Phyllis Entis

Award-winning mystery writer and food safety microbiologist

My Not-so-Secret Garden


IMG_1190I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to plant something and watch it grow.

As a child, I planted potatoes. The crop was small, and the new potatoes were kid-sized, but I was delighted with the outcome. My parents were more concerned about the apparent ‘invasion’ of potato bugs that coincided with my first experiment in food production.

img706I suspect that I gravitated toward microbiology as a career due to my predilection for growing things. Bacteria grow quickly, are easier to plant, and can be played with any month of the year – a big advantage in a four-season climate. I spent the better part of forty years growing bacteria, yeasts and molds in the lab.

After retiring from the lab bench in 2001, I returned to more conventional gardening.


I look upon my writing as a form of gardening, too. I take a seed (the idea), prepare the soil with fertilizer and amendments (the plot line and main characters), plant (write the first draft), and mulch the bed (edit). Then I add some TLC in the form of a cover, a blurb and advertising, and watch my project bear fruit (sales and reviews).

As with any other form of gardening, there can be successes, near misses and (gasp!) failures. But the true gardener is intrepid. Dead wood must be discarded, failing plants pruned, and hungry ones fertilized. Thus, I have ventured into both fiction and non-fiction, novels and blogs, news summaries and opinion pieces. When a field ceases to be fruitful, I let it lie fallow for a while and dig in a different garden.

I have high hopes for my new garden. There will be strawberries and blueberries, Santa Rosa plums and Meyer lemons. Hibiscus and bird of paradise will add a semi-tropical flavor, and bougainvillea will line the fence. I look forward to sharing the fruits of my labors with you in the coming months and years.


6 thoughts on “My Not-so-Secret Garden

  1. I LOVE this! Well said, and I can relate in many ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Erin. Glad you enjoyed my musings.


  3. I love reading about and looking at all your accomplishments. You are a special woman!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Writing is a kind of gardening for sure, but I’d love to walk in your physical garden. Looks like you’ve got a serious green thumb! @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

    Liked by 1 person

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