Calgary snapshot: Central Library.

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In November of last year, the doors opened to an absolutely gorgeous new library in Calgary.  Central Library’s Snøhetta-designed new home is a striking, light-filled mix of glass, wood, concrete, and steel.  The graceful curves and oh! that skylight! captivated me when my hubby and I visited on opening weekend.

Check out 100 Reasons to Love the New Central Library, a compendium of fun facts about this spectacular space!

P.S. If you look down into the lower part of the photo, you’ll see a life-sized statue of a bison.  Created by Cree artist Lionel Peyachew, it is made out of pieces of stamped metal representing words in various Indigenous languages.

Floral notes: December 2016.

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December first: the ice cleats are firmly affixed to my boots and I’m ready to take on the next ten months of winter! (I exaggerate, but only slightly).

I have a ton of really great stuff to share today – here goes:

New to me is this fantastic site: Plant Curator, a wholly-engrossing mix of botany and art.  I seriously could spend hours going through the entries.  This link takes you to some floral-themed art from M.C. Escher, but if his work isn’t to your taste, click on the menu headings at the top of the page to see everything the site has to offer.

The New York Public Library has digitized over 700,000 items, including photographs, maps, manuscripts and video – and it’s all free to everyone with Internet access.  Click over to the site to enjoy this treasure.

Another amazing treat: the over 10,000 cylinder recordings that have been digitized and are available for free from the University of California-Santa Barbara Cylinder Audio Archive.  These are priceless recordings from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s and include music, speeches and readings.

These “shadow” drawings by artist Vincent Bal are just plain clever.

A huge shout-out to some amazing bloggers:

Laurie Graves, of Notes from the Hinterland, has just published her YA novel Maya and the Book of Everything – congratulations, Laurie!  Read about the book and how to order it here.

Have you ever felt this way about a book?  Yeah…I thought so.  Read Margot’s post on Death Defying Acts of Living – I know you’ll agree.

Adrian Thysse has posted some incredible footage of honeybee hive activity – while you feast your eyes on his work, remember that he wasn’t wearing any protective gear while filming!

A fantastic find:

Paul Martin Brown’s book Wild Orchids of the Pacific Northwest and Canadian Rockies (2006, University Press of Florida).  Truly, a valuable resource if you want to ID and learn about western wild orchids.  The keys are easy to use and Brown offers all the botanical info you need, plus notes on history and naming, as well as decent photography and excellent botanical illustrations by Stan Folsom.  Not a book everyone is going to have a use for, but if this is a topic you’re interested in, I’d highly recommend it.

And, finally:

I started a project over at Paper Butterfly Flash Fiction that may interest you if you write flash fiction stories.  There is an open call for submissions now until December 25, so send in your work as soon as possible.  (If you’ve never written flash fiction before, give it a try – it’s a great way to have fun with really short prose).   Please pass along news of this call for subs to any writers you know!

Clipart credit.

Foliage Friday: Autumn leaves.

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Leafy fun with the scanner on my printer….

The leaves haven’t all fallen from the trees yet, but I’m not sure we have much more autumn left in store here on the Prairies – we’re headed straight into winter, it seems! Plenty of snow in some parts already and, as I write this, the white stuff is accumulating on the ground here in Calgary.

Early wishes to everyone in Canada for a very Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

Floral notes: September 2016.

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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!  ♥

Floral notes: July 2016.

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I’m running a bit late with my monthly round-up, but you know the old cliché….

Here’s the interesting story of how the library that straddles the U.S.-Canada border in Derby Line, Vermont and Stanstead, Quebec navigates the delicate technicalities of security while providing the reading materials patrons want (in both countries!).

Tulip season is long over, but these aerial photographs of the tulip fields in The Netherlands are delightful any time of the year.

The living installation that The Flower Council of Holland created in front of the National Gallery of London earlier this summer featured 26,500 fresh flowers – wow!  See photos and a video illustrating the making of A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase here.   

This brief account of French horticulturist Victor Lemoine’s work with hybridization and lilac breeding in the 19th century is absolutely fascinating.

Blogger circles are tight, so you may already be familiar with the writings of Cynthia Reyes.  Her post about “Creative Complaining” is a truly thoughtful read.

