The View from Here

I don’t write much on this blog.  Every now and then, I’ll schedule a bunch of daily photos.  I mostly write on other blogs.

I review books on Pomegranate’s blog here:

I write about surfing here:

I write about gardening here:

I write about business here:

So, for semi-regular blogging, check out those sites.

Why I Don’t Blog Here

I don’t write much on this blog because I write all the time.  ALL. THE. TIME.  Writing is my job.  Gardening is also kind of my job.  I’ve figured out how to turn reading into a (fun) job. I write about surfing PURELY because I enjoy it.  I write about business on the GWT site because I have something to share with my fellow writers/photographers.  At least, until I run out of things to say.

I don’t blog for a personal audience, and writing for four other blogs, as well as other ghost blogs and writing projects, pretty much uses me up. I’ve found a way to be compensated for writing about everything like to do and write about doing.  Compensated by someone else.   That’s a good situation, yes?  I think so.

I’m Not My Own Brand

This is a bit of my Garden Writers presentation coming out.  I have a brand: The Garden of Words, LLC.  It is my business.  It isn’t Me.  And, I’m not my business.  Let’s pretend I am an attorney (like my Dad might have secretly wanted me to be because he’s one and then we could have practiced together but then I’d still be living in Indianapolis, would not have met my husband and wouldn’t be a surfer-but I digress), I work for a firm.  The firm is my business, but it isn’t Me.  At the end of the day, I’m representing my clients’ interests, not my interests.

It’s the same thing with The Garden of Words.  I represent my clients’ interests.  What I do isn’t about me.  It’s about them.

I don’t want to be the shining star.  I want them to be the shining star.  I want to work and surf. That’s all.


Filed under This and That

What can Garden Writers Today do for you?

I’m thrilled to be working with Cool Springs Press to create their monthly email newsletters for different segments of the gardening community. One of those is the newsletter for garden writers, in conjunction with Laura Schaub, Managing Editor of the Garden Writers Today website and community.

Currently, you can see a very UNFINISHED, BETA version of GWT here:

There are many other features and feeds that we’re planning to add, but this community and website is first and foremost a resource for you and fellow garden writers.

To make sure that we add information, resources, news, community features and other benefits that are TRUE benefits to writers and photographers, we’re conducting an informal blog survey/meme. We’re asking that garden writers and bloggers post on Tuesday, September 7th, and link back to a home blog post on the Garden Writers Today website. (We’ll have a link widget on there, and I’ll email you back with details about that.)

In your blog post, we’re asking that you answer this simple question:

“What Can Garden Writers Today Do For Me?”

Think of what would help support you, as a writer. Discussions? Tutorials? Photo resources? What would make the GWT site a place that you’d check frequently, even daily?

We’d like you to:

– Write a short post simply listing what would be helpful and why
– Invite your readers to comment to your post or ours with their ideas, as well
– Link to our blog and FB page sometime on Tuesday 9/7

Laura, Jean Ann and I will be promoting everyone’s posts on the FB page and Twitter, which should help you get a bit more traffic. But, mostly, we’re asking this as a favor to the entire community of writers to help us build a website and community that will be helpful for all of us.

Please let me know if you’d like to participate! Email me at ktplant “at” gmail “dot” com

And, thank you, in advance, for your time to help!

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My Live Facebook Author Interview with

On Monday, I got an email from Jean Ann VK asking me if I’d like to be the LIVE FACEBOOK AUTHOR INTERVIEW this week.  Now, either they’ve run out of other awesome authors and finally were like “ok, we guess we’ll ask Katie” or they think I have top secret information to share with all y’all (I live in North Carolina).

It is probably a combination of both.   I am super-flattered, and can’t wait to participate.

To follow along and ask questions, you need to “like” on Facebook.  You can do that by clicking this link:

What I have to Offer You

I’m not a “book author.”  Not really.  I ghostwrite books, but I don’t have my name on them.  (Unless you look through the acknowledgments.)  I’m usually listed as “major help,” “editor,” “reader,” “tyrannical fanatic,” or something like that.

I’m more an author of online content:  blogs, newsletters, websites, facebook pages, twitter, etc.  I feel that twitter was MADE for me, or I was made for it.  My life is much more complete with twitter.  But, I digress.


