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A garden enthusiast who loves to travel and capture the beauty of places and freeze the memories of her travels in photographs, as well as document her experiences in verse...thankful for the simple pleasures in life.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Blooming Friday - Hidden

A tough assignment this Friday. What would I be looking for that is hidden from me? Got to be flowers. I'm always looking for flowers wherever I go. How about the time I was in Spain? I first stepped on Spanish soil when we landed in Barcelona from Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, it was only a transit stop for two hours, so I didn't get the chance to go looking for tulips in Amsterdam.

May in Barcelona was a time for blooms, so I first searched for Blooms to feature on Blooming Friday in Barcelona. (I do get carried away with alliterations these days, forgive me for this phase I'm in). I met this mixture of flowers at Las Ramblas, and thought 'it' would be the right thing to ask where the spring flowers were hidden as this guy was dressed up as "Spring".

I walked down the Las Ramblas and saw what others (or at least one other) apparently sought.Oh no, these were not what I had in mind. Moving on...

Then at the end of the famous one kilometre promenade right through the city centre, I caught a glimpse of something hidden behind the crowd at Placa  Catalunya...could they be roses?


As I approached the fountain, I saw what was hidden from roses...ahhh, I found you!!!

They looked like iceberg roses, but were not climbers, just low borders of masses of white bouquet roses.

Dear Katarina, so if I'm a trifle late at submitting my Barcelona Roses for Blooming Friday, it was because they were hidden from me.

Do visit Katarina's blog to see what else is HIDDEN! You may be looking for the link to click is not hidden. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page and you'll find it there.

Maidenhair Fern

My first 'flaunting' on the First Fertilizer Friday of 2011 is of  the kind that ladies love to flaunt...their crowning glory. Here are the proud ladies who are participating in the High-Fashion Hair-Fashion Model of The Year Contest.

First on the runway is Tina Head-Turner.She's the grand old lady who rocks the stage with her dynamic wild and sassy hair-do. A big hand for Gorgeous Tina, if you please.

The next contestant is a young maiden, still green in this beauty pageant industry.Her fresh wispy green tresses make her perfect for the fashion magazines. Here she is, Miss Layered and Feathery, Helena Head-and-Shoulders!

The third to step up on this stage needs no introduction. Her sultry,exotic looks make her the contestant most likely to be voted Miss Bohemian tonight.
Making her appearance is Miss Long Fringes. Looks like asymmetric cuts are coming back into fashion.

Last but not least, is our trendy contestant, Miss Cropped Pixie Cut. Her vibrant,vivacious style is due to her short, shaggy layered look. Will this look win the judges' votes? 

Who gets your vote, Ladies and Gentlemen? Call the 1-600 numbers tonight. Dial Number 1 for Tina. Number 2 for Helena. Number 3 for Long Fringes. And Number 4 for Pixie.

  Common name : Maidenhair Fern

Scientific classification
   Species: There are about 200
Audience, make the right choice. Your votes will determine the future of these four fair maidens. We'll be back tomorrow night to count your votes. 

For more goings-on on Fertilizer Friday postings, please click on Tootsie's link at the bottom of this page. Thank you, Tootsie for hosting this meme.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sky Above the Silk Highway

When I think of blue skies, the Irving Berlin song never fails to play in my head and I hum along. Didn't know all the lyrics, so I kept singing the only  verse I knew - the first verse over and over. Before that drove me crazy, I googled the lyrics and here they are -  all the verses for us all to sing along as you travel with me along the Silk Highway in Malaysia. 

Blue skies 
Smiling at me 
Nothing but blue skies 
Do I see 

Singing a song 
Nothing but bluebirds 
All day long 

Never saw the sun shining so bright 
Never saw things going so right 
Noticing the days hurrying by 
When you're in love, my how they fly 

Blue days 
All of them gone 
Nothing but blue skies 
From now on 

Now let's carry on singing as we travel from blog to blog to see more blue skies on Skywatch Friday.
Do click on the Skywatch Friday icon at the bottom of this page.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pedilanthus Bracteatus!

No, the title is not a magic spell you chant when you wave your wand. It was a yell of joy, ( somewhat akin to "Eureka!") I made when I discovered the name of that strange flowering plant I have in my garden. Some of you may remember that I posted this poser 'Flower or Bird?' in last year's posting of Wordless Wednesday (December 10).

