I have a secret garden.

The problem is, it’s a secret from me.

Yes, it’s that wonderful time of year, when my garden returns to bloom.

The problem is, I don’t remember what I planted.

And right now, they’re not giving me any clues. There are a lot of green things emerging, and each one is a surprise.

I cannot remember a thing I planted except veronica.

I remember only because of Betty and Veronica comics.

Who forgets Veronica Lodge?


Certainly not Archie.

Veronica was the rich brunette we loved to hate.

Yet also wanted to be.

Thus begins the sometimes complicated relationship between women.

And, quite possibly, every Bravo TV show.

I will remember what Veronica Lodge looks like until the day I die — the jet-black hair, the cute little upturned nose, the sweater with a really major underwire.

But I don’t recall what the plant veronica looks like.

I know I made a map of what I planted in the garden, but I don’t remember where I put the map.

Things are really going well at Middle-Aged Manor.

The only thing that’s predictable is gardening disasters.

For example, whoever said everything’s coming up roses never grew roses.

Let me first say that I love roses.

They are my favorite flowers.

I like them so much that I bought a bunch of books on them, then decided to line my picket fence in the front yard with them. I read everything I could on climbing roses and picked out a rose that was terrific in every way.

Zephirine Drouhin, which is French.

So it’s classy.

Rosarians refer to Zephirine Drouhin as ZD, so it even has its own monogram.

Very classy.

I’m pretty sure it has a circle pin.

(Does anybody remember circle pins? No? OK.)

Plus ZD is hot pink, which is my favorite color. And also, it smells better than I do.

Best of all, it has no thorns.

I have thorns.

I’m fine with that.

So I bought 25 ZD bushes from a nursery several years ago and put them in, lining the fence. The first year, everything came up roses.

I felt like Queen Zephirine.

The second year, the roses came back, but the leaves sprouted black and white spots, then fell off.

And the third year, the rosebushes died. There was too much rain, and it destroyed the root system.

The nursery guy told me, “ZD doesn’t like moist soil.”

She’s picky, for a plant.

ZD might be the Veronica Lodge of roses.

So now I’m at square one.

And the question is, what to put in?

Back to the research books and nurseries.

All I want is something pink that won’t scratch or die.

And I think I found it: Bobo hydrangea.

It’s supposed to be a hardy variety of hydrangea that likes moist soil.


My soil is the only moist thing about me.

To return to point, the flowers on a Bobo hydrangea are white and they’re supposed to turn pink. Nothing else is supposed to turn anything.

And best of all, who can forget the name?

Even I can remember Bobo.

As in, “Please, look at my Bobos.”

Or, “Get your eyes off my Bobos. I’m up here.”

Some of the ads say it’s paniculate, which in Latin, means Don’t Panic.

The ads sold me, big-time. They say, “The Bobo hydrangea will turn heads!”

It’s “engulfed by large white flowers!”

“No flopping, unlike some paniculate hydrangeas!”

“As blooms age, they turn pink!”


Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Bobo hydrangea is the Veronica Lodge of hydrangeas.

I’m sure this is going to turn out great, aren’t you?

Look for Lisa’s best-selling historical novel, “Eternal,” in stores now. Also look for Francesca’s critically acclaimed debut novel, “Ghosts of Harvard,” on sale now.