Tag Archives: gardens

Life Is A Roof

There’s something about being on a rooftop. Padding around on the tin or the tiles, you are on your own patch but united with an expanded landscape.

Elevation provides, at worst, a sense of dominion, at best, awe and gratitude; an understanding of yourself as a contributor to the whole; an awareness that your actions matter but that many of the concerns of your life will pass. At ground level, structures hem you in and press your cares close. Given a little elevation, perspective (and possibly, release), kicks in.

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Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Yellow Rope

And obligingly, she does. Well, the machine in the tower does. It’s not low enough to catch hold of and climb up but it kept a lot of loud-voiced fathers (and a certain husband) occupied.  (Soon I will embed here a video of this event. For now, the technological wizardry of movie transfer has defeated me. I await the intervention of my actor and movie-maker child.)

This place is a fairytale come almost true. In fact, it’s a plethora of them. Continue reading

Petals and Bubbles

Both at their best when encountered from the bath.

In the conservatory in the palace grounds at Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart, Germany.

Castle Howard Visited

When visiting a castle, one does expect crenellated walls and towers but Castle Howard was not constructed for defence. The 3rd Earl of Carlisle, Charles Howard, commissioned it for aesthetic pleasure and self-congratulation. This grand asymmetrical house is apparently listed as one of the world’s top ten greatest mansions in Lonely Planet’s 1,000 Ultimate Sights.

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Wandering Warwickshire

Standing beneath the skeleton of an ancient deer which is positioned as if gazing out of the window of the modern interior of a Warwick museum, I felt oddly out of perspective in both time and physical dimension – like Alice in Wonderland or something from a Magritte painting. Continue reading

Isola del Garda

This lovely island, the largest in Lago di Garda, seems to hover above the lake. It happens a lot around water in Europe I’ve noticed. In pictures of tropical islands, land slopes gradually and vegetation maintains a respectful distance so that land and water are seen merging. Here, land skims the surface darkly, plants and water each daring the other to rise or sink, to transcend natural boundaries; forces in companionable opposition. Continue reading

Sussing Out Succulents

I’ve never been a huge fan of succulents despite the cheerful pigface in the garden of my childhood. Bryce Courtney’s One went a long way towards addressing that, but flowering cacti are not prevalent where I live so my interest has flagged over the years since reading. However with climate change bearing down and my own garden struggling in south-west Western Australia’s increasingly dry winters, I recently vowed ‘only drought-tolerant plants from now on’. Continue reading