Thursday, May 24, 2018

1000 Words

For writers, it's not the image but the words that create the image in the reader's mind.

Take for instance, this image: 
 or this: 

or this:

or this:

These are all from my newly acquired garden in the extreme north midwest. Each one has its distinct and unique story. And each has its place in my own story which I have told in my recent blog for In Maine. I reprint that post here:
Cover Image of Pavane for Miss MarcherFor the past few weeks, I’ve been living in Cathryn Marcher’s garden — without the pumpkins.

Since moving into our new home, I’ve had the pleasure of gardening for the first time in seven years. While living in a city-bound apartment, I made do with potted plants on the balcony. Now I have about 5,000 square feet of lawn, trees and flowerbeds.
I also have hundreds of volunteers — not the helping kind! Since our lawn did not appear from under the layers of snow until late April, trees and shrubs have had free reign to seed the grass with their own progeny: honeysuckle, ash tree, morning glory, dandelions had all grown to the height of at least six inches by the time our new lawn-mower arrived. 
Removing these volunteers from my grassy realm proved beyond my capabilities. Even days of crawling on hands and knees, digging out taproots and consigning leaves and seedheads to the compost bin made no difference to the number of seedlings propagating amongst the blades of green. Even our resident bunny has not made a dent although it has helped in the cropping of the blades’ height in its grazing area.
Multi-colored TulipsTo my delight, the flowerbeds are less endangered by weed-growth. Although Ground Elder (aka Queen Anne’s Lace) has raised many heads in the lawn and along the back fence, the perennials such as Peony and Daffodils, Iris and Gladiola have a much stronger will to exist. 
Another joy is the abundance of lilacs. When I was a child living in Maine, my favorite hiding place was a grove of lilac bushes at the back of our house. I attempted to grow lilacs on the balcony, but the plant never took hold despite coddling. Because of my fondness for the blossoms, I had them in my wedding bouquet along with red roses and the requisite Baby’s Breath (Gypsophilia).Image of Lilac SpearsMy four lilac bushes had grown so tall, they were competing with the Locust for space and encroaching on the neighbor’s property. With the information from a tree surgeon that lilacs can be treated as shrubs, I cropped and snipped until all the dead foliage and blossoms were gone and the bushes had the energy to produce fragrant spears again. 
From Chapter One: “Rupert smirked, turned his gaze back to the window, waved the mist out of his face, inhaled the summer rain deep into his lungs along with the scent of white lilacs.” 
From Chapter Four: ‘Noam Snyder pulled up on the reins, bringing the old buggy alongside Cathryn’s front yard, tipping his cap and wiping beads of sweat from his brow. “Mighty hot for a lady to be working like that,” he called out to his tenant. 
‘“Now’s the best time,” she called back, straightening her back, pressing a dirty hand on her lower spine. “These pumpkins won’t win any prizes this year unless someone gives them a hand.” She wiped her neck with a handkerchief and wacked at the weeds in her pumpkin patch. “I swear these dandelions know I’ve got better things to do. They just grow out of spite.”’ 
From Chapter Fifteen: “Running and stumbling through the woods like a mad woman got her as far as the clump of lilac she’d hidden in as a little girl, afraid to go home for the licking her father promised when she refused to help her mother with the washing because she wanted to play the piano for a few minutes more.” 
As Pavane for Miss Marcher illustrates, gardening and lilacs are features of my life in fiction and fiction in my life. My latest novel set Down In Maine is available in print and digital editions on all online booksellers and by order from me! Digital Edition $3.95 / Signed Print Edition $15.00 inc postage.
I'm going back to my garden in a bit but wanted everyone to know where I am!

All the best,

Leigh Verrill-Rhys 
Writer, Gardener, Photographer and 1000 other things!

PS: May 28, 2018

And the reward for all the work: 

This pair have never entered the back garden before. I finished the circle flowerbed with hydrangea as centerpiece and crocosmia bulbs surrounding it on Sunday afternoon. By 5:30PM, the ducks that wandered up and down our street, scrounging in the gutters, had taken up residence at the circle's edge. The drake on guard as always.

Now the bunny, "Scamp" to me, has company along with the squirrels and house sparrows that nest under our patio awning. 

Happy Memorial Day to all and God Bless our Troops, Veterans and their families. Thank you for your service.


  1. Lovely, Leigh. There's something about getting your hands in the dirt that restores the soul.

  2. Thank you, Sandy! My latest effort paid off Huge! See my PS on 1000 Words.

  3. Hi Leigh--
    Wow such beautiful flowers! Your efforts have certainly rewarded you. And thanks for letting us know what you've been up to.
    p.s. I like the way you've included your love of gardening in your books.