Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dancing Seagulls

 Flying seagull

In park, near the ocean and on the Lost Lagoon the seagulls made their home
and for their lovely nest they choose the Stanley's forest dome.

 seagull on the rock
 Curious seagull

 quacking seagulls

Loudly quacking when claiming food, dive in with style and grab it with their beaks;
looking for fish which comes out from the waves while wait the next crab to be picked.

seagull with crabseagull eating crab

Seagulls, Lost Lagoon, Vancouver

I like the seagulls flight across the ocean or over land sustained by their majestic wings
and their tenacity when dancing in the air, between the heaven lights and other flying things,
without tension are hanging on when are pushed around by stronger winds in open skies
unexpectedly skydiving with their fluttering  feathers from the unbelievable heights.

seagull in sunlight

Monday, August 30, 2010

Scented pelargoniums bonsai styles

Pelargonium bonsai - Mexican Sage

Did I tell you how much I love scented pelargoniums?
If you read this blog before, you should know by now that I'm crazy about scented pelargoniums. Also I love bonsai art and so, training them as bonsai is a perfect fit; for me at least.

Pelargonium Capitatum bonsai - Attar-of-RosesEdible, fragrant, very useful, showy, flowering, drought resistant, little care and very forgiving ...

Pelargonium bonsai - Skeleton Rose

... what else do you want from your bonsai ?!

Pelargonium bonsai - Shrubland Rose

Most geraniums are what botanists call semi-woody shrubs and there are hundreds of varieties in leaf color, texture, fragrance, and flowering from which you can choose your pre-bonsai. So far I have only 15 types in my collection.

Pelargonium bonsai - Shrubland Rose

I started with our oldest and largest plants, because have well developed branches and trunks architectures, and even after first trimming, they look beautiful, with spectacular bonsai shape. There are many herbs which develop a woody stem at quite a young age and are easy to obtain and scented pelargoniums are one of them.

Interesting is that pelargoniums have a fast growing rate and require frequent trimming and removing  the old leaves.


Every time you prune it, you can eat the trimmings! Try doing that with any other kind of bonsai!

Pelargonium bonsai - Atomic Snowflake

Training scented pelargoniums as bonsai enhance the beauty of the plants.
A really showy bonsai which makes envy my friends are rose scented :
- "Lady Plymouth" / "Silver Leaf Rose" with gray -green edges for their deeply divided leaves;
- "Atomic Snowflake" with softly lobed leaves white-cream variegated;
- "Attar-of-Roses" / "Pelargonium Capitatum/ Drusaim" with roundish leaf shape and shallow, rounded lobes;
- "Skeleton Rose" / "Pelargonium Radens" with tiny curly leaves and upright habit.

Pelargonium Capitatum bonsai, Attar-of-Roses, Drusaim, Wildemalva

We tried to shape these Scented Pelargonium plants with couple of common bonsai styles that are works with:

Pelargonium Radens bonsai, Skeleton RoseSOKAN/ Double-trunk, SANKAN/ triple-trunk and multiple-trunk because usually old plants have suitable shoots and we can simply trim the trunk above these shoots and remove any crossing branches and the branches growing toward to the viewer.

Pelargonium bonsai, Shrubland Rose

For one of our vigorous plant, "Shrubland Rose", with a well-developed root structure, we chose NEAGARI / exposed root style. This beautiful mature plant has suitable roots with amazing shapes to be exposed.

Pelargonium bonsai, Mexican SageThe most spectacular one is ISHITZUKI / Root-over-rocks style. For the beginning, for this "Mexican Sage" plant we deeper the edges of the rock into the soil  to cover its roots tips  until further development.
Apricot-scented "Mexican Sage" also, seems to be suitable for YOSE-UE style (two or more trees in one container), with his dark green leaves stiffed with five major lobes and gently woody stem. 

Pelargonium bonsai, Shrubland Rose

Most woody plants natural follow a TACHIKI / informal upright style, where the trunk  is straight upwards, with the first lower branches wider than the rest and the next branches are slightly narrower than the first. Theoretical, best is when achieve an overall triangular appearance for the bonsai.
Flowering Pelargonium Bonsai, Frensham Lemon Variety
The plants that lend themselves to this style are the lemon scented and apricot scented varieties.

"Frensham Lemon" variety is one of the best to train in CHOKKAN / formal upright style because have an upright look with small, brights green leaves. For age impression, we pruned off little branches and leaves close to the trunk and carved the bottom third of the trunk.

Flowering Pelargonium Capitatum Bonsai, Attar-of-Roses Variety

Flowering Pelargonium Bonsai, Skeleton Rose VarietyLike any other bonsai enthusiast, we tried to fit all plants into classical bonsai, but for the majority of our plants we were forced to choose a non-traditional bonsai shape, paying attentions to plants structure.

