Pam Dangelmaier (right) talked plants with Brookswood’s Karen Stewart Saturday during a seasonal plant sale where she selling off leftover spring stock from her Langley-based mail-order plant business called Bontanus. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

VIDEO: Literary and botanical worlds collide for Langley scribe

Plant business operator Pam Dangelmaier releases a novel inspired by garden clubs she has visited.

Visits to countless garden clubs all over B.C. during the past 20 years provided endless fodder for what was to become Pam Dangelmaier’s first novel, Flour Garden.

The 53-year-old Langley Meadows resident started putting pen to paper, or more often fingers to keyboard, five years ago – after one particularly lively visit to a Lower Mainland garden club.

As the co-owner of a Langley-based mail-order plant company that ships bulbs, roses, and perennials across the country, she and her partner Elke Wehinger are frequently asked to speak at countless club events.

“It’s a great opportunity to meet so many neat people,” she said. And those visits provided Dangelmaier a great glimpse inside the politics and personalities that make the clubs tick.

This particular day, she came away “swearing” that one day soon she would write a book about garden clubs and all the quirky characters they attract.

That’s exactly what she did.

The theatre major, turned marketer, turned business owner challenged her creative side to capture what she calls the “dynamics of hortsocieties,” and she feels she’s hit that mark with this new “light-hearted” book.

This 358-page novel tells the story of a fictional garden club teetering on the brink of disaster, and of the aging gardeners who have allowed their “apathy to grow like weeds in an unkempt garden, and the club is about to take its final horticultural gasp before plunging into obscurity,” Dangelmaier said.

More specifically, it revolves around two female characters whose friendship had fallen apart and it speaks to how they make up. And it’s a garden club “which only exists in my mind” that serves as the backdrop for this friendship that begins to grow back together.

“It’s a real study in relationships,” Dangelmaier explained. But she was quick to reassured potential readers that “it’s not heavy in any way, shape, or form.”

The response, thus far, has been “great,” she said, including from the gardening community.

Since the book was released a few weeks ago, she’s already had reaction from many who say they want to join the garden club in her book and want to befriend her characters.

Dangelmaier said that’s the greatest form of flattery she can imagine.

“I enjoyed creating these characters and the conversations they have had,” she said. “If I can create a world in this book that makes people smile, that makes them laugh, and that makes them happy, then that is a good thing.”

She had such a good time creating Flour Garden, in fact, that Dangelmaier is already working on the sequel, and said she wouldn’t yet rule out a series – although that was never her intention.

“Who knows where this story will end, but for now, I know it’s still continuing.”

She’d always had a passion for writing, having ventured into the world of poetry and short-story writing in past.

But she said writing a novel was always just a dream – until now.

Her self-published book is available through Amazon, or signed copies can be ordered through her company’s website at www.botanus.com.

She’ll also be autographing books this Saturday, June 17, at the Langley Chapters, from 1 to 4 p.m. And she’ll be part of the Langley Writers Guild Tidewater Festival of the Book at the Fort Langley National Historical Site from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 1.

How to win a copy of Flour Garden

One Langley Advance readers will win an autographed copy of Pam Dangelmaier’s novel Flour Garden.

How do you win?

• Click here, and tell us why you want to win.

You will be entered into the draw.

Preference will be given to Langley residents.

Postings must be received prior to 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 22 p.m., and the winner will be notified by email and/or phone. No staff or family of the Langley Advance or Black Press are eligible.

This giveaway is restricted to online participants, 19 years or older only. Entries must include your name and phone number.