Seeds!

I spent some time last week going through and packaging up all the seeds I have saved so far this year, and I realized – like probably many of you – that I have way more than I can possibly sow next year (or in the next five years, in some cases!).  One of the most important things you can do as a gardener is to save seeds (and share them if you’re able to do so).  It is not only rewarding, but essential to the sustainability and preservation of future crops – not to mention maintaining diversity.  And it doesn’t matter if the plants are “common” – everything counts…or will, someday.

So…I have a bunch of surplus seeds I’d like to share with you, if you’re interested.  These selections completely fall into the category of “common” plants.  But it’s nice to get free seeds!  Right?

This is what I have to offer:

CALENDULA

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LUPINE

(Perennial, hardy to zone 3)

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ROCK SOAPWORT

(Perennial, hardy to zone 3) – you can read my blog entry about this plant here)

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CHERVIL

(Herb)

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All of my plants are grown chemical-free. And while I did my best to ensure proper collection and storage, there is always a risk that some of the seeds may not germinate.  I’ve tried to put a good amount in each package to hopefully combat that, and you’ll have to keep them stored properly until you decide to use them.

Unfortunately, I can’t send them to locations outside of Canada – I wish I could!  But if you live in this country,  click on my Contact Form and write your name and mailing address, as well as the types of seeds you’re interested in.  I have a very small gardening space so I only have limited quantities, but I’ll try to get you what you want.  I will mail them out as soon as I can – you should get them within about two weeks.

Enjoy!  :)

Dictionaries and potential literature.

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On my other blog The Door is Ajar, I recently reviewed a book by Joe Fiorito, Rust is a Form of Fire (you can read my post in its entirety here).  In his introduction to the book, Fiorito acknowledges the influence of George Perec and his book An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris (1974), as well as a literary movement Perec was a part of: Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle (usually known as OuLiPo).  OuLiPo – which I had never heard of until reading Fiorito’s book – encouraged writers to see “potential literature” everywhere, and used what I’d consider restrictive writing exercises to create new, bold works (sometimes out of old ones).

Consider N+7.  This was a way to alter existing text by replacing every noun (N) in a work with whatever noun followed the original seven (7) entries later in the dictionary.  Another procrastination tool or super good fun?  Maybe both!  I don’t believe in writer’s block, but if you do (and you’re suffering from it), this might be the way to get the words flowing again….

At any rate, mulling over the possibilities of N+7 got me thinking about dictionaries, mostly about how no one really seems to have a print copy of them anymore.  If you need to look up the definition and usage of a word, you just plug it into whatever word processing software or search engine you regularly use and in a microsecond, you have it right there in your face. You don’t even really need to know how to spell the word – there are so many ways to retrieve it even if you come up with merely a close approximation.

We have print dictionaries at the library, but they are circulating less and less, and the beautiful hefty reference copies are rarely taken from the shelf.  I love print dictionaries and have a few at home; although a search engine is way more efficient, sometimes it’s just plain pleasant to turn the pages of the print copies and pore through the entries.

So, with dictionary in hand, here is an excerpt from my book review of Fiorito’s Rust is a Form of Fire – the original is first, followed by the N+7 version.  Please note that I am using N+7 without taking into account proper nouns and pronouns.

Over the course of three days, he spent several hours sitting near the intersection of Victoria and Queen in the bustling metropolis, and recorded all of his observations of the scenes around him:  snippets of conversations, what people were wearing, what they were drinking or eating, what the temperature was, interesting features about buildings around him…you name it.

Over the court card of three daydreams, he spent several house arrests sitting near the intertrigo of Victoria and Queen in the bustling mew, and recorded all of his obstacles of the scent-bags around him: snoods of conversions, what pepperboxes were wearing, what they were drinking or eating, what the temple was, interesting federations about bulbuls around him…you name it.

Potential literature?  Perhaps –  I did learn a few new words in the process!  And I must apologize for my juvenile sense of humour, but the “obstacles of the scent-bags” makes me giggle. Might be the title of my next short story….