Whatever form they have, while I'm working to "101 ways to use scented pelargoniums", we love to touch, smell, taste and look at these edible flowering bonsai and enjoy their ornamental value, outdoor or  indoor, as a unique addition to our home.

Click & drag to interact with this 3D object movie.
If zoomed in, you can hold the SHIFT key to move the image with the mouse.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Horezu Monastery, World Heritage Site in UNESCO Patrimony since 1993

Traveling throughout Romania and visiting Horezu Monastery is an amazing experience for any person interested in visiting historical landmarks: churches, castles, medieval villages and historic towns.

Horezu Monastery, Romania, UNESCO Patrimony

Horezu Monastery (1690-1697) is the most important religious architectural monument from Oltenia, Romania,  which has been inscribed since 1993 by UNESCO on its list of World Heritage Sites.

Hurezi Monastery, Romania, UNESCO Patrimony

Hurezi Monastery, Romania, UNESCO Patrimony

Oltenia  is a historical province and geographical region of Romania, in western Wallachia (Valahia), situated between the Danube, the Southern Carpathians and the Olt river. Several princes of  Valahia have built  monasteries in northern Oltenia in the Brancoveanu style, the typical genuine Romanian architectural style, named after the Valahian prince who ruled at the end of the 17th century. These monasteries are rarely visited by foreigners, as they do not appear in most guides, but are a good choice for any person who want to spend time in a rustic scenery surrounded by a wild beauty and to enjoy magnificent architecture.

Horezu Monastery, Romania, UNESCO Patrimony since 1993
The Horezu Monastery is impressive, protected by strong walls, having more than 22 hectares at the foot of Capatanii Mountains, in Valcea County, Romania.

Horezu Monastery entrance, Romania, UNESCO Patrimony
Horezu Monastery, Romania, UNESCO Patrimony

Inside the walls, the monastery complex covers more than 3 hectare and has five churches: a small church in each of the four cardinal points and the main church, the biggest in the whole area, dedicated to St. Constantine and Helen, with iconostasis sculpted in lime tree wood, overlaid with gold.

Horezu Monastery arches, Romania, UNESCO Patrimony

The monastery has amazing stone sculptures on the staircases and a covered logia with columns and arcades decorated with sculptures in stones, niches and frescoes.

The legend says that, being afraid of the Turks, the Wallachian workers did everything at nighttime, when the eagle owls (huhurezi) were singing - original name of the monastery being "Hurezi Monastery".

Horezu Monastery paintings, Romania, UNESCO Patrimony
Horezu Monastery entrance paintings, Romania, UNESCO Patrimony

The paintings inside the church, with an inestimable artistic value, contain a gallery of icons of saints, scenes from the Old and New Testament,  and portraits of Wallachian Voivodes.  At the entrance of main church, on the left  are well preserved the original paintings  with scenes from The Last Judgment.

Horezu Monastery entrance paintings, left side, Romania, UNESCO PatrimonyHorezu Monastery entrance paintings, right side, Romania, UNESCO Patrimony

The Horezu Monastery shelters one of the most remarkable collections of liturgical objects and a valuable library, silver votive lights, paintings and sculptures in stone and in wood (remarcable being the main gate) - some of which date from the Constantin Brancoveanu epoch, when the monastery was founded. Towards the end of the 17th century, the Horezu Monastery sheltered a sculpture and painting school, renowned throughout the Balkan region and after the monastery was founded, the pottery ancient activity from Horezu village became a popular brand as “Horezu ceramic”.

Hurezi Monastery, Romania, UNESCO Patrimony - hostels rooms

Horezu Monastery, site in UNESCO Patrimony since 1993,  is located on the Romanian national road DN 67, between  Ramnicul Valcea and Targul Jiu , 50 kilometers West from Ramnicul Valcea.  Those who come from Ramnicul Valcea,  have to take right to Romanii de Sus village before coming down 3km to Horezu town. Please see the next map for directions:

View Horezu Monastery - World Heritage Site in Romania in a larger map

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bay Laurel, edible and medicinal tree

I've been raised in Europe and  Bay Laurel (Dafin) was one of the native scented herbs which was flavored my mom's dishes. Continuing tradition, now I have my own edible Laurel tree in my kitchen, an ornamental four year old plant and I use its leaves to flavor meat dishes, fish and sea foods, tomatoes soup and to make teas.

