Thank you, Morton, for inviting me onto your blog to talk about our garden. I have a confession to make. It’s all my husband’s handiwork apart from a small contribution from me where each year I fill the raised bed around one of the patios with bedding plants, usually bedding begonias. He is a very keen gardener and it’s been such a pleasure to see the very sparsely planted plot we inherited in 1979 evolve into the mature garden it is today.
We are very fortunate not to be overlooked and across the valley we can see the iconic Castell Coch nestling in trees on a hillside. There are very few straight lines in the garden apart from the edge of an area of hard landscaping that leads down to the greenhouse. The beds are full of plants and shrubs so that in the height of summer there is very little soil to see.
The garden cannot now be viewed in its entirety from one spot and invites you to wander to different areas- the wooded area, the shrubs around the conservatory, the herbaceous bed that looks so different at various times of the year.
As well as the flowers and shrubs, there is nothing better that eating the freshly picked tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and chillies grown in the greenhouse. This year there has been a glut of courgettes and my husband has made courgette relish, courgette soup and even courgette bread which was delicious. A herb garden by the kitchen door is also well used.
Although I cannot take any credit for it, I do love the fact that we have a lovely spacious garden. Whenever the weather is warm enough, we try to eat all our meals outside and certainly that happened during 2020 when we were in lockdown. I appreciated more than ever that we could be outside in the fresh air.
At the height of the pandemic, we celebrated the publication of my debut novel in the garden in hot sunshine just like the climate on the fictional Greek island where Her Mother’s Secret is set. We ate a meal of Greek salad and moussaka, followed by stewed plums like the ones we had from my aunt’s garden in Greece with natural Greek yogurt. We retired to our sunbeds for a strong black coffee and an ouzo.
Over the years, the garden has seen many family celebrations, annual Easter egg hunts, our daughter’s and my July birthdays, milestone anniversaries, afternoon teas and lots of barbecues.
Some of the flowers bring back memories. On old fashioned rambling deep pink rose that came from my husband’s gran’s garden still tumbles over the arched seat, geraniums with lemon scented leaves came from my Greek cousin and white agapanthus that flowered well this year remind us of holidays in Madeira. The sweet smell of summer jasmine climbing over a wooden archway is reminiscent of balmy evenings walking up from the Dapia in Spetses. One very special David Austin rose, aptly called Olivia Rose, was planted in memory of our little twin granddaughter, Olivia, whom we never met.
In Her Nanny’s Secret, Ted Beynon is a keen gardener – “When her father was worried or upset, she always knew where to find him. It was as if tending to his vegetable plot in the garden gave him solace. At this time of year, he was getting the soil ready for later in the year and sowing seeds. None of his beautiful flowers now. All the beds had been turned over to growing veg on the instructions of Mr Churchill.”
About HER NANNY’S SECRET:
How far would you go to save the person you loved the most?
It’s 1941, and Annie Beynon has just become the first stable girl for the most powerful family in her Welsh village. Whilst her gift for working with horses is clear, there are some who are willing to make her life very difficult on the Pryce estate, simply for being a girl.
There are other – secret – ways Annie is defying conventions, too. As the war rages, and when Edmund, the heir to the Pryce fortune, leaves to join the RAF, it seems that it’s only a matter of time before Annie’s secret is exposed. That is, until she makes a shocking decision.
It’s 1963 before Annie is able to face up to the secret she chose to keep over twenty years before. Justifying that decision takes her to Normandy in France, and an outcome she could never have expected …
Buying Links for Her Nanny’s Secret:
About Jan Baynham
After retiring from a career in teaching and advisory education, Jan joined a small writing group in a local library where she wrote her first piece of fiction and from then on, she was hooked! She soon went on to take a writing class at the local university and began to submit short stories for publication to a wider audience.
Her stories and flash fiction pieces have been longlisted and shortlisted in competitions and several appear in anthologies both online and in print. In October 2019, her first collection of stories was published. Her stories started getting longer and longer so that, following a novel writing course, she began to write her first full-length novel. She loves being able to explore her characters in further depth and delve into their stories.
Originally from mid-Wales, Jan lives in Cardiff with her husband. They have three grown up children and four grandchildren, with another little one expected in the summer. Having joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association in 2016, she values the friendship and support from other members and regularly attends conferences, workshops, talks and get togethers. She is co-organiser of her local RNA Chapter.
To keep in touch with Jan, you can use the following links:
Twitter: @JanBaynham https://twitter.com/JanBaynham
Facebook: Jan Baynham Writer https://www.facebook.com/JanBayLit
Blog: Jan’s Journey into Writing https://janbaynham.blogspot.com
Thank you for the lovely post, Jan and I wish you great success with Her Nanny’s Secret. Mx
News from Morton Gray
I’m featured this week on a blog post for Paula Williams about my writing inspiration, to read it click the link here. Paula has also kindly featured me in an article in the writing magazine Writers’ Forum.
My latest novel Summer at Lucerne Lodge is currently only 99p, so if you haven’t read it then grab a bargain before the end of September. Buying links – Amazon Check on my Choc Lit author page for other purchasing options here
International Bestseller Summer at Lucerne Lodge was published as an eBook on 20 April 2021 and now available as a paperback and audio download too – Amazon Check on my Choc Lit author page for other purchasing options here