Thursday, March 26, 2015

Time Out Thursday - Annie West's Passion for Flowers

It's time for Time Out Thursday, here on the Pink Heart Society, and Annie West is talking about her love of flowers...

It's autumn here in Australia, which is always such a wonderful time in the garden. I think spring and autumn are my favourite seasons, and they always entice me away from my desk and my writing to enjoy the outdoors. 

You see, I'm an almost gardener. 

I grew up among gardeners so I spent a lot of time outdoors in our rambling garden, which included an ancient rainforest gully as well as a mini orchard and terraces where previous owners had grown flowers to sell. 

When we travelled I'd always hear comments about the type of wattle (acacia) that was flowering at the time, or be taken to admire some spectacular private garden in full bloom and of course I learned to identify at least some of the local Australian flowers while bushwalking. 

Gardening is in my blood and I love gardens, but as for being greenfingered...well, it's a bit hit and miss!

As the daughter of a one time florist, I have a particular love of flowers. Yes, I have a few rose bushes, though the climate isn't ideal for them here on the coast. No, I no longer have neat garden beds of flowers. I did that in a previous home (with a different climate) and cultivated everything from daffodils to Japanese windflowers and peonies. Now my garden is very large and lush, but surrounded by big gum trees so it's more of the 'natural' (green and overgrown) look than a flower garden.

Nevertheless, I adore my flowers when they show themselves. I love the huge variety of flowers from delicate looking roses or even humble pansies to lilies and fragrant swathes of bluebells and all sorts of things in between. They always make me smile - a sure fire way to feel better when things aren't going so well. Here are a few photos I've taken in recent months (some in my garden and some elsewhere).

This oriental lily is called Stargazer and I love watching it emerge.
An Australian Waratah, state floral symbol of New South Wales
Wistaria. We had a tunnel of this in our backyard when I was little. Absolutely gorgeous scent!
Ornamental cherry - a real sign of spring
And here's a photo I took this morning - one of my favourite hibiscuses.

Do you have a love of flowers? Do you have a garden to potter in and grow your own? Or do you only get up close to cut flowers in bouquets? Or are you sadly allergic to them? I'd love to hear about your favourites!

Annie's latest book is a Mills and Boon Modern, Harlequin Presents called The Sheikh's Princess Bride.  It's the second in her Desert Vows duet (after The Sultan's Harem Bride).  

It is available now from Harlequin, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Book Depository.  Here's a taste:
Wanted: royal bride and mother

For Sheikh Tariq of Al-Sharath, one miserable marriage was enough. With a kingdom to rule, he has no time—or wish—to find a bride, but his children need a mother.

Could Princess Samira of Jazeer be the answer? Samira has sampled passion, and it left a bad taste. With the knowledge she can't have the children she's always wanted, Samira steps into Tariq's ready-made family. Her only condition? No sex!
Samira thought royal duties and her love for Tariq's children would fill the hole in her heart, but a craving is building that only the sheikh's touch can cure… 


  1. Annie, what absolutely gorgeous pictures! They really brightened up my evening. As you know, I'm a fellow flower lover but I'm absolutely hopeless in the garden. I always had a romantic idea of a lovely garden when I lived in a flat/apartment, but then when I got one, it was all just too much trouble. I'm toying with the idea of a couple of pots of annuals though. I mean, how much trouble can they be? Congratulations on THE SHEIKH'S PRINCESS BRIDE. It's a fabulous story!

    1. Hi Anna. Thanks for the congratulations! It's great having the story available!

      Laughing at your 'how much trouble can they be?'. Actually, once they're planted they shouldn't be much trouble at all, especially since you seem to be having a wet season so they won't need to much watering. Good luck!

  2. I am a plant killer but I love them in the wild. I especially love waratahs, wattle, flannel flowers, poppies and jonquils - which is a strange mix! And my husband has developed a bit of an orchid obsession, probably because we live in the city with almost no outdoor space.

    1. Avril, haven't we all killed off plants from time to time? I like all the flowers you mention, but especially flannel flowers. They often seem to get overlooked but they're so delicate and pretty. I've never tried to grow them though as I think of them as being very difficult. Your husband must be talented to grow orchids. I have a few but I never know if they survive and flower from good luck rather than any good gardening skills on my part!