I was taking Piper for a walk, and it suddenly hit me that spring has arrived in the Pacific Northwest. It seems we went from crocuses to daffodils to cherry blossoms to tulips in the blink of an eye. The lighter, brighter greens of new leaves are popping up amidst the dark green evergreen trees on the mountains, though there’s still snow up there at the top.

Rain or shine, Piper and I enjoy our walks.

April is National Gardening Month, and I’ve started to put together a list of things that need doing in my yard. Whether it’s cutting off the dead growth from last fall’s late bloomers (yes, I should have done it months ago!), to planting summer blooming bulbs like dahlias, gladiolas, irises and lilies, to adding some new plants to my pots, I find myself pouring over the seed and nursery catalogs that have been showing up regularly in my mailbox these last couple of months.  Out here in Seattle, we’re in Zone 8 of the USDA’s Plant Hardiness map  so there are plenty of plants to choose from!

 The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival runs from April 1 – 30.

Pansies are a favorite of mine, and they do well in our cool summers, though I find myself moving my planters into the shade during the hot month of August. As an added bonus to being out in the garden, I get a boost to my Vitamin D (aka the sunshine vitamin) levels. With about 42% of the US population Vitamin D deficient, it’s a good idea to get outside!

The colorful splash of pansies at the local nursery.

Of course, the old adage “April showers bring May flowers” is especially apropos here, too, and my husband and I still wear a jacket and hat when walking, and my umbrella is still sitting right by the door.  I haven’t yet dragged my garden furniture out of the shed and onto the patio, either.

Some spring showers left the sidewalk damp and puddled in places.

To celebrate the colors of Spring, I’m giving away a $100 Amazon gift certificate and a signed copy of either Stage Fright or From Rome with Love. Winner has 3 days to respond, US and Canada only.

Enter by April 19th for a chance to win!

REVIEWERS WANTED

I’m looking for reviewers of my latest two novels. If you’re interested and willing to leave a review, email: themaryreader@yahoo.com