Hortiporn Addict

I’ve succumbed to my own sordid vices again.  I really thought I had overcome them this fall, but I was wrong.  One glimpse was all it took.

The seductive cover photo made my heart pound.  I carried the magazine home with trembling hands and smuggled it into my pile of innocuous reading material.  I swore to myself I’d be strong this time.  I wouldn’t let my base instincts overcome my knowledge of what was good and right.

But the illicit thrill drew me irresistibly.

Just one look, I promised myself.  I won’t let it consume me this time.

But one page led to another.  Each photo was more tempting than the last.  Each coaxed and promised, “I could be yours. Yours alone.  Imagine running your hands over my smooth, glossy skin.  Imagine my sweet taste on your lips…”

All that firm flesh; all those provocative layouts…

Omigod, look at the size of that…!

And then it was too late.  All my good intentions evaporated and I fell straight back into the waiting embrace of my worst weakness.

Yes, I’m ashamed to say I was drooling over hortiporn again.

It's sheer coincidence the catalogue fell open to carrots and cucumbers.

It’s sheer coincidence the catalogue fell open to carrots and cucumbers.

I swear I’m addicted to seed catalogues.  They’re terrible things.  The vegetables are so big and beautiful and blemish-free.  The flowers are so lush and brilliant.  And the worst part is, I know damn well the photos are just as air-brushed and artificially enhanced as pinups in a skin mag.  I’ll never grow anything that beautiful in my garden.  (Yes, I’m talking about vegetables.  Jeez.  Everybody knows you can’t grow hot guys in the garden… can you…?  ‘Cause I’m willing to try if there’s a possibility…)

Every year I get sucked in.  The snow swirls outside, and I curl up on the couch and dream of all the delicious and wonderful goodies I’ll grow next year.  I forget all the hard work of planting and hoeing and harvesting.  Those vivid colours drive the memories of hard labour straight out of my head, and I get out my pen and start making my list.

And the catalogues come earlier each year.  I got this one a little more than a month after I finished planting the *ahem* several hundred fall flower bulbs I *ahem* accidentally ordered last spring.  I was sure the memory of planting all those bulbs would dull the lustre of this year’s hortiporn.

Not a chance.  One glance was all it took.  I remembered how tasty the summer’s harvest was.  And how beautiful it was, at least to my eyes:

I know; it looks like work.  But it was worth it!

I know; it looks like work. But it was worth it!

So the seed companies win again.  This week’s catalogue was only the first salvo in their attack, and my defences are already breached.  Soon more temptation will arrive from at least two other companies.  Then the spring bulbs and nursery stock catalogues will come.  And in the depths of January, I’ll cave and order another couple of hundred dollars worth of seeds and plants.

But I can quit whenever I want to.


Most people dream of tropical vacations.  I dream of this.

Most people dream of tropical vacations. I dream of this.

* * *

Woohoo!  Book 7: SPY, SPY AWAY has just been released on Smashwords, and I hope it’ll show up today on Amazon. (Members of my New Book Notification List will get an email as soon as it’s available.)  To celebrate, I’m giving away a signed paperback copy.  If you’d like a chance (or two) to win it, pop over to my Book Giveaway page.

47 thoughts on “Hortiporn Addict

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  3. I usually skip the vegetables for the flowers and I ALWAYS skipped the Wayside Gardens catalog, which is some kind of cousin to the Nieman and Marcus rag. But one day, taking a break from my mail route with a catalog (sorry about the peanut butter smears, Mrs. Foghorn), I gave it just the quickest glance. What? A magnolia with lovely foliage that grows fifty feet high but only six feet wide? For only $95? Had to have it. When it arrived, a four-inch twig with three leaves on it, I hooted at myself. Then I set it down on the table. All three leaves fell off. I fired off a letter to the company. They said to plant it anyway, and if it didn’t make it, they’d replace it. Wheee! Damned if the sucker isn’t closing in on fifty feet high and six feet wide.


    • Right on – what a fabulous success! It’s so seldom that the reality equals the catalogue. My latest purchase is a rare Yellow Crown peony. Just the word “rare” is enough to guarantee failure, but I have high hopes despite the word of doom. Problem is, even if it survives the winter (and a couple more winters until it’s mature enough to bloom), I have no idea whether it’ll be the rich gold colour I’m hoping for. That’s what it looks like in the seed catalogue, but when I google it, actual photos range anywhere from pale cream to bright yellow. Hortiporn photographers. Grrr.


