Summer in the garden…

So it’s 72 degrees at 10 in the morning, and the high temperature today is supposed to approach 90 degrees. (That’s 22 degrees and 32 degrees, for those of you who speak Celcius.) I know that doesn’t compare to a lot of places, but for Seattle, that’s hot in any language.

Which is why I decided for today’s post, I’m going to take it easy. Instead of breaking down the current kerfuffle in m/m romance (because there’s *always* a kerfuffle in m/m romance) or digging through the fall-out of last week’s RWA conference (because OMG MRWAGA cannot be a thing!), I’m going to take you all on a little tour of my garden.

Two things to know before we start.

#1. My ideal garden is neat and tidy and symmetrical, and I appear to be congenitally unable to create such a space. My approach to garden design consists of planting all the things and seeing what lives.

#2. Over the last five years, life prevented me from spending much time gardening, so what started as “pretty fairy hide-out” turned into “the call of the wild”. I did some major (!!!) pruning this spring, and  removed a couple prominent plants that had outgrown their space to the point that taking them out was the only option. Even though I’ve done a lot of work, there’s still more to do. (There’s always more to do!)

With those things in mind, here we go…

This is my front walkway. Most of the time you can get through without being mugged by a plant.
This is the stone birdbath, my 10th anniversary gift to my husband.


Okay, so now I’ve learned that I can’t write captions when I tile images. Come on, WordPress. Work with me.

At any rate, the two on top are my “garden helpers”. (Ed is on the left, and Burnsie is on the right.) The pink rose of Baby Blanket which has no scent but a lovely bloom, and on the right is a Japanese anemone. If the anemone is flowering, it must be almost August. Also, they’re vigorous (!!) so if you want one, ask someone who’s already got them, because once they’re established, they come up EVERYWHERE.

This is my front patio, a usually-shady place to hang out.

I have a thing for lace-cap hydrangeas…

And I also have a fair number of herbs. That’s a creeping thyme on the left, and lavender on the right. I’ve also planted sage, oregano, fennel, chives, rosemary, and basil. And strawberries. Did I mention strawberries? I used to have raspberries, but they’re thugs and wouldn’t stay in their bed so I took them out. I’m not much of an urban farmer, but this spring I did plant tomatoes and potatoes, along with an espaliered apple tree (that right now is hiding behind the tomato plants).

This is my back porch, and below are two closer views of the oak leaf hydrangea on the left.

And…that’s all for now. I’m sure I’ll be back next month with some flaming drama to share with you, but today I’m just going to kick back and water my plants. Hope you’re having a lovely summer! (Or fall, if you’re from Oz!)


Back to School

Summers growing up were, to quote Nat King Cole, lazy-hazy-crazy. Relaxing days filled with sunshine and the all-consuming joy that for three whole months, school was out. Sure, I might have a week or two of soccer camp or an art class once a week, but summers were not the time for hard work. My summer memories: Sleeping till noon. Sunbathing by the pool. Driving to the beach. Sprawling out on the warm grass at dusk listening to the hum of cicadas. Fireworks like champagne flowers blooming across the sky. Hot sweet corn and ice-cold watermelon. Reading deep into the wee hours simply because I could.

I haven’t been to school for years now. But for some reason, when the first week of June rolls around my work ethic just plummets. Rationally, I know that grown-ups don’t get summer vacation, but those three months of freedom have been so ingrained into my psyche that getting work done during the summer is truly a struggle. I try to lock myself away, to focus on my personal deadlines and goals, but I can’t quite shake the reality of beautiful weather and popsicles and bare feet waiting just outside.

That’s why I’m glad September is finally here. Sure, it’s sad to see summer end–it’s not always easy to say goodbye to beach days and tank tops and barbecues and day-drinking (oops!). But as the days begin to cool off and the breeze starts to carry the crisp tang of autumn, I breathe a small sigh of relief. Because just like the first day of June makes me feel like I’m on summer break, the first day of September makes me feel like I’m going back to school.

Yesterday I bought myself a brand new notebook and a nice pen. Today I cleared out my inbox and made myself a to-do list complete with personal goals for the autumn and winter. And tomorrow, maybe–just maybe–I’ll sit down at my computer and feel focused and motivated to get some real work done. Not the slow, tortuous slog of doing the bare minimum so I can justify going outside, but the quickening of heart and mind when I know what I want to get done and plan on enjoying the journey.

The excitement I always used to get on the first day of school, when I marched through those doors and vowed to work hard and do my best.

Productivity is, of course, a process. My creativity ebbs and flows with the seasons, with my own state of mind, and with the events happening around me. That won’t change. But sometimes knowing when to relax, and when to buckle down, is half the battle.

Do you have a summertime complex? Does September make you feel like going “back to school”? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!