Flowery Prose turns 8!

Well, Flowery Prose The Blog turned 8 years old a little while back and I meant to write a little something to celebrate, but somehow it was overlooked, and here I am, a few weeks-ish late.  I would like to offer a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who generously and kindly gives FP a read, and/or stops in to comment – you all rock and I’m very grateful to you!*

Just for fun, I thought I’d share my top three favourite posts I’ve done so far – I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them.

The Don’ts of Bird Photography  Timing is very important when taking bird photos.  You’ll see what I mean.  (Be sure to click on the image in the link for full, glorious effect).

Bookmarks. Since I wrote this post (and transferred to another library branch in the city), I am delighted (bewildered?) to add a child’s pink one-piece swimsuit to the list.  I am not joking.

Fun with Search Terms, Flowery Prose Edition.

Why not celebrate with me and put a link to your favourite post that you’ve done on your own blog in the comments? 

*even if things get supremely busy and I don’t get around to replying for weeks on end and then pretty much the season is over and done with or whatever I’ve written about is completely irrelevant and yet you are still so patient and wonderful and I truly appreciate it

 

Fun with search terms, Flowery Prose edition.

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I love the WordPress feature that keeps track of the search engine terms that have led readers to our blogs. Some of them are obvious and you can definitely pinpoint the exact entries you’ve written that came up in the search (and hopefully assisted someone with their query)…but others are just plain entertaining!  I have a habit of plugging in as many words as possible into search engines to narrow down the possible hits, so I can only imagine what someone on the receiving end might think of the weird stuff I come up with.

Here are a few of the search terms that have been logged on Flowery Prose within the past year, the ones that got me giggling the most. I really hope something I’ve posted helped these folks out, as well, but I’m not entirely convinced of that….

saskatoon berry alcohol shot

Yes, please.

hula hooping sitting on bed

I’m not that flexible…or creative. I might somehow throw out a hip.

what if I eat a spittle bug

No biggie, it’s three percent of your daily recommended intake of protein.  And the spittle gives it a smooth mouthfeel.

prose soup

Is that like Alphagetti noodles?  Do you add veggies?  I might want that recipe.

prose on parenting

*looks to see if anyone has dropped off any kids at my house and left them there without my knowledge*

nose ill

I think this was supposed to be “Nose Hill,” one of my favourite places to walk in Calgary.  I can’t say I’ve ever written a post about “nose ills,” but if there’s a call for it, I can definitely make something up oblige.

covering raised veggie bads (sic) at night

I’m glad I’m not the only one who had veggie bads this year – I can’t believe only three of my carrot seeds germinated out of an ENTIRE package.  Maybe I would have had more success had I covered them at night.  Things to note for next year.

same look like winter cress but not

Occasionally my hair gets this way before I put the anti-frizz cream in.

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Ask my hubby; I do, ad nauseum.  This may be a search term I’m actually qualified to write about.  If not qualified, I can certainly babble endlessly about it.  I have also been known to expound at length about flour, as well, but that’s another story….

Check your search terms: do you have any silly or unusual ones you’d like to share?  

Clipart credit.

 

(Wild)flowery Friday: marsh smartweed.

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Back in September, I came across this water-loving marsh smartweed (Polygonum amphibium var. emersum) along the recently-flooded shoreline of Beaver Mines Lake in southwestern Alberta.  It’s not a plant I was previously familiar with, but I did some searching and found that it is a member of the buckwheat family and a North American native, alongside a large number of other smartweeds. According to my reading, some smartweeds are considered invasive species in certain provinces and states, but none seem to appear on the Alberta list.  Do any smartweeds grow where you live?

Floral notes: August 2016.

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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!

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Garden horror.

Procrastination is totally a good thing.  You always have something to do tomorrow, plus you have nothing to do today.

                             ~Some random Internet meme I found while procrastinating on social media.  

Shhh….don’t tell anyone…I’m supposed to be working on an article due in a couple of days.

But I’m thinking about Garden Horror instead.  (See yesterday’s post if you are blinking at the screen and thinking I’ve finally totally lost it).

So, ahem, I thought of a few titles for as-yet-unwritten Garden Horror novels (which also ties into yesterday’s post – please do go check it out if you haven’t already).  Of course, these may sound eerily (see what I did there?) familiar to some of you:

The Slug Also Rises

Apocalypse Bough

Close Encounters of the Larval Kind 

The Drawing of the Tree 

The Turn of the Yew

The Tell-Tale Bark

The Call of Kudzu 

Okay, I must be getting back to work…the ball’s in your court.  What Garden Horror titles can you add to my list?  Make me laugh – the article I’m at this very moment feverishly churning out at a breathtaking rate of speed is about plant propagation, and we all know how very unfunny that topic is.  

