When I look back at all my attempts to find something that incorporates art and writing I never thought I would take an interest in writing children’s books. My background in horticulture inspired me to write The Little Gardeners series.
Amazing what kind of imagination you can dream up without going overboard. Living creatures in all walks of life need love too. Being a professional gardener my whole life I have a name for all my garden friends who visit in the garden, and of course, some people think I’m nuts as I talk to many of them. I have to say finding this niche writing and Illustrating children’s books is a blessing for me. If I never sell one book I have enjoyed every minute of it.
Nibbles who I miss dearly was the family Quaker parrot that we rescued from being abused. I can still hear him asking “whatcha doing” “I love you” and so on. The plan was to take both Nibbles and Max the cat with us but Nibbles happen to pass a few mornings before my husband and I were to leave on our aventure, of travel nursing. It was the dead of winter and couldn’t bear the thought of disposing him so I packed him on dry ice for the long drive from Michigan to Terrytown NY. When we arrived at our destination Nibbles was buried on top of a beautiful hill of wildflowers.
Most all of my characters in my children’s booksare related to people that inspired me or animals and pets I have interacted with.
This is our little Bob who had a rough life. Bob lost his tail to a cat chase. Soon to be a weak squirrel he was bullied by others. My husband and I tried making the best for him with ample water and nuts. Bob came to me Christmas day of last year to say a final goodbye. You are missed, my little friend.
Carol, an avid gardener, revisits some of the experiences throughout her life that shaped her into who she is today. You will be entertained and inspired by the challenges she faced to make her dreams a reality and get her to where she always wanted to be. If you enjoy a good laugh, gardening, nature, and working outdoors you are sure to enjoy this collection. No matter what your dreams are, these stories of hope and persistence will inspire you to keep reaching until you achieve your dreams as well.
I have a long history in gardening. As a young child, my father was a strawberry farmer and I loved to garden with him. Later years I opened a floral shop and greenhouse growing annuals with a large cut garden out back of every flower you could imagine. People loved to come pick their flowers out for a smashing bouquet. I had a flower truck with all the fresh cut flowers picked daily that would drive around the rich part of town ringing a bell like the ice cream truck was coming except adults would run out to greet it. After selling my business I was hired by a few companies as a landscape designer then went on to work as a Senior Groundskeeper (Read my new book The Groundskeeper Revisited ) at Central Michigan University from there on to Nursing. At this time, I was 48 thinking a career change would be nice as the physical part of my job was starting to take a toll on my body, but going to college was a game changer for me at that age.
After graduation and working as a nurse, I became ill and a near-death experience crushed my nursing career as memory loss and depression took a toll on me. My husband also a nurse decided we needed to travel and show me what beauty our country had to offer. Over those six years of traveling from hospital to hospital, I enjoyed the beauty through my eyes and held those pictures in my mind to paint someday. He had thirteen-week assignments so we moved around a lot so I never had the inspiration to paint being so unsettled. We found a permanent place finally and it had a storage shed that was perfect to set up a little area to paint. Oil paint smells so bad so this was perfect. I painted several pictures until we had to move once again for my husband’s job.
To this day I couldn’t exist without the sound of birds singing and chattering to each other. It is a magical sound everyone enjoys that brings happiness to one’s soul.
I should have introduced this little guy first seeing he is the master of problems in every book.
Peep was created from my fascination as a young girl with bluebirds. I enjoyed the fact that their standalone houses were different than any other I had seen. Peep is an ancient bird with lots of wisdom to teach children fun but important things. When designing Peep, my memory of seeing bluebirds and blue jays is how Peep got his hairdo. The sunglasses? Peep is a believer of protecting his eyes when working in the garden. https://www.thelittlegardeners.com
Max the cat was another rescue that was at death’s door. She was the runt of the litter but as she recovered I nicknamed her Maximum Overdrive. Max entertained my husband and me for many years. Max was not a lap cat but animals can sense sickness and that being said when I was laid up with a severe illness she would not leave me alone. She would stick her wet nose and purr in my ear to make me laugh. I had to share my pillow with her but after my recovery, she went right back to what she wanted to do. Max also traveled across the country with us and sadly lost her to an illness.
Max is full of life and is up to anything her playmates want to do in the garden. She hangs with her best friend Chloe who is a big black cat. They both assist in helping on any project the little gardeners have when they are not chasing each other around in the garden. Visithttps://www.thelittlegardeners.com to see all of Carol’s work.
The Little Gardener happens to be an interpretation of the author Carol Hopkins. Molly is a countryside friend and Mr. Pibs was famous for his farming skills. All the little gardeners (plural) comes in many forms of nature that kept me company while working in my gardens.
Meet The Little Gardener,
The Little Gardener is a very lonely child who loves to be outside with nature and playing in the garden. the property the Garden is on is well maintained and inhabited by many species of critters who are the Little Gardeners friends. Peep is his best friend that interacts with nature and has quite the imagination when it comes to problem-solving. https://www.thelittlegardeners.com
In my first garden as a kid the excitement of harvesting my cherry red tomatoes was overwhelming but amidst the jungle I had created, I was paralyzed when seeing this enormous green worm on the tomato plants. My heart pounded with fear. Thinking that the slurry I mixed up produced this green monster with horns, scared the living daylights out of me! So that is where Chester comes in. I know he isn’t a Monarch but I couldn’t leave him out. This funny short story called My First Garden is in my new book The Groundskeeper Revisited all gardeners will enjoy.
I just love Chester. He is the Peepsters sidekick and always willing to help with problems that arise. He is a hardworking guy but shy and has a special gift of turning into different butterflies.