Green Thumb Secrets by @JoanReeves #mgtab

Photo of young woman walking along a garden pathI’ve given in to the call of spring and decided to share some green thumb secrets with you.

I tried to resist spring’s siren call, but I couldn’t ignore neither the fragrant jasmine outside my kitchen window nor the soft evening breeze that brought with it the smell of roses.

So I had a meeting with my houseplants first—hey, haven’t you heard you should talk to your plants?—and we all agreed it was time to repot some of them.

How To Make Houseplants Happy

(1) Before you stick a plant into a new clay pot—which is mostly what I use—take time to condition the pot first. Immerse the clean clay pot in a bucket of water and leave it until the bubbling stops. (If you lean close to the bucket, you can hear hissing. That’s all the minute particles of trapped air in the clay filling with water.) The conditioned pot will have absorbed moisture so it won’t “rob” water from the potting soil. This makes newly-potted plants less likely to wilt.

Park Bench and Large Potplant

My front patio with large pot plant

(2) If you plan to use a larger pot that has been used before, make sure you wash the pot thoroughly. Just because it holds soil doesn’t mean any old dirty pot will suffice. Bacteria, mold, and/or plant disease cells may exist in a dirty pot. Give the plant you’re repotting a fighting chance by putting it in a clean pot.

(3) Know how much to water a plant. Always use a plant saucer below the pot. Then water until water is running from the drain hole in the bottom of the pot. Stop. Empty the water from the saucer and replace.

(4) Every other month, if possible, immerse your pot plants in a tub of water so all the roots get wet. When the bubbling stops, remove the pot and set it in a place to drain. I’ve got some huge pots on both patios so I can’t do this with them so I try to take the time to let a trickle of water from a garden hose cover the entire top surface.

(5) If you don’t have a lot of time to tend houseplants and your plants are pront to drying up, set the pot plant inside a second larger pot. Line the space between the pots with sphagnum moss. Soak the moss once a week, and the moisutre will seep through the inner clay pot to evenly moisten the plant.

Romance and Gardening

I’ve never had a heroine or a hero who gardens, but in The Trouble With Love, Susannah’s mother is a gardener extraordinaire. The description I give of her mother’s landscaping was the way my yard looked when I wrote the book. After all, write what you know, and I know marigolds and other summer flowers and shrubs.

Cover art for The Trouble With LoveHang on to your Stetson as the fun and games begin in a sexy romantic comedy hotter than a bowl of Texas chili! By-the-book Deputy Susannah Quinn has all she can do to resist rule-breaking FBI Special Agent D. E. Hogan.

To catch a thief, Susannah and Hogan pose as husband and wife and go undercover. Unfortunately, Susannah and Hogan have already been undercover—in a Houston hotel where they first met.

For her part, Susannah wishes her lapse in judgment would take a flying leap and land on Jupiter. Hogan, on the other hand, wants to get the contrary deputy into his bed, but the complications caused by family—his and hers—pretty much guarantee that’s never going to happen.

Throw in an over-the-hill Romeo and his lady love, a middle-aged mom determined to have her own love affair, and the charm of a small Texas town, and you get a story with heart, soul, and passion—lots of passion.

Can Susannah and Hogan, two mismatched lovers doing everything in their power to avoid falling in love, catch a thief and recover stolen jewels? The clock is ticking. They have only seven days—and nights—to complete their assignment and resist the sweet siren call of desire.

The Trouble With Love is a Kindle Unlimited free read if you’re a subscriber, or only $3.99 if you want to buy and keep forever. It makes for great holiday reading fun.Social Media Icons

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Wishing you the Joy of Spring as well as the Joy of Reading!

 

If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands!

Happy People

If you’re over 50—or if you’re currently enrolled in kindergarten—you’ll  know the title is from a song. Although whether we’re really happy or not may not be a simple thing to know, we all clap our hands anyway.

But how do we know if we’re happy, technically speaking? Well that’s a matter for experts to examine, including Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and bestselling author on the subject of living long, healthy & happy. I’ve read Buettner’s articles and many others about happiness—took a whole college course in psychology focusing on what makes happiness tick—and I’ve come up with my personal best list.

Top 7 ways you know if you’re happy:

  1. You laugh a lot. Like every day. Multiple times a day. Sounds simple, right? But really think about this one before you answer it for yourself. How often do you laugh? (Also, how often do you cry?)
  2. You like going to work every day. Especially if you’re like me and you don’t have to go anywhere! It’s no surprise that a long commute can be a big negative in people’s lives according to Buettner. It’s also no surprise that liking your job can make you happy.

    But did you know that you don’t even have to like your job to be happy  if you like the people you work with? 

    In fact, according to Buetner and others, liking your fellow employees and having friends at work is more important than making more money. I can personally attest to the truth of this!

  3. You have a great social network and get together with friends/family often. Everyone agrees about how important the people in your life are to your happiness, right? Maybe it’s hard to put this into practice in  every day life, but those who do are happiest.
  4. You are healthy. While it’s not something we think about, according to statistics, it is harder to be happy when you’re unhealthy. So don’t take this one for granted.
  5. You make a decent living. No need for riches. But just in case, I did buy a Powerball ticket when the jackpot went to $625 million yesterday. It would be a kick to play Santa Claus with all that money. Which brings me to the next tell for happiness.
  6. You focus on others with acts of kindness, helpfulness, care, donating and/or volunteering. Or maybe you’re there for someone with a shoulder to cry on in a tragedy. Of course, you probably already know how these things can make you feel all warm and fuzzy.
  7. Life Balance. You have the right amount of work, socializing and sleep—and all those other personal care things to keep you healthy, like staying active. This is no news for anyone who spends too much time at work, or too much time sitting around. Or not enough time sleeping!

Now that you know, what are you going to do about it?

I’m going to work on getting more sleep!

Tell me what you’re going to do to improve your happiness.