Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

Romance is good for your heart!

Bloomers for Dummies: Something for Everyone

Posted on Jun 3, 2015 by Lisa Ricard Claro   30 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized


My name is Lisa, and I’m a serial plant killer.

It’s true. I’ve killed more plants than Roundup. Inside, outside—I’ve even laid waste to an air fern. An air fern, people! I either over water, under water, or forget to water. Or in the case of the air fern, I set it in the wrong place and a blanket landed on it for, well, an extended period of time. Turns out air ferns actually need, you know…air. But lucky for me, there are plants out there that manage to thrive no matter what I do, as if they’ve volunteered for duty as Bloomers for Dummies.

Top of the list of Bloomers for Dummies is daylilies. I love daylilies, primarily because I can’t kill them. They bloom in spite of me. That photo above is from my front yard, bordering the walkway to my porch (I love my porch—a couple of rockers, a swing, the scent of roses—yeah, baby!). Knock-out roses are another Bloomer for Dummies. As long as I remember to cut them back once a year, those suckers are good to go. This is my house with the roses in bloom:


In a few weeks hanging baskets will decorate the spaces between the porch posts. I’ve put it off this year out of deference to the basket bloomers at the nursery. The poor things shudder the second we start sharing air space. It’s as if they somehow know I’m the Grim Reaper, and if they go home with me they’ll be gasping their last by mid August. But last year I discovered Angel Wing begonias, which flourished. They look pathetic when I forget to water them, but their sheer, um, pathetic-ness, is what reminds me to fill the watering can. “Uh-oh,” I’ll say to the hubster. “The begonias have their tongues hanging out. Time to water!” I’ll be buying those suckers again this year. (Shhh…don’t tell them. Let’s let it be a surprise.)

In a world of people with green thumbs—like my sister, who can make even a silk-constructed African violet double in size just by looking at it—I’m thrilled that Mother Nature has created plants for people like me. It’s like she knows I have love in my heart, even if I have no common plant-sense to spare.

Is there anything you wish you could do or be more proficient at? Something you’ve found a way to find success with, even though you know your skills are limited?  I need Bloomers for Dummies. What do you need?

Enjoy your week—see you Friday for Observations from the Tub!

P.S.  Just a reminder that Love Built to Last releases on the 20th of this month! That same day I’ll be doing a guest post over at The Jaunty Quills, a blog hosted by ten best-selling authors, including my fave, Kristan Higgins. Hope you’ll put it on your calendar check it out!


30 Responses to "Bloomers for Dummies: Something for Everyone"

  1. Comment by joan mountford
    June 3, 2015 at 7:40 am  

    How did I not recognize a kindred spirit when we spent an hour together every day? My family called me “The Black Thumb” for years. . .

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 3, 2015 at 11:48 am  

      You know, I still have a Xeroxed copy of your poem, Ode to an African Violet—at least I think that’s the title—so I knew that gardening wasn’t one of your strong suits. lol I actually saved a folder of the handouts you provided your students (that poem was one of them) and all the homework you returned, because you always provided such thoughtful critiques. Yours was the first real feedback on my work, and you always managed to be both insightful and kind. That ability is a rare gift, I’ve learned—perhaps you received a quadruple helping of that while missing out on the gardening. Your other former, grateful students would probably agree with me that it was a fair trade. 🙂

  2. Comment by Sioux
    June 3, 2015 at 8:24 am  

    Lisa–I, too, am a plant killer. I had good luck with philodendrens (spelling) because they were pretty much unkillable, but these days, don’t even try with those.

    I wish I could dance. Not even ballroom dance. Just dance. You know those exercise programs where some simple dance moves are incorporated into them, to make them more enjoyable? Moves like waving your hands and moving your feet at the same time? I can’t do them.

    I even have a friend who loves to dance and thinks that everyone can dance. She’s tried, and laughingly gave up when it comes to me. I have no rhythm. No grace.

    Sigh. The only dance I can do is the Elaine.

    (Only 17 more days! How exciting!)

