Gardening Finally Returns!

Today, we have author and editor Christine M. Fairchild to share some fun, sun and perspectives from her Northwest garden to remind us it's spring!
Building a garden is a lot like writing a book. But it usually takes much longer!

You can plan all you want, but there will always be detours (like the hidden concrete and apple tree roots we had to dig out), unexpected twists and turns (like tearing up my ankle in May last year and ending my gardening season before it got started), and wonderful surprises (like the “volunteers” poppies and currants that pop up though you never planted them).

A garden, like a good story, triggers your senses with lots of color, texture, fragrance, and visual structure. Sometimes, it's even functional, such as the veggies and fruits I planted this week. Let's hope they pay off!

In my books, I like to create real and active settings, like they are characters. In my garden, I like to create a setting that feels like it’s been there for a 100 years, like my 1909 Craftsman house. They are both works in progress—the house and the garden. Okay, the book, too.

You also need to create soft and serious spots in the garden, as in books, for moments of contemplation. My husband has his lounge chair for sitting, reading, and enjoying his morning coffee on weekends.

Me? No chair yet, and that's fine. I always opt for sitting on the stairs, mostly because I get up constantly to pull a weed or move a pot or throw the ball for the dog. Plus, I'm still shopping for me new outdoor dining set for dining al fresco in the summer :)

Which leads me to the next point: you can always use a good companion in the garden.

Tucker, our two-year-old chocolate lab, likes to lay on the cedar chips and sun himself. Or dig into the gravel on a hot day and cool himself. Either way, he always looks like he needs a beer.

That is, when he’s not pretending to chase the birds and running over my newly planted veggies. Mostly he’s good for keeping the crows out of my crops so they don't eat the seedlings.
Guarding our gravel “pit” (we used to call it the swimming pool—took me two years to dig it out by hand), where we barbeque and cool off in the shade, are some very serious stone lions that were salvaged from a neighbor’s house. 

When Tucker was a puppy, he thought the lions were real and used to run from them. Now he pees on them. That shows them who’s boss!

You have to have some humorous elements too. 

My small frog statues are hidden throughout the garden and keep things light and fun. They like to watch me as I do ALL the work. Maybe they come alive at night to catch bugs and eat snails. I could only hope!

My husband placed a door stopper that looks like the Wicked Witch's legs (from Wizard of Oz) under a stone block in my retaining wall.  Every time I see those feet sticking out, I laugh. So do my guests!

Magic is another necessary element in gardening and storytelling. 

Right now our 100-year-old cherry tree is releasing its flower petals, which looks like snow in spring!

The neighbors have family in town and they got out their camera just to take a picture of the tree and the petals flying everywhere, like a snow globe.

Unfortunately, that tree will need to come down soon, as its trunk is rotting and a giant limb is about to come down on our roof.

Guess that's a lot like the editing part of a book: you have to remove your darlings or they might spoil the rest of the story.

But that's why I also love gardening. It's a never-ending story, and usually the garden's telling ME how things are going to be, not the other way around. Which is just fine by me. As an author, I love to be told a good story!


Christine M. Fairchild, aka the Editor Devil, is a former journalist with 25 years' experience as a writer and editor--from technical to marketing to exec communications to entertainment.

When she's not in the garden, she's finalizing book II of The Goliath Conspiracy Trilogy, a follow-up to her popular debut romantic suspense, An Eye For Danger. You can email her for updates on her next book: christinefairchild AT Or check out her Pinterest page for "visual ideas" about this series:


  1. Great post. Wished my garden looked half as nice as yours. :) LOVE those Wicked Witch legs. Those are awesome.


    1. Ha, ha, Rebecca, I took careful photos so you didn't see it's really a mess! But it used to be a long slope of grass, so at least it has structure now. 8 years in the making, but getting closer to where I want it every if only I could not throw my back out lifting flagstones and moving heavy pots aroun! Ha ha!

  2. How pretty! I lurv flowers. And I lurv Spring because it promises summer is coming. I also love the witch legs. And the pool.
    Not sure I have anything funny in my garden but 8 fish were born in my pond last year and I had no idea that someone was making fish eggs back there! And they survived the winter!
    Gardening Rocks! Thanks Christine!

  3. Thanks, Kim!!! Volunteer fish is pretty cool! Didn't think it possible, but maybe the eggs were on something else? Or your dogs have been up to something....

  4. Wow...I'm impressed! I enjoyed the post and the pics are lovely! Unfortunately, gardening is not my thing. I have a black thumb and would kill all those gorgeous plants and flowers. :)

    1. Thanks, Alicia! I understand--there are some things I just don't touch cuz I'm cursed. Like golf! But gardening is something I've learned the hard way too---lost many plants along the years. Or bought the wrong color flowers but didn't know till months later when they finally bloomed. Or planted 15 tomato plants only to get to the final leg and they all die of blight. There's definitely still humility in the garden!

  5. Sorry Christine, I'm playing catch up with the blog posts. My mother was an avid gardener, but alas, it doesn't interest me much. I take the native flower approach. If it grows wild with not much upkeep, I'm all for it. I used to garden, then I started writing. I'm afraid I only have room for one obsession at a time. =)