Bay Laurel branch with flower buds
The leaves from the bay tree can be harvested all year when are 6-12 cm long and 2-4 cm broad. Fresh leaves are very mild and are developing their real flavor several weeks after picking and drying.
If you pick bay leaves early in the day, dry out in a dark place and store in an air-tight jar, the dried bay leaves will keep their flavor for up to a year. Usually, this large shrub / tree has a lot of branches, and can reach more than 10 meters tall, if left untrimmed.

Sweet Bay / Laurel tree

My Laurel Tree has only 60 cm high. As you know, I like bonsai and aromatic plants, so, I've been  molded my edible tree as a bonsai. Is still planted in a big pot (2 gallons) and twice a year I trimmed back the long roots and the branches.

Bay Laurel flower buds

Laurel tree has clusters of small yellow flowers followed by black or dark purple berries. In this summer I let few branches to grow free and now have few flower buds. I'm so curious to see how is blooming.

Known as Laurel by the Greeks who wore it as a garland round their heads, other names for this Mediterranean tree are Bay Laurel, Laurus Nobilis, True Laurel, Sweet Bay, Laurel Tree, Grecian Laurel, Dafin.

Herb of the Year in 2009, source of the word Baccalaureate (laurel berry), a wreath made from the laurel/bay symbolizes victory or accomplishment and became a mark of excellence or a symbol of wisdom for athletes and poets. ‘Laureate’ means crowned with laurels. In the Bible, the sweet-bay is often an emblem of prosperity and fame. In the Greek mythology, the roof of Apollo's temple was made of bay leaves, primarily to protect against disease, lightning and witchcraft. 

Bay Laurel new branchIf you crush a fresh bay leaf with your hands and smell it, you’ll quickly understand why it is the most widely used culinary herb: his spice leaf is a mix of highly fragrant and aromatic notes of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, lemon and vanilla.
The younger leaves are light green, thinner and not as flavored. For the full flavor it is best to use the more mature leaves. In the world are many varieties of bay trees, not all of them are edible: Turkish, Indian (Tajpeta), Indonesian and Californian (West Indian) bay leaf, varying in the flavor and appearance.

Bay Laurel / Sweet Bay leaves

The bay leaves flavor is characteristic in many cuisines: Greek, French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Turkish, German, Cuban, Scandinavian, Brazilian.
The fresh bay leaf immediately starts to release its essential oils and flavour as soon as it is added to the dishes, and if you wish to experience something with an unique flavor, try a cup of fresh bay leaf tea with 2 pieces of lemon - the taste is really wonderful!  From old times is said that bay leaf infusion aid in digestion, relieve headaches and arthritis pains and in getting a good night’s rest. I tested first two theories, you should test it too, and you'll notice their medicinal properties.

Bay Laurel / Sweet Bay layered tree

My Bayleaf tree is Greek Laurel variety. There are three methods of propagating bay - sowing seeds, taking cuttings and layering branches.
I read that it is very difficult to propagate by cuttings but I planted anyhow, in April,  few shoots 15 cm long and I layered one big branch. The cuttings looks good and the layered branch has new shoots, but because will root after one year or so, I'm still waiting the result.

Until then, my Laurus Nobilis tree grows slowly but surely with his shiny, dark green leaves, beautiful to look and aromatic to cook.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Shakespeare Garden and Rose Garden from Stanley Park


Rose Garden, Stanley Park, Vancouver
It is still hot here in Vancouver, so we walked again in the shadow of secular and giants trees from Stanley Park: Douglas-fir, Walnuts, Katsura tree, Western Red Cedar, Red Oak, Austrian Black Pine or Cherry Trees.

Stanley Park Pavilion IndicatorAfter passing near the Lord Stanley Statue, following the left side of the Pipeline Road,
walking in central area of the Stanley Park you can admire the blooming Rose Garden and Shakespeare's Garden.
We are so fortunate to have this urban oasis which offers endless things to do and see.

Rose Garden, Kiwanis Club Plaque, Stanley Park, Vancouver

Starting from The right side of Stanley Park Pavilion indicator, we find that Stanley Park's Rose Garden was developed in 1920 by Kiwanis Club. On the plaque can be read 
" Kiwanis Club Rose Plot. 
First planted in 1920 to demonstrate the possibilities of Rose Culture in Vancouver  'The City Beautiful'"

Rose Garden, flowerbeds with cherry tree, Stanley Park, Vancouver
Rose Garden, flowerbed, Stanley Park, Vancouver

This beautiful spot has a breathtaking beauty in summer season with more than 3,500  vibrantly colored old-fashioned rose varieties and scented rose plants,
Rose Garden, Stanley Park, Vancouver
as well as numerous floral display beds of brights and vivid mix of perennials and  annuals plants. In this flowerbeds I found 3 varieties of fragrant "Queen of the Night", Nicotiana plants with mauve, yellow and white flowers;  Garden Thyme and Lemon Thyme; Geraniums with variegated foliage  and many others scented herbs.

