Abandoned Gardens

It`s a sad thing to explore an abandoned site and find what is left of a garden. Once planned out, nurtured now vacated and forgotten. Sometimes there isn`t much left to ever know it had been a garden. Only the perennials and a few biennials (which grow from their own seeds) can stand fast against the wild and ready weedsé native plants.

In Spring it is usually the bulbs like daffodils which I see. Now it is the time of the iris and the daylily. I often take a photo of the abandoned garden. I don`t always post them to my Flickr account or the Ontario Rural Ruins group I started for rural exploring. There isn`t all that much to really see. I think, having been there, the photos have more meaning to me than someone who can only see a flower or two and not visualize the abandoned garden the way I saw it at the time.

Write about an abandoned garden. What grows there, what used to grow there and what might the fate of it be?

Flickr: Neglected Friends

Flickr: Abandoned Gardens

Flickr: Weeds in the Pavement

Flickr: Overgrowth

Flickr: Nature Prevails

Flickr: Nature Will Out

Flickr: Nature Laughs Last

Flickr: Reclaimed by Nature

Flickr: Land Reclaimed by Nature

Flickr: Wildness – The Edge of Nature – About living on the edge of nature.

Good Deeds for Plants

If you believe in karma and the good and evil sort of philosophies… is it possible that someone who has done a lot of bad things and caused great harm can still redeem themselves by being a gardener and giving back to life and goodness by creating good things in green ways? If the whole thing of life and having an afterlife of some kind is based on checks and balances can someone who has not been good to other people still be considered a good prospect for the afterlife if they have done good things with the other living creatures in our world? Or, do we as people think we are so self important that good deeds to plants and animals do not out weight bad deeds done to human beings?

Once you take time to think about this, write a character who isn’t considered a good person and yet this same person has the most amazing garden which he/ she keeps themselves, working with their own hands to create it and keep it beautiful and growing.

The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there. – George Bernard Shaw

I found this quote after I wrote this post. Just thought I’d find something nice to add about working in the garden. But, this is far more interesting.

Eating Garden Snails

Watching Gordon Ramsay’s F Word show tonight, I saw how he caught, cooked and ate garden snails. In this world of economic worries (and my own love of apocalyptic stories), eating garden snails doesn’t sound like a bad plan. I thought the whole thing of farming garden snails was something fairly new  until I started looking online. The farming of snails is called heliculture.

Have you eaten snails? Does snail farming sound like a career change you could get into? Would be pretty cheap, all your livestock would be free for the finding. They don’t eat a lot, compared to the typical farm animals. The main care is changing the water in their tank or jar (depending on how many snails you keep). It could be a booming industry, if you can find enough people who just love eating snails.

What else could you turn into an almost unknown or never heard of farming opportunity? How about all those pigeons flying around cities? Forget training them to send messages just cook them!

A little trail of links, to be clicked slowly:

Eating Garden Snails from GardenGeek

Tiny Game Hunting: Snails

The Food Blog: Snail Spaghetti Recipe

The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center: Raising Snails

Eating Garden Snails – an abandoned blog based on a radio show.

Giving it a Go: Snail Farm (snails caught and kept to feed backyard chickens).

Snail Farming Information Service, Australia.

Landline: Snail Farmers

Landscape Juice: Heliculture

Flickr: Snail / Chiocciola / Escargot / Caracol / Cargol / Schnecke

Flickr: Garden Snails

Flickr: Snail Garden

The Decadent Red Bedroom

House Home Garden has made three posts showing photos of a bedroom, kitchen and a lounge decorated almost completely in red. I picked the bedroom as my favourite. It just looks so… decadent. How would you decorate your favourite room in your favourite colour? Write at least a paragraph to describe it.

Would you be bold or brave enough to actually do it?

I’m not so sure myself. It might be great for awhile but… if you got sick of it you’d be stuck with it for awhile before you could re-do it all. Still, it would be really stylish while it lasted.

An Igloo of Love

On the left side of the page, list tangible nouns: house, garden, train, truck, tree…

On the right side of the page, list abstract/ intangible nouns: trust, peace, misery, dreams…

Now combine them in a phrase like this:  A ____ of ______.

Play around, create interesting phrases and some new cliches. Some will be silly, some will be obscure and some may turn out to have a lot of power in just four words.

The Spirit of the Wind

I’m writing with the wind today for Blog Action Day.

This year the theme is climate change. When I think about the climate I think about the wind and weather in general. The wind is part of every kind of weather. When it rains there is wind, not always gale force winds, something  little wind to help blow the rain around. When it snows there is almost always wind. I can’t think of a snowy day that didn’t feel that much colder cause the wind was blowing the cold air around. On a sunny day the wind makes the heat a little easier to take.  (So does ice cream!). I’ve seen photos of sand being blown by the wind, making gentle waving patterns like a Japanese garden nature made.

I love walking in the wind (if there’s rain too that just makes it better). There is so much power in the wind. No wonder wind farms are popping up all over Ontario, my province. Some people complain about the wind farms saying they make a lot of noise. We have parked right beside an actively spinning wind turbine and could hardly hear a sound. We had to turn off the car cause it was making far more noise than the turbine. Is turbine the right word? I’m mostly guessing on that.