Do you still use a print dictionary?  

Do you use writing exercises to inspire new work?

Clipart credit.

Alberta snapshot: Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park.

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The leaves are turning so quickly this year!  (And falling, too). I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise…we had summer-hot weather in April and May, and the whole growing season felt completely accelerated.

Hope you have some time to get outside and enjoy someplace beautiful this weekend!

 

September blog fun.

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Eeep!  I can’t believe it’s mid-September already!

I had a bunch of projects and work to attend to at the end of last month and although I had scheduled a few blog posts during that time, I failed to offer personalized replies to many of your wonderful comments (although I did leave a general message on each entry). I just wanted to let you all know that I really, really appreciate all the feedback on Flowery Prose, and please do keep those comments coming – I love to read your insights and experiences! Going forward, I will strive to be a bit more timely and dedicated to commenting – both here and on all of your amazing blogs!

On to the links…I have a nice eclectic mix for you this month:

Kerry posted this on her blog Love Those “Hands at Home” way back in July but I think these cooler days of late summer/early autumn might be the perfect time to make these amazing balsam pillows – I absolutely love her reuse of vintage linens and I am dreaming about that splendid fragrance….

This post about seed-saving from LifeoftheOriginalHortBabe is very timely for those of us in the northern hemisphere, and full of excellent advice!

Are you trying to get your fall (or spring?) cleaning done, and doing a bit of organizing in your kitchen while you’re at it?  This essay will perhaps make you rethink the necessity of having a perfectly tidy spice cabinet – and it will definitely make you smile!  (Check out Margot’s blog while you’re at it!).

Pure eye candy:  Time-lapse photography of cacti blooming. Love this!

Fun, whimsical flower art:  These drawings by artist Jesuso Ortiz are a mixed-media delight!

This wonderful post about Harvard University’s Ware Collection of Glass Models of Plants is a fantastic read! Don’t miss the links at the very bottom of the entry; you’ll be forwarded to more photos and information about the collection.

Finally…I’m not sure why anyone would outfit a squirrel with a GoPro camera, but if you want to take a breakneck journey through the treetops from a squirrel’s perspective, you can – just click here for the video. As expected, it’s a bit on the dizzying side. Now, if only the little critters would stay in the trees instead of digging up my newly-planted bulbs….

A few add-ons –

Book “reviews” from my other blog The Door is Ajar:

Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl.

Joe Fiorito – Rust is a Form of Fire.

Don Gutteridge – Coming Home.

And my yummy recipe Green Beans with Chervil from Grit.com.

Enjoy the rest of your month!  ♥

Recipe: Sea buckthorn and apple jelly.

It’s nearly sea buckthorn berry season here!  I wrote this post almost 4 years ago but it remains one of the most popular on Flowery Prose, so I’m putting it up again for anyone who missed it the first time.  This is a delicious way to enjoy the goodness of sea buckthorn berries year ’round!

(Photo credit:  R. Normandeau)

My hubby and I managed to get out this past Saturday morning and gather some sea buckthorn fruit so that I could try my hand at making jelly from it.  If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you’ll recall that I made a sea buckthorn beverage last year – I just love the citrusy taste of the berries and their gorgeous sun-bright colour.

Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is a fairly common roadside plant here in Calgary – the City planted many of them years ago, mostly for erosion control on slopes.  It’s one of those shrubs you’d be hard-pressed to kill:  it’s tough-as-nails, drought-tolerant, pollution and salt-tolerant (good for our winter roads and all that de-icing salt), and a fairly aggressive spreader.  You don’t find it employed as an ornamental landscape plant very often, but it’s really very pretty, with silvery-green leaf clusters and the brilliant autumn fruit.  (Both male and female plants are required for fruit production).  Sure, some people may be turned off by the thorns, but they contribute to the shrub’s rabbit and deer resistance, which can’t be a bad thing, right?!

