Greenness in the city

August 14, 2013

Another day in Portugal. After the city of Porto, its harbour and the Douro river, how about spending some time in a luxuriant park of Porto and in Coimbra’s Botanical Garden ? It was founded in 1772 and is part of its very ancient University. More about the beautiful city of Coimbra later on.Coimbra, jardin botaniqueWon’t you come into the garden, I would like my roses to see you.” Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) said to his future wife Elizabeth inferring that she was more beautiful.

Coimbra, meditation
I sit in my garden, gazing upon a beauty that cannot gaze upon itself.  And I find sufficient purpose for my day.  ~Robert Brault.

Coimbra, tons roses
In the garden I tend to drop my thoughts here and there.  To the flowers I whisper the secrets I keep and the hopes I breathe.  I know they are there to eavesdrop for the angels.  ~Dodinsky

Coimbra, fleur jauneThe temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.  ~Basho

Coimbra, serresThe mystery of a glasshouse… What kind of world is growing  under its roof, brilliant patchwork of glass tiles ? What universe shall we discover as we open the door ?

Porto, jardin des plantesGive me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.  ~Walt Whitman

Porto, eucalypts
Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw.  ~Henry David Thoreau

Coimbra, oiseaux du paradisBread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul.  ~The Koran

Porto, olivier

Even when seen from near, the olive shows
A hue of far away. Perhaps for this
The dove brought olive back, a tree which grows
Unearthly pale, which ever dims and dries,
And whose great thirst, exceeding all excess,
Teaches the South it is not paradise.
Richard Wilbur
Walking in a botanical is always a deep pleasure for me. Looking at Nature in so many different forms is enchanting for the eyes and the soul. Gardeners have been working in the same alleys for centuries, students from the nearby University have observed, studied and written about the life  of plants – often a secret for a visitor.  I walked and sat in a garden in Portugal. Yet much of the  world  was present around me. A palm tree  from New Mexico was standing  beside a mighty eucalyptus from Australia, its strong, unmistakable scent reminding me of the Australian bush. A Chinese bush was blooming along a colorful  rose garden from Southern countries. The olive tree – last picture – was the “ancestor” in the garden : if I remember well it came from Israel and was about 1000 years old.

My garden is my favorite teacher.  ~Betsy Cañas Garmon,


14 Responses to “Greenness in the city”

  1. Isa, these photos are “right up my alley.” Love, love these. Plants and flowers and public gardens entrall me with their magnificient beauty. Wonderdul post. The 1000 year olive year tree is the most interesting feature in your photos.

  2. sybil said

    1,000 years old !! That’s older than me !!!

  3. shoreacres said

    The photos are beautiful because the place itself is beautiful. I’m most intrigued by the yellow flower. I thought it was a rose at first – but with a second look, I’m not so sure. It’s beautiful, whatever it is.

    And I noticed the quotation from the Koran: Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul. It’s a common bit of wisdom that showed up in our country centuries later in the union organizing song, “Bread and Roses” .

    I’m not so fond of formal gardens – they seem to lack that vitality Thoreau speaks of. But this one looks lovely. I can see why you enjoyed your time there.

    • This yellow flower also intrigued me, it grew in a wild bush at the side of a small pond. How interesting to see this quotation from the Koran being sung by the union’s women. I need to find the words too. Thank you Linda.

      Coimbra’s garden was both formal and natural. There was a rose garden that grew in a square maze and not far from it, a forest that looked like an Australian bush : eucalypts of course, tall ferns and twisted trees in a kind or organized disorder.

  4. sonali said

    Isa, How are you? Your pictures are beautiful! I have this special affection for Portugal..The state I live in India (Goa) was ruled by Portuguese until 1966.. we still have a lot of Portuguese architectures and also culture influence..The flowers there are lovely..Have you tried any new patterns for your quilts, recently?

    • Always so nice to read you, sonali. I knew Portugal had been present in India, and Goa in particular. I did not remember Portuguese were there until 1966. I liked their architecture : those painted tiles on the facades, decorated balconies, secluded gardens behind houses, brightly painted walls in the houses.

      I have not quilted much this Summer but soon I will finish a quilt I sewed during last Winter/Spring with various kind of rough materials (for a change 😉 No particular pattern, just following my intuition and the pattern/movement of the fabrics. Many thanks for your visit.

  5. Tammy said

    What a delightful way to present your photos with quotes! I love the range of greens in the very first one.

  6. Janice / Dancing with Sunflowers said

    Belles photos, Isa, et une belle collection de citations sages au sujet de jardins.

  7. Sartenada said

    Bonjour Isa.

    Ah, comment beau poste avec des photos magnifiques. J’ai été très inspiré sur toutes les citations que vous avez présenté! C’était génial. Merci beaucoup.

    Je vous souhaite une agréable journée!

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