Aug 19, 2008


My sister, Jen, and I took a trip to Ireland for a few days - which is something we have spoke about for ages. A trip to the motherland...... We stayed in Dublin, on the East coast, and spent each day driving in a different direction.

Something I didn't expect was that Ireland has art everywhere, especially sculptures.

Of course, while driving, as my eyes should be on the road, I am scanning the passing countryside for flowers and sculptures. And all of a sudden I am seeing red flying by us. Of course I knew I had found one of my favorites......

The one and only poppy..... They were everywhere, the motorways looked like they had recently had work done, which would explain why they were there. They germinate heavily on disturbed soil.....

And then I came across this montage of splendor, doesn't mother nature just make you sick because sometimes it's so sweet. You can't beat that- even the grass in the background.....My poor sister had to endure me running up and down the hills to take photos while she sat in the car. thanks for that....

One of the many sculptures, done by different artists, that are seen while driving along the motorways. I have seen a few sculptures of trees and by far have found this to be the most interesting and beautiful one to look at.

The city view near Waterford on the Southern end of Ireland.

Got the brilliant idea of driving all the way west one day, which took 5 hours, one way.. Made it to County Clare where we are from and saw the Cliffs of Moher

As everyone was gawking at the cliffs, I was looking at the plants. Even though they are common plants, they seemed more exciting because of their location.

The sight was beautiful though.......

We came across green field after green field, as lush as you could imagine. And the stone walls everywhere were incredible.

There were many different types built, depending on the areas.

This one was interesting with slabs pushed up sideways and then filled in with soil. A new way to plant a wall in the garden?!

We made it to Helen Dillons garden in a suburb right outside of Dublin. It didn't rain the whole time we were in Ireland, but go figure, the second we got to the garden the sky just dropped buckets and it stopped the second we left the garden. This was such an oasis in an urban environment. The house was a bit hard to find but you knew you found it when the other front yards just paled in comparison.

This is the back garden, which is made up of borders and rooms built around this pool of water.

You have your warm border on your left and the cool on the right.

A painted stone in the garden..

A Dublin bridge.

A moody but mesmerizing scene of bridge and castle..

While in Dublin, there were many works of art on the streets. Here was a fountain, with some figures, that some people put bubble bath into... It was foaming all over the sides into the streets....

Typical colors in an old town.

Nothing more Irish than a old man, his horse, his sweater, in his field surrounded by his rock wall.....

Thanks for such and amazing time Jen, love you lots. When are we going back?!

Aug 14, 2008

I see London, I see France.....

My sister, Jen, came to visit me for a week and we drove to as many different areas as we could. We spent a day in the Southeastern region of England exploring the beauty of the countryside.

Welcome to the White Cliffs of Dover, which are on the South Eastern end of England. When you look across the Strait of Dover you can see France in the distance. The water was an intense blue with areas of white due to the eroding of the cliffs. The clouds cast huge shadows over the cliffs which you can see in the second photo. The immense scale of the cliffs can be seen by looking for the people on the footpaths.

Up close you can see the layers of chalk that make up the cliffs.

The winds that come up off the Strait of Dover can be very strong and give each shrub that grows here a windswept look, causing it to growing in the direction the wind blows.
This is a common look that is used when people train bonsais.

Here is some common ragwort, Senecio jacobeae, growing on the edge of the cliffs. In the background you can see all the ships and ferries that come and go between England and France, from the port near the cliffs.

Here is your wild marjoram, Origanum vulgare, growing in abundance on top of the cliffs. They like to grow on dry grassland on lime.

Once you have walked 2 miles along the cliffs you come across the South Foreland Lighthouse, which was nice to look at but the ripening wheat fields caught my eyes instead. The countryside is ablaze in golden fields of ripening wheat which ripple with each passing wind. But look closer in the wheat field and you will see a few of my favorite flowers. Poppies only germinate in soil that gets disturbed which is why these flowers will come back annually in agricultural fields. These are either Papaver dubium or Papaver lecoqii.....

Here is the Canterbury Cathedral. Beautiful outside and stunning inside.

Park bench with an interesting detail.

We went to Charleston Farmhouse, in Southern England, which was owned by Virginia Woolf's sister Vanessa Bell. The house is very artistically designed with great paintings throughout the home. Here, Virginia and her husband were accomplished painters and used this home as a countryside retreat for their friends, the Bloomsbury Group. Here are some shots of the statues in the garden. Same statue, different angle. I almost felt as if I was intruding.

The garden was filled with plants that provided beautiful flowers for them to paint.

Here is one of the many busts on top of the walled garden.

This is the front gate to the house, but I am showing this because Fuschias are hardy here in England and can grow to be a decent size shrub. I only ever thought of it as a houseplant my grandmother grew.

This was a nicely planted window box I had seen on a side street in Canterbury. Nice when it all ties together.......