May is almost over, so there’s only a short time left to gather together your photos of wild flowers for Jude’s Garden Challenge! I already put some photos up of the bear leek growing on the island of Rügen in north Germany; now I’d like to show some more photos of wild flowers I’ve spotted growing around Europe. I don’t know the names of most of them – I should really buy a book of European plants. If anyone can label any of them, I’d love to hear what they are called. Of course I do recognize poppies, and they are among my favourite flowers. They pop up on many roadsides at this time of year (often around railway tracks for some reason), but you can also see them grown commercially for the seeds (presumably they also grow them somewhere to make codeine and morphine). In Germany, poppyseeds are called Mohn, and they are used in lots of sweet cakes, pastries and dumplings. A piece of Mohnkuchen is delicious, with an almond-like flavour, and if you ever visit Germany i’d recommend popping into a bakery to try a piece.
The theme for Jude’s garden challenge this month is wild flowers.
“This month I want to see native wild flowers found in the hedgerows, woodlands, farmland, meadows, by the coast, up a mountain, on the heath and even in your own garden. Basically those plants that haven’t been planted, but occur naturally, although specifically planted wild flower meadows can be included. Wild flowers provide food for humans and wildlife and are usually hardy, resilient and well adapted to the climate and soils, and yes sadly often referred to as weeds.” Continue reading
Here are some photos from our visit to the Berlin Botanical garden in early autumn. The great thing about gardens is that there is something different to see all year round. At this botanical garden they have handy seasonal guides to the highlights of the garden.
This month’s Garden photography theme is “Get a little closer“. Some of these photos I showed before in last month’s theme, Wildlife in the Garden. I have to say a macro lens is on my wishlist. My ancient Sony camera had a surprisingly good macro setting even though it was a 2MP camera (see the bee photo below) and even my Nexus 5 phone does pretty well sometimes. But I’d like to get a little bit closer still! Anyway, enjoy these photos for now 🙂
You will learn an important word if you visit the Azores islands of Portugal in the Atlantic, and that is miradouro. It means viewpoint, but my mind now translates it as “beautiful view”, because that is what we saw whenever we stopped at a miradouro, labelled with a binoculars sign. Doesn’t the word miradouro also sound a bit like admire? Continue reading
We are in the dark days still here in Berlin – lots of gloomy grey skies, and I am counting the days until spring! This is the time of year I feel most homesick, and miss blue skies, sunshine and greenery. From our laboratory window we can see a two crows building a nest in the tree outside. The one flies back and forwards with new twigs, clearly preparing a nice home for some little ones. In the evenings now it’s a little bit lighter, and many times at twilight I’ve heard a nightingale singing. It’s amazing to hear its melodious, loud song calling out over the grey, empty streets, sometimes I just stop and listen, and I’ve seen others doing the same. It’s a song of hope, spring will come! Soon the gardens and parks will be bustling with life again, insects and birds, frogs and foxes. In the meanwhile, I decided to dig up some old “garden wildlife” photos from previous years to take part in Heyjude’s Garden photography event. We have until the end of March to submit some photographs, so perhaps I’ll find some early spring garden wildlife before then, but in the meanwhile I thought I’d post some old photos.
Heyjude has some inspiring advice for taking photos of garden wildlife, and I’d encourage you to check out her page. Every month she has a different garden-themed photography challenge. Here are the instructions for this month:
“This month I want to see photos and stories about wildlife in the ‘garden’ – insects, spider, birds, rabbits, hedgehog, fox, snake (!) whatever you can find in your garden, public gardens, lakes, parks. But please not the family dog!”
Like most city-dwellers, we only have an apartment balcony, but luckily Berlin has lots of parks and botanical gardens to enjoy, and when we visit my fiance’ s family in the Czech republic there is also a garden. Here are some photos of the garden wildlife we’ve spotted in Berlin and in Czech republic, and even some old ones from my Cape Town garden. Continue reading