Sunday, January 3, 2010 Puttering in Helen’s Haven

It has been a cold week in Helen’s Haven; so much so, I was too weak to work in the garden at all. Hardly leaving the mid 40s, I felt I needed to wait until the 50s returned.

This month, is my 2nd blog anniversary.  It started as a diary of garden goings on in Helen’s Haven: what was growing, blooming, planted, pruned.  It also included what the kids were doing in the garden.  Their joys in the garden, as well as, their antics.

Today, this Sunday post remains the same, with more focus on the what was done in the garden during the week. Surprisingly, these Sunday posts receive the most hits.  I don’t know what this means, but thank you for stopping by. Actually, this weekly post surpasses my most favorite posting – This Month in The Garden – where I give monthly maintenance tips for our zone 7b gardens.

Often, I’m asked how I got started writing a garden blog.  Given that my day job is already as a writer (and garden coach & scout), how do I find the time and interest in writing for free?  My answer, a release.  It is such a release to write this blog.  It’s the only avenue I have to write anything, I mean anything, I want.  I can write in first person, it can be pillar or pale.  It can be about books, plants, travels, people, or profiling a garden.

The profiles came about as I wanted to share great gardens in NC and beyond.  I get to see some great gardens through my work with Better Homes and Gardens and their special interest publications such as Country Gardens and Nature’s Garden.  But for so many reasons, none of which are due to the garden not being worthy of publication, they are not selected.  This gives me a chance to profile their garden as a thank you for sharing it with me.

Reflecting on the last 2 year’s worth of post, I’ve decided to continue much as I have been, with a small difference.  The difference will be frequency.  I’m thinking I’ll continue to post this weekly update.  I find it to be a valuable reference of my garden goings on and I think the reader can glean what they can be doing in the garden, as well.

I will continue to profile gardens (because they are so much fun to write), write book reviews (so, Mr. Media Man, add me to your list), plants (so, Ms. Grower, add me to your list, Helen’s Haven trials plants ) and of course, I’ll continue to write about my cute, sweet kids, named after flowers, and their antics (see the category, Flowers That Talk.)

I’m also going the bandwagon in the What I do in the Garden 365 DAYS IN THE GARDEN.  Not sure if it is a real challenge, but sounds like something I would like to do.

For my long time readers, it is no surprise that I am writing a book.  I haven’t officially started.  I have a committment from my publisher, but I’m still in the process of putting the details together: sample chapter, tone, table of contents, etc.  After this, I hope to actually begin writing the book.  To keep track of all that I am doing, I thought I would begin to include  a BOOK REPORT in my Sunday post.  This will update you and allow me to chronical my progress.

I’ll also include a section on WHAT’S SHE WRITING ABOUT NOW…. This section will link the posts I wrote during the week, as well as, linking This Month in The Garden.  You may ask, Why would I continue with the monthly maintenance guide when the hits are so low?  Cuz one day you will visit and will need it.  When you do, I will be there  for you.  It might not be today, or next year, but when you are ready to read about garden maintenance tips in our zone 7b gardens, you will have the resource as close as your friendly Garden Coach, Helen Yoest at Gardening With Confidence™.


  1. Photographed 6 locations in the garden to begin a new project following a bed’s monthly progress
  2. Cracked ice in birdbaths
  3. Read seed catalogues.


This past summer, I decided to work in earnest to publish my book.  For a very long time, I’ve wanted to help gardeners with their gardens.  As a garden coach, I work with gardeners to build the garden the always desired.  As a garden coach, I guide them on to how to look at their garden.  I believed, there was a book idea there and convienced a publisher of this too.  Then, my publisher, Roger Waynick, Cool Spring Press, started to waffle.

Hmmm, when faced with this kind of reaction, do I defend the book idea or do I walk assuming he knows more than I do.  Or perhaps, just perhaps, my  brilliant idea needed some refining.  My publisher challenged me to do a market study.  So, I did.  Well, he liked the resultes of the survey and apparantely my approach, because, this was posted on Twitter soon after his review, “@gardenpublisher If anyone wants to learn how to sell a book idea, ask @helenyoest. She just convinced me to do a book that I was unsure about. Great job!”

So the beginning began.  Over the New Year’s break, I put together the information in the Cool Springs Press Submission guidelines.  If nothing else, it was an exercise in organization.  Organizing ones thoughts is never a bad idea.  Hopefully, next week, I can tell you how much he liked it as well….hope so!


What do You Want to Know About a Plant?

