A garden given as a gift

If you've never been to the Oregon Coast, you might not have encountered Shore Acres State Park. It's five acres of formal gardens where people now get married (because of the beautiful location) or families gather for picnics at the tables available just outside the entrance gate of the garden. Built by Louis J Simpson as a gift to his wife, this wealthy industrialist, financier, boat builder, town-founding man would have his ship's captains bring varieties of plants from around the world to have them planted in this lovely garden beside the sea.

The woman he built it for was Cassie Hendricks Stearns Simpson and it's her story told in A Gathering of Finches. Today thousands of visitors come to the garden and Friends of Shore Acres rescued the garden from ruin in the 1970s returning it to its glorious beauty. At Christmas time, volunteers string hundreds of thousands of lights among the plants and provide umbrellas for guests so even if it's raining (which it often is!) visitors can still enjoy the fabulous beauty of this sea side garden.

I spent many days in that garden, gazing into the Japanese pool, meandering through the rose garden, imagining the pergola covered with ivy. The guest house still stands and each year a lucky person's name is drawn to be able to spend a night in that house. So far, our name hasn't been picked! But that didn't keep me from dreaming. That story, of this garden being given as a gift, was part of the unanswered question that drove me to research and write that novel. What kind of woman would inspire all of this...and why didn't anyone talk about her? I had to answer that question but it was the garden that asked it.

Have you ever looked into the history of a garden to find a story waiting to be told?

This and That
  • Can you believe that TOMORROW is the official release day for Where Lilacs Still Bloom. Have you pre-ordered your signed copy?
  • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers is giving away a Flower Membership for a year.  Talk about flower-cheer all year round! Enter here
  • April 23-27 I will be hosting a blog hop to celebrate the release of Lilacs.  There will be some great authors to meet if you have not yet already done so.  And of course there will be some prizes involved too!
  • And for a little fun, those of you on Pinterest might want to participate in a Spring-Time community board I created.  Visit the board for instructions on how to participate.
  • If you are not on Pinterest but have some great Spring photos (whatever images represent Spring to you), feel free to upload them to my facebook page. Would love to see them!
  • There are a lot of events happening due to the release of Lilacs.  Most of them will show up on Facebook, however to see everything I will be doing all in one place just visit the events page on my website.