July blog fun.

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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).

 

 

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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New year ramblings.

I hope you’re enjoying the first week of 2014!  For me, it’s been a whirlwind of activity while I try to catch up on projects that should have been completed in 2013 (I truly put the “pro” in “procrastination”!).   I don’t understand how I can know about a writing deadline for weeks in advance and yet still scramble a day or even hours before the submission deadline to get the piece in on time.  I once read that panic begets creative spark…but I’m starting to think it just begets more panic.  If I made New Year’s resolutions (and I don’t, because someone would be sure to hold me to them and therefore suffer certain disappointment), I would resolve to tackle my projects in a less pressured atmosphere.

Ahem.  Who am I kidding?  Writing should be an extreme sport, filled with dangerous pitfalls (arrgghh, she’s out of caffeine!), ticking clocks (aka Deadlines of Doom), and immense struggle against overwhelming odds (restrictive word counts).

Or something like that.

I suspect my REAL resolutions for 2014 will be to practice more Shinrin-yoku, take up meditation, and make a few regular trips to the spa.  😉

While procrastinating taking a break on New Year’s Day, my hubby and I headed out to Paskapoo Slopes for a walk.  We really ought to have brought our snowshoes for the outing, as the snow was fresh and powdery and downright perfect.  We followed coyote tracks in the wooded areas, and even heard the yips of one somewhere out on the west ridge, near the ski hill.  It was one of those bright blue sky-vitamin D days, and once again I wondered why we humans don’t come with a built-in solar panel to trap and conserve sunshine for later use.

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When we got back to the apartment after our walk, there was an e-mail waiting for me from a fellow community gardener.  She was bursting with excitement, having just placed her veggie seed order for the year.  I can’t think of a better way to spend January 1st, can you?  It made me think that I’m slow to the punch, though, and so I’ve since cracked all those seed catalogues of mine and gotten myself worked up about a few things I simply MUST HAVE even though I’m not sure I have any space for them.  Because we have shares in an excellent CSA program throughout the year, I’m going to focus less on greens and root veggies such as carrots and beets – we truly get them in abundance from the farm and there’s no need for me to grow more.  That leaves the door open for more herbs, I think…and Brussels sprouts.

Yeah, well, I opened up my trap in the middle of Christmas dinner this year and announced I was going to try to grow Brussels sprouts.  (My Mum had served them with her amazing rouladen and it got all of us to talking about our love/hate relationships with the little green brassicas).  My hubby, the Meatatarian, hates them with a passion usually reserved for…well…cabbages and beets, but I’m a huge fan.  They’re one veggie we never get enough of from the CSA share, so why not grow them myself?

Except…I don’t know if I have room.  They’re a big space-stealer, and I’ve already planted nearly half my plot with garlic (we won’t talk about how I got carried away with the garlic last fall).  Still, I feel committed and eager about giving them a go, so where there’s a will….

Plus, my plotmate at the community garden has some extra seed for ‘Jade Cross’ that she wants to share with me.  I think my fate is sealed.

What are your must-have seeds and plants for 2014?  Are you planning to try anything new?

Essay: Burnt Casseroles.

In November of last year, I happened to notice that Jennifer over at Three Dogs in a Garden was hosting an essay contest.  As I can’t resist a writing challenge (especially when there’s a “Humour” category), I right away sent off a submission.  Imagine my delight when “Burnt Casseroles” was selected as one of the four winning entries!  Thanks, Jennifer!

Head over to Three Dogs and a Garden to view my essay and the incredible images that Jennifer photographed to illustrate it.  While you’re there, stay awhile and enjoy her beautiful and informative posts.

And don’t forget to check out the other winning essays!  Here they are:

“Don’t Be the Crazy Cat Lady!” by Holley of Roses and Other Gardening Joys

“What Not to Do In a Job Interview” by Rosemary Aubut

and “Wyoming” by Laurrie Sostman.

Have a wonderful weekend!