Monday, April 7, 2014

Accessorizing with Annuals - Authors in Bloom Blog Hop

Dianne Venetta, thank you 
for organizing this blog hop!
Welcome! I'm excited to participate in the Authors in Bloom blog hop this year!  It gives me hope that spring might actually be coming soon! 

As I type this, there is still snow on the landscape beyond my window--sigh--but I am dreaming of the time when I can finally push my fingers into the earth and start growing things. In Alberta, that is usually on or after the Victoria Day long weekend, which is in late May. At least my spring bulbs should be up before then!
After Annie's move
to Morning Lake, she
dreams about the
opportunities in
her garden too!

We moved into this home in the summer of 2012, but that first year we concentrated on the interior of the house and last year we had a tree stump that fought valiantly to stay as a permanent fixture in our yard. I hate to think of how many hours it took us to deal with that obstinate stump! So this year will be all about the garden and I can't wait!  

For the last few weeks, I have been pouring over gardening books and starting seeds. Although there are a few trees in the yard, I consider it a largely blank canvas, which is perfect for me! I love it! I've already done a plan, to scale, with a few different garden concepts. (Now I sound like Annie, the heroine of Annie's Christmas Plan ... I wonder how that could happen. LOL)  I love this stage--oh, right, I already said that, didn't I? Anyway, this brings me to my first gardening tip. 

Gardening Tip #1: 
Plant your perennials, shrubs 
and trees as if they are their mature size
from the very beginning. 
Give them space to grow and be healthy!

There are a few things I know I will plant in my garden. I'll have raspberries, vegetables, herbs, peonies, hollyhocks, day lilies, bell flowers, blue sage ... well, the list could go on and on. And this planning stage brings me to my second gardening tip: 

Think about complementary colors!
Gardening Tip #2:
Think about the color wheel when selecting 
your plants and choosing homes for them. 
Planting complementary colors close 
to one another to give your planting bed
a little zip. 

But, I never plan everything. (Come to think of it, I write my books the same way.) If the house, the trees and the fence are the body of the garden, and my perennials and shrubs are the clothing, then annuals are the accessories--and I never chose my accessories until I'm dressed and ready to run out the door. 

Similarly, I choose my annuals when I arrive at the nursery. Some people always select the same annuals, even choosing the same colors, every year. I used to walk by a garden that always had a border of pink geraniums and petunias. Every year. Although that garden always brought a smile to my face, I won't be doing that in my space. It is like painting my toenails--I will paint them a strikingly different color every time. Because, well, why not? 

I love going into the nursery and seeing plants I do not recognize. At first glance, I'm not always sure some are even all that pretty, but they are unusual. They are weird. And I want them in my garden. 

They are a dash of the unexpected. 

People ask what the plants are, and I never remember their names (shame on me), but I love that people engage with me about them. 

Gardening Tip #3
Step out of your comfort zone and find a wacky, 
unusual annual to introduce into your garden this year.  
Have fun with it!


ANNIE'S CHRISTMAS PLAN (Morning Lake, Book 2)

Contemporary Romance
Recent divorcee and empty-nester, Annie Bingley wants her family back. Desperate to prove to her ex and her daughter that she can be more than just a craft-obsessed mom, Annie decides to start fresh, move to a small town, and emulate the lifestyle she sees splashed in crafting and home-making magazines. Living from holiday to holiday, Annie works at creating an ideal home and picture-perfect memories full of glitter and hope - and it works. Before the year is out Annie's house is filled with relatives and their pets, but it is nothing like what she'd expected.

And, she certainly hadn't anticipated her sexy new neighbor, John Quinn, changing her carefully constructed plans.

Copies Available Here: All Romance eBooks | Smashwords | Kobo | | |  | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | CreateSpace 


You have the chance to win prizes!  Please LEAVE A COMMENT for a chance to win the grand prize! 

The grand prize is a Kindle or a Nook and a $25 gift card for ebooks! 
Second prize is a $25 gift card. 
(For complete details and limitations, visit Dianne Venetta's site)

For the Authors in Bloom Blog Hop Grand Prize, only those visitors who visit EACH and EVERY stop are eligible for the grand prize ereader and gift card. Eligibility will be verified by hop’s end.  Also, please leave your contact email in the comment section otherwise we have no way to contact you if you win.  

Grand prize winners will be posted on Dianne Venetta's site and Cozy Reader’s Corner website.



I'm also giving away two $5 Amazon Gift Cards!

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter for a chance to win the Amazon Gift Cards! Winners will be posted on or before April 18th!  Good luck!

