Mystery Blogger Award

Elizabeth of the Pink Roses Blog has nominated me for the Mystery Blogger Award, which was created by Okoto Enigma. My sincere thanks to Elizabeth.


  1. Display the award logo on your blog
  2. Thank the blogger who nominated you and leave a link to their blog
  3. Mention Okoto Enigma, creator of the award
  4. Tell your readers three things about yourself
  5. Answer five questions from the blogger who nominated you
  6. Nominate 10 – 20 bloggers
  7. Notify your nominees by leaving a message on their comments
  8. Ask your nominees five questions of your choice, including a funny or a weird one
  9. Share the link to your best post


  • One of my favourite pieces of music is Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 5, “The Emperor.”
  • My favourite sin food is potato chips, salt and black pepper flavour in particular.
  • I have been lucky enough to visit three of the lighthouses on the British Columbia coast.


  1. What is the first book you really loved and read over and over?
    The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
  2. What fictional character would you like to live with?
    Right now it would be France Leighton, the main character of my novel She Who Comes Forth, because I’ve just started writing the sequel to it, and I could ask her for plot suggestions.
  3. Which writer would you like to have dinner with?
    Richard Adams, author of Watership Down, Maia, and The Girl in a Swing.
  4. Which fictional character do you really detest?
    Steerpike, the villain in Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast and Titus Groan.
  5. Would you rather dance or read?
    Read, no question. I prefer to dance internally.

I’ve been blogging for more than a decade, so I have a lot of choices, but I decided on a post from August 2018 called Our Golden Age? It’s about the phenomenon of indie publishing many of us are part of.

Now, those of you who have read my posts know me as a rule-quibbler, so I’m sure you’re not surprised that I am breaking Rules 6, 7, and 8. I am not going to nominate any other blogs, but I did sort of enjoy putting this post together.

New Year’s Resolutions for Gardeners

Looking in my garden notebook, I see lists of Things To Do, compiled at various times over the years, usually in the fall or winter. Try growing delphiniums in big pots. Replace old lavender plants. Divide Stipa gigantea. Acquire Nerines. Rescue Digitalis ferruginea — again.  Gratifyingly, quite a few of these items have “Done” scribbled next to them. Others have become old friends as they reappear in lists year after year. For example: Prune old apple tree to stop branches from rubbing garage roof. That one was on the list for 2008 and it’s back for 2012. Right after “Acquire new pruning saw.”

But can these lists of specific garden tasks be called “New Year’s resolutions?”  I don’t think so. Resolutions are characterized by a goal more elevated than merely getting things done. Their ultimate purpose is to make one a better person. While it’s true that pruning this and dividing that may make the garden better in small ways, New Year’s resolutions for the garden ought to have a more widespread and long-term effect.

So here is a short list of worthy intentions for gardeners:

1. Keep up with basic maintenance — weeding, deadheading, edging, watering, mulching.  Especially deadheading and edging; they can make the difference between a slovenly patch and something that looks like a garden. Doing this stuff keeps the gardener connected to the garden, which is important.

2. Pay attention to what’s going on in your garden. Really look and see — not only the plants you have introduced, but the entire scene, including animal inhabitants such as squirrels, birds and raccoons. They are part of the life of your garden, so come to terms with their presence.

3. Try something new — a new plant, a new technique. Growing something from seed, for example, or from cuttings. Try air-layering or grafting. Turn something into a bonsai or a standard.

4. Don’t give divisions of vigorously colonizing plants to other gardeners without a clear warning. Give away some really good plants occasionally, rather than those of which you have a surplus because of their spreading habits.

5. Make a decision about whether to get that maple tree removed, and do it. Think hard before planting an eventually large tree in a small garden.

6. Fight bindweed. Always.

Worthy goals, all of them. In the end, though, it does come down to the list of specific things that Must Be Done. Such as: Finish cutting down last year’s perennials before they start sprouting out in the spring. Cut down the very dead looking clematis that is uglifying the cotoneaster by the front steps (it’s not dead, of course, but is doing a great job of looking that way). Surgically remove the lowest limbs of the sideways-spreading magnolia and hope that makes it look more tree-like. Top the rampant hollies on the west side of the back garden. Think about repotting and dividing the potted delphiniums before the dreaded vine weevil (a common pest of plants grown in pots) shows up. And fight that bindweed.