FROM FLOWERS TO TRAVEL

Special thanks to many who, for the last 2 years have visited, followed or commented on this Blog –

   https://saroberts042.wordpress.com           FLOWERS~ BLUMEN~FLEURS

I am currently planning a trip from Australia to the United Kingdom and Europe and hopefully will have time to share daily events along with photographs of each day’s highlights.

If you are interested to enjoy this travel experience with me, copy and paste the link into your browser and click on ‘FOLLOW’ to automatically receive each Post.

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BLOG POST NUMBER 100 with 100 flowers

To mark the publication of Post Number 100,  I am sharing 100 flower photographs taken by me in my Past Garden.

ISAIAH chapter 61 verse 11 – For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. (NIV)

NEULEININGEN, GERMANY – A HIDDEN GEM

Along the wine route of the romantic Palatinate region of Germany sits the sleepy historical town of Neuleiningen, where one has the feeling that time has stood still. It is a place of picturesque quaint houses, numerous flower boxes, centuries old fortified walls, cobbled streets with not a single multi-storied modern construction in sight.  Well preserved timber-frame houses (16th/17th century), some with oriel windows, characterise the village centre’s narrow lanes. Many of the buildings have histories reaching back to the Middle Ages

The Pfarrkirche St. Nikolaus was built in the 13th century as a castle chapel at the same time as the castle itself. Neuleiningen belonged until 1969 to the now abolished district of Frankenthal, where my friends live.  Perched on the top of a hill (300m above sea level} is an impressive ruined castle built on the model of many French castles in the 1240s.  From the castle’s lookout tower one has an outstanding view of the Upper Rhine Plain in the east and the Palatinate Forest’s mountains in the west.   Adjacent to the castle is the Alte Pfarrey (“Old Rectory”) which was first recorded in 1524 and today houses a gourmet restaurant and hotel.

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After a wonderful afternoon wandering the cobbled streets of Neuleiningen with my German friends we sat to share afternoon tea in the Alte Pfarrey.  Although the tables were ready for a reception we were made very welcome. I would have loved to have known what was being said during a conversation in German but there were many smiles and I came away with a gift of apricot jam, preserved from locally grown fruit. It was a very good day.

GARDENS OF FRANCE (6) – JARDIN des TUILERIES

The Tuileries Palace (Palais des Tuileries) was a royal and imperial palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the River Seine. It was the usual Parisian residence of most French monarchs, from Henry IV to Napoleon lll, until it was burned by the Paris Commune in 1871. The gardens became a public park and meeting place for Parisians after the French Revolution.

The Tuileries Garden (Jardin des Tuileries) is surrounded by the Louvre (to the east), the Seine (to the south), the Place de la Concorde (to the west) and the Rue de Rivoli (to the north).

The Tuileries Gardens get their name from the tile factories which previously stood on the site where Queen Catherine de Medici built the Palais des Tuileries in 1564. The gardens, which separate the Louvre from the Place de la Concorde, are a cultural walking place for Parisians and tourists where Maillol statues stand alongside those of Rodin or Giacometti.

The  Garden covers about 63 acres (25 hectares) and still closely follows a design laid out by the royal landscape architect André Le Nôtre in 1664. His spacious formal garden plan drew out the perspective from the reflecting pools one to the other in an unbroken vista along a central axis from the west façade, which has been extended as the Axe historique (historical axis or triumphal way); a nearly straight path leading from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe to La Défense west of Paris.

The hallmarks of a Le Nôtre   garden such as Tuileries, Versailles or Luxembourg gardens are  vistas created using mathematical training to deduce the contours of the land in relation to perspective and to follow the architectural lines of a building into its grounds. Le Nôtre also worked for British patrons on Saint James’s Park, Hampton Court, Greenwich Park and Windsor Castle.

SKIES OVER SOUTH AUSTRALIA

 

Psalm 19:1 – The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.                                                                                                                                                                                     For many years I have had a keen interest in observing the clouds, whatever the weather, especially when looking through the lens of a camera, and over that period have taken a series of photographs from the window  overlooking my back garden. When I moved to my current home 10 years ago there were 3 Alder trees in my small back yard and I enjoyed their fine foliage and the structure they brought to the garden even though they were not growing in a climate to which they were suited.  (Alder is the common name of a genus of flowering plants  belonging to the birch family).

Living in the driest State in Australia should determine the plant choice when establishing a garden.  The Alders had been here for many years but after a  year of serious drought (and possibly their age) they had to be removed.

