A Week In Flowers Challenge #GardeningTwitter #Flowers #AWeekInFlowers Day #3

I am joining in with A Week In Flowers blogging challenge brought to you from Cathy at Words And Herbs. I recently enjoyed taking part in the #AlphabettyBlooms challenge over on Twitter and what better way than to keep the lovely colours of summer going with this new challenge.

From now until December 6th, post one or two pictures of flowers to brighten up the winter days for those of us living in the northern hemisphere. Then drop your blog link into Cathy.

My choice of flower for day three is the Hollyhock, a favourite in an English cottage garden. A prolific self seeder and prone to rust, however, they always make me smile.

Own photo of an orange Hollyhock
Orange Hollyhock
Own photo of a yellow Hollyhock
Yellow Hollyhock
Own photo of a Hollyhock

🌺What’s Growing In My English Country Garden? #SixOnSaturday #GardeningTwitter #Flowers

We’ve had another mini heat-wave of sorts after a massive drop in temperature last weekend. Saturday afternoon I was huddled under several layers of clothing and blankets while watching my son play cricket in temperatures 18° lower than they had been the day before.

Own photo of six flowers for June 25th
Six flowers for June 25th

First photo of the week is of this lovely pink Dahlia. There’s no label on it, so it must be one that I over-wintered from last year. Originally bought from Sarah Raven.

Own photo of a pink Dahlia.
Pink Dahlia

Second photo is of my sweetcorn which are flowering and forming cobs (hopefully). Last year I tried growing them on a whim from shop bought kernels. Only one grew, which isn’t really surprising and I was hopeful until I transplanted it and then it died😪 So I bought myself proper seed this year.

Own photo of sweetcorn

Third photo is of the plant that I have lazily called a bottle brush plant, however, that’s rather a generalisation and for this week’s SoS I have been diligently trying to find what it really is and I think that it is a Hebe (maybe White Wand) The honey bees love it. 🐝

Own photo of a bottle brush plant.

Fourth photo doesn’t do the lavender colour justice, it is a lovely mauve at the moment.

Own photo of the lavender pot
Lavender pot

Fifth photo is for the first of the Hollyhocks, they are one of my favourite cottage garden flowers. Mine suffer from rust, but I still enjoy growing them.

Own photo of a Hollyhock

Last photo is of this red Poppy from some of my wild flower mixed seed packs. It won’t last long, so I snapped a photo while it was flowering.

Own photo of a red poppy.
Red Poppy

Thank you for joining me for this #SixOnSaturday post. I hope that you enjoyed it. If you would like to know more about this hashtag, read founder Mr Propagator’s post here also find him on Twitter here.

Happy gardening


Own photo of six flowers for June 25th
Six flowers for June 25th


  1. Mr Propagator’s linky for the meme
  2. Hairbells and Maples is growing Turmeric.
  3. Graeme’s lilies have avoided the lily beetle this year.
  4. Pretty poppies and salvia in Fred’s garden.
  5. Eileen’s waiting for rain in her Welsh garden.
  6. Hortus has some stunning roses.
  7. Take a look at Dana’s strawberry yield.
  8. A great six from Pauline.

Guest Author Stepheny Houghtlin

Today my guest is Stepheny Houghtlin, author of Greening of a Heart, our book review from yesterday, here is the link if you missed it. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-4I8

Stepheny Houghtlin

Let’s find out more about Stepheny.

Where is your home town?

I was born in Chicago, IL. and raised in Evanston, a suburb north of the city on Lake Michigan.

2) How long have you been writing?

I have thought of myself as a writer since I was a young girl. In those early days my father asked me how I was to become a writer if I couldn’t spell. I smile and think of him whenever I use ‘spell check.’

3) I believe you met a vicar in Jerusalem who inspired your story, tell us more.

The genesis of Greening of a Heart came from a George Herbert poem….

 “Who would have thought my shrivel’d heart could recover’d greennesse?”

This single line over powered me having watched a vicar find healing on his sabbatical at St. George’s College in Jerusalem. I wanted to try and write a story like his. It was the wife of such a man that elbowed her way into my consciousness, however. She demanded I tell her story as well. Thus we have Hannah and Martin Winchester.

4) There are many inspiring gardeners mentioned in your book, who is your favourite and why?

In 2000 I visited some of the most famous gardens in England, staying several nights in Burford at The Bay Tree Inn, and spending time at Rosemary Verey’s Barnsley House. As a nod to this famous plants woman, designer, and favourite garden of the trip, I included such experiences in the book. Vita Sackville West, who endlessly fascinates me, prompted a power point lecture I have given to garden club members.

5) Your book had me itching to get out into my own garden, do you have a favourite type of plant?

I love a cottage garden whose careless appearance is so carefully planned. I must have Hollyhocks. (I love Hollyhocks too)

6) Tell us more about your research?

Henry Bernard took most of a day getting from Kew to Oxford until I found out that such a trip is only 73 miles. Maybe most interesting of all was asking an English friend to read and check for my Americanisms. Closet became cupboard. Driveway became drive. Hannah fixed corn on the cob until I found out there is no corn like that in England. I said pants instead of trousers. A tarp became a tarpaulin. It was great fun making changes like this.

7) I loved the interweaving of characters, which authors have inspired your writing?

I love Rosamunde Pilcher’s work and believe it set the stage for one day writing Greening of a Heart. I wish I could take a writing course from Ian McEwen. Jane Gardam has taught me a great deal. Donna Tartt’s latest book, The Goldfinch, is like taking a MFA program. I’m addicted to English mysteries. Never without a book in hand, I believe you can’t write if you don’t read.

8) I know from your blog that you own a beautiful dolls house, I’m glad I read about one in your book, tell us about its history.

My father gave me the dollhouse for my 40th birthday having finished the interior himself. The miniature world is one of my passions. Making and collecting miniatures is an adult hobby I commend to anyone who remains young at heart.

The dollhouse now resides with my oldest granddaughter after a recent move that involved sizing down.

9) You live in the States, what did you learn about writing a book based in a different country?

I put the manuscript down once because I began to doubt that I could do justice to the setting. But internet search engines evolved; I could google the train schedule from Oxford to London, and similar information, that helped authenticate the writing. Anglophile that I am, years of reading, travel to England, and above all garden experience, came together to write about a place I love and characters who’s company I miss.

10) Have you thought about a sequel?

Perhaps when I finish a second novel set in Chicago that I am working on.

Greening of a Heart

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Thank you Stepheny for a wonderful insight into gardens and your writing. Good luck with the next book.