Flowery Friday.

Sunflower crop FPNormandeau

How do you feel about another sunflower photo?  This one comes with a bonus bee, so it’s extra-special.

I hope you will all find some moments of sunshine and cheer this weekend!  What are you looking forward to doing during the next few days?

Writing updates.

I’ve been super-busy and there are a few more articles and stories pending publication early in the new year, but here’s a list of some of my work that has been either very recently published or will go to press very shortly….

Garden Writing ~

Available now:

“Lacto-Fermentation with Herbs” in The Herb Quarterly, Fall 2015 issue – on North American newsstands

A couple of my sea buckthorn berry recipes are posted on The Canadian Organic Grower’s website – you can check them out here.


“Growing Gooseberries” in The Prairie Garden 2017: Fruit and Berries (available for pre-order; book launch is 27 November)


“Herb Straw Bale Gardening” in The Herb Quarterly, Winter 2015 issue

Short Stories ~

Available now:

“Sheeple” in the Wolfsinger Publications anthology Under a Dark Sign (available through Smashwords and Amazon)

What happens when a long-suffering evil villain finally gets his due?

“The Commute” in the Strange Musings Press anthology Alternate Hilarities 4: Weirder Science (available through Amazon)

An alien races home to attend to an urgent family matter.  The only thing he hasn’t counted on?  Getting stuck in heavy commuter traffic on Earth.  


“GEUs” in Fossil Lake’s anthology Unicornado

Genetically engineered unicorns?  Yeah, I went there.

For Children ~

Available now:

“Pet Horoscope: Warthogs” in the Fall Fun 2015 issue of the Canadian children’s magazine Bazoof! (formerly Zamoof!) – on Canadian newsstands


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Flowery Friday.

Peacock glad RS FP Normandeau

Snow is becoming a regular occurrence around here now after an amazingly mild and warm October and early November – and I think I’m okay with it.  For now.  If you ask me in March of next year, I will most definitely have a different answer.   ;)

These peacock gladiolus (aka Abyssinian gladiolus – Gladiolus callianthus, syn. Gladiolus acidantheria) that one of the ladies planted in our new “bulb bed” at the community garden got heaps of admiring comments when they splashed out in late summer and into autumn.  They’re pretty common elsewhere, but I don’t see them too often here – I guess no one enjoys lifting those bulbs in the fall!  I think new bulbs are very reasonably priced, however, and everyone at the garden agreed that this is a plant we will definitely try again in the future. It’s easy to see why!

What new plants have you tried in your garden this past growing season?  Are they keepers?   Did you see a plant on a garden tour or in a friend’s garden that totally wowed you and made you want to try it yourself?

Spectacular fall colour.


If you’re not a fan of (the possibly only slightly brutish) Engelman ivy (Parthenocissus quinquefolia ‘Engelmannii’), here’s one of the biggest reasons why they’re worth planting.  Isn’t that colour fabulous?

Mine grow up and along a stucco wall and completely fill in some open spaces near (and, as you can see, occasionally “on”) the junipers…I do prune them once a year, but for the most part I just let them go to town.  The whole multi-purpose groundcover/vertical filler thing works beautifully for me.

Which climbers are tops (!) in your garden? Which ones do you regret (or stay far, far away from)?

Alberta Snapshot: Chinook Lake trek.

FP AC Normandeau2

My hubby and I made a quick dash to the Crowsnest Pass a couple of weeks ago, and spent a Friday morning and afternoon hiking through the beautiful forest that surrounds Chinook Lake.  The area boasts an active cross-country ski club and an extensive trail system suitable for all skill levels.  (Although the “difficult” trails that currently feature fallen trees may be taking things a bit too far, LOL!  We could easily hike around the obstructions, and I imagine they’ll be cleared away before the snow flies).  I would love to ski here…can you imagine this place decorated with freshly-fallen snow?

Living art.


Beautiful or slightly unnerving?  What’s your take on this lounging lady?  (She was a work-in-progress at the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton, Alberta, in summer 2014).

Personally, I am absolutely enamoured with her hair….

Happy Hallowe’en!  

Flowery Friday.

Goldenrod BW FP Normandeau

Another “post-flowery” Flowery Friday…this is one of my favourite autumn bloomers, wild Solidago, gone to seed and found on the shoreline of Winchell Lake (near Water Valley, Alberta).  Every year, I say I’m going to plant goldenrod in my garden, but once again, I’ve just passed another growing season without it.  Next year, for sure!

(We’ll see).

Do you grow goldenrod, or are you in the camp that dislikes it?  Some goldenrod species (such as S. canadensis) are considered invasive in some regions – is that the case where you live?