I’ve just returned from a three-week trip exploring Scottish Gardens. My husband and I rented a car at the Aberdeen Airport and set off for our adventure. Rich did all the 852 miles of driving with a right-hand drive and a left-hand 6-speed shifter. Our GPS guide was the calm and reassuring voice of the actress Emma Thompson, and we loved her. But it takes both of us to stay focused on driving down shady tiny “B” roads with one-lane bridges, watching out for horseback riders, cyclists, and huge farm equipment along the way.
Water is essential for life; on two different occasions, once in May the other in August, I’ve found in my garden two perfectly formed tiny mud pots. These were made by a 1/2” long Microdynerus arenicolus, or the Antioch Potter Wasp. A potter’s wasp will lay its eggs inside. The female wasp gets a MOUTHFUL of water, finds some soil to mix in her mouth and builds the pot from the bottom up one mouthful at a time. Can you imagine the size of a wasp’s mouth? This variety of wasp is found in the southwest,
I am recovering from a fever. Tulip Fever. Seduced by their charms and captivated by their colors, petals, fringes, and the brief burst of beauty heralding the arrival of spring, I despair from the longing to possess these flowers in my garden.
Heading into a new year the last thing any of us wanted was another round of virus vexation. Most of us have done everything we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. We’ve stayed home in our gardens (if we are lucky enough to have one), we’ve worn our masks, gotten our shots, and yet here we are still on the bumpy road of uncertainty, restrictions, and canceled plans.
Lankester Botanic Garden,
Cartago, Costa Rica
I always photograph orchids, not the ones in grocery stores but in botanic gardens or any orchid exhibitions I visit. I can’t seem to get enough of their vibrant colors and varied shapes. I look at them through the viewfinder to examine the details of their ruffles and wings, to look closely at the tiny faces and figures hidden among the blooms.
Eat, shop, parasail? The travel guides encourage you to do all three in Geneva, Switzerland. Along the city streets in this international hub of agencies, embassies, and banks, the mail carriers navigate their scooters, overloaded with enormous yellow bundles of mail past the World Health Organization headquarters, the International Red Cross, United Nations, and many more.
“As for spiders, how the dew hangs in their webs even if they say nothing, or seem to say nothing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe they sing.”
I begin my day with a cup of coffee. I’ve been doing so for decades. Over the years, I’ve had it boiled, dripped, pressed, and expressed. I’ve had Cafe au Lait, New Orleans Chicory Coffee, Swedish Egg style, Turkish with cardamom, Cowboy style in an enamel pot, Italian in a tiny cup, and most recently Costa Rican brewed with a Chorreador.
There are so many delicious flavors found around the world and each taste reminds me of how interdependent we are for our pleasures of the table. I have great respect for the farmer, the harvester, the processor, which is not a dirty word but does require the dirty work of cleaning, drying, milling, and packing all done before it arrives in our kitchen.
We live in a world seemingly obsessed with lists; we have lists for the largest, fastest, tallest, longest, oldest, of nearly everything you can imagine. As I began my visit to the Padua Botanic Garden in northern Italy, I entered with the assumption; this is the world’s oldest known botanic garden. The small print in the garden brochure states it is the world’s oldest university garden in its original place of origin. The garden, in continuous operation since 1545, is a very old garden. Only the Botanical Garden of the University of Pisa rivals this claim as it was established in 1544 under the rule of Cosimo I de” Medici but was relocated in 1563. Making it very old but different.