The old stone Parrish church in Dover is near the city center, across the street from the Eight Bells pub. Behind the church is a small cemetery with gravestones dating back to the 1800’s. It was a blustery day, temperature in the high 40’s, the sun going in and out behind the clouds.
Fairy tales and history classes shape our view of English Castles. Lords and ladies, moats and minions, land and lances, were the bits and pieces of the story from a distant time and place. Today the story is more of restoration, preservation, wealthy patrons and historical foundations struggling to keep a piece of the past alive.
An April day when the temperature doesn’t rise above 50 degrees and the sun slips behind the clouds every few minutes doesn’t sound like a perfect day in the park. Yet in Amsterdam the park is alive with families, lovers, friends. They walk, their dogs freely trot alongside. They ride the most amazing bicycles bringing the children with them. There are at least three seats on a single bicycle.
We had the great delight of visiting Keukenhof Gardens on a perfect spring day. Together we shot 903 photos. We were overwhelmed by the beauty in every direction. Here are a few of the beautiful scenes.
Once a decade the Netherlands Horticulture Council organizes an exposition celebrating the contribution horticulture makes to life. This year’s theme is “be part of the theatre in nature: get closer to the quality of life.” The event is equal to a World’s Fair of outdoor delights, nature, food production and beauty. Participants from around the world showcase their garden style, their horticultural production, the natural beauty of their part of the planet.
The sweetness of April arrives bringing spring’s green leaves, sprouts, blooms, and wildlife babies. The potential for delight could hardly be greater in any other month of the year. Garden visitors wander in with their expectations high. New gardeners, flush with knowledge, walk wide-eyed now identifying annuals, edibles and perennials. The serious horticulturalist seeks out specimens and hybrids, checking to see how last year’s new varieties survived the winter. Landscape designers explore the style and flow of the garden. Plant fans hurry in to see the collection of their favorites, be they bamboos, orchids, agaves or roses. There are so many opportunities to enjoy and explore a garden. Yet whatever category you find yourself, if you are visiting a garden in April, you want to be open to whimsy.
When birds stop singing. . .
“Across some stretches every tree had been felled by gunfire or cut down intentionally. No bird song was heard, no birds remained.”*
It is comforting to sit in a garden and hear the songs of birds. The tall trees provide an orchestra hall for the birds to welcome the morning. I am the audience enjoying the notes sung by the chorus of mockingbirds, cactus wrens, grackles and doves.
As a kid I was afraid of the dark. Many a summer night when I forgot to put away my bicycle or toy wagon I was told to “Go outside and put away my things!” A dark night and only a small porch light to show me way, I stood trembling at the back door, holding my breath. I would dash out, do the task and dash back in my heart racing. Now night time outside in the garden is a favorite time for me.