Random Guest: Olivia Waite

So, everyone, you’re in for a treat today! Less of my babble, and more from a guest author! I also really like this topic, because as you can see, I like flowers and gardening as well. (Yes, all those pictures of flowers on my header/background? I took them in or around my parent’s house.) Anyway. Olivia Waite is here to talk about, well, gardening, in a way, with a really sweet post.)

My family is full of women who are gardeners — my mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my aunt. There seems to be a mysterious genetic switch that gets flipped at some point and sends us into a tizzy of weeding, planting, fertilizing, pruning, and trimming.

I’m nearing thirty, and that switch is still unflipped. Every houseplant I’ve tried to tend has died. My own small backyard is a wilderness in miniature. There are the usual dandelions, strange green grasses, some small blue flowers I find appealing in a Sound of Music kind of way, and a few menacing raspberry vines that should probably be taken care of now while they’re still young and weak. If we let them get too firm in the root, they could take over the whole backyard and make it really difficult for our miniature dachshund puppy to do his business. He’s having a hard enough time with the dandelions, most of which are taller than he is.

But I must admit it’s fun to watch him sniff the white dandelion clocks and sneeze when they tickle his nose. At eight months of age, he’s never seen spring before, and it’s clearly puzzling him why the garden that was a damp and frigid huddle of muck in the winter should suddenly smell so different and grow so full of stuff.

Part of the challenge with our backyard is that it’s difficult by nature: one half is at the base of a small hill and stays perennially damp and shady, while the other half has been dried out by the leavings of the former tenant’s two dozen cats (seriously — she was kicked out by the housing board and the whole place remodeled) and not even the dandelions will touch it. The week before I got married, my mother and bridesmaids cleared out every weed in the place and put in some lovely desert grasses that were less lovely when they drowned a week later while we were on our honeymoon. I don’t want to put in anything else just to watch it die — and so, the weeds live on, smug and victorious.

And yet — I dream of moss.

Someday, when the gardening gene kicks in, I will take out all the tall plants and transplant as many kinds of moss as I can find locally or purchase in specialty stores. I did a lot of research once I realized how poor our backyard was. Moss is fairly forgiving and needs only shade and water, things we have in abundance. What’s more, there’s something soothing about moss gardens, the softness and the gentleness of them. A moss garden sounds like an excellent place for writing.

Last fall, in the flush of enthusiasm, I actually cleared a small space and gave moss transplanting a try. The transplant not only survived but flourished — and I’ve noticed other patches growing on their own around the yard, at least three different species. My transplant is a small, brilliant patch of emerald to the right of the backdoor steps. Every time I see it my heart lifts a little.

There may be hope for me as a gardener yet.

Olivia Waite stole her first romance novel at the age of five from her mother’s bedside table. She kept reading them secretly all through college and graduate school, until finally she sat down and put together a book of her own. 

Now she writes some very scandalous historical novellas for Ellora’s Cave. Caffeine gives her superpowers–or at least makes her feel that way. She lives in the Seattle area, blogs frequently, and loves emails, postcards, skywritten messages, and communication of all kinds.

Olivia has very kindly offered to do a giveaway here today, and two lucky commenters will win a book! So tell me. What do you think of gardening? Do you have a green thumb or a black thumb? Did you grow up with anyone who loved to garden?

And of course, questions for Olivia about her books are always welcome!

0 thoughts on “Random Guest: Olivia Waite

  1. Barbara Monajem

    I’m a terrible gardener. I love the feel of the earth when I’m working with it, but I don’t have the persistence to do it every day, especially with all the mosquitoes! And the heat gets to me, too.

    I would love to hear about your scandalous novellas, Olivia. What period of history do you write about?

  2. StacieDM

    Hello Olivia!
    I wish I had a green thumb. I inherited my mom’s black thumb I’m afraid. When I was little we had a vegetable garden and that seemed to do pretty well but our flowers rarely survived. The only exception was a patch of daffodils that my mom planted 30 years ago. They still return every year. I do adore daffodils. Perhaps I will plant some next year and keep my fingers crossed.

  3. Cathy Yardley

    I love this post! You’ve got a great voice. 🙂 Your dog sounds adorable, and I loved your description of his thoughts on spring. Also, I’d never heard of a moss garden — sounds like my kind of gardening, as well!

  4. Olivia

    Hello, everyone! I’m thrilled to be here today. 🙂

    @Barbara: My first novella is set in the Victorian era and my second is a Regency. One of my favorite things about reading and writing fiction is the ability to explore a new place or historical era (the Old West, colonial Australia/India, Tang-dynasty China) — but Regencies will always be my first love.