I  planted three Manchurian Pears at my back fence and they now bring afternoon shade to the back windows, from which I take the photographs.

 Genesis 9:16 – Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.

 

CLARE VALLEY – SOUTH AUSTRALIA

The Clare Valley is an area in which to enjoy an amazing mix of rich heritage and breathtaking scenery, with great food and wine experiences – a series of memorable moments.  Driving time from Adelaide, capital city of South Australia, is around 100 minutes (not allowing for stops for photo opportunities).

One does not necessarily need to be a wine lover to thoroughly enjoy all that this area has to offer.  During the recent visit to Adelaide of my friend from Switzerland we had an overnight stay in Clare and were able to visit several of the 30 + Cellar Doors. Many of the properties are quite historic and the well-manicured gardens sit beautifully into the hillsides with the green leafy vines extending in all directions.

The photographs I share here were taken at Skillagolee where we enjoyed a scrumptious Brunch.

There were wines to be tasted in many places so we had to leave this area of beauty and relaxation and move to our next stop which was at Sevenhill Cellars, established by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1851. It is the oldest winery in South Australia’s Clare Valley and the only remaining Jesuit-owned winery in Australia. This is a place of rich heritage and there is a walking trail (with map) with information along the way. The religious buildings are surrounded by vineyards and a lovely shaded lawn area, perfect for picnics and a place to relax. A step back in history.

We were now heading South but called at two more wineries along the way –

The little town of Mintaro was our next stop when we came upon a “GARDEN”sign.  We soon found Mintaro Garden Rooms where we meandered along the pathways through the various rooms with creative features and fragrances.  The garden was established in 1995 and was developed from a bare paddock and 3 existing trees. The whole area is reliant on water from the River Murray with a permit to irrigate and there is also an on-site bore. The average rainfall is 550mls  and the earth is red/brown over hard limestone. Beds are heavily mulched with leaf litter and pea straw and the fertile soil is regularly fertilised.  The bird life is plentiful.  A delightful place to take time out.

Last stop for the day was at Reilly’s Cellar Door in Mintaro where we enjoyed the best scones ever.

I was the driver for this excursion so not able to comment on the wines but those with discerning taste buds were making favourable comments and packing bottles into cars before leaving.

CHRISTMAS BUSHES – AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

BURSARIA SPINOSA is a small shrub in the family Pittosporaceae. The species occurs mainly in the eastern and southern half of Australia and not in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. It is widespread throughout South Australia, the State in which I live. It has brown bark and dark green leaves. The fragrant white-cream flowers adorning the tips of the branches drew my attention when walking recently in the Laratinga Wetlands in Mount Barker. They are prolific in that area in roadside vegetation where the flowers are quite showy as they blanket the bushes.

 

NEW ZEALAND CHRISTMAS TREE isa coastal evergreen tree in the myrtle family that produces a brilliant display of red (or occasionally orange, yellow or white) flowers made up of a mass of stamens. Renowned for its vibrant colour and its ability to survive even perched on rocky, precarious cliffs, it has found an important place in the New Zealand culture for its strength and beauty. The blossom of the tree is called kahika.     

Beautiful specimens are currently in flower along the south coast of South Australia and the one photographed is at Horseshoe Bay, Port Elliot, South Australia.

ISOLA COMACINA

THE UNIQUE ISLAND of LAKE COMO, ITALY

 Isola Comacina is the only island on Lake Como. This small piece of land is almost uninhabited and welcomes many visitors in the period between March and October – a charming experience for all who visit whether in sunshine or misty rain.

Pietro Lingeri built three houses on the island in 1939. His idea was to turn the island into a colony for artists. The houses were built in a rationalist style, made from local materials and without much decoration. The island now consists of a restaurant, cafe, a collection of archaeological sites plus the three artist houses.  This place is rich in history with much to discover in its secluded corners.  The picturesque open views of the Lake and the shore in the distance bring another dimension as one wanders the little pathways.  The architectural remains defy the passing of time and complete the stirring experience of a visit to this island.

