In SAVING THE GRIFFIN, laurel hedges were rather important to my plot. That’s why I took time to describe these evergreen leaves. The trees and plants weren’t quite as important in my novel set in Egypt, but I still needed to establish a sense of place.
When you’re moving your characters through various forms of vegetation, it’s important to let the readers know what kind it is. You can’t just write that they’re going into a forest. Instead you have to be clear what kind of trees they’re walking between: birches, maples, pines, redwood. The different trees will conjure up different images in people. But you’ll also have to add in a few specifics for people who don’t know the difference between a pin oak and a live oak.
So how could I bring the streets and gardens of Maadi, Egypt to life? Some readers probably wouldn’t be familiar with the acacia or the jacaranda. But they do know about palm trees and poinsettias. So I used them in my descriptions. Plus this allowed me to share an amazing fact: poinsettias aren’t flowers so much as flowering shrubs!