by Julie, grateful for one last summer like day

Pruning The Dead MMOne of the interesting things about being a published author is keeping track of where you are in the process for each book. Right now, wearing my Julia Henry hat, I am finishing book 2, just did the copy edits for book 1 Pruning the Dead), and am starting to noodle book 3 a bit so I can weave some clues through book 2.  Are you confused? So am I, a bit.

I’m very excited about this series, and can’t wait for you all to meet Lilly Jayne, Tamara O’Connor, Ernie Johnson and Delia Greenway aka the Garden Squad. They guerilla garden and solve mysteries in Goosebush, Massachusetts. Lilly and Tamara have been best friends since they met in nursery school over sixty years ago. I love writing about women who have lived a lot of life, and have plans to live a lot more while making it better for others.

Since this series is about gardens, I’ve been gathering gardening tips from friends and family. I quickly discovered that along with the tips I am getting stories. My Aunt Carol and Uncle George told me about their fathers’ gardens, both of which I remember. My sister Caroline told me about her practice of bringing plants in for the winter. I know about that practice because she decorates them all for Christmas every year. I’ve loved learning about their best plant magic, and getting glimpses into their passion.

I’m thrilled to let you know that the ARCs for Pruning the Dead have arrived, and I am going to give two copies away to readers of this blog! US and Canada entries only. I’ll leave the comments open until October 15.

Also, if you have any gardening tips you’d be willing to share, leave those in the comments as well. I’m gathering them for books 2 & 3!

93 Thoughts

  1. Oh wow, that sounds like a wonderful book. Can not wait to read it. I am sorry but I do not have a green thumb whatsoever. I have been trying to keep this peace lily I have alive for the past 2 years and it’s barely hanging on. Good luck!

  2. I look forward to meeting the Garden Squad. I have lots of perennials and my husband and I keep a small vegetable garden. Sometimes I’m very successful, sometimes not so much. This year I planted gladiolas and they were gorgeous and long lasting. I dug the bulbs to keep over the winter and will give them another try in the spring.They were ~1″ in diameter when I planted them. When I dug the out out they’d doubled in size. I hope that means huge blossoms next summer! I’ve never heard of decorating plans for Christmas…

    1. Your gladiolas sound lovely. I’m always thrilled when blooms last a long time. My sister’s house gets crowded with the plants, but she makes it work.

  3. The new series sounds good! I have no gardening tips because I am terrible with plants. My grandmother had a green thumb and could grow anything. Unfortunately I didn’t inherit her talent with plants.

  4. I’m looking forward to reading your new series. No gardening tips from me but I enjoy other people’s gardens, especially their flower gardens. Happy writing.

  5. Yay, Julie! As a long-time gardener and even farmer, I can’t wait to read this.

    If you need tips about growing garlic, about starting seeds indoors, about hardening off – I’m your girl. Just ask. Flowers, not so much, although I did have a gorgeous bumper crop of sunflowers this year – all volunteers from prior years.

  6. Congratulations on your new series. It sounds amazing. Unfortunately I have no gardening tips, I tend to have a knack in growing weeds. Yard work and sprucing up the front of the house tends to be a yucky chore for us. Maybe it’s because we really don’t have a clue what we are doing 🙈🙈 I wish I could have a beautiful garden.. but all I ever see are weeds that take over,. Yuk!
    Hopefully I will get some ideas as well😊
    Thank you for the chance. ❤️❤️

  7. Always love starting s new series. Love the names of the folks in the squad. One of the best things about cozies are the tips,or recipes that are also included. I have no gardening tips but look forward to learning some

  8. Congratulations on your new book. I love the title. I’m not the world’s greatest gardener but I’ve had success with using Epsom salts in the soil when I plant tomatoes. I have had better luck with my tomatoes since using this tip.

  9. No gardening tips as I am not much good with plants, but I love looking at them and reading about them. Long wood Gardens in PA was a favorite place to go growing up.

  10. Sounds like a fun series that both my mom and I would enjoy! I don’t garden really, but my mom really enjoys it as do most of her siblings.