I thought that all of my adoring fans (all three of you: Hi NATALIE, SUSAN and SHELLEY!) knew about my history working in botanic gardens.  Apparently, I have one adoring fan that did not know about that.  (LAURA-have you or have you not been following my every move since birth?  Oh, I’ve only known you for about a year. K. You’re absolved.)  Working in and managing public gardens around the United States is how I learned a lot of what I hope to share with everyone today.

Have you ever visited a beautiful botanical garden and said to yourself “This is really pretty, but I could NEVER make my garden look like that?”  I’m here to tell you that you CAN.  If you want to.  Even if you just want your front flowerbed to make a BIG SPLASH, I’ll tell you how we do it in the public garden world.

The Practical Side of Gardening

I am a practical gardener.  I don’t have a lot of time to spend in my garden, but I spend all day looking out AT my front garden while I write.  So, I want it to look good.  I want it to look good, even if I can only spent about one full day, every other month, working in it.  (With husband on standby to run to the garden center for supplies if I need him to.  Which he is always pleased to do, because he likes to shop–particularly at garden centers.  We have three birdbaths.)

I don’t want to give everything away here in my blog post, but I’m hoping that you will ask me questions about some of these topics so that I can share my hard-earned tips with you!

  • Using annuals without breaking the bank
  • Designing your own mixed border for year-round color
  • IPM (Integrated pest management) or, in my case, NPM  (No Pest Management)
  • Why it is OK to hire a lawn service and what you should look for if you do
  • How a little bit of basic botany can go a long way toward helping you tend your garden.
  • We’re not kidding about mulch
  • Irrigation–do you have it–are you using it properly
  • and my VERY FAVORITE TOPIC EVER: how to water your plants correctly.
  • Dealing with deer and other animals around large pieces of property or big flower beds
  • MASS PLANTING: you CAN do it.

Plus more! I’ve worked at the Smithsonian, Marie Selby Botanical Garden, Indianapolis Zoo, Airlie Gardens, Fort Ticonderoga, Washington Park Arboretum, Longwood Gardens, Winterthur, and others.  Ask me to tell their secrets. I’m more than happy to.

Looking forward to seeing you this afternoon!


Filed under Books, Garden, This and That, Writing

Surf’s Up!

It’s summer: so, when I’m not working my butt off for people, I’m probably surfing.  Then, when I get around to blogging, I do it over at Chicks on Sticks.

So, surf on over to Chicks on Sticks and go along with me for my SECOND summer of surfing!

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Garden Bloggers Bloom Day: June 2010

This month, my garden has the blues.

Clockwise from top left: Agapanthus, Vitex, Salvia ‘Black and Blue’, Angelonia, Agapanthus, Lobelia, Society Garlic, Stokes Aster.

My Other Garden: 365 Days of Growing Things

The other garden I’ve been tending is 365 Days of Growing Things, which will LAUNCH this Friday, June 18th, with lots of fun activities, prizes and services for gardeners.  Here’s a sneak peek at the “signup screen.”

I hope you’ll follow JennMak and me on Twitter @365dayofgrowing and find us on facebook under “365 Days of Growing Things.”

Our opening contests feature items from Two Green Thumbs Mini Garden Center, aHa! Modern Living, Re-Eco, and a pair of Felco #7 hand pruners.  (As well as some other surprises!)

Membership is free, and you’ll also get access to our “Weekly Garden Roundup” (that won’t kill your garden), where we find the best, newest, funniest, and weirdest garden info of the week to share with you.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens

To take the rest of the “virtual garden tour,” head on over to May Dreams Gardens for the OFFICIAL Garden Bloggers Bloom Day List! Carol graciously hosts this every month.  Show her some love!  🙂

Happy Gardening!


Filed under Daily Photo, Garden


Some kind of wasp or hornet on Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ in my garden.

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Giants among Flowers

My giant rudbeckias in bloom!

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Tomato Soup

This is one of the plants I got at GWA last year.  I think it is Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’.  I BOUGHT a ‘Tomato Soup’ from Plant Delights, but everything looked so pathetic when I planted, and then took forever to come up this spring, that I can’t be entirely sure which one it is.


Filed under Daily Photo, Garden

Adopt a Platoon

This was a FOB, or Forward Operating Base, in Afghanistan.  This is Restrepo. Named for PFC Juan S. Restrepo, a medic with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, who was killed in action on July 22, 2007.  This little outpost was built out of the rock in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan.  That valley saw some of the heaviest fighting, hand-to-hand combat, and conflicts of the current war in Afghanistan.  A couple of months ago, the U.S. Military pulled out.