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  6. Limecello Post author

    I thought this was *such* a cute post – I hope you eventually get the gardening switch, Olivia- although personally I think the moss garden counts. Also, it sounds perfectly lovely, and a great place to relax, read, or write.

    Thanks for stopping by today! I’m a big fan of historicals and especially like Victorians and Regencies. 😀

  7. Susan R

    I totally have a black thumb!! But my grandfather could grow anything! He used to grow the best tomoatoes in his small yard in Brooklyn. And he had african violets all over the house!!

    Thanks for the great memory!

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  9. Darcy

    As I write this my hubby is out planting our small garden with tomatoes, peppers, onions and strawberries, and a few wild raspberry bushes as well.
    It is hard to do a garden here in northern Alaska as you have a short growing season, and if you want to grow another year you have to dig it up and keep it in a warmer place through the long winter months.
    After too many years of travel I finally gave up on houseplants until this year, and I am slowly building an indoor haven of sort. I love plants as they are a great part of nature that I can’t seem to live without.
    I absolutely love moss. It is great part of nature that grows in varieties here, and especially in the bush.

    Olivia, give it time..your moss garden will flourish and be so beautiful…*S*
    Thank you for the chance to win one of your delightful books!


    pommawolf @hotmail.com

  10. Olivia

    @Darcy: Sounds to me like you’re doing everything right: travel often, and then when traveling gets too stressful settle down with a private, green sanctuary and mouth-watering wild raspberries.

  11. Betty Lewis

    I love flowers, I just don’t seem to have the greatest luck growing them. Ok..honestly..I tend to forget about them. Luckily, my hubby loves to take care of them!! It’s very cool to help pick out all the flowers I love, tell him how I want the pots set up, then watch him do all the work LOL. I love dahalias and he loves pansies, and I have to say he did a great job with the planters this year,making them compliment each other with his arrangements. I was concerned with all the rain we’ve had lately that I would lose my dahalias. I had one bloom out of four plants and they were looking very sad. but 2 days of no rain and lots of sun, and now everything is blooming again. I’m of from work tomorrow, and get to sit outside with the dogs and enjoy the beauty of all his hard work 🙂

  12. Cathy M

    My hubby is the one with the green thumb for vegetables, now me I love flowers, and can’t wait to fill my planter’s at the first taste of spring. I call dibs on any containers left lying around, and love filling them with petunias and impatiens.

  13. Dana

    I could even kill a cactus! So no. No green thumb here. The only thing I’ve ever planted that hasn’t died, is my Confederate Jasmine and Mexican Heather.

    Olivia, just no spanish moss from the south. It’s filled with red bugs.

    Just thought I would share that tidbit, just in case. LOL

    Am about to go google your stories! Love EC books! Several buddies are pubbed through them.

    Thanks Lime for another great intro!


  14. Eva / TXBookjunkie

    I like the idea of gardening, but I don’t like bugs – which you can’t avoid when gardening. My parents garden (vegetables and flowers). I have an ivy from them that’s doing quite well but my bamboo keeps dying.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    TXBookjunkie [at] gmail [dot] com

  15. Shannon-Nicole

    I love gardening. I took a lot of horticulture classes in college. Gardening in coastal California is a dream. relocating to the desert and trying to grow plants…not so much.
    We’ve been here two years. Everything I planted the forst year died from the heat. Next, I planted all native plants, which froze and died in the Big Freeze in Febrary (coldest Febrary on record.)
    So now I have a few pots with flowers that seem to be doing ok.
    At least I have this baren landscape to start again. 🙂


  16. Amy P.

    I love gardening – I call it cheap therapy! Indoor plants, outside – sun/shade – flowers/veggies . . . I do it all!

    Often times my neighbors would comment that it must have been “one of those days” when they saw me working in my yard after dark!

    Love the pictures !

  17. Lisa B

    I used to love gardening but i got away from it for a bit. I’m hoping to get back at it this spring. My flower beds are a little run over right now lol My mom is out in hers all the time though and she loves it. It can be very relaxing believe it or not to go out and sit and just pull weeds. No thinking required. lol

    Lisa B
    modokker at yahoo dot com

  18. Julia Broadbooks

    I kill all the plants that I buy.

    I don’t mean to. I try and take good care of them. I water them when I remember and I weed when I think of it. You might now see why they don’t survive very long.

    The exception is my orchids. I have several blooming right now. I can’t believe they survived the long cold winter we had this year. They spent a good part of it in my garage. But it appears they are hardier than they look.

    I’ll second the Spanish moss warnings. It looks neat, but is always infested with those little red bugs.

  19. ClaudiaGC

    I love gardening! It’s next to reading, of course, my favourite hobby. I not only have flower beds but also grow all kinds of vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, salad and so on. It’s great for getting a clear head again after a tiring day in the office.

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