  11. I would love to win a copy. I used to live on 42nd St. In NYC, so moving to MA was a shock. My biggest tip– some chores can’t wait, or they become overwhelming. Do a little every day the weather allows.

  12. What a fun series this sounds like! I would like to see your sister’s plants at Christmas. Does she use just small ornaments or does she also put lights on them? I may need to try this. My grandpa was a fantastic gardener, roses being his forte. The very last rose on his bushes was always brought to our home on Christmas morning!
    Thank you for the chance to win the book.

    1. She puts twinkle lights on them and small ornaments. She keeps the lights on all winter–they help cheer her up until she can get back into her gardens.

  13. I love series with older women. My only indoor gardening tip is – don’t overwater.

  14. I am new to the cozy mysteries and your book looks very interesting, i am putting it on my list of to be read. I would love to have an ARC, but either way i am making plans for this series to sit on my shelves. thank you and have a great day.

  15. In theory I love growing things. In practice, I’m terrible at it. I forget to water indoor plants, and the outdoor failures I blame on the weather (heat, drought, three feet of snow) or squirrels (they ate all my tulip bulbs!). The only success I seem to have had is with the plentiful lily of the valley, which was planted before I arrived. They give me an odd sort of comfort (as a mystery writer) because they’re poisonous.

  16. Thank you for the fabulous chance to win an AR copy of “Pruning the Dead”! We love to have both flower and vegetable gardens. Hubby says it’s relaxing and I say it’s work, but either way the beauty and the bounty make it all worth it.

    We have had large gardens before furnishing 14 families besides ourselves. Once we even furnished the tomatoes for the local Mexican restaurant for their salsa for 2 whole months of top of that. Can you say tomatoes EVERYWHERE! 🙂

    I think my best advice is put in the work up front and you have a lot less work to do later on. We lived close to a dairy so were able to get natural fertilizer to work in with our compost during the winter. It means turning it often to mix it up and get it to do its thing, but it’s pure gold in the garden. We also found that putting down several layers of newspaper covered by layers of hay around the plants and in between the rows. Sure keeps the weeds down meaning no hoeing plus you can walking through the garden even after a substantial rain within minutes without getting your feet muddy. Probably the best advice, especially for small garden areas, is to use the Japanese ring method for growing things like tomatoes, cucumbers and even pepper plants. Basically, it’s being able to grown five plants in the space of one. You have a center ring about 5 ft tall (we make ours out of concrete reinforcement wire) that you line with burlap sack and fill with your compost. Around it you have a shorter ring about 10-12 inches bigger than the center ring in which you have have compose rich soil (it’s like a raised bed) and this too is lined on the outside with burlap. You plant your five plants around the short raised bed and water the center ring which automatically fertilizes the plants with each watering. As the plants grown you use cut strips of pantyhose to tie up the plants. You will be amazed how much you will harvest by planting this way. Hope my hints help you some. I will post some photos on the Facebook post so you can get a better idea what I’m talking about.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. GREAT tips Kay! My aunt told me about how manure was her father’s secret weapon. She said when she was in high school she’d tell her dates her house was the one with the pile of manure next to the driveway. I’ll check out your photos too.

  17. Congratulations,Julie, on yet another series. You amaze me. I don’t have much time to garden, and the deer eat much of what I plant, so my best bet is to read about someone gardening.

  18. Moving from a house to an apartment, my mini roses just didn’t do well. I switched to succulents. The variety of sizes, textures, colors, and shapes make for a very interesting potted garden. I still miss my roses, though now have a year around garden that’s so hardy and forgiving,

    1. I used to have a house with wonderful rose bushes. One winter took them out, and I could never get them to come back. My niece is a succulent fan. I remember years ago Martha Stewart made a wreath of succulents. It looked heavy, but was stunning.

  19. Congrats on the new series. Since I have an uncontrollable brown thumb, my advice is always to buy a lot of perennials like tulips and daffodils. They take care of themselves (well, unless the wildlife eats them).

  20. I’m looking forward to reading the book but since I have a terrible black thumb I don’t have have any gardening tips. Unless it’s to leave it to the people who have the green thumbs!

