Years ago, my parents drove through a neighborhood on Long Island where lush, green lawns adorned the front of every house. Each lawn had one or two azalea bushes in bright fuchsia.
As we drove past manicured lawn after manicured lawn with that splash of fuchsia dotting a spot, I began to think of the Stepford Wives. My parents shook their heads at me and said they probably all used the same lawn service. A friend went one further and said the plants were probably best for the area given the weather conditions.
But my mind’s eye never forgot those almost-identical patches of land, one after the other. And my novel used that as a perfect spot for vampires to live, hidden inside that sameness.
I drove to Long Island a few days ago to see if that still existed.
“No,” said my friend. “Azaleas bloom in the spring.”
So I drove around neighborhoods and discovered that the flower of choice right now seemed to be black-eyed Susans. I called my friend from the car. “Why?”
“It’s drought tolerant.”
“I don’t think we’re in a drought.”
“We’re not, but drought-tolerant plants need less water so it’s better for the water bill. They last from summer to early fall,” she added.
I’ll be making more trips as the season turns to fall. World building can be a tricky business.