Graziano Gardens


Graziano Gardens

Last Saturday I was feeling lonely because my hubby was away, my friends were camping or otherwise occupied, and I needed a little inspiration for my house and garden. I’ve also been trying to do something creative other than writing to, as my husband says “keep my saw sharp.” We writers need to use our creative energy in more than one way to keep the creative juices flowing. Since the main character in my book is also a gardener, I thought getting back into gardening would not only be good for my creative spirit and let me feel some of what Faith feels, but it would also be a good way to be active, a real challenge when I sit so much at my desk writing. It is definitely a workout.


I use to really enjoy gardening, but the past few years I’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of work I need to do, and I’ve been lazy and uninspired. We have lived in our house now for nearly ten years, and all our landscaping needs overhauling. After a time, shrubs reach their full height and need radical trimming or removal, perennials need dividing–especially when you neglect doing that year after year, and some overzealous plants reproduce and take over–Siberian irises anyone? That’s where my gardens stand right now. I’d really like to pay someone to come in and redo everything, but who can afford that?

20150801_143255That’s why on Saturday, August 1, I went to visit my friend Shelly Christie, the owner of Graziano Gardens.  That’s us: she’s in pink looking lovely even in the heat! People display their creativity in numerous ways, and I’m glad Shelly lets her creativity shine in the garden. You can see it even in my less than stellar photography. Last Saturday was the first in her new Super Saturdays at Graziano Gardens. I visited to get some inspiration for planting and also to go to the Barn-tique sale–the barn on the property has all kinds of antiques and collectibles to restore and up-cycle into some new treasure for your house or garden. Pinterest anyone?

In addition, I listened to the very knowledgeable Rob Zimmer discuss gardening and designing with native plants. Rob is a columnist for the Appleton Post Crescent and is also known as the Yard MD. I did get some inspiration for next spring, but still have too much to do with what I already need to divide and move to buy anything else, except for two daylilies–there is always room for more daylilies, and Shelly had some beauties. I purchased two called Pardon Me (love the name!) miniatures with cranberry red flowers with green throats. They are re-bloomers too. I can’t wait to get them in the ground. Today, I promise.


If you need an injection of creative inspiration and haven’t been to Graziano Gardens yet or haven’t been in a while, I urge you to go. The gardens surrounding the garden center will inspire you as will the numerous plants and pots for sale. Shelly and her crew are wonderfully  helpful and friendly! Also mark your calendars for the next two Super Saturdays this fall. The weather will be cooler, perfect for gardening. Here’s the info! I hope to see you there!

Super Saturdays, September 5th & October 3rd

  • Super Specials & Sales
  • Barn-tique Open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Linda Otto Peeters of Willow Farm – Wet Felting / Jewelry Making
  • Mum Arrival
  • Fall & Seasonal Decorating Tips
  • WE-SHARE-A-COUNTY Fall Driving Tour


Hello Faith!

20140708_134313My muse just dropped in to say hello, and I mean that literally! I was sitting at my desk getting ready to write, but as sometimes happens (at least to me) I was dawdling on Pinterest, a favorite activity that sometimes yields productive ideas. Not today, however. Instead, I was lost on a board reading a recipe for double chocolate hazelnut cookies. Sigh…

It’s a windy day here, after summer storms last night, and the window next to my desk is open so I feel the breeze. Atmospheric since I am about to edit a scene which takes place aboard a ship. My muse, at least the representation of creative me, usually sits on the side of my computer, but since I rearranged my desk a few weeks ago, I moved her to the top shelf for a bit more room and organization. I found her at one of my favorite places, Junk Bonanza, but that’s another post entirely. 🙂 One gust of wind later she fell from her perch and landed with a thump right in front of me. If she wanted my attention, she certainly got it!

As my heart rate returned to normal, I read the words printed on the canvas: imagine; a creative mind is rarely tidy; listen to your inner whispers; create; be open and alert. Immediately I opened my blog and started to write this post. Sometimes, I guess, it takes a lot more than self-discipline to get me going! It takes a nudge from the unknown.

Now I’m back editing my manuscript (Love that word!). I have a schedule to keep which includes sending queries to several agents before the end of July and also sending my edited manuscript to a friend’s book club for review. I have to thank my muse and her creator, Lauri Jeanne, in addition to the my own Creator for reminding me I should put my buttocks in the chair and write!

Since my “muse” literally fell in my lap to remind me what I should be doing with my time, I’ve decided to call her Faith, after the heroine of my first book and because every time I begin the creative process I begin with faith that the words will come, no matter how bad they are to begin with. Each word I write is better than the blank page, and each time I revise the story, I hone not only my skill as a writer but also the words on the page to more closely say what I mean. And that’s what I’m going to do right now.

See you when I’m finished for the day!

“This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.”
― Steven PressfieldThe War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles