Theme Gardening

Theme gardens can be fun for adventurous gardeners who want to shake things up with Colorful annuals. Their raison d’etre, reason for living, is to bloom and make seeds. To keep them full of their bright and beautiful blooms, frequent culling of the old blooms is the secret. Paying attention to color combinations will enhance bedding petunias such as blue and yellow; red, white and blue; primary colors-red, yellow and blue; all pastels.

Read more abut theme gardening in my recent guest post about Theme Gardening – Set the Theme, Set the Mood – at fellow author Sloane Taylor’s blog!

 

Author Emma Lane’s Gardening Tips: Annuals and Perennials

Emma Lane visits today with what I hope will become a series of her expertise on plants, how to use them in our gardens, and what to do when a season ends. The blog is all yours, Emma! When I moved…

Source: Author Emma Lane’s Gardening Tips: Annuals and Perennials

Friday Features Emma Janis Lane Tutored by a Duke

C.D. Hersh

Friday Feature

Is

Emma Janis Lane

Author of

Tutored by Duke

Thanks for letting me visit, Catherine and Donald. I always enjoy hanging out around this lovely web site. When I conceived the story of Elisabeth and the duke, I imagined how funny it would be for an ingenue demanding a male childhood friend teach her how to kiss. She assumed it was a simple technique while her poor male friend would rather kiss his puppy than his friend. From there it was but a chuckle more to imagine an eavesdropper at the other end of the room–the duke! The more serious question asked and finally answered in the story was ‘Could trust broken ever be regained?’ Here then is Elisabeth and her incognito duke in a Regency romantic romp. Hope you have as much fun reading as I did writing about these characters. Emma Janis Lane.

Blurb:

The…

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Author Emma Lane & Her New Regency Romance With Raspberries On Top

Leigh Goff

Not only is Emma Lane an accomplished Regency author, she is also a marvelous cook. Settle back and enjoy Emma’s two treats in one, her delicious Chocolate Raspberry Parfait and a peek at her latest book Tutored by a Duke which is now available for pre-sale. March 18 is the official debut. And I can’t wait to get my copy!

Okay, Emma, the kitchen is all your. Work your magic!

Hi Everyone! This dessert is easy, but elegant. Chocolate pudding made the day before is layered with marinated raspberries and whipped cream. This recipe serves one, so repeat the process for each guest.

Chocolate Raspberry Parfait with Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry

Chocolate pudding
Fresh raspberries
Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry or rum
Whipped cream

Marinate eleven raspberries in a small cup with three tablespoons cream sherry. Let stand an hour at least.

Carefully layer in a parfait goblet in the following…

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Now Available: The Duke and Miss Amabel Hawkins with a Bonus short story: The Duke Comes Home

I love to write stories about strong women, but The Duke and Miss Amabel Hawkins is by far my favorite. She not only manages a large estate with ease, she is horrified the duke would allow his own property to go to ruin. When he dresses her down for “meddling” in his affairs, she can only assume he has lost his mind. Growing up without a mother and not much of a father, Amabel never dreams the person out of line is she. Women were thought to be mentally handicapped during the 1800’s, but Amabel is convinced the duke is insane.
How much different is society today? It’s startling to realize women vote only recently in history. How many ways can you think of that have changed the way women are treated—and how many ways can you think of that the unfair treatment of women still remains.
The Duke and Miss Amabel Hawkins’ story has a happily ever after ending, after a mighty struggle and much compromising on both sides. I hope you enjoy their journey to partnership and eventually to love, even as you despair of ever getting a fast ride on Fat Pony.
NewDuke

Can an arrogant duke overcome his prejudice against a beautiful but managing female in time to find true love and happiness? The Duke arrives home to find his estate under the firm control of a beautiful but managing female. His suspicions are fueled by his recent task of spy-hunting and he wonders if Amabel Hawkins is just who she seems. While a dastardly spy lurks, a wicked man poses as her cousin threatening to take over the guardianship of her young brother. Amabel might be falling in love, but she knows for certain the duke would never approve of a meddlesome woman, and she decides to flee his estate. Will the duke finally realize the true value of the woman he loves or will his prejudice ruin his chances forever?

