My Garden Doesn’t Look Like Those Magazine Photos

DianneVenetta_AIB-Logo_2015This post is part of the Authors in Bloom Blog Hop. Read to the end to find out how you can win some terrific prizes.

It’s no secret that I love my garden. Seeing little shoots poke up out of the ground, grow, and develop into strong plants with glorious flowers makes my soul rejoice.

And I enjoy reading plant catalogs, gardening magazines, and those fabulous home glossies that show my dream plantings. I can’t get enough of those spreads of vibrant azaleas, sunny zinnias, marigolds, and daisies, and flowing beds of pastel impatiens. I drool over pots full of just the right assortment of tall, short, and trailing plants, mixed with variegated greens and colorful floral highlights. Dreams.

Reality is my garden looks like those glossy, landscaped masses of color for about three minutes, usually sometime in mid-June.

Part of the garden on one of its better days.

Part of the garden on one of its better days.

I’ve never mastered the art of designing plantings that will produce those flowing waves of vibrant glory. I end up with clumps of happy red zinnias here and smiling yellow marigolds there. The roses put on a splendid display for a couple of weeks before the heat drives them back in somnolent leafiness. The irises and gladiolas will rise up in May and June for a magnificent but short-lived blaze of petal-pretty glory.

My pots of geraniums spend a couple of months looking dinky until they grow into their allotted space. They’re fabulous for a week or two until they start to wilt in the blazing North Carolina July heat. They’ll have another renaissance in late September when cooler temperatures encourage another spurt of growth and bloom.

I’ve come to terms with it. My garden is never going to pose for a magazine photo shoot. It doesn’t matter. It gives me pleasure and feeds my soul. That’s what counts. Not much of a tip, I know, but really, really important. You don’t want to give up on gardening because you can’t reach perfection. You CAN get very good, though.

Just like I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll likely never write a book that sells millions of copies. I enjoy writing and it feeds my soul just as gardening does. So I’ll keep on doing both.

This post is sponsored by the first book in my Market Center Mysteries series, A Gift for Murder.

AGFM_125Blurb: The Gifts and Home Decoration trade show provides Heather McNeill with the longest week of her hectic life. As assistant to the director of Washington, D.C.’s, Market and Commerce center, she’s point person for complaining exhibitors, missing shipments and miscellaneous disasters. It’s a job she takes in stride—until murder crashes the event.

Read an excerpt and get other order links here:

Note: the cover at left will soon be replaced with a new one that reflects the series branding since book two, Wired for Murder, should be available in a few months.

Now, about the prizes:


I’m giving away a gift pack including a print copy of one of my books plus some other swag to a random commenter, so leave your email address in your comment to be eligible. Sorry, but shipping is limited to the US and Canada. If we have an international winner, I’ll offer you a package of ebooks instead.

GRAND PRIZE: We are giving away a Kindle Fire or Nook (winner’s choice) along with a 2nd prize of $25 gift card.

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22 Responses to My Garden Doesn’t Look Like Those Magazine Photos

  1. Linda Romer says:

    Hello Karen, I think your flowers look fantastic. My garden doesn’t look like a magazines either but I enjoy gardening just the same. Thank you
    Linda Romer

  2. Tina says:

    Good for you doing 2 things you love doing!! I can grow some sunflowers and my butterfly bushes are beautiful and that’s all I can do.. grandmatinaof2(at)

  3. Throuthehaze says:

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  4. Zana712 says:

    I have never mastered the art of plantings either! Guess we will have to keep trying!

  5. Lori H says:

    I love gardening. We usually have a large vegetable garden. It keeps me busy all summer, canning. We enjoy the fruits of our labor through the winter months 🙂

  6. Shannon says:

    Thanks so much for the chance.

  7. Anne says:

    Thanks for participating.

  8. Your garden looks lovely. When it comes to my garden, I’m just excited when something is growing. I’m not very good at keeping it immaculate. Weeds are gonna get in there despite the mulch, black plastic, rocks or whatever strategy you try. (Grass can be especially troublesome!) I’ve learned to live with it. Nothing wrong with the wild flower meadow look, anyway. 🙂

  9. Joye I says:

    Enjoyed reading your comments.
    I like these hops since I get introduced to a lot of authors I have yet to read. Your book sounds really good.

  10. Savannah Miller says:

    I agree that if it feeds your soul and gives you pleasure that is what counts. My kiddos and I love going to check on the things we grow, seeing them excited is the best part for me!

  11. Amber Ag says:

    Exactly! Do what makes you happy 🙂 Thank you.

    kissedbymidnight AT

  12. Alisha Sienkiel says:

    Your flowers look great! We usually get involved in too many projects during the summer so our gardens usually look like they need a good weeding. lol
    sienkiel1821 at yahoo dot com

  13. Tia says:

    Thank you for joining the hop!

    videoclimber at yahoo dot com

  14. Carly Carson says:

    I don’t garden, but I like your philosophy. The woods would be very quiet if only the best bird sang, and the same for plantings. Whatever you plant enhances the world somehow. (not entering the contest since I’m in the hop)

  15. Beth T. says:

    Thanks for the dose of reality. So often the blog world makes it seem as if everyone else’s house/garden/life is perfection, while mine is so much more “everyday”–which is fine, just not “magazine perfect”. We’d all be happier if everyone kept it real, don’t you think?

  16. Michele Hayes says:

    I think your garden looks great, and if it feeds your soul, that’s a bonus.
    (mybeach52 at yahoo dot com)

  17. Jeanna Massman says:

    My plant to product ratio is not so great. I’m not much of a gardener.
    jeanna_massman at hotmail dot com

  18. Jackie Wisherd says:

    Nice pic of your garden on a good day. It’s better than my garden…since I am not much of a gardener. I have a few plants in pots on my patio that survive in spite of my care.

  19. Beautiful roses! have you tried chopping up some banana peels and mixing them in at the base of your plants? It was my mom’s secret to big beautiful blooms.

    blueberrycrisp@gmial dot com

  20. ELF says:

    Part of my problem is that I huddle inside under the A/C during the heat of summer, so I don’t water my flowers enough! Your garden looks beautiful and does what it is supposed to, uplifts you. Thanks for the giveaway.

    elewkf1 at yahoo dot com

  21. Very little about me looks like the magazine cover.