Does anything smell better than a summer stroll through lavender? It’s taken a learning curve for me to grow it—bright sunlight and the right kind of soil. It likes its own space, doesn’t like to be crowded into a pot or a flower bed. I guess you could say it doesn’t like to share. But what I’ve discovered is to prune, prune, prune. Deadhead all the brown stuff and do it quickly, otherwise the part that’s just bloomed and wilted will take over your entire plant(s). As for the soil, I was told to add in limestone or sand to let it drain, drain, drain. So don’t spend years making the same mistakes I made. With a little research you can come up with the right mix to grow lavender. Just remember it doesn’t like to be neglected. But when it blooms, the fragrance is well worth the fuss. And you can’t beat the purple color that invariably brightens up a spot where white daisies and hydrangeas thrive. If you’re hesitant to grow lavender, take the plunge. What used to be a failure in the garden, is now a summer staple for me. I love the aroma. For that alone, I make the extra effort.
Category Archives: Vickie McKeehan
No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe.
~ John Steinbeck
Summer along the California coast is inspirational, nothing more so than the Redwood National Forest, enjoying it so much I’m making it a feature in the next series.
Yep, I know this post is way past due for Mother’s Day. That’s probably because I didn’t write it for that reason. This is about the woman that shaped who I am, both good and bad. During my mom’s lifetime she’d be the first to admit that she lived an unconventional life. Oh, she did the usual things, like staying at home and raising three kids But after us kids became a certain age, she also went to work, going a little wild out there enjoying her newfound freedom from the drudgery of what she’d known.
Mom was a complicated sort of woman, but then aren’t we all in some way? Truly. Don’t we all have layered sides to each of us? Maybe a secret or two hiding within us that we don’t want to share with anyone else? That was my mom. To say my mother had secrets was an understatement. And if you keep reading you won’t find them out from me. Sorry. But I’m no snitch. If I’m anything at all, I’m loyal. Even her death will never drag them out of me. Besides, that’s not what this post is about either.
Many these days might consider my mom to have been on the quirky side. But that word quirky doesn’t quite cover who she truly was or the secrets she kept, even from my dad, certainly from us kids. Not by any stretch.
But upon meeting Mom something usually kicked in, people knew almost immediately she was different. At least that’s the way it was for me. After my older brother and sister would head off to school, it was just me and Mom left to our own devices back at home. One of my earliest memories was her ability to tell a story. She believed wholeheartedly in anything paranormal: psychic visions, ghostly apparitions, spirtiwalkers, ESP, you name it. If it was different, Mom was broad-minded enough to give it a chance. She made new friends, some white, some black, at a time when it was unconventional to widen your circle of acquaintances. And since she didn’t have a racist bone in her body, it seemed natural for Mom to include everyone. Let’s just say she was tolerant at a time when more people needed to be.
But again, she wasn’t perfect.
She could tell the most fascinating stories about things that happened to her growing up. Coincidentally they all included just the right amount of the paranormal. I grew up listening and believing. Engaged. Enjoying a good story. And before you go judging her, all the psychic phenomenon she added to her life, didn’t replace her religious upbringing. She was a staunch Baptist to the day she died.
But her quirky side sometimes prevailed through the stories she told: Wild characters who had near-brushes with death, ghosts who moved things around, ghosts who guided people’s decisions, shadowy figures who walked the forest at night helping travelers get home safely. There were hundreds of tales like this and she made them all so entertaining to the child who held on to her every word from the beginning of a story right through to its ending. And then sad when the tale was over.
So to my mother, wherever you are, your quirkiness is the light that guides me on my writing path. Your being different paid off. For those who don’t believe in the paranormal, that’s fine. But you’re missing a facet of life that holds its entertaining moments closest to the heart. The heart of a story that says, close your eyes, use your imagination to conjure up the possibilities that just might be waiting around that bend up ahead in the road. It’s okay to be different. Imagine different every time.
Evil Secrets Trilogy: New Covers
Among the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, three friends grow up together in Beverly Hills haunted by the dark clouds of murder, drugs, and abuse. When a stranger shows up, bent on revenge, his presence unravels an evil backstory that goes back forty years. When a double murder comes to light, it threatens a legal dynasty. Secrets long buried must stay hidden, or else the lies exposed could bring down the very foundation of what everyone thought was real.
Forced to delve into her mother’s dark past, Kit Griffin must rely on an old family friend, Jake Boston, for help. They’ll uncover a forty-year-old double murder that leads directly to the door of a legal dynasty. They’ll soon find out just how far the heirs will go to keep the past buried, and eliminate all the loose ends to protect their empire, loose ends that include getting rid of them.
Baylee is the daughter of renowned director William Scott and actress Sarah Moreland. She’s worked to put her father’s abusive alcoholic outbursts behind her and overcome her mother’s abandonment. But her world is about to collide with the man she’s been hiding from for almost a year, a man from one of the most powerful legal dynasties in California. To survive, she’ll have to rely on Dylan Burke for help. But Dylan has no idea what he’s walking into when he delves into William Scott’s past, a past that hides a twenty-two-year-old murder and answers the puzzling disappearance of Baylee’s mother.
Quinn Tyler, the castoff daughter of a rock star and an artist, has overcome her grim childhood to achieve her lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. But when Cade Boyd ramps up his efforts to make Quinn pay for the past, she’ll have to turn to Reese Brennan for help. In turn, Reese and Quinn will do anything to crush what’s left of a legal dynasty. They’ll cross the line. They’ll break the law. They’ll take extreme measures to put an end to the evil, now and forever.
Skye Cree is after a madman like no other. He’s cunning, smart, dangerous, a serial killer who preys on entire families. He’s gone undetected for five years until an analytical nerd stumbles on a pattern of murders across the U.S. with no apparent connections.
Slowly Skye begins to connect the dots. But with lives at stake, will she be able to figure out the link in time to catch this psychopath before he adds more victims to his tally? Or will she get outfoxed and jeopardize everything she loves one last time? Everything hinges on trying to end the reign of a serial killer who has nothing to lose. Will Skye take him down and find justice for the families or has she met her match?
“The Arboretum now nurtures people in the same way it once nurtured trees. It feeds their spirits and souls, their minds and bodies. It provides somewhere to put down roots, to be part of and give strength one to another through its collective efforts, its coming together whether to fight that which threatens it or to nurture its young and old, each “tree” supporting and being supported by its neighbours.”
~ The Arboretum Story, 1991
prairies, woodlands, wetlands, and gardens–find it all at the arboretum.