What does your Garden Grow?

If your thumb is the same very, very pale green as my own–what you plant and what you harvest differs.

I can plant half a dozen different vegetables and only have one survive to harvest. I would have been a hungry pioneer.

The baker’s garden in New Dreams supplies many of their needs. This could be a re-creation.

This garden boasts many flowers. The baker’s garden included cabbage, potatoes, turnips, carrots, and cucumbers.

What do you plant?

For more information about New Dreams, click here:


Table-Top Travel

During the last three years — I actually started a little before the COVID lock-downs — I’ve assembled dozens of jigsaw puzzles. The idea at first was to minimize the snacking during evening TV. Has it worked?

Thanks to a gift of boxes of puzzles and the local library, my coffee table usually has a puzzle in some stage of assembly. Size limits the ones I dare attempt. And at the beginning, the pieces are often two deep.

This one, done in May, reminded me of European travel.

A riot of flowers in generous beds. Windowboxes. Red roof.

Can you imagine yourself as a guest with a second-floor room. The scent in the morning is a touch of heaven.

Travel without the airport hassle and long drive. Some assembly required.

Want to travel in a sweet romance? In MORNING TRYST you get an introduction to several Missouri State Parks. Kindle:


Dreamers Welcome

Perhaps it was where I spent my childhood. Or maybe some of my early reading influences the tendency. Whatever the source, the result is that my imagination slips into a faster gear when I’m in the woods.

The forest does not need to be large. Each year I prefer the path less rugged. But there is something about sunlight filtering through leaves which prompts the brain cells.

Let the thoughts of Peter Rabbit and Alice in Wonderland run free as you sit and soak in the atmosphere at this corner of the English Woodland Garden — inside Missouri Botanical Garden.

I imagine two friends having a serious conversation in a private/public space. Or a pair of writers brainstorming the next novel. Enough shade to give respite on a hot day. Birds and perhaps a small mammal or two darting from one place to another. Listen–leaves swish, conversation of other visitors is muted.

The increasing tempo of the world — the scramble for more money, more work, more prestige — fades into the background while the quiet well is refilled.

The Garden is a gem for all of the St. Louis area and likely visited by all the characters in my St. Louis based clean & wholesome romances at one time or another. Why don’t you try a visit with them — Janet and Rich, a couple who grabbed the second chance, invite you to begin with COMFORT ZONE.



Sleek Swimmers

One of the many things I appreciate when walking at the Missouri Botanical Garden, is the pleasant little surprises when you take one of the less often traveled paths.

Bonus if a bench is in a strategic spot.

Playful otters, even the sculptured ones, look sleek and cool in their pool on a hot summer day.

Have you had a rough week? Plop yourself down on a bench. Close your eyes and listen to the fountain gurgle and splash. Then blink back to reality and enjoy the representation of some of nature’s playful creatures.

There — did you feel it? Tension just slipped off my shoulders. Ohh — a bird came to visit and carried away a worry. Take a nice, deep breath of garden-scented air. Nice earth undertones. Light, sweet blossoms.

I think I’m ready now. Time to pull the book from my tote bag and transport myself to another time and place while my body sheds heavy, daily burdens and selects some sweet, light hopes.

Suggestion for your tote bag — romance. A sweet read is “Morning Tryst”



Fashionable Fountain

Hot weather. Splashing water. Relief is standing near the fountain. Or on the splash pad.

One summer, not so many years ago, a glass and metal fashion show took over this space at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Sparkling in the sunshine, the models appear to be standing on the tips of the fountain.

Oooo — cool feet.

If you could dance on the tips of a fountain, what would you sing? Would you join hands and dance? What instruments do you want in the band?

In “Stare Down” a romance with a touch of suspense, the hero takes his mother to the botanical garden. Always something beautiful to see and a shady place to read a book.

Stare Down on Kindle:


Fly-in Dining

Do you have six legs? Four wings?

Welcome to the Fly-In Buffet. The special this week is fresh black-eyed Susan. Always on the menu is the popular butterfly bush and salvia.

This small space is busy on sunny days. Bees, butterflies, and other flying creatures stop for a sip. No problem with drinking and flying for these diners. Energy and perhaps a little bit of a “sugar high” are the results.

Want to practice photography skills. This is a perfect place. Bring your patience. Sunscreen and a hat might be good accessories.

Do you or your neighbors have flowers to attract our flying friends?

No two days are the same in the garden.


Do you Brew?

One thing I learned early in my cooking life was brewing — coffee, that is.

In our house, at that time, my father was the primary coffee drinker. The drink was prepared in a percolator on the stove. When larger amounts were needed (work crews for haying or threshing), mother used the boiling method.

Coffee’s not the only beverage you can brew. Tea comes to mind. Of course, don’t forget a very popular drink among my ancestors — BEER!

Several men I know in the next generation have experimented with making their own beer. Kits and directions are available at specialty stores and on-line. Or—if you happen to have a mother who’s good at gardens and following directions for storage and harvest — you can cut your shopping list by one item.

Growing hops in the back yard. The support is out-grown play equipment.

Brewing beer pairs well with baking bread. Yum! Yum!


Food and Crafts

August: hot, humid, tired. Sometimes all the tasks come in a rush and overwhelm a person. The final, hectic weeks before school started. (I remember roasting in the store trying on a new winter coat.) The garden is demanding harvesting — which leads to canning — which requires lots and lots of boiling water adding to the already humid air.

In recent years, the tempo of my life has changed. (For the better, I think.) My children are grown. I live urban rather than rural. However, no matter how urban your current life — you can find a touch of rural at the Farmer’s Market.

Some in our area have a permanent building or pavilion. Others set up with tents in a park. Look for produce, home canned treats, honey, snacks, and local crafts. Different markets have different rules. At some you can even connect with a local author.


Folding Fun

Fold a newspaper hat. Or is it a boat to race in the local creek?

Folding napkins into fancy shapes never worked well for me. I could admire the talent of others — but mine — best to stay with basics.

Fold towels into animals? I’d get fired from that cruise ship task.

A current art exhibit puts my fingers to shame. I suspect even the person expert shaping towels would be awed.

Did the artist fold paper? Cloth?


Metal origami floats picture perfect at the Japanese garden.

These are the simple figures. Below is more complicated.

Enjoy a walk among the unusual.


Perfect Setting

This amateur photographer snaps a shot, she does not always pay attention to items (or people) near the edge. Yes, I line things up and sometimes wait a minute or move to one side or the other to avoid including certain things. Often other amateur photographers enjoying the same sight.

Once in a while — when reviewing photos later — I find a gem. The romance writer in me found this difficult to resist.

Put on your story telling hat and make up something about the couple captured when I focused on the sculpture.

I confess — I didn’t notice them until I was editing out a pair of the aforementioned amateur photographers.

A well-dressed couple in the rose garden.

Is he photographing her? Preparing to propose marriage? Will she accept?