  21. I used to say I had a black thumb. I would kill plastic flowers. Now I have a beautiful yard, but it isn’t all to my great skills (which still aren’t developed). I love working in the yard and all the work pays off – sometimes. As I got older, I also got wise enough to hire a landscaper to do the really heavy work – creating rock walls, mulching a huge hill in the back yard. I buy easy to maintain plants – geraniums, marigolds, ivies, begonias, and deadhead as necessary. None of this is exciting enough for a book, but I love to read about gardens in cozies. Would love to win your new book as I love your writing.

  22. Gardening is my therapy and I love flowers and flowering shrubs. Julia Henry’s cover is inviting and is now on my list of want to read books. Thanks so much for including it on your blog.

  23. Can’t wait to read this! My husband and I have a nice set of bushes around our pool. We have heavenly bamboo, which looks really pretty going from red to yellow to green, and is not actually bamboo (which is too invasive), We also planted Coreopsis in between the heavenly bamboo plants but the deer ate those TO. THE. GROUND. Deer resistant, my butt! I guess we’re just lucky the deer never fell into the pool.

    1. I love the deer story. My folks have very bold deer that stand in the front yard eating anything they want. I love the bamboo solution. The look is so great.

  24. Looking forward to reading this. Being married to a farmer, I don’t worry about gardening. He has it covered! I can embroider any flower he wants, however

  25. Make sure your gardening friends use plants that attract & feed butterflies & hummingbirds. Loved the cover & the idea of older sleuths. Congratulations on another wonderful series.

  26. Sorry, no tips here. I have a hard enough time with silk flowers.
    Your book sounds good though. I enjoy “mature” main characters because they have more life experience. And maybe because I may fit that demographic.
    Love the chance to get in at the start of a new series. And I really like that you’re putting clues for book 3 into book 2. Very smart!

  27. This sounds like a series that is right up my alley, or hedgerow, as the case may be! My husband and I have really gotten into plants, lately, and have been adding to our yards. We just planted a Jacaranda Tree and some gorgeous Confetti Lantanas. We really have no clue as to what we are doing, but we are getting our feet wet, in more ways than one… 🙂

  28. This sounds like a fun series that I’d like to read. I enjoy gardening, but the weeds tend to get away from me around August. I do like to plant daffodil bulbs every fall. You get a real bang for your buck in the spring when you’re desperate for color. Also, deer won’t eat daffodils. I had a terrible problem with deer mowing down my tulips, so finally gave up.

  29. The new series sounds great–can’t wait to read it. Hmmm, gardening tips? I’m really quite the beginner, but mint will take over the herb garden if you’re not careful–I have mine growing in a large tub. -Melanie

  30. Sounds like a really good read, can’t wait to read this wonderful book.❤❤📖👀

  31. I love gardening and have flowers, one tomato plant and some herbs. Don’t forget about volunteer plants. My portulaccas and celosias usually come up every year. This year a morning glory vine grew in my old composter that I put extra plants on.

  32. Propagating certain plants is easy as pie – coleus plant, sedums, African violets, several vines and many more. All you have to do is stick a piece of the plant in soil. In no time you have a new plant. Saving seeds from your plants is easier than harvesting and drying. Just trim off the dead flowers and drop them where you want them to grow. I have found that Mother Nature knows better than we do. When I tried planting passion fruit seeds, they did poorly. When the fruit falls and seeds, it does great. Thanks for the chance to win.

  33. We’ve already had our first snow of the season so all my plants are inside for the duration. I’m always amazed at which ones survive inside for the winter and which don’t. I’d really enjoy starting your new series so I’ve got my fingers crossed that you’ll pick me. Thanks for the chance to win.

  34. You are a new to me author.
    I don’t think my gardening tips will help you. I live in AZ and mostly Xeriscape.

  35. I used to have 300 tea roses and 200 minus when I lived in Chicago. The one thing I really miss in Arizona. I am not a good Gardner out here!!! But sure love mysteries about it!!!!!!

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