“The nursery was magnificent, but nothing prepared me for the charm and eloquence of the café, which stood behind the last greenhouse.”

from Starting From Scratch

I never grow weary of visiting Lancaster County, PA. Or of writing about it. Or studying about the Amish of Lancaster County. I’ve done a great deal of research and still strive to learn something new on a regular basis. The Amish are admonished to adhere to the old ways, yet they continue to subtly evolve. And each church district has its own Ordnung, their set of unwritten rules for daily living.

Walking into City People’s Garden Store, where the plants have yet to show their Fall colors.

Something else I’m extremely fond of is plant nurseries. Lancaster County is dotted with marvelous nurseries, such as Frey’s Greenhouse. When visiting Lancaster County, I enjoy browsing the nursery displays but am unable to take plants home with me on the jet. Yet I can find inspiration, as I do with the many nurseries I visit. Each has its own special charm.

That’s why I like them so much. You can take the features that you like from each nursery you visit and make one of your own that is truly out of this world. I’ve even noticed more and more tips about how to make changes to your own, like introducing a type of greenhouse plastic that can help to develop healthier plants, less demand for watering, as well as prolonging the growing season. If you ask me, that sounds amazing and it is definitely something that I’m considering myself. I haven’t had much luck in the past when it’s come to successfully growing plants, crops, and seeds in a greenhouse so I’m hoping that this type of plastic, along with an effective greenhouse heating system will allow me to achieve my goal of creating a garden space that I can truly be proud of. Maybe some LED greenhouse lamps that could help the plants grow better by giving them just the right amount of heat? Maybe companies such as Scynce LED could be able to help me! See, that’s what taking the time to visit different nurseries can provide you with – inspiration!

A few of my favorite nurseries outside of Lancaster County are White Flower Farm in Litchfield, CT. In the Puget Sound area, where I live, I frequent Swanson’s Nursery and Wells Medina Nursery near Bellevue, WA.

Koi are symbols of love and friendship in Japan. (Taken at Swanson’s Nursery.)

All the nurseries have served as inspiration when writing Starting from Scratch. Why not set my story in a location I enjoy? Each author inherits that option. I had so much fun writing about my fictional Yoder’s Nursery and its café. I was once sole proprietor of a restaurant and gained knowledge from past experiences. I used to joke that something went wrong in my restaurant every day, be it an employee didn’t show up or the produce wasn’t delivered. It was fun sprinkling bits of true-life experiences into the Yoder’s Café. I didn’t have a koi pond but did have a huge fish tank until my koi outgrew it.

A novel’s location can sometimes become a character in itself. While Starting from Scratch is not a sequel to A Letter from Lancaster, the novels share the nursery. I enjoy creating unique and interesting settings, and characters. And one-of-a-kind stories!

Enter to win Noah and Susie, two darling Amish-made dolls, and a signed copy of one of my novels.

Enter to win Noah and Susie, two darling Amish-made dolls, and a signed copy of one of my novels.

Enter below to win Noah and Susie, two darling Amish-made dolls from Lancaster County, PA. Plus one signed copy of Starting from Scratch, A Letter from Lancaster County, or one of 3 books from The Legacy of Lancaster County Trilogy-either Leaving Lancaster, its sequel, Pennsylvania Patchwork, or Forever Amish. Winner has 3 days to respond. US and Canada only.

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