There it was...just a picture without any description of what this plant was. It was totally unfair of course to my readers who had no idea what this quaint-looking plant with its birdlike flowers was. In my defence, I have to say that it would have been even more unfair to have written a lengthy description of this plant's profile, as it was a WORDLESS Wednesday posting after all! Besides, when I posted these pictures, I didn't have a clue what this plant was...there, I admit it.

However, today is a Thursday and we are allowed to have WORDS.

This unusual plant is also known as Tall Slipper Plant. It is categorized as a succulent and classified under the genus "Euphorbia" (Spurges). It is also recognized as Euphorbia bracteata. The country of origin is Mexico.
It is an evergreen and drought-resistant as well. In fact when my plant was still young, I kept it under the shade and drenched it regularly. It began to look sickly and limp. After taking the advice of the nursery guy, I put it under full sun, and it has since been nursed back to health. However, it has been raining quite a bit during the monsoon season in December, and my poor Pedilanthus is again feeling under the weather.


My plant is now about 3 feet tall, but if transplanted onto the ground, it can grow to a height of a basketball player! I'll keep it in its pot as I love how the colours of the plant and the pot blend so perfectly. The bracts start off as green but will slowly turn terracotta pink. A pair of bracts will cup a green flower which is definitely birdlike in form. The Chinese name for the flowers is Xiao Niao Hua which literally translated means Little Bird Flower. The flowers will turn yellow as they age and dry up. The fruit that results has the shape of a Chinese lantern.The ripe, dried-up fruit holds 3-4 seeds which can be used for propagation.
The plant is said to be poisonous, so just be careful when you handle it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I Found My Bliss... in the Jardin des Plantes of Paris

I had meant to feature this garden which I visited in May last year, in the year 2010 itself, but there were so many other posts that got me sidetracked. This will be the first in a series of features on gardens and flowers in Italy, France and Spain. The Mediterranean Cruise which I embarked on was in spring, and although this season was the best season for this garden-crazy, camera-clicking garden-blogger to see the Mediterranean,  it was actually coincidental - the happiest of coincidences as it turned out to be.

We hadn't actually decided to go to Paris on this trip, but made a decision while on the cruise, to spend five days in Paris. We booked a room in a hotel in Austerlitz, not far from the heart of Paris and when we got there, what do you know, we discovered that just next to our hotel was the famed Jardin des Plantes of Paris.

I found out that the Jardin des Plantes is the second-largest park on the left bank of the River Seine. It was founded in 1626, and the grounds hold four museums - the galleries of palaeontology, evolution, entomology and mineralogy. Of course I had to see...not any of the above museums, but the horticultural displays of  decorative plants!!!

The Jardin des Plantes attract young and old. What are they looking at?

They are reading the information on the cards. 

Statue of Buffon, one of the people who played a role in the history of the Jardin. 

There are thousands of species of plants including roses, irises, alpine and tropical plants. I zeroed in on the Iris Garden first.  I had never seen such displays of beauty before.  'Iris' was my first love there in Paris. I was besotted by her. Every where I turned her radiant smile, her regal bearing, her grace, all filled me with a sense of bliss. Heaven, I was in heaven...and the care that surrounded me prior to seeing her twirling and curtsying in the breeze, dissipated as if by magic. It was magic...being there in the Iris Garden. I was to revisit Iris often that magical spring.

Turning my attention away for a moment, I saw a bevy of beauties beckoning me from the Rose Garden. Ooh la la...Mademoiselle Rose in all her splendour. So this is what La vie en Rose is all about.The rouge on her face was as captivating as the perfume on her dress. She was the girl next door, the dancer from Moulin Rouge, the chic Parisienne model, all rolled into one.( I am referring to the roses of course, not to Rosie over there looking so happy to be among the French beauties).



The belles of Jardin des Plantes in Paris will always have a place in my heart, and in my dreams.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Princess and the Gipsy

For Today's Flowers I'm introducing two of the newest additions to my garden - the princess and the gipsy. Two contrasting profiles, each as beautiful as the other. If you were Prince Charming, which would you favour and bring to the ball? Which is your princess, which your gipsy?

I would love to hear the answer to my questions above. Let's indulge in some fairy tale fantasy on this first Sunday of 2011's posting of Today's Flowers.
Thank you to Luis and company for this meme. Do visit the other blogs by clicking on the Today's Flowers' meme icon at the bottom of this page.