Confidence-building TLC for Writers

My lack of gardening skills isn’t news to most of you. I regularly mutter about the invasion of weeds and wild things throughout my rural garden. We’re on a well, so after their first year, most plants don’t even get watered unless the weather decides to rain down on them. It’s no wonder things barely survive from year to year!

When we moved here eighteen years ago there was a clematis vine that entwined itself around the stair railings on one side of our deck — a Jackmanii, I think (although I never knew for sure). Every year despite severe neglect it faithfully bloomed, albeit half-heartedly, in late September and early October until 2012. That year it didn’t make an appearance and I assumed it had finally given up and died. So last spring I bought a replacement — this time well labelled as a Jackmanii. I found a better location for it where its head would get sunshine (at least as much as any place on our property sees the sun) and its feet would be in the shade.

It grew. That’s about all I can say for it.  Its tendrils clung to the lower trellis and a nearby rhododendron like an insecure invalid while it made a feeble effort to produce a half dozen blossoms. Something ate holes in its rather small leaves.

This spring as I was pouring my usual dose of liquid fertilizer on the assorted bedding plants in our deck’s tubs and hanging baskets, I leaned over the railing and emptied the last half bucket’s excess onto the still-struggling clematis. After a June trip I came home to see lush vines of healthy green leaves enveloping the trellis. Encouraged, I included it in the next regime of fertilizing and watched buds materialize. I recently returned from a brief holiday and discovered — yes, you guessed it — lots of clematis blossoms! (I realize it may not seem like lots to some of you green thumb gardeners, but it’s a relative thing, and trust me, for me this is LOTS!)

Clematis Bush

It’s amazing what a little encouragement can do! Add to that, the fact that the forgotten and presumed dead original clematis has now decided to put forth tentative new growth, and it’s all quite miraculous. 🙂

It reminds me of the rejuvenation I feel after I attend writers’ conferences. By sheer osmosis I soak up the camaraderie and enthusiasm along with all the writing information and success stories. I always come home feeling inspired and ready to resume my creative endeavours with renewed energy. I realize it’s not possible for everyone to get to a conference, and I have to forego attending this year myself, but whenever I’m asked for my favourite writing resources, attending a conference (preferably the Surrey International Writers’ Conference) tops the list.

What’s your favourite writing resource for a boost… your go-to for renewing the glow and rediscovering your excitement of writing?


Clematis 2


“Without inspiration
the best powers of the mind remain dormant.
There is a fuel in us
which needs to be ignited with sparks.”

[Johann Gottfried Von Herder]

~  ~  ~


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

6 thoughts on “Confidence-building TLC for Writers

  1. Oh, my dear Carol. I have the world’s largest gangrene thumb. Philodendron and mother-in-law’s tongue have succumbed to it’s tender ministrations. But I so admire people who can grow anything.

    Perhaps that’s why I love beta reading and editing. I can appreciate more than create.

    1. I don’t do well with houseplants either, Judith. Most don’t handle my survival-of-the-fittest method. The only ones I can keep alive are pothos! I’m one of those who waits until a plant has totally overgrown its pot and is wilting before I prune and transplant it. I figure that’s why I don’t mind writing revisions… I get to ‘prune and reshape’ to my heart’s content. 🙂

  2. I just wish I had your green thumb!! JJ’s ivy seems to thrive no matter what. I planted potatoes one looonnnng while ago, a good sized plot of them. Potatoes? Nope. Even the erupting weeds went brown. Sigh.

    1. My green thumb??? That makes me smile. I’m with you when it comes to potatoes, too. The few times we attempted to grow them, the plants looked good… had lots of leaves… but there were only a few pathetically small nuggets to harvest. 😦

  3. The best place for me and inspiration to meet up seems to be reading. When I pick up what turns out to be an excellent book, I actually get goosebumps. Love when that happens. Love your photographs. My clems all died. Too much sun and wind, not to mention the rocky earth. Now if I could only sell the stones, we’d be rich!!!

    1. When we moved here we were warned that “everywhere you dig, your shovel will encounter a rock”, and it was literally true! Everywhere I wanted to plant a shrub, Bob first had to use a metal pry bar to roll out a rock. If only they’d been gold nuggets…. 😉

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