Five Cool Facts About #Roses

rosesI love roses! My mom planted them in our gardens. My hubby sends me a bouquet now and then, like these beauties for our 17th wedding anniversary yesterday! Roses are special and sweet. I feel the same way about my writing time. I can never get enough. Here are five cool facts about roses:

– Shakespeare referred to roses in his written works more than fifty times.

– Black roses don’t exist. Near black rose bushes have dark red or purple blooms.

– The oldest fossil of a rose petal, found in Florissant, Colorado, dates back 35 million years.

– 4,000+ songs have been penned about roses.

– The world’s biggest rosebush was planted in 1885 and grows in Tombstone, Arizona; its trunk is close to twelve feet around. The bush covers 9,000 square feet!

Writing Tip #2 – Digest Critique

I learned something this summer. I learned that participating in a positive, respectful critique group with your peers can make your work stronger. The key? Take in comments and digest them. Give yourself time to ponder all feedback, open your mind, then use what you wish and ignore the rest.

I recently took a book trailer course via @booktrailer101. ALL of the participants ended up with star quality book trailers, partly because we critiqued our script writing. Was it hard for me to hear comments that weren’t always glowing? At times. Was it hard for others? Probably. Was it worth it? Yep. Hearing different points of view and having flaws exposed helped me, and that’s the beauty of how the critique process works.

Writing Tip #1 – Brace Yourself

Brace yourself for rejection.  If you’re not putting yourself and your work out there, you’ll never find a match. It takes time to find the right publisher for a story,  poem, article, or novel. Keep trying and don’t give up. Many famous writers have trudged this knotty path before you. Lift up your head, brush up your work,  continue learning, research, and submit, submit,  submit!

Hosta is a gardener’s dream plant


A pretty #hosta plant in my #garden.

Here’s a winning pick that will add flair to your yard’s shady spaces.

Hosta is a gardener’s dream plant because it requires minimal attention, looks fantastic, and returns faithfully each spring. A few years ago, I purchased a few hosta gems at a local greenhouse, dug holes, added small heaps of fertile soil, plunked the plants in the holes, crossed my fingers, and occasionally sprayed the area with a blast of water from the garden hose. They lived! Not only did the plants thrive, they added character to the yard with their attractive broad leaves in contrasting shades of green and gold. The best part? Each year my investment grows as the clumps get bigger.

Hostas are mound shaped perennial plants native to Japan, Korea, and China, so they have a tropical, exotic appeal. In the late 1700s, hostas were imported to Europe; they later reached the United States of America in the 1800s. In old gardening books, hosta may be referred to as funkia or day lily, terms no longer in vogue. The term plantain lily is still in use today in some gardening circles.

Hosta is a top-selling plant in North America. Garden centres carry many hosta varieties as there are hundreds of species and hybrids of these members of the lily family. There are hostas with waxy leaves that appear blue, and even ones with fragrant flowers called Hosta plantaginea. Clump sizes range from minis, starting at around ten centimetres wide, to giants, around two metres wide, and every size in between. The plants have different shapes and textures of leaves; also, they can have lavender or white blooms on upright stalks that debut at varying times, such as July and August.

New owners of hosta plants should know that most plants do well with some morning or filtered sun. Adding compost, or a good rotted manure and top soil mix, are options to improve poor soil conditions. Beware! Slugs can be a problem, and deer may devour the plants.

This year, why not add pizazz to your yard at home or at the lake by sowing hosta? You can even cultivate good relations by dividing a well-established plant in the early spring and sharing it with a neighbour.

Happy planting. 🙂

Birthday Mosaic 40

I tried to dodge
The rainbow of time
Arching at my ankles
Framing my convictions
Or lack thereof
Masking a flurry of reflection
But I had to succumb
  in its wrinkled mastery
  at its shuffling strength
  in its comfortable sagging lap
A plethora of pathetic pastels
Bravura wisdom
Sappy sentiment
Like a magnificent fumbling mammoth
Parading on my day
Fading to grey
Leaving me stranded
In the peculiar shadow of palliative youth

Printed in the literary journal The Toronto Quarterly – Issue Five, Spring 2010