The Accidental Gardener by Debra Sennefelder

I’m a born and bred city girl who moved to Connecticut after I married. I admit, I had a Martha Stewart vision of gardening when we bought our house. Images of lush borders edging the property and pretty garden beds dotting the front and back yards floated in my mind. I thought I’d be out early in the morning, cutting fragrant flowers to turn into arrangements. On weekends I’d visit shopping centers and then plant new purchases. I’d deadhead dutifully and concoct just the right mixture of plant food for all my lovelies.

Yeah, it was a vision alright.

Turns out it wasn’t reality. Gardening is full of bugs and spiders, poison ivy and time spent outside leaves me dirty and sweaty. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my weekends or evenings after work. It’s no wonder that my debut novel, THE UNIVITED COPRSE’s first crime scene is a gardening tour. Looking back, I seemed to have use the book to work out my issues with gardening.

As my manuscript took shape my love/hate relationship with gardening began to change. I’d always admired gardens planted around mailboxes so when we installed a new mailbox post and mailbox, I took the opportunity to create my own little garden.

I flipped through a stack of gardening magazines, I visited a garden center to buy flats of plants and bags of mulch. Over a weekend my small garden bed went from bare to popping with color.

The following week I watered every evening and over the course of the summer my plants flourished. The small patch of dirt had changed into something beautiful and I’d gone from not-a-gardener to gardener. All of the hard work that went into digging and planting (the soil was dry, hard and filled with rocks of every size) paid off and got me hooked on gardening. Who would’ve thought?

Gardening showed me that with a little patience, a whole lot of sunblock (I burn easily) and a whole lot of work, anything was possible. Today I’m diligently turning neglected garden spaces into butterfly attracting gardens and also writing the third book in the Food Blogger Mystery series. Creativity needs to be nurtured and I’ve found two wonderful outlets that feed my creativity and make life beautiful.

As a newbie gardener I’m always looking for tips and tricks. So, I’d love to know some of your best tips for gardening. My best gardening tip so far is to make a garden journal to record the plant and where and when it was planted. After I plant, I take the hang tag off the plant and tape it into my journal so I also have a visual record.

Leaving behind a failed career as a magazine editor and an embarrassing stint on a reality baking show, newly divorced lifestyle entrepreneur Hope Early thought things were finally on the upswing—until she comes face-to-face with a murderer . . .

Hope’s schedule is already jam packed with recipe testing and shameless plugs for her food blog as she rushes off to attend a spring garden tour in the charming town of Jefferson, Connecticut. Unfortunately, it isn’t the perfectly arranged potted plants that grab her attention—it’s the bloody body of reviled real estate agent Peaches McCoy . . .

One of the tour guests committed murder, and all eyes are on Hope’s older sister, Claire Dixon—who, at best, saw Peaches as a professional rival. And suspicions really heat up when another murder occurs the following night. Now, with two messy murders shaking Jefferson and all evidence pointing to Claire, Hope must set aside her burgeoning brand to prove her sister’s innocence. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer intent on making sure her life goes permanently out of style . . .

Includes Recipes from Hope’s Kitchen!