"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Authors in Bloom Blog Hop & Giveaway

Dianne Venetta_AIB Logo_2015
++++ Winner! Congratulations to commenter cchant! Your prize, the 2 novels, will be on the way to you this week!

This has been a historically long and harsh winter in the Northeast part of the United States. It was a similar season of snow and hibernation that inspired my novel The Proposal, featuring a female botanical artist and landscape designer in the late 18th century.

Usually at this time of year I travel to a warmer part of the country, or to England, seeking an early (for me) taste of springtime.  I recently returned…my head crammed with memories of blooming bulbs and azaleas and dogwood and wisteria.

I arrived home to the welcome sight of crocus shoots springing up from the ground—a sign of many more good things to come. In due time I shall have narcissus, daffodils, hyacinths, bluebells, tulips, fritillaries, iris, peonies,  lilacs, rhododendrons, passion flower, clematis, columbine, sweetpea, pansies, foxglove, astilbe, anemone, lupine.

And the great show I impatiently await all year—my roses!

I am genetically inclined to grow roses. My mother grows them. So did my father’s father, and I cherish my childhood memories of wandering through roses of brightly coloured blooms almost as large as my head.

The roses that appear in my fiction are the oldest of all varieties: gallica, alba, damask, centifolia. These have appeared in art through the centuries. I grow the lush Bourbon roses developed in the 19th century, mostly by the French. I have China and rugose rose hybrids. And I rely upon the hybrids from David Austin that mimic the ancient flowers, in shape and scent, but have the advantage of re-blooming until the late frost arrives to put the plants to sleep again.
My rose regimen is fairly simple. I fertilise in spring, applying compost. As the leaf buds begin to sprout, I selectively trim the repeat-bloomers—my David Austins and the rugosas. I usually cut the branches back by 1/3 or in some cases as much as ½, unless I’m using them as climbers and then I mostly remove dead portions. For the once-blooming antique roses, I give them a very line trim to shape them, as they bloom on old wood. If they require downsizing, I do it after their bloom time is finished.

A couple of years ago I moved house, leaving behind many roses but transplanting a good number to the new location. And of course, I added many more that year. And last year. And as I write this, I await delivery of this year’s purchases!

This is what I found in my garden when I returned from my travels--signs of spring at last!

In support of the Authors in Bloom 4th Annual Blog Hop, and to celebrate the recent re-issue of The Proposal and the launch of A Pledge of Better Times. I am giving away a copy of each title--so 2 winners will receive a book. To enter, leave a comment with the name of your favourite flower.


joye said...

My favorite flowers are sweet peas.

Margaret Porter said...

I love those, too! Good luck!

smiles said...

I love cherry blossoms... and lotuses. They're just so *pretty* to see. They make me smile :D (email is ___@___.___.___, fill in with smiles, alumni, cmu, edu)

marmee said...


oh roses are the favourites and heritage roses for sure followed by david austins..am awaiting some rugosas as we speak:

JeanMP said...

Love roses, but we have so many bugs around here now, I can't enjoy them anymore.
skpetal at hotmail dot com

Unknown said...

I love tulips

fencingromein at hotmail dot com

Margaret Porter said...

Everything mentioned here is special to me as well...but especially the roses! Good luck, everyone, and thanks for stopping by.

books4me said...

My favorite flower is tulips although our front yard grows daffodils.


books4me67 at ymail dot com

smiles said...

Oh, I forgot about wanting to ask this - what is that flower in the first photo, with the red and off-white/maybe light yellow petals? It's really pretty :D

bn100 said...

like roses

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Mystica said...

I like lilies

Casey said...

In early spring, I love peach blossoms: so beautiful, fragile and fleeting, but promising wonderful summertime gifts. Thank you for preserving our heritage of antique roses. The photograph of the pink one--so reminiscent of "cabbage roses" wallpaper. Just perfect.
casey 4 4 6 at hot mail dot com

Margaret Porter said...

Smiles, that's a parrot tulip from Holland.

Margaret Porter said...

Have a great weekend, everyone! Think spring!

cchant said...

My favorite flower is the lily-0f-the-valley. They grew like weeds at my childhood home (which was very woodsy and swampy in certain areas). Unfortunately, they have not thrived at my new home, which has woods, but isn't very damp. The hot New England summers kill them off.
cchant86 @ yahoo.com

Unknown said...

I love night-blooming jasmine!

Thanks for the amazing giveaway!

Unknown said...

I love bleeding hearts! eendrizzi79 at gmail dot com

Shadow said...

I want your garden! Your flowers are so gorgeous! One of my favorites is bleeding hearts, there so pretty and unique looking. :) Thanks!

Margaret Porter said...

The contest is now closed. Everyone please congratulation our winner, cchant. I will be emailing you!