Rafflecopter Giveaway


What is your favorite garden "accessory"? 


Mary Magdeline said...

I like your tips for gardening. I love hanging baskets on a verandah with a swing big enough to read on.

Froggy said...

I don't have one..I have a black thumb!

Thanks for the chance to win!

Unknown said...

When I am "gardening" I like to run my fingernails over a bar of soap so I will not get dirt under them.

Michelle Abbott said...

My favourite accessory is my garden table & chairs.

ilookfamous said...

I've always been partial to Japanese dwarf maples; I think they are just gorgeous~ especially the Bloodgood variety. Thanks for participating in the hop; I love meeting new bloggers.

ilookfamous at yahoo dot com

Savannah said...

I have a bad habit of planting trees and then wanting them moved. My hubby dug one up for me twice and he told me its the last time....

greeniejoey said...

I'm trying to make my garden flourish this year. I hope it works out with everyone's tips. greeniejoey at gmail dot com

bn100 said...

Nice tips; don't have any
bn100candg at hotmail dot com

patonlorraine said...

Mary - I would LOVE a big verandah with hanging pots of flowers! Maybe in my next house. LOL

patonlorraine said...

Froggy - LOL. Some days my husband says I have a black thumb too... Hopefully that'll change this year. ;)

patonlorraine said...

Leslie - Great tip! I usually end up trying to dig the dirt out for the next two days! I'll have to try that.

patonlorraine said...

Michelle - Yes! I agree. A table and chairs are a must!

patonlorraine said...

Elise-Maria - When I lived in Ontario, I loved Japanese Maples too. Unfortunately the climate in Alberta isn't as compatible with them. :(

patonlorraine said...

Savannah - Too funny! We planted about nine trees last year and I dug half the holes and my husband did the others. After that experience, I wouldn't want to move them - so I empathize with your husband. ;) But, I have been known to move perennials around a lot.

patonlorraine said...

Greeniejoey - Good luck with your garden! I'm sure it'll look wonderful! :)

patonlorraine said...

bn100 - Thanks! And, thanks for stopping by! :)

cchant said...

Great tips! My husband and I made the mistake of planting everything too close together at our first house because the beds looked so empty. We knew better at our next house! It's been 10 years now and the beds filled in quite nicely all on their own.

I think my favorite gardening accessory, if you can call them that, are my grow boxes from Garden Patch. Vegetables right outside my kitchen door now! It's great!

cchant86 @

Liz said...

Great tips!

Brandi said...

Thank you for sharing your tips!!

And thank you for having this giveaway!! I hope you have a great day! =)

BLeigh1130 at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

Glad you got that stump taken care off... We had a horrible one in our back yard took the whole summer to get rid of it... Thanks for being part of the hop.

Judy said...

Thanks for your planting tips. My husband has the green thumb in our family!!
Thanks for your giveaway.

Judy said...

My email is:


Karen H said...

Now if I was a gardener, your tips would be very handy...but since I'm not, they are interesting reading!

kareninnc at gmail dot com

Alisha S. said...

My favorite 'accessory' is my rototiller
entered as Alisha sienkiel

Unknown said...

My I can call the landscaper.

Thanks for the amazing giveaway!
elizabeth @ bookattict . com

Nancy Arny Pi-Sunyer said...

I have some awesome wrought iron stakes with various colored glass balls attached. One is a crescent moon in metal with a moon-like glass ball. They are so lovely and FUN.

Your Christmas book looks like fun. Have you been to Butchardt Gardens in Victoria, B.C.? If not you MUST go.

Deb PelletierC said...

Thank you for the garden tips. Deb P

Shadow said...

Hi! Great post! Nice tips! Ill defintely try them! Thank you for sharing! :)
​And ​thank you for being apart of this awesome hop!

Casey said...

Hi Lorraine! I had to stop by your blog and say hi. The oddest plant I have right now is a mole plant. I've never had a problem with moles, but my mother and sister did, so I bought two when I saw them in a nursery. Their shapes caught my attention even before I read the tags and learned their purpose. My sister's plant flourished, went to seed, and sprouted babies everywhere, so I got a few starts for my own garden. The little things survived the winter and are looking good right now. I'm so thrilled. I hope your snow melts soon so you can enjoy your lovely garden soon.
casey 4 4 6 at hot mail dot com

patonlorraine said...

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and participated in the blog hop! It's been a lot of fun to read everyone's responses!

Congratulations to Deb P and Catherine M! You've each won a $5 Amazon Gift Card!

Happy Easter!