Excerpt
Fatigue and the effects of the brandy on top of the ale now gave his gait a distinct wobble. He chuckled, amused at his condition.
As he reached for the portrait of great Uncle Barney, he lurched into the back of the red leather sofa in front of the cosy fire. “Deuce take it,” he exclaimed when a rounded arm rolled into view. He spotted the gentle curve of a hip and walked around to the front, where he spied a tumbled haze of dark curls hiding a face. It is indeed a female—a sleeping female.
Who was she? The gown was too rich for his household staff. Curious, he knelt beside the sofa.
“Only one way to find out,” he whispered and moved one dark curl. He sat back, satisfied when a handsome face swam into view. She sighed and rolled over, revealing a generous figure and a pair of rosy lips. She might be Sleeping Beauty—but not one of my relatives. He leaned over and kissed those tempting lips.
As he lingered there, she sighed and came partially awake. He could not resist. He deepened the kiss and sounds of satisfaction like yum and umm came from those delicious lips. Her hand stroked his face, then reached around his head to pull him closer. Delighted with this turn of events, the Duke of Westerton complied enthusiastically and extended an arm around a slender waist. How much of the ale and brandy had he imbibed? Dizziness overcame his senses as he slid down on the floor and knew no more.

Buy Now at Amazon or Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited!

Gardening Fall ‘14

Mums are starting to fade and some growers swore to you they were perennial, right? You planted them last year and initially they came up, then died. What did you do wrong? Nothing, I assure you. Mums are shallow rooted and sometimes spring freezing and thawing will heave them out of the ground and they actually die from lack of water.

They came up but grew tall and straggly. Well, did you pinch them a couple of times during the growing season? Professional growers do just that to cause them to bunch up and form those lovely, smooth mounds. Natural growth is what you see when they are not pinched. Either way is pretty, but your expectations probably need adjusting.

Mums need to be separated and moved about every other year. They are prone to diseases and this keeps them healthy. In the spring take a small spade and cut the clump into quarters. Then pick a new location in your garden or share with a neighbor.

Now is the time to bring in all your house plants. (Inspect for bugs.)When the night temps are around 40 degrees or below, they must come in. Initially the new acclimation will cause them to drop leaves. Probably they will recover; don’t over water. Some easily adjusted plants are spider plants, asparagus fern, and wandering jew. A pot of geraniums will thrive in a bright window and bloom most of the winter.

 

MMurderintheNeigh_850URDER IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, a COZY MYSTERY set in the Fall in small town America, Hubbard, NY.

 

Vicious Ragweed vs beautiful Goldenrod

golden rod

Goldenrod

Much maligned Goldenrod (Solidago) has burst onto the scene with the first bright hints of fall amidst groans and complaints from hay fever victims. No matter how many times a correction is offered, most refuse to release from blame the poor golden wild flower. Innocent, I claim! Bright gold with lots of pollen beloved by the bees, goldenrod is falsely accused.

rag weed

Ragweed

Ragweed (Ambrosia) is the culprit. Quietly creeping onto the fall canvas with tiny white flowers, it is frequently growing along side its more beautiful neighbor. Its potency is well known to allergists who diagnose allergic rhinitis. The difference between the two plants is mainly in the pollination. Ragweed is carried aloft by the wind far and wide, quite capable of reaching your nose and causing your sneezes. Goldenrod pollen is heavy and doesn’t travel far from the plant. Its nectar is beloved and mostly pollinated by insects, bees, and butterflies. So enjoy the brilliant golden wildflower as it trumpets the beginning of fall while you avoid that noxious weed nearby.

Q and A Gardening July ’14

My flower basket is fading. All the flowers seem to have finished blooming. What can I do?
A couple of suggestions for that one. Perhaps three. One: clip off all the dead blooms (called deadheading). Annuals live to reproduce. When they have enough seeds, they stop blooming so keeping them clipped keeps them in blossoms. Two: Use a liquid fertilizer called “bloom fertilizer” mixed according to manufacture’s directions. Different companies present different names, but look for something that promises to help blossoms. Three: Give the basket a haircut. Just take scissors and give it a trim. Not so drastic, but tidy it up. Especially petunias. Let it rest somewhere out of sight and soon it will reward you with renewed color. Never as large as at first, but still pretty.

No matter what I do, my basket always seems to be sun faded.
Oops. You forgot to ask the seller whether this type was for shade or sun. Move it into a dappled shade and see if it will recover. Water if needed. Begonias of any kind, tubers, fibrous, angle wing, etc. should be watered sparingly. Just when dry. Too soggy will water log and weaken the stems.