  4. Just a quick note to say I’ve finished book #7. I’m so in awe of this series I’m almost speechless. Read it fast of course so I’m going to start my normal 2nd read right away. LOL talk about a wide range of emotions, WOW! You are absolutely brilliant in your ability to make the characters so real and the reader can just be “absorbed” in the plot. **sigh** Yep, I am totally hooked.
    And, I’m checking often on the progress of #8! hahaha


    • Thank you! It really means a lot to me to have loyal readers like you – your lovely compliments made my day! Off to work on #8 now… 😉

      P.S. Thank you so much for the Amazon review, too – is it okay if I use part of your review on my website?


  5. Way to bury the lead! (Or should that be “lede” — I can never remember that.) Anyway, nice veggies, but what I’m really excited about is finally being able to dive into SPY, SPY AWAY!!!


    • Oh, see, you’re far more journalistically aware than I am. I had to go and look up “lede”. 😉 Hope you enjoy your Hellhound fix! (And I’m looking forward to your Big Fix, too – hope it comes out soon!)


  6. I received the same Hortiporn Magazine the other day. I did the same thing. I am starting to turn down the corner of the pages.
    Just an FYI. Skunks like Cantelope! Especially the biggest one in the WHOLE patch!


  7. Rhubarb! Most delicious in a flaky pastry pie crust, with strawberries. Mom used to make the world’s best strawberry-rhubarb pie. I tried to duplicate it and couldn’t get her crust right. Filling was fine, my crust was pitiful!
    30 degrees! Aw “he77” no! It is, at this sitting, 70 degrees, balmy, slight mist for rain and the low tonight will plummet down to 67.
    Oh, found out from my neighbor that the snake my cat brought in was a young cotton mouth. Fine, just fine. I need that close to home. My cat knows no fear when it comes to hunting, she’s sort of a domesticated feral cat.
    So loving the new book too.


    • I’d envy your nice weather if not for the part about the cottonmouth. It might be -30 this morning, but at least there’s zero chance of venomous snakes! 🙂

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the book!


  8. Firstly congratulations on your new book!

    What can one say when one loves a post very much, delighted in the words which sounded so pornish knowing it was related to horticulture? What can one say when they actually feel the anger growl deep within finding out that beautiful natural vegetables and flowers with their perfect imperfections making them perfect are subjected to pictures of air brushed fakery in magazines? Oh will these injustices never cease!

    What does one say???

    Nothing…one just clicks the Like button with glee and proceeds to share it to the world 😉


  9. I can understand what you say about hard work in the garden. I have one every year and all the time I work in it I am cussing it. I absolutely love breaking the ground, then running the disc over it to make it look so perfect, lining out my rows, using the middle buster to run my rows and then planting the product. I always plant to much. I got 5 bushels of corn, 10 cabbages the weighed about 9 lbs. each, 3 bushels of pinto beans, the onions were the size of baseballs and I did have a watermelon that weighed out at 60 lbs. The tomatoes didn’t pan out because of a dumb mistake I made and the green peppers were just as bad. I had more watermelons but they were all eaten by the coyotes and coons. They didn’t leave me any. I also planted sun flowers just for the hell of it and most of them turned out about 9 ft. tall. Beautiful flowers. My biggest problem is harvesting. I hate it. It is usually around 100°F or better and it sure does make for hot picking. I donate a lot of my stuff, when they come and get it, to different free food places. It makes me feel good. I will do it again next year. It is fun even though I am cussing it all the time I am working in it. Your garden looked great. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, we still say that down here, without getting arrested.


    • Wow, Mike! What a harvest! I envy your ability to grow watermelons and all those other hot-weather goodies, but I sure don’t envy having to do the harvesting at 100°F. It’s almost never that hot here, but even at 85°F, I’m starting to lose interest in toiling in the garden. And I didn’t realize coyotes would eat watermelons! Raccoons and deer do a number on our gardens up here, but I’ve never heard of a coyote bothering fruit. Maybe they’re just looking for a drink in all your hot weather?