The only thing that irks me to no end about gathering sea buckthorn berries is that it’s just such a difficult process – the fruit only comes off the stems under extreme duress.   The kind of duress that leaves you standing there with bright orange seabuckthorn juice all over your clothes and squirted in your eye.  I’ve read that commercial harvesters of the shrub just go along and prune off fruit-bearing branches, freeze them for awhile, and then “shake” the berries free…but I didn’t give that a go.  I ought to have – it took me FOREVER to get the berries off of the branches. (NOTE:  There are some new cultivars available that are much easier to pick!).

But it’s worth it for this jelly.  Trust me.  It’s so yummy and pretty!

Small-Batch Sea Buckthorn and Apple Jelly

(I added apples to this recipe because I didn’t use commercial pectin – sea buckthorn doesn’t have very much natural pectin, so the addition of a high-pectin fruit helps the jelly set properly.  I had some British Columbia-grown ‘Sunrise’ apples, but use any variety you love.  Crabapples would work as well).

4 cups sea buckthorn berries, washed thoroughly

3 apples, washed, peeled, cored, and diced finely (if you don’t want to go to the trouble, and your apples are organic, you can leave the peels on)

1/2 cup water

Place berries, apples and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer fruit for 20 minutes.  Stir periodically and crush the fruit against the side of the pan with the back of the spoon.  (It all mashes down pretty well on its own, and won’t require much additional help).

Strain the fruit through a jelly bag (or several layers of cheesecloth) over a large bowl.  Don’t force the fruit through the bag – this will make the jelly cloudy and you don’t want that!  Set it up so that the fruit can slowly strain overnight.

In the morning, sterilize your canning jars and lids.   Measure out the juice.  I ended up with 2 cups using this recipe, but your measurement may vary slightly.  Place the juice into a saucepan and mix in an equal amount of white sugar. (Update:  Sea buckthorn berries are very tart, so you will probably welcome the sweetener, but if you’re watching your sugar intake, you can reduce the sugar to 1 cup).  Bring the sugar and juice to a rolling boil and boil, stirring constantly, until you’ve reached gel point.

Carefully pour the jelly into the sterilized jars, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (don’t forget to adjust the length of time according to altitude, as specified in this handy chart).  If you plan to eat the jelly soon and don’t want to go to all the trouble of processing jars for storing, you can just pop the jars into the fridge once the jelly is cool.  It is a very small batch, after all…and you’ll be hooked once you have a taste!

Do you grow sea buckthorn in your garden, or do you forage for sea buckthorn berries?  

 Looking for more sea buckthorn berry recipes?

My sea buckthorn berry recipe book, Sea Buckthorn Bounty: Recipes is now available here!

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Flowery Friday.

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I have a lot of favourite roses, but this is my favourite favourite. I found this particular specimen of ‘Morden Sunrise’ at the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village in Pincher Creek, Alberta, in mid-August.

August blog fun.

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Late August: the daylight hours are waning but the garden is still toodling along and I’ve been swamped with a zillion projects. It has taken me nearly the entire month, but I’ve finally compiled my August list of fun and interesting links – I hope you enjoy them!

At this school in Gatineau, Quebec, a boulevard of dead ash trees were transformed into art, thanks to some very talented wood carvers. What a wonderful idea!

Vegetable portraiture. It’s a thing. A really beautiful thing.  Check out the work of photographer Lynn Karlin here.

Photographer Steve Axford captures fantastic fungi – click here to see.

From fungi to lichen…incredible images!

Xavi Bou experiments with chronophotography to illustrate birds in flight – these are fascinating!

Alberta-based photographer Adrian Thysse took some amazing shots of calypso orchids back in May – see them in his post here.

How we store and preserve information is examined in this interesting article about the history and longevity of microfilm.

While we’re on the subject of preserving information, history buffs and anyone interested in the culinary arts will be absolutely floored by this valuable resource: here is the full text of over 3,000 vintage cookbooks and home economics manuals.

Enjoy the rest of your week – hope it’s amazing!

Clip art credit.