Fibonacci Numbers, Rhododendrons & Writing (Fibo – Who?)

Fiction writers have more in common with writers of non-fiction than they might believe.   Here’s an example of non-fiction from the world of Fibonacci numbers and mathematics.

Richard Alan, Rhododendron, Village Drummer Fiction, blog


My wife and partner, Carolynn and I visited the Rhododendron gardens in Federal Way, Washington over the past weekend.  Many of the plants were in bloom and we’ll be returning in a week or so to see many others which hadn’t bloomed yet.   As we gazed at the intense colors of the blooms and the compact buds that were just opening, I was reminded of the Fibonacci series.

The numbers consist of the unending series:

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89…

Fibonacci, Leonardo Pisano, lived in Pisa, Italy around 1200AD and gave his name to the Fibonacci numbers.

Richard Alan, Village Drummer Fiction, blog, Carolynn, Rhododendron

Carolynn at Weyerhauser Rhododendron Garden

Fibonacci numbers can also be seen in the arrangement of seeds on flower heads such as the Coneflower or sunflower.  Look at the way the petals of a flower are arranged.  You will find them in 2s, 3s, 5s and more, but no fours.  If you think you have found a flower with four petals look closer and you will notice that two of the “petals” are actually part of the reproductive parts of the plant!  For some reason, nature doesn’t like the number four.

Richard Alan, Village Drummer Fiction, blog, rhododendron

Richard Alan, Village Drummer Fiction, blog, rhododendron

Most daisies, for example, have 34, 55, or 89 petals which are the 9th,10th, and 11th Fibonacci numbers.

Richard Alan, Village Drummer Fiction, blog, rhododendron

I have enjoyed numbers most of my life.  One of the best definitions of mathematics is that it makes the invisible visible.  Every time we take a ride on a jet there was a team of engineers who used mathematics to design and build that plane so it will go safely through the air at 400 miles per hour.  We can’t see what they’ve done just looking at the airplane and most of us wouldn’t even recognize the Navier-Stokes differential equation that was used to design the wings; but without that equation and its proper use the plane would have never left the ground.

Did you know that it’s a good thing bees can’t read?  If they could, they might find out that, from an aeronautical perspective which considers their wing area and body size, the bee shouldn’t be able to fly.  Being illiterate the bee just flaps the heck out of its wings and flies on his merry way.

I could have shortened this drastically by simply writing the series.  Wouldn’t that have been boring?  I add to the facts by using imagery of flowers and leaves.  I then provide a definition of mathematics the reader most likely hasn’t thought of and then a humorous story about the bee.  These are obviously the same techniques I use when I write fiction.  Surely this makes the rather dry subject of Fibonacci numbers and mathematics in general come to life.  Would you agree?


All photos were taken by Richard Alan.



It has been a very busy week, and it’s only Monday.  The more Carolynn and I learn about social media, the more time it takes.    This should change as the learning curve flattens and we start to really know what we’re doing.  Hopefully, we have put our time to good use.  We made several updates to the pages of my blog and updated the website, Village Drummer Fiction.  Navigating these sites should be easier.  We are open to feedback.  Let us know how we can improve our sites.

The author community on Twitter and in the world of blogging has been amazingly generous with their help.  I am gradually updating links to include the many wonderful people who are helping so many of us.  This list is not all inclusive and more will be added in upcoming blogs.

Blogging and Twittering has introduced me to a lot of talented authors.  My TBR (to be read) list has grown immensely.  Fortunately my wife also loves to read and is helping with reviews.   I recently read IN HER NAME: EMPIRE by Michael R. Hicks and Carolynn read THE SAVANNAH PROJECT by Chuck Garrett.  Following are the reviews we posted on Amazon.

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5.0 out of 5 stars “In Her Name: Empire” is a Winner Read, February 12, 2012
Richard Alan “Village Drummer Fiction” (Seattle, USA)

Science fiction is not my favorite genre, but I read a few pages of “In Her Name: Empire” and decided to download Michael Hick’s first installment in his series. If all science fiction were as well written, I would read a lot more of it. The story of Reza Gard, a human who ends up being captured by Kreelan warriors, captured my attention from the first page and did not let go until the end. Mr. Hick’s writing provided such graphic and realistic descriptions and characters, I wanted to visit other worlds and know the characters. I could almost believe the Kreelans were real. The book transported me to the Kreelan empire and surrounded me with the spirit of the Way. Reza’s transformation to his belief in the Empress and the Way was developed with patience and thoughtfulness. Although adopting the Kreelans culture and beliefs, he never forgets his own humanity. While the story is violent at times, it is not gratuitous violence. All of the actions seemed real and appropriate for the scenes.

Michael Hicks has written an extraordinary novel that deserves to be a best-seller. I am looking forward to reading all of the books in the series.

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5.0 out of 5 stars A First Rate Thriller, February 2, 2012

I enjoyed every minute of reading THE SAVANNAH PROJECT by Chuck Barrett. The prologue immediately sucked me in and I did not want to put it down. Jake Pendelton, an NTSB investigator gets pulled into an international conspiracy of assassinations, terrorism, IRA vendettas, and non-stop action. The story was fast passed, well crafted, and entertaining. During a lengthy cat and mouse chase scene in Savannah, GA, I found myself feeling winded. Barrett’s descriptions, characters, and plot kept me engaged throughout the 631 page thriller. I read it in two days. I can’t wait to read THE TOYMAKER, Barrett’s subsequent novel. Keep those thrillers coming.


I never realized how important book reviews are until I published my two books.  From now on Carolynn and I will be writing a review on every book we read.  I encourage all of you to do the same.

It is nearly 3am and I now have over 4000 tweets in queue.  When I wake up sometime later today I will scan what I can.

In the meantime, I wish all of you a happy Valentine’s Day; especially to my partner, my soul-mate, my wife, Carolynn.  I could not do this without her assistance, support and love.

Happy Reading!