Catriona writes: I call myself a keen gardener, but this year, in drought-torn California, I've thrown in the trowel. Geddit? Trowel! I'm in "keep the trees and roses alive" mode and boy does it show:
So I'm actually typing this introduction while in a deep curtsey, with my hat doffed, to today's guest, Cathy Ace. On the day Cathy sent this gorgeous post about her garden she had spent five hours spot-watering. And boy does that show too.
When not making beauty in British Columbia, Cathy writes the Cait Morgan series of traditional mysteries and has just begun the WISE women series, about a Welshwoman, and Irishwoman, a Scotswoman and an Englishwoman, who run an enquiry agency in London. THE CASE OF THE DOTTY DOWAGER is the series debut and it is simply wonderful.
Did I say that Cathy is Welsh? Another reason I love her - her accent is way funnier than mine.
And now here's Cathy Ace, gardener extraordinaire:
I know this quote from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” (and used by Agatha Christie for her 1968 Tommy and Tuppence Beresford thriller of the same name) should then conclude “…Something wicked this way comes” but, for the purposes of this guest post I’d prefer it to read “…Something lovely this way comes”. Why? Because I’m an avid (okay, slightly obsessive, and certainly over-ambitious) gardener, and I’ve learned over the years that all the best things come as the result of the odd pricking of a thumb.
I have one now; I’m sporting two Band-Aids on my right forefinger, another on my right thumb, and both my forearms are liberally plastered with every gardener’s best friend, Polysporin (planting a fifteen-foot Japanese cedar is a dangerous job!). But the results are worth it. Fellow gardeners will know what I mean when I say it’s the best type of work, even though it requires CostCo-style quantities of acetaminophen, and a soak in the hot tub is more of a necessity than an indulgence.
We’re lucky to live in Beautiful British Columbia, and we’ve gradually cleared brambles, removed “weed” trees (alders grow here like weeds, but then so do cedars, so we keep those!) and worked as much plant material into what, in many areas, is horrid clay, so that we now actively garden about three of the five acres we have.
I think we’re going to clean up the rest of the treed areas, and keep them as they are, allowing for shady walks on hot days, and the joy of feeling the rain dripping from the moss in the winter.
I happily admit that weeding is a great time for plotting, pruning is an excellent way to plan a classic denouement, and riding around on my mower allows me to be more clear-headed about realigning any troublesome bits of a book as I work through the first draft and twist the kaleidoscope a little to (hopefully) shift things into just the right spot. Because I worry I might injure myself with more than a little scratch or nick here or there I always have my phone in my pocket, so I leave a message for myself if I have any bright ideas as I toil close to the soil.
And let’s not forget all the toxins in a garden! Yes, I’ve found the odd plant to be an inspiration, and that’s great fun, but I should point out all the big holes I dig truly are for plants, not bodies.
I hope you like the photos – I tried to find some of the same general area of one part of the garden in different seasons, and there’s one of my favorite path under the trees. See? By the pricking of my thumbs, something lovely this way comes!
Cathy Ace writes the Bony Blithe Award-winning Cait Morgan Mysteries, and has just launched a brand new series introducing the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency in THE CASE OF THE DOTTY DOWAGER. You can find out more about Cathy and her work at her website. www.cathyace.com or on Facebook at : www.facebook.com/pages/Cathy-Ace-Author or on Twitter: @AceCathy