Many thanks to Morton for inviting me on to her blog today as part of the blog tour for the third in my romantic suspense series set on the Riviera – A Villa in Portofino.
When she gave me the list of possible topics that she was featuring at the moment, there was really only one I could chose. It had to be my garden. But this choice is very much tongue in cheek, and possibly not the kind of post she was expecting. I don’t think there will be any cases of garden envy today.
Why did I have to choose it? Well my new book A Villa in Portofino is all about the efforts of my heroine Megan Morrison to restore the property that she unexpectedly inherits on the Italian Riviera – which includes a huge garden that has run wild. She is helped in this by the hero of the book, Gideon West, who happens to be a landscape gardener. It’s a love story, with added mayhem, as there are lots of secrets and mysteries, large and small, as well as someone else who wants the estate for themselves.
When I was looking for inspiration for the mass of overgrown roses and brambles surrounding the villa I only had to take a few steps outside the back door, as you can see from the pictures. Everything out there seems to be very prickly, which is exactly what I wanted to conjure up for Megan’s garden – Sleeping Beauty’s castle. I’m not sure if growing my own brambles counts as research. It certainly didn’t take any effort from me.
The usual order of things is before and after, but in the case of my own plot it’s after and before! You can see from the other photographs what it is meant to look like. The top part of the garden is in terraces with steps in between and is mostly gravel – well now mostly weeds. The small courtyard part close to the back door was inspired by Mediterranean style display gardens at various flower shows, in the days when we had flower shows. It’s got in its overgrown state for a number of complicated reasons and I know I am going to have to have professional help to sort it out. Unfortunately Gideon is a character I have created – it would be lovely to be able to enlist his help in real life.
There are still some good things going on amongst the wildness. There are lot of things in pots, from bulbs to the beautiful dark pink hydrangea. It wasn’t always beautiful. I bought it as a baby at a horticultural show and had terrible trouble keeping it alive. The slugs and snails in my garden considered it just the sort of tasty little snack they were looking for. In the end, in desperation, I asked my mum to foster it on the windowsill in the hall of her block of flats. As I hoped, with her loving care it got big enough for the slugs to lose interest. It’s one my sadnesses that she never got to see it flower.
I have lots of lavender and scented geraniums, also in pots, and jasmine and honeysuckle grow like weeds, so the undergrowth usually smells good. The little daisy like plant, Erigeron Karvinskianus, commonly known as Fleabane, also seeds itself all over the place. The birds like the dense vegetation, so I get a bonus of being able to watch them from the window. I have an Acer in a pot that will be turning to its autumn colours in the next few weeks.
I really want my Mediterranean haven back. I have begun to do some clearing – it was a lot worse earlier in the summer. It will probably be slow, but I will get there. And, like Megan, I’ve got a nice new pair of stout gardening gloves.
About Evonne Wareham
Evonne is an award winning Welsh author of romantic suspense – more crime and dead bodies than your average romance. She likes to set her book in her native Wales, or for a touch of glamorous escapism, in favourite holiday destinations in Europe. She is a Doctor of Philosophy and an historian, and a member of both the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Crime Writers’ Association.
To keep in touch with Evonne you can use the following links:-
About A Villa in Portofino
Third in the ‘Riviera’ Series of romantic suspense: love and mayhem in the sunshine of the French and Italian Riviera
From chambermaid to “got it made” …
When hotel cleaning temp and poetry academic Megan Morrison finds out she’s inherited an Italian villa and small fortune from her estranged great-great aunt Olwen, she doesn’t quite know how to react. That is, until she travels to Portofino to see Il Giardino delle Rose for herself. Then she knows exactly what she has to do: live there!
Enchanted by the beauty of the house and gardens, fascinated by the history, and more than a little intrigued by handsome hired landscape gardener Gideon West, Megan can immediately see the villa’s potential as a dream home.
But having long-lost relatives sometimes means long-lost secrets – and it seems that Olwen had plenty of those. Could these secrets and a jealous obsession be powerful enough to drive Megan out of the house that she’s already fallen in love with?
Available as an e-book from
Thank you for joining me, Evonne and your garden looks lovely despite what you say 🥰 but I do think we could all do with a Gideon. Mx
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