across the yard, and play in the birdbath.  In late spring and summer, hummingbirds chirp greetings and amaze me, while butterflies hover over the flowers in gardens and planters.

Life is so busy!  The computer is a work tool that sometimes seems to glue me to it.  As a writer, I could be working every waking hour.  When I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing.  Gardening takes me away, inspires me and strengthens me.  If you try it, I hope it does the same for you.

Below you'll find photos of petunias, geraniums and tomatoes at week 10! Watching everything grow is a joyful process.

© 2012 Karen Rose Smith

In this romance, my heroine has a butterfly garden!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I suppose it's fitting with Easter this weekend that I see this week as a time of renewal and beginning.  Outside, buds from bulbs planted last fall are blossoming.  Bleeding Hearts are coming back to life.  Tulips are in full bloom and lilacs are budding.  Our Dwarf Redbud is blossoming with green leaves starting to open.  Inside, I have to recommit to the process I've begun.  The sprouts need the most care at this transition time from baby to youth.  Sometimes I need to water them twice a day, move them to the best location for success and think about the next stage--if I remove them from the heat mats and grow lights, will the sun porch still be too cold at night?  I'll watch and decide day by day.

The petunias are off the heat mats but are still positioned around the edges under the spreading rays of the light.  They are doing beautifully and a few were even big enough to pot for a neighbor for Easter.  (The two blue survivors are alive, though one has yellow leaves under the same conditions as it's sister.)  The geraniums are growing slowly.  The "Rose Ice" variety are fewer and behind the others.

The first heirloom tomatoes I planted (Marianna's Peace and Carmello) are growing steadily in larger containers.  The "Big Orange" variety are popping up vigorously and "Anna Russian" isn't far behind.  New beginnings are everywhere.

Transplanting is an activity I do every day with sprouts that are very tall with two leaves or have grown three or four leaves.  I have to care for them and decide daily which to transplant so their roots, already spreading and attaching to the peat pot, won't be damaged.  Handling the earth and the plants is relaxing and makes me feel as if I'm part of nature and the growing process.

Renewal and commitment.  Isn't that what life is all about?


©2012 Karen Rose Smith

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


After a comment from a reader--I do read them all--I decided to write an extra blog this week about heroes.  The wounded ones are sometimes difficult to deal with!  But I find writing about a man who can grow and change is so satisfying.

In FOREVER AFTER, my hero has a background that included a contentious childhood divorce.  His mother cared about appearances.  His father really wanted him.  Seth eventually found a way to live with his dad.  But the whole situation led him to become a lawyer, fighting for men's rights to father their children.  He doesn't have a high opinion of women...until he meets Darcy.

Is Seth likeable in the first half of the novel?  I don't have perspective on this.  As his creator, I saw the qualities of integrity and fairness I instilled in him from the first page.  The heroine who is unconventional--she is a garage mechanic--leads him on a journey not only to find himself again, but to find forgiveness.  By the last page I think the reader is convinced the that this is a man who will love for a lifetime...for forever after.

So my question to writers is--Is a wounded hero marketable?  And I'd like to ask my readers--Would you rather read about a wounded hero or one who just needs a nudge in the right direction to figure out how to love?

I don't think this is as much a question of alpha vs. beta as it is a question of how much a reader likes to see a hero change in the course of a book.

Discussion and comments are welcome.

© 2012 Karen Rose Smith

FOREVER AFTER by Karen Rose Smith

Karen Rose Smith's website
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