Tag Archive for: #garden

When Walls and Water Speak

One day, I looked at an area along the brick walkway in the front of my house and realized I needed to do something extreme. Despite having spread grass seeds more than one season, only weeds grew in the shadow of a magnificent weeping yaupon that arcs over the sidewalk and shaded a crescent-shaped area.

I looked at it with despair and frustration.

(How many times have I looked at a blank page without a clue what words to paint on it?)

Suddenly, I saw a garden in that crescent-moon space. In a previous post, “Goddess in the Garden,” I wrote about its transformation into a moss-garden.

But nature had other ideas. When it rained, water caught in the yaupon’s draping branches, streaming down them in torrents that hit the ground and tunneled trenches into my creation.

(How many times have the words I carefully crafted looked very different when I returned to them later, requiring I rewrite them or throw them out altogether?)

I tried to repair the craters, but each time it rained, the holes and mini-gullies returned. The space was not happy. I was not happy. But I had put in so much work!

It was not fair.

I grumped. And repaired what the water had torn up.

Until it rained, yet again . . . as it is wont to do. And again.

Finally, I surrendered.

“What do you want to be?” I asked my garden.

(Once, I wrote about a blank wall speaking to me, eliciting mockery from a local radio host, but the wall wanted something, and I listened.)

“I want to be a pond,” my garden said. “I want the water.”

“What about little rocks?” I mused. “Can’t I just put pebbles down where the water flows?”

The garden’s reply was a definite, “No.”

So, I began to dig. It hurt to dig up what I had painstakingly planted, what was beautiful just as it was, for something new.

[How many times do we have to start over in our lives, to force open scars, so new love and light can enter?]

I dug for days. Frogs came to visit.  One cutie in particular dove into my hole on three occasions, probably looking for a place to hibernate for the winter. I took him out each time and asked him to be patient.

Finally, the hole was done…I thought. Then came the Plastic War.  Instructions on lining the pond sounded very simple.


One of our horses, who should be named “Curious George,” made an appearance to help out, but alas, was not equipped. Hubby helped with the large rocks I coveted. It was a great feeling when they settled into place!




The rocks came from the streams and creeks on our property. My husband became accustomed to having his truck appropriated for rock gathering expeditions.

My fear was that the black lining would show along the steep sides in the deep end. I had never done anything like this and had no real plan other than the foundation rock placements.

(How many times have I started a book with only a few words, just a sketchy idea of my characters, and no idea what happens next?)

I tempted the creative muse yet again with my crazy pond idea. Yet, she didn’t fail me.

My biggest fear was the sides of the deep end.  How would I keep from having gaps that showed the liner?

As I worked, I realized the edges of the stones placed on edge along the bottom provided a shelf for another layer and so on. Each stone had to be fitted for shape and stability. They let me know when it wasn’t the right place for them.

When I thought I was finally finished, the water said I was not honoring its flow, and I had to tear up and redo a section.

It is the middle of winter. The plants I tried to save are hopefully sleeping. Some of the moss is thriving, even in the cold. The water is happy, flowing as it wanted to all along. The garden is something very different than it was and yet the same.

Isn’t that so of us, as well?

Every moment we are different, a memory of all the moments before spun into the illusion of a constant, just as the garden changes every moment—as water swirls, plants grow and rest, leaves fall and change form. Every morning when I visit, I and the pond are new and old. Sometimes I change it by way of a rock that needs adjustment, a tuft of moss to add, or a new idea of where a gift of crystal should nestle.

Sometimes I just breath in the peace of it.

(The tales I’ve told don’t change once they are printed, yet each time a reader opens the book, they come alive, changed by the perspectives and person who recreates them from a few words. The stories are the same and yet different, a joining of imaginations—theirs and mine.)

I am looking forward to the spring when I hope my frog friend will return.

T.K. Thorne photo

T.K. Thorne is a retired police captain who writes books and blogs that go wherever her imagination takes her. TKThorne.com

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From My Garden
Saralyn Richard

I’ve always loved to plant flowers and vegetables and
watch them grow, but never, until now, have I had the time to nurture, weed,
water, and admire the horticulture. For all of the things the pandemic has
taken away, the joy of gardening is one thing it’s brought to my life in

days when time inside seems to stand still, when one day pours into the next,
so it doesn’t matter whether it’s Monday or Saturday, the ever-changing
splendor of my garden provides something new. In March, I planted the caladium bulbs
kept in the garage all winter. Even from the first day after planting, they
were pushing up shoots that turned into buds, that opened into showy broad red
and green leaves. The progress was rapid and almost magical.

caladiums reminded me of the book release process. When I published my debut
, in 2018, I experienced that creative
push of final edits, review blurbs, pre-publication hype, and, voila! The book
was “above ground,” out into the world. As the book was nourished by reader
reviews and a dizzying book tour schedule, it opened up to book clubs, new
readers, and beautiful new connections.

fig tree in my back yard, however, has taught me patience. The sequel to MURDER
this year. I had no idea that a pandemic would wreak havoc with every launch
party, book talk, and book club I had so enthusiastically planned. Like the new
mystery novel, the fig tree burst forth in a passionate profusion of fruit.
Once the first crop was picked, though, the tree slowed down. It’s still full
of potential. Hundreds of green buds remain, patiently awaiting their natural
time to explode into luscious purple fruit. Though the book launch for PALETTE
was not what I expected, the joy of the first crop of readers and the early
reviews has been gratifying. Now I need to nurture the green buds, knowing
that, if I’m patient, they will produce fruit.

final parable comes from the enclosed planter on my front porch. I’ve never
been able to grow anything in this shady area. Too little sun, too little
water, and too little attention from me were all to blame. I had literally
given up on having anything there, except an air plant, a few aloe vera plants,
and a touch of tradescantia zebrine (wandering
jew). I decided that this was the time to experiment. I took a cutting from a
healthy ginger plant in my back yard, and I planted it in the planter. I
decided to keep the porch light on all night to give it extra light for
growing, and I water it every day. At first the leaves turned brown and I was
sure the plant was dying, but after a few more days, baby shoots started
popping up in the soil. Now the plant is thriving, and the planter is a source
of pride.

many times in writing, the easy path would be to give up. I might blame a lack
of time, a dearth of creative ideas, a busy calendar, family demands, even a
pandemic—innumerable excuses for not writing. The truth is, however, that an
author with a creative spirit can produce a story to be proud of. Yes, there
are obstacles, but obstacles can be overcome, as long as the passion and will
are there.

of us who read and write, who love books, have likely learned many lessons
during these months of social distancing. Here’s hoping all of our lessons bear
the sweetest fruit.
Award-winning mystery and children’s book author, Saralyn Richard
strives to make the world a better place, one book at a time. Her books, Naughty Nana, Murder in the One Percent, and A
Palette for Love and Murder
, have delighted children and adults, alike. A
member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America,
Saralyn teaches creative writing at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and continues
to write mysteries. Look for A Murder of
to be released in January, 2020. Reviews, media, and tour
schedule may be found at