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 3, 2015 at 11:52 am  

      Dancing is a skill that eluded me, as well, Sioux. In fact, after my youngest daughter’s high school graduation party, she and several others tried to teach me a line dance. My daughter-in-law summed it up by telling me I looked like a kangaroo. *sigh* I’m too self-conscious to dance with abandon, and that is probably a very good thing and a relief to those around me who would have to watch. I do hit the dance floor on occasion (read: after a few drinks), but it isn’t pretty.

  3. Comment by Claudia
    June 3, 2015 at 8:28 am  

    I could use help in just about everything. My dad used to say not everyone could be the chief, someone had to be the braves. I guess that is my role in life, to support others greatness with my averageness. A painter friends thinks she is going to teach me to paint…oh, poor lady! I got THE book in the mail and will get too it as soon as I can!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 3, 2015 at 11:55 am  

      Claudia – I’ve read your work, poetry and prose, and you certainly excel at that. No averageness there—first class writing.

      Glad you received the book. Hope you enjoy it!

  4. Comment by Linda O'Connell
    June 3, 2015 at 8:38 am  

    I too am a plant assassin. I usually put it in the ground and let Mother Nature take care of her darling. She’s sometimes as bad as I am. I wish I could paint…not walls.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 3, 2015 at 11:56 am  

      At least I’m in good company. 🙂 Yes, to the painting. I’d love to be able to draw, too, but I’m horrible. Stick figures is all I’ve ever been capable of.

  5. Comment by Cathy C. Hall
    June 3, 2015 at 8:53 am  

    Yep, you’ve got to be hardy to live at the Hall house…plants, newts, hermit crabs, bunnies, birds. It’s pretty amazing the kids made it out alive. 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 3, 2015 at 11:59 am  

      Haha! We’ve run the gamut, too (no bunnies, though). I actually threw a hermit crab away once. I found the molted exoskeleton and thought it had died, and it had moved to a bigger shell, so the old shell was empty. We tossed everything, and then I talked to someone who told me to go check all the shells. Sure enough, the old guy was in one of the shells I had tossed. Gak! He had quite the adventure, though…at least, that’s what I told the kids to make everyone feel better. 🙂

  6. Comment by Rob
    June 3, 2015 at 9:12 am  

    For two years I struggled with a garden. Then I realized that it was cheaper for me to go to the farmer’s market. Much cheaper. It was also too time consuming, and I instinctively knew my time was better spent fishing. I extended this philosophy to yard work in general and now have a good stand of sagebrush in my yard. I started a chapter of SHYW (society for the hatred of yard work) and began spreading the good news to my neighbors every time I seen them toiling away in their yards as I was heading off to go fishing. Their wives started throwing things at me when I went by. They threw tomatoes, summer squash, bell peppers, and onions, which saved me from having to go to the farmer’s market. The husbands would get so frustrated when they seen me heading out to go fishing while they were mowing and weeding that they started throwing things, too. Mostly cans of beer. It’s been a win, win all around.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 3, 2015 at 12:02 pm  

      My husband might be interested in joining your chapter of SHYW. He’d especially like the rule that states his time is better spent fishing. lol

      • Comment by Rob
        June 3, 2015 at 6:12 pm  

        I’ll have you know that my comment inspired me into a whole humor essay on this subject. You’ll see it in a couple of months if it turns out to be any good.

        • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
          June 4, 2015 at 5:07 am  

          🙂 I’ve no doubt the essay will display your usual brilliance. I’ll look forward to reading it!

  7. Comment by MerCyn
    June 3, 2015 at 11:45 am  

    Over the years I graduated from a black thumb to what I call a purple thumb. I do not kill everything, only a majority of plants and flowers. My outdoor flower of choice is marigolds. They survive me, floods, drought, and last throughout the season.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 3, 2015 at 12:08 pm  

      Ah, marigolds! They ARE hardy bloomers, you’re right. And pretty, too. When we lived in Vegas we planted some, went on a two week vacation, and came back to a jungle. There are apparently jumbo (or giant, or something like that) marigolds, and it practically took a machete to cut them back. They are cheery, and easy to grow. You made me laugh in your comment where you said you don’t kill everything, only the majority. lol I had forgotten about marigolds…maybe I can plant them around my crape myrtle. We planted some Dusty Millers under the crape myrtle last year. All but one died (naturally), and the one that survived looks like we’ve been feeding it something radioactive. It’s huge and unattractive, but I’m so excited not to have killed it that I may just let it go and see how big it actually gets. 🙂

  8. Comment by Pat
    June 3, 2015 at 1:35 pm  

    Lisa, your house is beautiful. I’ve been considering knock-out roses (like you, the only plants I buy are ones hardy enough to survive anything), but I’d like yellow ones. No one seems to carry that color, though. Boo!

