Summer reading

July 5, 2017

Spring has come and gone bringing sun, rain and even frost that jeopardized, even destroyed many cultures (vineyards and fruits especially).  A great loss for farmers. June went by with temperatures that were as hot as in August (30-35°C – 90-100°F). Now here comes July, a time for holidays, rest or travel,  some walking and…reading. Let me share with you some of the books I chose to bring with me up in the alpine area where I am staying right now. Nature and Ecology have been very talked and written about all over the world recently. So I thought I might as well know more about it and read the followings books.books summer 171.jpg“What a Plant knows”  (or How plants experience life) by Daniel Chamovitz

“The Hidden Life of TREES” by Peter Wohlleben

“The Four Elements”, Reflections on Nature, by John O’Donohue.

For my recent birthday I received a very pretty and detailed guide, with beautiful drawings and  texts about a “Nature Guide to the Mountains”. It has been written and drawn by a group of passionate people who, after having published for years a magazine about nature for young people, decided to go a step forward and publish this precious little book which is both helpful and very informative.

Last but not least, I got for myself another great guide to learn how to draw  animals, flowers and plants in 135 ways ! Imagine that. Drawing is something I really never did since  my children and I sat around the kitchen  table and started drawing something that one of us had proposed to do. And… I was not really the best one of the three although it was great fun. So, I thought it was  high time to try doing better, right ?

DSCN1485.JPGIn the first book I already read, “What a Plant Knows” by D. Chamovitz, the author does not define  ” a vegetal intelligence”  about plants. His question is rather :

“Are plants aware ?” and in fact he writes that they are. “They are actually aware of the world around them and of their visual environment, aware of aromas, aware of being touched, aware of their past”.DSCN1492.JPGNext time you walk through a park or to the woods, ask yourself: “What does this yellow flower see ?  Or what does this grass smell ? DSC03837.JPG“Touch the branches of a beech, knowing that the tree will remember it was touched”. I found this book by Daniel Chamovits fascinating and really enlightening. It definitely brings a new light on my daily walks, makes me slow down and look more closely at plants, flowers, Nature and its wonders. And feel grateful for all our planet offers to us.

Wishing you a beautiful Summer, wherever you are.

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,www.wildthymecreative.com

Patches of Summer

September 15, 2012

Summer is still blooming, shining and giving us a bounty of Season’s delicacies we never seem to get tired of. Treasures of colours, scents, flavours and sights.

Sunflowers would highlight any day. They show us the way to the slightest sunray. “Tournesol”, from the Italian “girasole”, -“which turns with the sun”-  bears such an appropriate name.

Fine and fragile cosmos playing with the breeze, in white, pink, purple spreading out their petals like arms to better grasp the light and warmth of this Season.

And what about the fruits that abound at this Season ? Now it’s time to pick prunes, mirabelles, pears. Soon there will be grapes – a big event in our area – apples, fruits meant to last and be enjoyed during colder days. Yes, let’s face it, Summer is going to end, Fall is at the door.

“What constitutes the end of Summer for you ?”   This is the question Scott Thomas asks on his blog to anyone wishing to participate in his new photo assignment until September 26.

http://viewsinfinitum.com/2012/09/12/assignment-21-end-of-summer/

It should be very interesting to see how each participant feels about and look at the change of Season. I am going to think about it.

If you would  like to  take part in this new photography challenge, please click on the above link to get all the information.

A second life for this old fountain and a home for all kinds of pretty flowers.

Since I did not take a lot of  pictures during the past months, I thought I might as well dig into my archives and especially my travel shots. Today I would like to share with you a few moments spent some years ago in Bendigo’s Conservatory; a major regional city in the state of Victoria,  Australia. Bendigo is notable for its Victorian architectural heritage and mining industry.It was midday on a  hot day at the end of austral Summer. There were not many visitors in Rosalind Park  which surrounds the Conservatory but a few tourists like me attracted by its pleasant architecture and setting. As far as I was concerned,  there was a definite hope for some freshness.  The sun shone fiercely. I spotted an ancient bench leaning against the brick wall of the Conservatory;  I sat  there for a while enjoying the green and summerly landscape.  Still, it was too hot for someone who had just left a snowy and cold month of March in the Northern hemisphere.

The door of the Conservatory was open and inviting. The contrast of light was visible through the windows and it immediately suggested coolness. Without hesitation I went in.

The large hall was not as cool as I imagined but somehow it brought a sense of freshness and humidity. I was struck by this strange green shade diffused in the whole glasshouse. Trees and plants seemed to reflect in the glass windows and roof.  Shade, silence, peace,  the perfect moment to make a pause and sit on another bench surrounded by exuberant vegetation.

I was mesmerized by the delicate sound of these few drops of water falling gently into a little pool, like a well.  I had stepped into a green world, a vegetation of a great diversity and mystery, an environment not exactly familiar but cosy. It felt good.

A large and heavy urn,  as round as  a globe, was set in another pool. Ripples of water  softly touched the stone shore. Through the glass roof, the blue austral sky reflected on the urn patterns that looked like tracks ? ocean ? bush?  A kind of local  geography.  All new to me as I just landed in this vast and fascinating country and was more than happy to discover parts of it.

Time to leave and drive further. Back into the  hot sun on a  square surrounded by colourful Victorian houses. And another bench sitting under  a huge tree, so  generous with its welcoming shade. There was a lot more to see in Bendigo.  Will we leave it for a next visit ?

Sleepy garden

March 12, 2010

Have you ever enjoyed a walk through a botanical garden in Winter ? When I am in town, I often take time to stroll in the small garden that keeps its particular charm even though bright colours are not very present at this time of the year.But if you look closely you will find the warm orange shade of a  wild rose bud. In the pond, a small block  of ice shaped like a frozen silver rose. The pale Winter sun would light up the windows of  a greenhouse gently brushed by white rods.

Inside the greenhouse plants are growing slowly and waiting for better days to be brought outside. Their green reflections behind the glass add some life to the sleepy garden.

And when the weather is as cold as now, low temperatures and an icy Northern wind, the tropical greenhouse welcomes you in its warm and humid forest of banana trees, eucalypts, ficus, acacias  and a more exotic landscape. Wherever I go, I try to find a botanical garden, stroll through the seasons and the local vegetation. Often it is a breath of fresh air in the middle of a city. A green area to sit and rest or  read, just feel good and relax.