Title.

A couple of weeks ago an editor e-mailed me a response to a piece I had submitted, of which the gist was: I like what you’re doing here, but your title doesn’t quite fit the situation you describe in your work. Either change the situation or change the title – it’s up to you.  Of course, I took the easier (but possibly more stressful) route and spent a day and a half agonizing over potential new titles, one of which was ultimately affixed to the published work.

Coming up with suitable titles is probably one of the most difficult parts of writing for me. If I’m writing an article – about composting, perhaps, or dividing perennials or buying garden tools – I tend to simply give a really brief statement about where I’m headed with the content. So far, I haven’t had to apply the heavy-handed sass that might yield that special click bait edge. “10 Deadly Secrets Your Lawnmower is Harbouring” isn’t really the sort of thing I write.  Yet.  These are lean times.

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I usually fare better when it comes to fiction, because the story tells me what it wants to be called (yeah, that doesn’t sound quite right now that I read that back but we’ll go with it).  Because I often write humour, my titles have contained puns (“Johnny Cache Steps Out”), snippets of clichéd sayings (“…If You Were the Last Man on Earth”), or slang (“Sheeple”). Still, the titles are usually coughed up at the end, when I’ve gotten the text down.  The only time it can get a bit shaky is when you have to scramble to meet a deadline and your story is ambiguous with its choice.  You don’t want your title to come across reading like a label hastily slapped on a shipping container (well, I guess it depends on the story).

Blog posts are even worse.  Take today’s title, for example.  It’s short and to the point, and definitely conveys what the writer wants it to, but it’s lacking a certain grittiness that would just nudge it over the top.  I’d chew on it a little bit more, but I’m suddenly inspired to write some horror flash fic about lawnmowers….  (Garden horror – that could seriously be a sub-genre, am I right?).

Are titles a struggle for you?

Clipart credit.

Flowery Friday: ‘Hazeldean’ rose.

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Ah…spring in Calgary!  I have no idea what coat I should wear when I go outside – in a five minute walk, it might pour rain or pelt icy snow or be so pleasantly warm you wonder why you put the coat on in the first place.  I love this crazy season!

The garden was partly buried in snow earlier this week and is now gloriously muddy, so I’m admiring from afar the progress of my slowly emerging perennials (all that fresh green!) and the blooms of tiny crocuses, squill, chionodoxa, snowdrops, and muscari.  Isn’t it amazing that the soil is still so cold and yet all this fantastic STUFF is going on?  Even if you’ve been gardening in northern climes for many years, sometimes you just have to pause a moment to take in the absolute wonder of it.  And how here, in the face of such marvels, I can’t even choose suitable outerwear.  😉

In lieu of photos of spring-flowering bulbs, I want to show off another rose I found while touring Patterson Garden Arboretum in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan last July.  I love this photo because it’s a teaser…I still have yet to see the open flowers of Rosa ‘Hazeldean’.  (If you’re curious, here’s a link to some images and a write-up of the breeding history of this hardy yellow beauty).

Have a wonderful weekend…and may you always have the right coat for the weather!  🙂

Alberta snapshot: Bridge across the Bow.

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The third structure in this location, the current bridge that spans the Bow River in the town of Banff was built in 1923.  The upper deck was widened in the 1980s to accommodate more vehicle and foot traffic.  Calgary artist James L. Thomson created the reliefs that decorate the bridge.   Photo taken 17 May 2013.

I’m doing some spring cleaning on my blogs, which seems infinitely more interesting and less demanding than actual spring cleaning.  This post is an import from the long-defunct There is a Light, dated 13 June 2013.  I’ll move a few more images over to Flowery Prose in the coming weeks so I can finally shutter the old blog.

Do you do any major cleaning or organizing (on your blog or otherwise!) on a seasonal basis?

Blog Hop Around the World!

When I received the invitation from Johanna to join the Blog Hop Around the World, I didn’t hesitate to jump on board! And you shouldn’t hesitate to hop over to her blog Mrs. Walker Goes Back to School – it’s a marvellous place to see her delightful illustrations and photography, and read about her travels and the books and antiques she loves and the knitting and other crafting she does.