Shakespeare Garden, cherry tree, Stanley Park, Vancouver Ginkgo Biloba Tree from Rose Garden, Vancouver 
Surrounded by bright colors, Ginkgo Biloba tree invites you to rest and enjoy his ancestral beauty.   Nearby, on the other side of the Rose Garden Pavilion, cherry trees bend their foliage crown under the weight of their years and  is the demarcation between Rose Garden and Shakespeare Garden.
Near Daybreak Cherries is a quote from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer-Night's Dream" - "So we grow together, like to a double cherry, seeming parted, but yet an union in partition, two lovely berries moulded on one stem".

Shakespeare's Garden features a memorial for William Shakespeare, the "Bard of Avon", England's National Poet.  His statue was sculpted in 1935 by the architect J.F. Watson, and these days seems to be one of the Stanley's Park Monuments somehow lost-sighted when Vancouver's Park Administration planted flowerbeds.
Shakespeare's Garden was officially opened for the Golden Jubilee celebration in Stanley Park by Lord Tweedsmuir, the Governor General of Canada On August 28, 1936.

Shakespeare's statue from Shakespeare Garden, Stanley Park, Vancouver
Shakespeare monument quote was chosen from Ben Johnson's poem 'Memorial to Shakespeare,' which reads "He was not of an age, but for all time."

Atlas Cedar quote from Shakespeare Garden, Stanley Park, VancouverNear it, in this themed garden, signs and plaques on the trees provide relevant quotations from his plays and poetry:  Romeo and Juliet, The taming of the Shrew, Coriolanus, Measure for Measure...

Atlas Cedar tree with quote plaque from Shakespeare Garden, Stanley Park, Vancouver

Cedrus Atlantica / Atlas Cedar was used by Shakespeare in "Henry VIII": 'And like a mountain cedar, reach his branches to all the plains about him: our children's children shall see this, and bless heaven" '

Black Locust quote from Shakespeare Garden, Stanley Park, Vancouver

and Black Locust / Robinia Pseudoacacia  in Othello "The food that to him is a luscious as locusts, shall be to him shortly as bitter as coloquintida" 

Black Walnut tree from Shakespeare Garden, Stanley Park, Vancouver

On Black Walnut / Juglans Nigra is a fragment from "The taming of the Shrew": " Why, 'tis a cockle or a walnut shell, a knack, a toy, a tick, a baby's cap."

Oak tree in Shakespeare Garden, Stanley Park, Vancouver
Commemorative plaque near Oak tree in Shakespeare Garden, Stanley Park, Vancouverand nearby Red Oak/ Quercus Rubra, that was used as symbol in  "Measure to Measure" "Thou rather, with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt, Split'st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak" is a commemorative plaque in honour of Wys Thomas.

Let me add that Western Red Cedar / Thuja Plicata, has been used as a symbol for strength, power and continuity in many plays:
Henry VI: " As on a a mountain top the cedar shows, That keeps his leaves in spite of any storm, Even to affright thee with the view of thereof"
Venus and Adonis: " The sun ariseth in his majesty; Who doth the world so gloriously behold The cedar tops and hills seem burnished gold"
Titus Andronicus: " Marcus, we are but shrubs, no cedars we. No big-boned men framed of the Cyclops size" 
Fernleaf Beech tree from Shakespeare Garden, Stanley Park, Vancouver

On the official site of Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation you can find more information about Shakespeare's Garden trees and their semnifications in Shakespeare's opera, and a printable map of the garden.

Thematic gardens where plants mentioned in the Shakespeare's works are cultivated, were built everywhere around the world. I'm pretty sure you can find one near you.


Relax (67) Vancouver (67) Scented Pelargonium (66) Flowers (47) Bonsai (44) Nature (41) Events (40) Decoration (34) Garden (34) Tree (26) Saikei (24) Herbs (22) Quotes (22) Indoor Plants (20) Wildlife (18) Poem (17) Seed (16) Recipes (15) Memories (14) Propagation (14) VanDusen (14) Accent Plants (13) Stanley Park (13) 3D Object Movie (10) Ficus (9) Abstract Art (8) Herbal Tea (8) Fireworks (6) Geranium (6) Bay Laurel (5) Indian Totem Poles (5) Pelargonium (5) Romania (5) UBC (5) Bulbs (3) Giveaway (3) Spruce (3) Ginkgo (2) Moringa (2) Pine (2) Erodium (1) Frankia (1) Juniper (1) Thuja (1) Truffle (1)
Scented Pelargoniums Seeds available for sale on our Store. Free Shipping !!!

Search our Blog