      It’s so good of you to donate your produce – I’m sure you have many appreciative recipients. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too! 🙂


  10. Loved your pictures and I am the same way with those catalogs. We used to put in a garden each season. Time and space and age got away from us and we do some “bucket” gardening now. Since we have two big decks, one allows partial sun and the larger one is totally open, we can easily handle several specialized items. Plus we have our blackberry and blueberry vines which really keeps our neighbors happy.
    BTW, got the announcement earlier today about book 7. I rushed to Amazon and found it, got the download ready and that was the moment my cat decided to jump over to my keyboard with her latest kill from outside. The wretch brought a snake in from outside. Yep, a full grown snake even at this time of the year. Our weather has been so crazy even the snakes don’t know whether to hide or come out. Onto my keyboard, across it and trailed on down under the desk. “Look what I brought ya’ Mom!” It took me a while to calm down and clean up the evidence and sanitize. Didn’t recognize the type but it had a blunt nose. All I needed to know. I finally got the book and I am savoring it until tomorrow. I’ll be another full day at the VA waiting on hubby so it will keep me happy, happy, happy.
    Hope your garden yields a beautiful harvest. I figure when you are content your writing spirit flourishes. Bless your little heart button!


    • Aw, thanks! 🙂 That’s some cat you’ve got, to tackle a full-grown snake! And I can see where a “present” like that might be enough to distract you just a wee bit. Speaking of which, I hope the book keeps you pleasantly distracted tomorrow, and I hope things go okay for your Hubby – I’m sending good thoughts your way.


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  12. Beautiful garden, Diane! An inspiration for next year, when I will plant my own garden. 🙂 Any tips for a shady yard? I live in a heavily treed valley topped with perpetual cloud cover. We’re talking it’s either twilight or nighttime here.


    • Thanks! Are you thinking veggies or landscaping plants? Or both? If you like rhubarb, it’ll grow just about anywhere, and it makes a substantial mound of green foliage. The stalks are yummy (if you like sour stuff, try them raw; if not, it makes good jam, pie, and cobbler) and the foliage is attractive all summer (but don’t eat the leaves – they’re mildly poisonous).

      Hostas like shade and are beautiful foliage plants.

      Bleeding hearts are another shade-lover with pretty white or pink flowers, but if you get heat and drought later in the season, their foliage will shrivel up and they’ll go dormant.

      Don’t plant lily-of-the-valley (another famous shade-lover) unless you want it everywhere – its rhizomes run underground and it’s very hard to eradicate. It’s also poisonous.

      If you have moist conditions, astilbe has lovely vividly-coloured feathery flowers, but it doesn’t take kindly to drought. It’s tough and it will survive, but it won’t bloom as plentifully as if it has adequate water.

      Peonies are undemanding and will live for 30 years or more. Big spectacular blooms, and when the flowers are done, the foliage stays in a neat, glossy mound – one of my favourites.

      If you want fruit, nanking cherries don’t mind shady conditions – they’re sour-ish cherries with more pit than cherry, but they’re a beautiful brilliant red and they make yummy jelly. I also like to eat them fresh, but I like sour stuff.

      Haskaps are actually part of the honeysuckle family, but their fruit looks and tastes a lot like tart blueberries. They’re extremely hardy and productive, and they make a nice globe-shaped shrub about 5 – 6 feet tall.

      Most vegetables will grudgingly grow in lower-light conditions, but some are downright cranky – it’s really just a matter of experimenting to see what will work for you.

      I guess I’d better stop. I could run on about gardening all day long…


      • Thank you for the shade gardening advice, Diane! 😉 I’m saving it in a file. I plan to plant vegetables, and maybe see if I can get some kind of fruit thing going. There’s already a crab apple tree in my front yard. Good thing I wanted a crab apple tree. Also will be planting sunflowers – one of my neighbors had some really tall ones growing, so I know they’ll grow here. Marigolds to match and to keep the area in shape. I’ll select from you flower suggestions, and also plant rhubarb. Looking into a couple of those mushroom logs for the perpetually shaded side yard bordering the forest…


        • LOL! Magic mushrooms? That ought to inspire some good flash fiction!

          I just thought of another one – impatiens also do very well in part shade and moisture, and they’re such bright and happy flowers! Jeez, now I have to go and drool over my hortiporn again. It’s supposed to go down to 30 below tonight with a windchill of -38 by tomorrow…


  13. I must admit Diane, those airbrushed veggies do look teasingly tempting. You’ve made me have a thought though… if I were to appear in a skin mag there wouldn’t be enough air to brush me into a decent shape! Good job I’m not the modelling type, I say! Oh, and your veggies on the side there look far better – natural is always best.


  14. Another vegaholic! Our yard is just barely too big to mow with a weed eater, so acres of luscious fresh peas (yeah, me, too!) and row after row of tall corn. However, I have been collecting books on container gardening. Does that count? Maybe this spring. Maybe this spring…


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