When do the Lilies bloom?
July is the season in the eastern part of the country for lilies of all sorts. Asiatic starts them off, followed by oriental with heavenly fragrances, then large trumpet. Plant the bulbs in the spring and then just forget about them (hide from rabbits). Day lilies that open and close in the same day are gorgeous and offer many, many varieties from the orange naturalized ones roadside to the miniature to the hefty, strong tetraploids. Deer and rabbits consider them tasty, but aside from aggravating us because they eat the blooms, grazing animals usually do not kill the plant. Day lilies require very little care and will even tolerate shade although they do not bloom as heavily. I like to plant them around a tree trunk as they suppress weeds and grass.

What’s next?
Sunflowers are beginning to show color. Rudbeckias, “black eyed Susie” have been smiling at us for a couple of weeks already. Echinanacea and Rudbeckia Goldstrum will take us right into mum season. Both these hardy perennials are easy, peasy to grow. Forgot to mention Shasta Daisies for strong white. Who doesn’t love a daisy?

Weeds?
Overwhelmed? Take it one section at a time. When you conquer the weeds, mulch heavily. Next year consider container gardening. You can move the patio pots around the yard when you need a spot of color and weeds are MUCH easier to handle.

 

Next post. Gardening made easy. Send in your questions.

News from the greenhouse

I am happily spending prime time in the greenhouses, a small “mom and pop” nursery where “Gardening is spoken here.” Young couples in beginning gardening stop by, and at any point, you might find us plotting a new raised bed or chatting about identifying the more mature plants. My favorite thing to do at work…oh, well, I enjoy it all.

Selecting a hanging basket? Be sure to ask your clerk these important questions: Which plants tolerate shade? Which thrive in sun? Remember, while a basket is a handy way to enjoy the blooms, it is a pretty restrictive environment and requires more care. One of the more popular items right now is a cherry tomato called ‘Tumbling Tom’ which lives quite happily in a ten inch plastic basket. Water when you have your morning coffee.

Sick of weeding? Try container gardening. Add plenty of some type fertilizer to your potted soil—long, slow release is best, but a commercial liquid is okay. Follow directions. Suggest tall for your middle: Grasses, coleus, spikes are popular. Next: color scheme. I love pink and blues or yellow with orange-red for a hot splash and some sort of dangler like sweet potato vine. Any annual will love your container, but perennials may be added as well. They don’t bloom as profusion zinnialong, but their foliage is pretty. Plant more than one pot and cluster on your deck or edge of your patio. Remember to water.

A drought resistant plant flying out of the atrium right now is a bedding type called  Profusion Zinnia in 5 different colors. They grow to about 10 inches by 10 and are a riot of color, pretty carefree and very rewarding. Happy Gardening!
Leave a comment with your question.

Depths of Winter Gardening

There’s no denying the harshness of this winter ‘13-’14. Here in Western NY, the snow is deep, but not so deep. The sun is shining, the temps are in the 20’s (okay, down to single digits at night) and traffic is moving briskly. You might guess, as my friend from Atlanta says, we are used to this harshness. What can we gardeners do to survive these cold winter months?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeed catalogs. Get on their mailing lists and learn, dream, order. Look up a plant online and you’ll probably be inundated with choices. Don’t forget to check out the gardening tools and the latest in deer repellents.

These catalogs contain valuable information. Hardiness zones, height, width of the plant, etc. Before you fall in love with a plant, check if it will survive in your agricultural zone. Mine is a 4/5. Anything higher and the health of the plant is in jeopardy.

Annuals – favorites for easy color without fuss, but keep the old blossoms trimmed (called ‘deadheading’) for continual blooms.

Pansies—Darlings of spring, they may fade in the heat but you can replace them with…

Zinnias—‘Profusion,’ any color. 12-15 inches high and about the same wide, they are spectacular bloomers.

Marigolds—French for quick, petite blooms and the African ones for tall, late. Pot up the large ones for fall patio color.

Sunflowers are a pure joy. Include a few here and there.

Petunias—it might be easier to buy plants, but they are not difficult to grow from seed.

Many, many more choices are available. Dream, plan! Spring will be here before you know it.