I’m Gonnas

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum


  1. […] Continued here: Sunday, January 3, 2010 Puttering in Helen's Haven « Gardening … […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Augustine Addico, Helen Yoest. Helen Yoest said: Puttering In Helen's Haven […]

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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by HelenYoest: Puttering In Helen’s Haven

  4. Les said

    Happy Blogging Anniversary to you, I will mark mine this month also. With all the work envolved with a book, I am surprised you still have time to post a blog. Best of luck (and skill)!

  5. Janet said

    Congratulations on another year of blogging Helen. I have enjoyed reading your posts, especially the monthly tasks…even though I only do a fraction of what you suggest it is a great way to keep track of duties in the garden. I look forward to hearing about your book, good for you!! As Les mentioned, I don’t know where you find the time……… are always one busy lady.

    • Thanks Janet! Is this the year you move? What zone will you be going to? H.

      • Janet said

        Yes, we move this summer (early summer I think) and it will still be 7b! Makes life a bit easier on the old brain.

  6. TC Conner said

    You and I are going through the same thing Ms. Helen. I’m organizing my proposal right now for St. Lynn’s Press out of Pittsburgh and plan to submit to several other publishers, Cool Springs Press included. I think your chances of getting published might be a bit higher than mine, but as you said, we’ll see!

    I was wondering if you might share your wisdom about how I might conduct my own market study? The agent I spoke with from St. Lynn’s asked if my book would sell in Oregon and/or Arizona (I live and write about gardening in western PA).

    I must chide you some for thinkin the 40s are cold; it was 9 degrees when I woke this morinin, and we have about 4 or 5 inches of new snow. Yesterday saw 19 as a high! And all I see in the gardens is white!

    • Hey T.C. may be better if you give me a call and I will tell you my approach. I have a road trip Thursday morning and afternoon, so that would be a good time for me. Happy, to share you my approach. H.

    • P.S. T.C. I thought you knew…I’m a total weenie when it comes to cold weather. H.

      • TC Conner said

        “Weenie.” Ha ha ha! I haven’t heard that term used since Jesus left Chicago! (Check your email.)

      • I didn’t know He left Chicago! When did that happen ;~}

  7. patientgardener said

    I found this interesting, its always nice to find out abit more about bloggers. I also find that my Sunday posts are well received, maybe bloggers enjoy reading posts on Sundays

    • Hey Helen, So you do a Sunday post as well. I’ll have to check it out. Is it similar – serving as your actual diary? Over the past two year, I have been asked what the purpose was. It’s just my o-line garden diary. I love writing it. Sorta, Helen unplugged – lol. H.

  8. meghan said

    this is exciting as a reader. it feels like we’re going through the process with you! i enjoy the “what is she writing about now” and i agree the monthly maintance is good to have as a reference. sometimes i find i just need to be doing something/anything to get my dose of therapy outside. i’ve actually been contemplating when i will put out some “good stuff” to make my sandy beds more fertile. just thinking about it makes me happy. 🙂

    • I’m too cold to go out there. But what a good time to add mulch…composted leaf mulch is nice and toasty!

      • meghan said

        oh i’ve definitely not been out there lately. i can barely handle walking out to the mailbox! but once this frigid phase passes, i’ll be back to trying to find things to do outside again. right now i’ve planted myself in front of the fireplace and i’m not leaving!!!

      • The fireplace sounds like a good place to be in front of. H.

  9. Congratulations on your blog! You have SO MUCH ENERGY! I don’t know how you do it.

    This cold air is something isn’t it?

    I haven’t been in the garden for a month, blogged very little, but am finally getting over my cough. We’re heading out to LA in a few days and I am hoping those 70 degree temps and sunshine are waiting for me! Gardens to see out there! 🙂


  10. Los Angeles, not Louisiana! 🙂

    • lol, I knew that…but it reminds me that I used LA once with a boss and they thought I meant the state. I remember he thought I didn’t it intentionally…I chose not to remind him that I’m not that smart! Glad you are filling better and how fun to be taking a road trip!!! H.

  11. tina said

    Congrats on your two years and a double congrats on starting your book! Starting is always the hardest part as you know. Good luck and stay warm! Brrr here too!

  12. Thanks Tina! It stayed in the low 30s today, as it will all week. Ridiculous. H.

  13. Congrats on selling your publisher on your book idea, and for your two-year blogiversary. I also find that Sundays are big days for visitor count on my blog. Fridays are invariably low. Since I don’t have a regular Sunday feature, I have always assumed it was the weekend effect: people too busy to read on Friday and catching up on Sunday evening.

  14. Pam, that makes perfect sense….H.

  15. Carole said

    Happy blog birthday, Helen! That’s a great milestone. Congratulations! I love your “This Month in the Garden” section and read it every month, but since I’m a zone 6, I just read it for fun and education.

    I’m really excited that you’re working on your book. I can’t wait to read it!

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