    Your book cover is even prettier in person. I’ve started reading and am enjoying the story very much. Congratulation on the pending release!

    Critter Alley

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 3, 2015 at 4:39 pm  

      Thanks, Pat. You know, I don’t think the knock-outs come in yellow. If they do, I’ve not seen them. Glad you are enjoying the book!

  9. Comment by Karen Lange
    June 4, 2015 at 2:36 pm  

    Daylilies are great! They do well here too. After 11 years, I am still adjusting to the differences in soil between here (north central KY) and my old home (southern NJ). Plants that did well in NJ’s sandy soil don’t do as well well in KY’s heavier, clay-ish soil. But then, I don’t profess to have a green thumb and spend hours outside figuring it all out. Cause you know, I’d rather be writing.:) Happy weekend!

    • Comment by Karen Lange
      June 4, 2015 at 2:37 pm  

      Btw, your house is beautiful!

      • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
        June 4, 2015 at 5:55 pm  

        Oh, and thanks. 🙂 We’ve been here 16 years, and I still love my house now as much as the first day I walked into it. Gearing up to downsize in the next few years, though.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 4, 2015 at 5:52 pm  

      Omigosh. You know about soil and stuff. That makes you an expert, in my opinion. lol

  10. Comment by ButtonsMom2003
    June 5, 2015 at 9:39 pm  

    Lisa, I love the picture of your house! The front porch is to die for. I used to have a green thumb for houseplants, about 40 years ago, but something happened and I finally gave up.

    I think I’d like to join Rob’s SHYW but now that we’ve moved to a community where the lawn maintenance is done for us, I don’t need to any longer. 🙂 We had a huge yard back in Ohio and paid someone to mow it.

    I’m eagerly awaiting your release day so I can post my reviews everywhere!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 7, 2015 at 7:04 pm  

      Thanks, for the porch. I love my porch, too. The lights are ready to be replaced, and we’re going to put fans in which will keep the bugs away when we sit out there in the early evening. Thanks for your willingness to post reviews! Release day is coming quick!

  11. Comment by Theresa Sanders
    June 6, 2015 at 8:37 pm  

    I too am terrible with plants, Lisa. But in addition to Bloomers for Dummies I’d like Food for Dummies because I’m also a terrible cook. 🙁 You do have love in your heart, though, Lisa. It may not go into growing bloomers because it’s planted, word by love-filled word, in your writing!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 7, 2015 at 7:09 pm  

      Aw, thanks, Theresa. You actually make it sound like my status as a serial plant killer isn’t so bad. lol I’m actually a pretty good cook (though unimaginative), and the problem with that is that I don’t mind eating what I cook, which might explain the extra poundage. :/

  12. Comment by Theresa Sanders
    June 6, 2015 at 8:40 pm  

    Forgot to say that I will definitely leave a comment for you on book release day. Can’t wait! Sorry for any mistakes — I’m doing this on my phone instead of my computer. Suffice to say I probably need Phones for Dummies too 😉

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 7, 2015 at 7:10 pm  

      Haha — I don’t like typing on my phone. I always “fat finger” the keys and end up with a mess. 🙂 Thanks for the offer to comment on release day. I sure appreciate it!

  13. Comment by Tammy
    June 9, 2015 at 12:19 pm  

    What cool roses! I have a neighbor who thinks it’s funny that I’ve been gardening for years and have a plumeria tree blooming here in St. Louis, yet I kill ivy every time. So maybe you just need more exotic plants…? I need Home Repairs for Dummies. Which undoubtedly exists, but I also need Motivation for Dummies.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      June 10, 2015 at 3:39 pm  

      Exotic plants? For me? lol It would be tragic for the plants, most likely. I think it’s funny that you have trouble with ivy. That’s one thing that grows like crazy here. 🙂

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