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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

gardening and her new book

by

Emma Lane

It’s that time of year again. Nothing is more refreshing than a vivid blue sky accented by fiery leaves of the hard woods, yellows of the aspens and some maples, and various reds of the underbrush. Many shades of orange and yellow are accented by the dark greens of spruce and pines. Autumn is foliage showing off and we love it. It’s nature’s last hurrah before the settling of winter time and rest.

The flower gardens are looking a bit seedy (they have cause as they are making next year’s seeds.) Have your Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon, Obedience Plant finished? Sunflowers are nodding their heavy heads with birds and rodents feasting on the bounty of oil rich seeds. For relief we turn to a plant we nicknamed, MUM, but it is so not mum as it speaks with rich fall colors on a plant that stays tidy and easily tucked into existing gardens. Chrysanthemum has been shortened to mum; the real name almost forgotten.

Are mums perennial? Do they survive the freezing temps and come back next year?

The answer is . . . maybe. Indeed, the plant is cold hardy at least to agricultural zone 4/5. So why have so many gardeners been disappointed when the mums succumb to the cold? Might be from too much love? Actually, mums are fairly tough plants that need little attention to thrive. The problem is a shallow root system. Simply put, it cannot stay in the ground during frost heaves which come and go with a changing temperature.

Give it up. You aren’t about to run out every time a warm day and a frost freeze night happens. It’s probably many more nights than you suspect. Mulch is the best remedy. A good mulch will cut down on the possibility of the shallow rooted plant being thrust out of the ground and left high and dry to die.

Two other remedies: Stick a pot or two of your favorite colors in a corner of the garage and give a sip of water occasionally. It might work; worth a try. Next is treat the low-cost mum plant like an annual and don’t worry about it. Just buy new next year.

I’ve done all of the above with various successes. I refuse to give up new and different colors so I buy every year. I, also, cover my favorite yellows with solid mulch and try to remember to trim until the 4th of July. (Otherwise they grow leggie and unattractive.) I’ve been known to pot up an unusual color I want to try and save and tuck it into a corner of the garage. It works maybe half the time. I don’t get upset with failures, as I remember mums are not expensive and I can replace them as autumn approaches. It’s a lovely plant; indulge and enjoy.

Here’s a glimpse into my new Cozy Mystery Release, MURDER AT THE LOOKOUT. It is 4TH in the Detective Kevin Fowler series.

When is it not fun to be a blond?

What happens when a blond beauty hits town like a tornado stirring up memories and causing turmoil? Detective Kevin Fowler and his wife, the former Beverly Hampton, owner of the local newspaper, are settling into blissful married life. Although Beverly is sanguine over the demand on Kevin’s time by the good people of Hubbard, she is more than dubious when his duties include the escort of a drop-dead gorgeous female from his past.

There is some concern over the persistent vandalism of residential mailboxes, but an infamous arsonist has decided peaceful but dull Hubbard would make a great place from which to operate. He brazenly locates down the block from the detective and his wife.

What bait and tackle shop in the village has a dual purpose? Kevin ponders why two goons have invaded town shooting at and attempting to kidnap and murder three women. A state patrolman, aptly nick named Rooster, teases Fowler at the riotous scene of a traffic accident where the press, not the police, wins the day.

Another mystery and adventure with a satisfying ending unfolds in peaceful Hubbard, New York, small-town Americana, where Detective Kevin Fowler keeps an ever-vigilant watch.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes cozy mysteries as Janis Lane, Regency as Emma Lane, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The green thumb of Janis Lane bringing us her gardening tips.

PLANTING FOR FALL

Some plants will perform admirably in the summer but must be stored for winter. Dahlias are a great example. Although fairly expensive, they are certainly worth investing for their gorgeous blossoms, but the fat tubers must be dug and brought inside (cellar) for the winter. There are several ways to care for them, but important is to keep them relatively dry in storage. Perhaps wrapped in newspaper and tucked safety inside a paper bag and stored on an upper shelf away from the damp floor.

After digging, the large tuber may be separated for an abundance of new plants in the next year. Each piece should contain at least three ‘eyes.” Remove as much soil as possible before storing.

Plant out in the spring when all danger of frost has left. Dahlias are a large plant and, although bred for the cut flower market with strong stems, should be staked for protection from a destructive wind. Choices are endless from small, short border varieties to large dinner plate blossoms. Colors are vivid with many bi-colored types. The Red Ball has proven to be a prolific producer of long stemmed blooms perfect for the vase or an arrangement. Full sun seems best although half day is probably adequate. Enjoy! Nothing says Fall like a large bouquet of dahlias for your indoor pleasure.

Fall outdoors is for Mums

Plant as an annual, or if you are one of those very lucky gardeners, cover with mulch and winter over. In the spring carefully cut back until the 4th of July for a compact plant.MUMS                         Mum varieties                Zinnias, dahlias, mums.

The richness of fall color presented prominently in the Cozy Mystery, Murder in the Neighborhood, a novel which introduces the reader to Detective Kevin Fowler and the intriguing murders which infected this small town Americana. The series follows the detective, colleagues, friends, and lovers through the next three novels.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

About Emma:

Emma Janis Lane writes in two genres, cozy mystery and historical Regency. She lives in Western NY where she enjoys snowy winters, delightful Springs, balmy Summers, and riotous colors in Fall. Look for information about writing and plants on her new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected with Emma on Pinterest and Twitter.

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