A quote from my Travel Blog – The Grand Tour – 25th October 2013

“At about 100 metres from the Western side of the Lake, near Ossuccio, is the only Island of Lake Como. It is roughly 600 metres long and only 200 metres wide and has a total area of 6 hectares. It is covered with lush Mediterranean vegetation – olives, linden, laurel, hack berry, horn beam and black mulberry. This corner of Lake Como has a mild climate and is favourable for the cultivation of olive trees and the production of local oil. Explanatory panels along the way describe the archaeological sites, the Church of San Giovanni Battista and the House of Artists. This is a picturesque and enchanting corner of the world where nature and history come together. It was our pleasure to spend a couple of hours walking the trails today in such a peaceful atmosphere (we only encountered four other tourists). The weather was perfect with the sun shining in an amazing blue sky and a top temperature of 19 degrees.”

 

PASSION FLOWERS AND PASSIONFRUIT

Passiflora edulis is a vine species of passion flower that is native to southern Brazil through Paraguay to northern Argentina.  Its common name in English is passion fruit.  The passion fruit is a vigorous, climbing vine that clings by tendrils to almost any support. It can grow 15 to 20 ft. per year once established and must have strong support.   It is generally short-lived (5 to 7 years).

 There are a number of varieties of passionfruit, some are sweeter than others, some are the size of an egg and some are three times as large.  It is cultivated commercially in tropical and subtropical areas for its sweet, seedy fruit. The fruit is both eaten and juiced; passion fruit juice is often added to other fruit juices to enhance aroma. The nearly round fruit has a tough, smooth, leathery, usually dark purple outer which houses pulpy juice and as many as 250 small, hard dark brown or black seeds. The unique flavour is sweet/tart to tart. 

Australia is an area of high passion fruit consumption due to history and familiarity. Passion fruit flourished here before 1900 in what had been banana fields. It attained great importance until 1943 when the vines were devastated by a widespread virus. Although some plantations have been rebuilt, they cannot produce enough passion fruit to satisfy the demand and imports make up the balance.  A passionfruit-flavoured soft drink called Passiona has been manufactured in Australia since the 1920s.  Cottee’s was started by a dairy farmer called Spencer Cottee. Mr. Cottee grew passionfruit on his farm but was so good at it he often had a lot left over. Not wanting to waste any, he began creating the passionfruit drink we still know today, Passiona.

 The pulp is added to fruit salads, and fresh fruit pulp or passion fruit sauce is commonly used in icings, as a topping for pavlova (a regional meringue cake) and ice cream, as well as flavouring for cheesecake. The juice is high in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and carotenoids (vitamin A).

To my delight my neighbour at the back of my property in Adelaide, South Australia, has a very healthy passionfruit vine growing along the fence and of course much of it finds its way over the top and hangs down on my side.  During  Spring the flowers are born at each node on the new growth on the vine and become something of amazing intricacy in form. The bloom is clasped by three large green bracts and consists of five greenish-white sepals, five white petals and a fringe-like crown of straight, white-tipped fronds which are rich purple at the base. It also has five stamens. After about six months the purple fruit is ripe for picking.

Banana passionfruit is the fruit of several plants in the genus Passiflora, and is therefore related to the passion fruit. They look somewhat like a straight, small banana with rounded ends. It was given this name in New Zealand, where passionfruit are also prevalent.

 

MENAGGIO, LAKE COMO ITALY

A WALK OF ELEGANCE AND EDUCATION

Menaggio  is a town and commune in the province of Como, Lombardy, northern Italy, located on the western shore of Lake Como.  Upon our arrival we experienced the town by enjoying a stroll from Via Calvi with its small shops and craftsmen selling local products to the Church of Santa Marta, in the middle of the street,  and then to Piazza Garibaldi. The lakeside was a peaceful place with its finely tended gardens displaying the colours of autumn.  In the public garden beds I saw Ornamental Kale for the first time. It made an eye-catching statement especially as it was planted en masse. I was certainly prompted to follow through with some research when I returned home.

Ornamental Kale is a plant with serrated or fringed leaf margins and referred to as flowering kale. Ornamental cabbage and kale are very close relatives of edible cabbages and kale. They are in the same species, Brassica oleracea . They have been bred for looks, not flavour and the leaves give the plants their colour and interest. They range in bold shades from purple to rosy pink or creamy white with green – they actually look good enough to eat so are great as a garnish or as a base for egg dishes or hors d’oeuvres.

Cool-season gardens can be transformed with the stunning colours of flowering kale. This plant brings the bold shades of white and purple to the garden’s quiet seasons of autumn and early winter. In mild temperatures plants can look good all winter long.

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On Mother’s Day 2016 my granddaughters presented me with a delightful posy and to my delight,  Kale was the star!