day 3-WEB
Here I am, sitting in my old Toronto garden years ago, doing watercolours of flowers. I stopped this agreeable activity (and indeed, all painting) for over a decade because I was busy writing books.

But now I’m back to wielding a paintbrush and loving it -although I continue to write a weekly gardening column for the Toronto Star.

Some of my new adventures:

July/Aug. 2016: a successful solo exhibition called Fry Day at Cambridge Centre of the Arts, southwestern Ontario. It featured my latest interest – big, mixed-media paintings of colourful chip trucks.

A terrific advance story appeared in the Kitchener Waterloo Record. Read it here.

Below: with gallery technician Fabio at the show’s entrance.

End Jan, 2017: “mini-sale” of my watercolours, acrylics and prints at my coop apt. in Bloor West Village (because the apartment has been sold and I now live full time in the country.) This little show went surprisingly well. Loads of people came– and we practically sold out.

Holiday weekend, May 19-22, 2017. Elora Plein Air Painting Festival. I’m one of dozens of artists who will head out of doors and literally “paint the town” over three frantic days. Come and see our work on the final day. (It’s all for sale). Below: I’m hard at work on the main street in Fergus, during the first Festival last year. Details:

Day on street Barrie_Murdock_Photo_160520


Sonia Day Award WinnerDeer Eyes, my first attempt at fiction, has captured a Silver Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards. Quite a thrill. Competition for any book award is very fierce.

The 2015 IP program (which I entered) received 6000 entries from 50 U.S. states, 8 Canadian provinces and 34 countries. So being singled out for accolades is pretty special. I travelled to the Big Apple to pick up the medal.

Will I write another novel? Not sure. Right now, I’m having fun painting. But you never know what the future holds.


Click on this link. If you want more, the paperback version is available from or for about $17.99 or less. The E-book is $7 or less. The plot concerns a botanical painter and the deer hunter she meets – and there’s lots of stuff about plants to interest gardeners. (Sorry, the book is not available from public libraries. I have to earn a living too, folks.)

At the Amazon website, click on my name or the title of the book. Sometimes — don’t ask me why – one of those doesn’t pop up when it should.


Deer Eyes Cover“Probably one of the best novels I have ever read. The plotting is very clever. Script writers should do half as well.” – Harrison Ellenshaw, Los Angeles

“I couldn’t put it down. Absolutely loved it.”
– Lis Eyles-Foley. Mississauga, Ontario

“What a smasheroo of an ending! Positively Shakespearean.”
– Julie Henderson, New York City

“When a book grabs you right from the first line and you keep reading…. that’s a very good sign. Read this book.” — K.J. Lieber, Montreal


I’m now, belatedly, on Facebook. Check for updates about my books and activities at


A new version of my award-winning  book The Untamed Garden: A  Revealing Look At Our Love Affair With Plants is on sale.

The paperback edition sports a lusty brand new cover and would make a neat gift for anyone interested in the sexy world of plants.

It costs only $14.40 if you order it through Amazon. Here is the link>>

It’s also available for less than $20 through any independent bookstore.  Please support them if you can.

This book won the top Gold Award at the Garden Writers’ Association  annual convention. It beat out competition from books all over the  U.S. and Canada and has received rave reviews. More about the book  below.

Read more in these two news stories, published in the Toronto Star:


You never know where a book will take you. Heather Killan of Limehouse, Ontario, bought my memoir Middle-Aged Spread, Moving To the Country At 50 a few years ago and loved a recipe in the book that I devised myself. It’s called Ravishing Redcurrant Cake. She took the book with her during a visit to her daughter’s villa in Cavan, Provence, left it there– and subsequently, many other visitors (and locals) have read the book and fallen in love with the recipe too.

Now, it seems my humble cake has become a popular item in Cavan, which perhaps isn’t that surprising. The French are fond of redcurrants, and this concoction of mine is a great way to use up a bumper crop.

The cake is not too sweet, it’s loaded with redcurrants and also contains a bit of grated orange peel. And the recipe?  Sorry, folks, you’ll have to read Middle-Aged Spread to find out. It’s unfortunately out of print due to the bankruptcy of Key Porter Books, but you should be able to find a copy in your local library. And I’m thinking of updating this memoir and republishing it as an E-book. Let me know if you’re interested.


My colourful little book on growing food in the city (which won Silver at the Canadian Cookbook Awards in late 2011) is now on sale in Turkey under the name Sehirdeki Bahce. The largest and oldest publisher in Turkey, called Inkilap,  bought rights to the book from Firefly, the North American publisher. There are apparently legions of rooftop gardeners in Turkey’s sophisticated capital city, Istanbul, so here’s hoping for big sales!