Some of the articles I was busy working on late last year and early this spring have been published – here is a sampling:

  • “Processing, Storing, and Preserving Sea Buckthorn Berries” in The Canadian Organic Grower magazine, Summer 2016 issue (available for order on their website)
  • “How To: Site a Garden Pond” in The Gardener for the Prairies, Summer 2016 issue (available on Canadian newsstands now)
  • “Herbal Wax Melts” in The Herb Quarterly, Summer 2016 issue (available on North American newsstands now)

I’ve also put together a short e-book of GF recipes up on Amazon – you can find On the Go Gluten Free Snacks here.

I squeaked out a new post on my Grit.com blog Blooms and Spoons, this one about drying strawberries (if you haven’t done this yet, do try – they are delicious!).

And a few more books were mentioned on The Door is Ajar:

Moira Young – Rebel Heart.

Louise Penny – Still Life.

Orest Stelmach – The Boy from Reactor 4.

I hope you enjoyed these links!   Have a wonderful weekend!  

(Clipart credit).

 

 

Flowery Friday: chives and art by Dean Stanton.

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Astonishingly, the chive plants are still in full bloom in the community garden. I love this view, which shows off one of the several colourful murals created by Calgary artist Dean Stanton that are featured prominently in the space. So bold and fun!

Fairy Gardening Book Reviews – and a Giveaway!

I’m reviewing a couple of really fun gardening books today!

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Fairy Gardening 101: How to Design, Plant, Grow, and Create Over 25 Miniature Gardens – Fiona McDonald (2014, Skyhorse Publishing, New York)

Need some ideas to get you started on making your very own fairy garden?  Or maybe you’re already well-experienced in the art of designing fairy gardens and you’re looking for some new inspiration – either way, Fiona McDonald’s Fairy Gardening 101 is for you!

This purposeful how-to book gives you all the information you need to create a fairy garden, with lists of supplies, suggestions for interesting containers or settings, and tips for successful long-term maintenance of your beautiful creation.  Easy to follow, step-by-step instructions cover the making of miniature furniture, fences and other garden structures – and, of course, even the fairies themselves! What I’ve always loved about fairy gardens is the use of recycled/upcycled materials and found objects (either natural or man-made) that you discover in your home, yard, neighbourhood…or garage or thrift sale!  The sky truly is the limit when it comes to sourcing materials for your mini-garden – and that’s half the fun!

Putting it all together is where you can really let your artistic side shine, and McDonald offers twenty-five whimsical, artistic designs guaranteed to delight:  you’ll find everything from hanging gardens to ferneries and terrariums, even a Mexican garden!

One of my favourite chapters in the book covers “Wild Fairy Gardens,” where an old tree stump is converted into a castle – so fun!  I am also pleased to see that McDonald covers how to grow and/or sustainably source mosses for use in the gardens.  This is truly an inventive and enjoyable book!

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Fairy Gardening:  Creating Your Own Magical Miniature Garden – Julie Bawden-Davis and Beverly Turner (2013, Skyhorse Publishing, New York)

Julie Bawden-Davis and Beverly Turner’s beautiful book Fairy Gardening doesn’t delve into specific fairy garden designs such as the ones you’ll find in Fiona McDonald’s Fairy Gardening 101, but it is more detailed in all of the crafting aspects needed to make your own amazing fairy gardens.  One of the most charming reasons to create a fairy garden is the way you can tell a story with your living work, and Bawden-Davis and Turner cover everything from developing a theme to establishing a focal point, developing your story, and creating a sense of movement, all discussed in accessible, practical terms, with tips and suggestions to apply these ideas to your own gardens.  Additional chapters include comprehensive information about choosing containers for your garden, and selecting the perfect plants to grow.  Delightful photographs and a friendly, approachable writing style make this book a joy to read – and a wealth of inspiration for creating your very own fairy garden!

(The publisher generously provided copies of Fairy Gardening 101 and Fairy Gardening for me to review, but I was not compensated for my opinion).

I have one copy of each book to give away!  If you’re interested, please leave me a comment below – you can tell me what kind of fairy garden you’d like to create (or have created!), or just drop me a “count me in,” or “yes,” for your chance to win.  If you have a preference for one book over the other, please let me know that, too, and I’ll try to accommodate if you win.  Contest closes at midnight, MST, on Friday, August 28, 2015. (And yes, it is open to everyone!).  I will announce the two lucky winners on Monday, August 31, 2015.