Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson here, confessing to the sad truth that I have a black thumb. That’s right. Every plant I’ve ever owned has withered and died. Every attempt to plant a rock garden has ended in disaster—even the rocks failed to thrive. Plant bulbs? Forget it. Ditto for flowers bought from a nursery. This is especially galling when I remember that my mother had the magic touch. Her flowerbeds were a work of art. At one house she lived in, she covered the entire front lawn with flowers. Below is a photo from 1976, when Mom and Spot were offering advice for planting a rock garden at the house we’d just moved into. Below is that rock garden three years later, proof that I did not inherit the gardening gene.
I don’t even do well with cut flowers, although that may have more to do with owning cats than with any aversion a florist’s arrangement has to me.
Fortunately, since I live out in the country, Mother Nature is kind to me. Without any effort on my part, flowers appear. Every year the lilac bush blooms. Almost every year the forsythia does too. And, of course, the apple trees and crabapples blossom.
Years ago, I brought forget-me-nots to Maine from my parents’ house in New York State (I had some in my bridal bouquet, too). Although they didn’t thrive in my miserable attempt at a rock garden, they did naturalize themselves. Every year, they are a much-anticipated sign that late spring is on its way to turning into summer.
With no help at all on my part, what I assume are some kind of roses blossom every June. They provided the backdrop for this publicity photo I had taken back when I was writing the Face Down series, set in sixteenth-century England. The costume, by the way, was borrowed from the Theater at Monmouth, where Shakespeare’s plays, and others, are performed every summer.
At this time of year, early to mid-July, day lilies brighten roadsides all over Maine. I’m fortunate to have a particularly abundant batch right in front of the screened-in porch where I like to sit to edit manuscripts by hand.
Identifying flowers isn’t one of my strong points—a definite disadvantage for a writer—and I certainly didn’t inherit my mother’s green thumb, but even a gardening failure like me can enjoy the beauty of nature’s many no-fuss flowers.
Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett is the author of more than fifty traditionally published books written under several names. She won the Agatha Award and was an Anthony and Macavity finalist for best mystery nonfiction of 2008 for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2015 in the best mystery short story category. She was the Malice Domestic Guest of Honor in 2014. Currently she writes the contemporary Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries (X Marks the Scot—December 2017) and Deadly Edits series (Crime and Punctuation—2018) as Kaitlyn and the historical Mistress Jaffrey Mysteries (Murder in a Cornish Alehouse) as Kathy. The latter series is a spin-off from her earlier “Face Down” mysteries and is set in Elizabethan England. New in 2017 is a collection of short stories, Different Times, Different Crimes. Her websites are http://www.KathyLynnEmerson.com and http://www.KaitlynDunnett.com