by Julie, enjoying the waning (sob) days of summer in Somerville
When I decided to write a Thanksgiving book for my gardening series, I had a “problem”. How do I incorporate gardening in late fall? Well, after some thought I realized there are a few ways to do it–fall plantings, using the greenhouse, fertilizing rituals. But I also used the opportunity to allow seeds of ideas grow untamed in my imagination.
See what I did there? Seeds, gardening? Prepare yourselves, dear readers. I have a book coming out at the end of the month. The puns will continue.
Anyway, here are the two ideas that took root. 😉
The first is that there is a wreath making contest held by the library. While technically not gardening, organic materials are used. The wreaths are all inspired by books. Now, I don’t know where that idea came from, but I love it as a library fundraiser. For all I know it was a library fundraiser I read about. But how cool would that be? A wreath inspired by Jane Eyre, or Pride and Prejudice, or Hound of the Baskerville? Or Nancy Drew or Encyclopedia Brown? Or a book by the one of the Wickeds?
The second idea that bloomed was a garden sculpture contest. Did anyone else watch The Big Flower Fight on Netflix? It was a game show competition like the Great British Bake-Off, except with florists and gardeners. I did, and wondered how the Garden Squad would fare on the show. I decided that Roddy and Ernie would be a great team. Lilly would be good for ideas, but terrible for execution. Big floral displays are not how she rolls. But what if the entire Garden Squad entered the competition? That became a subplot of the book.
My fertile imagination, already strong, is helped by local events. I live in a city that celebrates the invention of Fluff, yes that Fluff, with a weekend long festival. What the Fluff? is a great time with food, crafts, music, family fun. Covid has changed it, but it will happen this year. If Somerville can celebrate Fluff, Goosebush can hold a garden sculpture contest.
Goosebush isn’t constrained by reality. One of my favorite things about writing the Garden Squad series is that it is over the top fun for my muse. The ideas that take root can grow in a dozen different ways. There’s really no reason for me to limit them. So garden sculpture contests and book wreaths can fit into a couple of mysteries and planting garlic and putting seaweed on the garden beds. It all works.
Speaking of which–Wreathing Havoc releases on September 28! There’s still time to pre-order–the book will be released in paperback and audiobook. On the day of, I’ll be celebrating the book birthday via Zoom (here’s the link) or on the JHAuthors Facebook page. Here’s the Facebook event if you want to RSVP to get a reminder. The party will run from 7:30pm EDT to 8:30pm EDT, and it will include these fabulous authors:
Readers, do you have a local event that tickles your imagination?
Ooh, I’m glad you included planting garlic in the book! It’s favorite thing to do in the fall garden. My book has been preordered for a long time and I can’t wait to read it.
My town’s Chamber of Commerce runs a scarecrow contest next month. Different businesses and organizations make a scarecrow and attach it to a lamp post. Every year I’ve wanted to do a Quaker midwife reading one of my books – I have the dress, after all – but I never get around to putting in an application. Maybe this year! It’s kind of startling when you catch these figures out of the side of your eye and think it’s a real person.
Oh Edith, I love that! Sounds like a Midsommer Murders episode waiting to happen.
You have made me realize I need to work it into a Country Store Mystery!
Thanks for the update! I just snagged the first three in a kindle deal and pre-ordered the 4th. I love a strong, older female protagonist and organic gardening is my sport. Looking forward to reading these!
Sharon, thank you so much! I hope you can join us on the 28th to celebrate.
I”ve never been to it, but Pittsburgh has “Picklesburgh” every summer. The pictures make it look fun – a giant pickle balloon takes pride of place.
That sounds wonderful, and fun! I bet the food is great.
Pittsburgh has some very interesting food specialties. 🙂
Congratulations on the new book! Somehow the phrase “Wreathing Heights” lept to mind as I read your fun essay. Maybe a wreath based on Heathcliff and Cathy?
Delia, what a great idea. Making the moors into a wreath would be fun.
Julie, I am so grateful for your fertile imagination and your books. The Garden Squad feels like family to me. And, what a lovely wreath! In the past, before covid, our town would hold a cattle drive around our downtown Square remembering the days of the trail that went through our town. Our Historical Society members have good imaginations too and are this year holding a “Stampede” of the human variety where folks will get to buy tickets to visit and drink at the “saloons” in town. 😉
The stampede sounds like a lot of fun, and a creative ways to get folks downtown.
Congratulations on the upcoming release! Can’t wait for the opportunity to read it.
Living in the Ozarks, often known for its hillbillies, we actually have a Bean Fest where pinto beans and cornbread ar the center of attention. One of the events are the outhouse races – which really gets folks running. 🙂
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Kay, outhouse races? I bet it does get folks running. And pinto beans and corn bread sound wonderful.
What great and fun ideas! I can’t wait to read it!
Thank you Sherry!
Wreath-making events are very common in libraries and churches! I agree that there are 12 months to the possibilities of gardening. Congrats on the book and keep them coming. And yes inspiration comes from a number of local events and groups but I don’t want anyone to think I am writing about them!
Thank you Doris. You’re right–you don’t want people to think it’s about them, especially when they’re the murderer!
I can’t wait for Wreathing Havoc! (Great title and cover, btw.)
Planning to finish up the book today. The contests are a great way to incorporate a little gardening into a usually dead time of year.
Fluff festival? I was a “fluffah-nuttah” kid growing up, I’d have a blast at that festival! Love all these ideas and town celebrations!
You really would have fun at the festival–all things Fluff. I still love a good fluffernutter.
So much has been cancelled because of Covid. We have had Jeep Fest as well as the Solein Cup in Toledo, Ohio. We did not go to either due to the crowds.
Still battling the now 9,936 unread emails, but I do have Wreathing Havoc in the queue.
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