But really gets me is that Restrepo is where people LIVED.  Our fellow citizens. Our soldiers.  I get it that war isn’t a carnival, and violence isn’t glamorous, and not all of us agree with everything going on right now.  Still, these soldiers lived for months in dust holes, peeing in PVC pipes, eating MREs, burning their own poop.  Much of it without the attention of anyone other than their families and other military families. Long, repeated deployments cause stress and strain, lost jobs, foreclosures, and more.  We have been in this for a loooooonnnnggg time.

I don’t have family members currently serving.  I didn’t have anything to do with any of this until I drove back and forth through Jacksonville, NC, through Camp Lejune, on a day trip to Emerald Isle in October of 2009.  I never lived in a military town, and I little to no experience with it.  We drove through the city, with the base on either side. Bedsheets with “Welcome home so and so” or “We miss you so and so” or “We will never forget you so and so” hung from the miles and miles of chain link fences separating the base from the rest of us.

I cried.  But then, I went home and did something. First, I found Blue Star Families, an organization that supports the families of actively serving military personnel.  I wrote thank you cards to those family members: spouses, children, parents and grandparents of military personnel.  Then, via twitter, I found Adopt a Platoon.  My husband and I adopted two service members.  Each week, we send a card or postcard or letter.  Once a month we send a care package.

Here, whether or not we hear

I haven’t heard from my soldiers.  I’ve only been supporting them for a few months, and mail takes a long time.  And, they’re busy.  And, at least one of them is living in a very remote area with little access to anything other than very basic life necessities.  It isn’t their job to write to me.  It is their job to do their job, and my job to support them.

I like writing the cards.  I tell them about what’s growing in my garden.  I tell them funny stories about my dog.  I tell them what the ocean feels like after I haven’t been in for several months–salt stinging in my pores.  I write to them about my travels.  I tell them we think of them daily.  Most of all, I thank them for what they’re doing.

What they do allows me to stay home and write.  To go surfing. To curl up with my husband at night.  They have volunteered, so that not everyone has to. They all have different reasons for serving.

A complicated situation

War is not pretty and it isn’t simple.  It involves people, and when you have more than one person involved in anything, you have conflicts.  I think is overly simplistic to say “we never should have gone in” or “we have to get out now”.  There are a lot of in-betweens.

What is NOT in between is that for the entire history of our country, men and women have sacrificed their lives–all or portion–so that we can live as we please.  So that we can have a chance to make something of ourselves.

On Memorial Day, besides thanking our veterans, the biggest thanks that I think we can all pass along is to SUPPORT THOSE WHO ARE CURRENTLY SERVING.  Support them.  Support their families.  Let them know that we appreciate their sacrifices and hardships.  Honor the veterans by showing them that the sacrifices they made were not in vain, and that the sacrifices that our currently serving personnel and their families are making are not in vain.

Here are some easy things you can do to help.  These are not political. They are not religious.  They are one human to another saying:  I see you. I appreciate what you’re doing.  It matters to me.  Thank you.

Support your Veterans, their Families, and Currently Deployed Service Members

Blue Star Families: This organization supports families with actively deployed service members.  The easiest way to become involved is to participate in Operation Appreciation.  In this program, you write a note of thanks to a family member, and send it to Blue Star Families.  They then send the card out to a family member.  It is as easy as a notecard and ONE STAMP.  Learn more about this initiative here.

Adopt a Platoon: This organization has been around since 1998, and is organized to support actively serving personnel IN THE FIELD.  You can become a “pen pal,” where you send one letter or card a week, or you can “adopt” a service member or a whole platoon, and send letters once a week and a care package once a month.  One or two service members are great for families.  A whole platoon is a great project for church groups, clubs, and community organizations.

To fill out their new supporter application, click here.

When you scroll through their photo albums and read the notes of thanks from service members who have received support, you’ll see why it is so important to help.

THANK YOU to all of our service men and women who have served and are serving.  THANK YOU.


Filed under This and That

But, if you need more Pot

Here’s this year’s version.  Plants are from Ball Seed, sent to gardeners and garden writers as test plants around the US.  So far, so good!

Petunia ‘Sun Spun’, Euphorbia ‘Breathless Blush’, Coleus ‘Redhead’

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