One of the old sayings I picked up from someone, probably my Aunt Emma who lived in British Columbia, was about getting outside and having the cobwebs blown off of you. Wind has been a big part of our lives from the first creatures to drag themselves out of the water, before that even. The fish and underwater creatures feel the power of the wind at times too. I can watch the fish in our backyard pond for an hour. The fish themselves, the water plants, the bugs skimming the surface, the light bouncing on the water and the wind that comes along and moves them all.

Let the spirit of the wind move you!

Did you write for Blog Action Day? Leave your link in the comments and I will visit you too.

Walking on the Graves of Toads

I was out taking photos of my Mother’s garden for her. She keeps some exotic things and tries to get photos so she can remember what they looked like from year to year and season to season.

Anyway, walking in the grass in my bare feet, I felt bumps and prickly things and the odd crunch from a seed pod of one kind or another. I began to think about what everything might be under my feet. How many bugs have I squished without even knowing, deep in the grass. How are the blades of grass one of the strongest things in the universe to be so fragile yet they stand up to gravity and can be walked and rolled all over and spring back up.

Then I thought about toads. How many toads are under my feet. You would never know if one had died in your lawn and become fertilizer in it’s own time. They wouldn’t take long to compost. Or, how many were already dead in your yard long before you ever lived there, long before you were ever born, long before people got the idea of having a manicured lawn or even keeping a garden for anything but essentials.

What about the very first toad to ever die? Not so far back as dinosaurs, but the toads as we know them these days. How did it die and was anyone there to notice? Did it get a long toad-life or was it swooped up soon after birth?

Writing Your Very Own, Very Good Villain

I think I’ve been having trouble getting my book off the ground, writing the characters,  because I have been writing the villain as the heroine and the heroine as the villain. At first I thought I was just out of practice writing a good villain. So, as I was in the shower and had nothing else to do, I began plotting my villain.

As the list took shape I began to think of who my heroine is in comparison. What makes each of them tick. The heroine began to sound like a spoiled self centred brat. There she is going after what she wants as if that was all that mattered in the world. Meanwhile, my villain merely wants to take over the world, in order to make it a better place,  of course.

Tonight I have been looking at how to write a villain. Seeing what comes up online out of curiousity.

The Romance Club has an article: Writing the Effective Villain. I also liked WikiHow’s article How to Create a Credible Villain in Fiction. You can also read Creating a Villain Worthy of your Hero.

The points I’m taking away from this excursion into writing a villain are:

  • Give a cause, a reason for the character to become a villain. What was the turning point? What trauma changed the character from an ordinary person into one who chooses to be wicked?
  • Keep them human, give them some good points. Maybe they do wicked things but still look after their aging parents. Or maybe your villain just loves her garden in between crushing the little brat of a heroine.Even something small that they take pleasure in and do without expecting something in return or thoughts of revenge.
  • How does the heroine fit into the villain’s evil doings/ wicked plots? How do they influence each other? What makes one the heroine and the other the villain: how are they the same and how are they different?
  • Does your villain come to a tragic end or just continue on somewhat changed or are they fully redeemed by the end of the story?

When I’m good I’m very, very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better. – Mae West

The Space Seed Adventure

A little seed fell down from outer space. Of course, it wasn’t an ordinary seed, otherwise it would have just burnt up in Earth’s atmosphere. Instead, it fell into an ordinary garden in an ordinary backyard in Ontario. The seed landed on a garden bed and luckily the gardener was watering that day. The seed was washed down into a crack in the dirt and surrounded by water. It had the chance to root and took it!

At first the gardener, who was a middle aged woman named Nancy, thought it was a very unusual weed. So she left it to grow, out of curiousity and thinking how great it would be to have something different to show off to the local garden club. It grew a lot, bigger and bigger, taking over that area of her garden. But, Nancy didn’t have the heart to pull it out when it was thriving so well.

At the beginning of July she noticed a flower pod coming up. It grew quickly and took so much energy from the plant that the rest of it began to wither. Nancy added more compost and that seemed to help. The pod became thinner so that one morning as she studied it she could see inside. It looked like a little boy was all curled up in there, sitting with his arms curled around his legs looking right back, studying her!

Nancy thought it must be kind of dull for a young person to just be sitting there so patiently. So she brought out a comfortable yard chair, some books and a light for when it got dark outside. She read to the boy. Reading about pirates, mathematics and of course important things like compost and garden snails too. The boy would smile each morning as she came out to begin her watering and then sit quietly as she spent hours and hours reading to him. Nancy was so busy she forgot to feel lonely.

At the end of September the flower opened. By then it was a full grown, middle aged man who stepped out sometime during the night and waited for Nancy to venture out in the morning. The man smiled, thinking of how surprised Nancy would be. Then he looked up, way up into space, hoping for another space seed to land soon so his cat, Clover, could live with Nancy too.

Write your own space seed adventure.

Gardener’s Lament

“A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables.” – Gertrude Stein

What should a vegetable garden grow other than vegetables? Why is it disappointing to have only vegetables in your garden?