Truth be told, I don’t know. Some do. We have gorgeous gardens here in Ridgecrest (which is only an hour from Death Valley… just for reference). None of those gorgeous gardens have ever grown at our house, aside from that amazing crop of corn we had one year. Usually, we are content to grow bermuda grass, tumbleweeds, goatheads, and sand.
However, last year my mother came to live with us. When we left her home in Missouri, it was the pride of the town, having won “Yard of the Month” and all kinds of praise from locals. Everyone knew about “that house with the sheep in the yard.” Just beautiful, and she hadn’t touched the yard since July! Check it out.
I wish I could show the whole place. It’s truly beautiful. Leaving all that green and color for desert tan and grayish green… sigh.
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Can We Create an Amazing Garden in the Desert?
I don’t know. We’ll see. We started on that plan this year. One of the first things we did was plant a garden in a raised planting box for her. Tomatoes and peppers.
The desert sun fried them right on the vine.
Then she went for beets and turnips.
The puppy somehow got up in the box and managed to eat everything. No joke. Neville was found up there, too, but he insists he was just trying to make the puppy get out. I believe it since he hates vegetables, including fries.
About that time, I bought a bougainvillea. It flourished for a little while…
Isn’t it gorgeous?
About that time, Mom ordered peonies for my birthday. She insists that you can’t kill those things. Frankly, I think she underestimates my ability to remember to water and the desert’s ability to desiccate. Still… We got them painted this October. This is what that looks like right now (can you tell I’ve been busy and haven’t weeded?
Confession. Mom had that straw in a tote under the raised planting box. Water had dripped in. It was HEAVY. So, I started to pour out the water when two things hit me. First, that the water would be good for the plants and I shouldn’t do that. Second, it would (and oh, my did it) stink. UGH.
And now… when the weather is 25 degrees at night, we have one very unhappy bougainvillea.
I’ve got a great crop of bermudagrass, as you can see, but the poor thing. I got a black planting pot and I’m going to wrap it around that little stick of a bush and hope the sun heats up stuff in there for the poor little thing.
We live in the weirdest place. It is too hot for zone 8 and too cold for zone 9. Basically, it’s a great place if you want to xeriscape or have rock gardens.
But if we can make Mom feel more at home by forcing plants to behave and grow, we will.
What does all this have to do with anything?
Well, the final Independence Islands book for 2020 released yesterday! Restoring Fairhaven is a delightful and heart-stirring novel about a young woman taking over her father’s gardening business and tackling the local overgrown estate–Fairhaven.
About Restoring Fairhaven:
Love hurts, or so the songs say, so who wants it?
Taking on her ailing father’s gardening business on Merriweather Island, Samantha Green only wants to escape her ex and to make her father proud.
But Sam gets more than she bargained for when Greener Gardens accepts the job of restoring the gardens of a reclusive writer, Max Fairhaven, whose historical novels about romance and unrequited love litter bookstore shelves and movie marquees all over the world.
Max much prefers the fictional world to the real, and the gardening girl’s interruptions means he’s driven from his writing cave far too often for his liking.
How’s he supposed to craft stories with her distracting him all the time?
Things change when he learns something of Sam’s family challenges, and his admiration slowly kindles. With his secretary’s goading, he’s forced to confront the past, while facing the fact that he needs to change in order to avoid a lonely future.
Gentle pruning and a whole lot of banter forges a friendship between this not-so-Southern belle landscaper and the half-British author. But is their budding attraction enough to grow into a flourishing happily-ever-after?
Restoring Fairhaven is the final “Merriweather book,” but don’t forget to embark on a tour of the next island in this series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.
The authors have gotten together to share our garden pictures for you to see what gardening is like where we are. This all starts with the author of Restoring Fairhaven, Carolyn Miller, and goes through to our publisher, Sandy Barela at Celebrate Lit Publishing. At each website, you’ll find a way to enter to win a prize there!