Before I get started on the “nitty gritty” of the blog hop, I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who reads Flowery Prose – you’re seriously the best! Give yourself a big hug from me. (Or, if that feels awkward, then hug someone else or your cat or your dog or your goldfish instead. It will be like paying it forward.  Maybe a little wet in the case of the goldfish, which may lead you to reconsider).

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THE NITTY GRITTY:

What are you working on?

As a part-time freelance writer, work comes and goes with the successful queries and the horrible, shameful, soul-sucking rejections, so sometimes it’s really slow, other times very hectic. At the moment, I have a couple of articles due up very shortly, so I will have to finish up the research stage and get cracking.

Besides writing non-fiction articles, I’m trying to work on more short fiction – I’m particularly keen on the micro and flash stuff right now. I am a big fan of flowery prose (see what I did there?) so to compress a story into 1,000 words or even 100 is delightfully challenging.

Oh, and I’m also trying to learn how to knit. I’ve been trying on and off for a year now (more off than on). If anyone has any tips, please feel free to share. Looks like we’re in for a long winter and I’m determined to get that scarf pattern accomplished. 😉

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How does my work differ from others?

I have a goofy sense of humour that often escapes into my fiction. (I reign it in when I’m writing about compost or winterizing ponds or designing living screens, although I really do think those subjects would benefit from some hilarity). I love fantastic stories and surprise endings. I like to have fun with words and push the English language around just a little.

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Why do I create what I do?

The freelance work aside, I do some writing as a volunteer, to educate others about various gardening topics. I have nearly completed all of the requirements for my master gardener designation and after I have received my certification, I will continue to write as a garden educator. Helping others sort out what is eating their delphiniums or cabbages or causing the foliage to fall off their mature spruce tree is quite rewarding, and not just for the gardener I’ve (hopefully) assisted. It helps that I’m an obsessive researcher and fact finding makes me happy.

As for the fiction writing, that’s my BIG DEAL. There is no feeling in the world like getting lost in a story as you’re writing it – it is even better than reading an amazing story by a brilliant writer.

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How does my creative process work?

Organization is not a foreign concept to me, but I prefer to operate using the Little Note Method ™- which means I have scribbles of very important information on a zillion little pieces of paper lying all over my desk. I don’t outline anything unless someone tells me I have to. It makes things so much more interesting. Or panic-inducing.

As for inspiration…I like to go out for walks in the mountains, on the prairies, in a city park. That’s where all the best thoughts are.

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***

And now I’d like to encourage you to check out the amazing blogs of two fellow Albertans, Deb and Thea! Deb divides her time between three blogs: h…the blog, Island Home, and Hunter Photographics (for her photography business). In h…the blog, she showcases her incredible artistic talent: she primarily works with paint and fibre (and she dyes all of her fabric and wool using plants she’s gathered in the wild and from her garden). She also shares photos and stories about her travels across Alberta and British Columbia and gives us a glimpse of cottage life and the great outdoors. With Island Home , she focusses her camera on Pender Island, in B.C., where she and her family have a vacation residence.

Time with Thea is a fun, informative blog chockfull of great ideas for organizing your home and life – and there are tons of awesome craft projects and recipes as well! (Plus, Thea has a gorgeous garden and she often shares maintenance tips and delightful decorative touches). She loves holidays and is always designing something beautiful for every special occasion – there’s always something fabulous and interesting going on if you follow her blog.

Deb and Thea will post their entries for the Blog Hop Around the World on or about Monday, August 25 – please look for them!

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Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – July 2013

Okay, I’m dipping my toes into the water…this is my very first GBBD post.

Given that we don’t have blooms in our gardens here in Calgary for about 8 months out of the year, I’m going to really celebrate July’s flowers!

Click on over to May Dreams Gardens to join in the fun!  Thanks so much to Carol for hosting!

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The only rose I have room to grow in my garden…in the miniature (Kordes series)

 

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Gypsophila repens ‘Rosea’

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Alchemilla mollis ‘Thriller’ and Salvia superba

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Linum flavum compactum

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Dianthus barbatus ‘Indian Carpet’

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Thyme and Dianthus deltoides ‘Confetti Cherry Red’

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Verbena – one of the ‘Quartz XP Mix’

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Silene uniflora ‘Druett’s Variegated’  with Engleman ivy in background

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Click on the photo to join the meme!   

Have a wonderful week, everyone!