Category Archives: Overseas

Monet’s garden – the lily pond

Ten years after his arrival at his house in Giverny, Monet bought the piece of land neighbouring his property on the other side of the railway (now a road). The land was crossed by a stream, the Ru, which eventually runs into the River Seine. Monet had a small pond dug, in spite of opposition from the local farmers. They were afraid that his exotic plants would poison the water.

Later the pond was be enlarged to its present size. The water garden is full of meandering curves and shady areas. It was inspired by the Japanese gardens that Monet knew from the prints he collected.

Continue reading

Click Here To Select Your Free Stitching Cards Pattern

Monet’s garden – the borders

We visited Monet’s garden on 10 August 2011. It is located 80 km West from Paris, France in the village of Giverny. Claude Monet, a master of impressionist painting, was born in 1840. He rented a house at Giverny in 1883, a few years later he purchased the house. He lived there for 43 years, until his death in 1926. He developed the garden to provide subjects for his painting.

The garden is in two parts; near the house are herbaceous borders. In a separate area cross a main road is the lily pond with its Japanese bridge made famous by Monet’s paintings. Since the road is quite busy with tourist traffic, a pedestrian tunnel has been constructed to give the visitors easy access to the water gardens.

This first post features pictures of Monet’s house and the herbaceous borders.

Continue reading

A walk around Lake Bled, Slovenia

We took the local bus from Bohinj, Slovenia to Lake Bled. Then we took a gentle stroll around the lake, returning to the same point to catch the bus back. The lake surroundings are well groomed and an easy walk. There is also a small land train that circles the lake if you are feeling particularly lazy.

A small island in the middle of the lake is home to the Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church. The church has 99 steps leading up to it. A local tradition at weddings is for the husband to carry his new bride up these steps. It is said that if he makes it the marriage will last.

Perched on a rock overlooking the lake is the iconic Bled Castle that houses a museum. We stopped at a lake side café below the castle to enjoy a slice of the local speciality vanilla-and-cream pastry called kremna rezina (“cream slice”).

Lake Bled, Slovenia.

Click on the small images below to see a larger version.

A walk up the Mostnica gorge, Slovenia

A beautiful walk near Lake Bohinj, Slovenia takes you up the Mostnica gorge to a waterfall. We were there in early July 2011. The walk starts at the alpine village of Stara Fuzina. At times you are walking high above the river as it races through deep cuttings in the rock. At other stages the path runs alongside the river where it widens out and flows over boulders. Along the river banks can be found exquisite wild orchids and other delicate wild flowers.

Mostnica gorge, Slovenia.

Click on the pictures below to see a larger version.

Beautiful Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

We visited Lake Bohinj, Slovenia in early July 2011. The area is in the Triglav national park so remains relatively unspoiled. Lake Bohinj lies between Bohinj’s mountains, which rise from 1,600 to 2,000 meters, and is Slovenia`s largest glacial lake. It is 4.2 kilometers long, one kilometer wide, and forty-five meters deep.

One side of the lake is bounded by a road and the other side is bounded by a footpath. The first picture with the goat statue was taken from the road side and the others were taken from the footpath side.

Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

Click on the pictures below to see a larger version.

The Manrique cactus garden on Lanzarote

This is the most unusual public garden I have visited. It is built on the site of a former volcano which became a quarry. On the island of Lanzarote they use the black volcanic ash particles in agriculture and also in the gardens. It spread over the ground to retain moisture, as shown in these pictures. The ash has the property of condensing water from the air as it cools during the night. The water runs into the soil below and the ash stops it evaporating during the day. Can you believe that so much volcanic ash was excavated from one volcano that it became a hole in the ground?

A Lanzarote artist and visionary called César Manrique created this cactus garden in what had become a dumping ground for rubbish. It houses a magnificent collection of cactuses from all around the world. Many of the cacti have grown to an enormous size, some as tall as a house.

Click on the small images below to see a larger version.

Bougainvillea on Fuerteventura

While we were holidaying in Lanzarote in November when we took a ferry across to the island of Fuerteventura. Although is only a 30 minute boat ride from Lanzarote the scenery is quite different. We were on a coach trip that took us up into the mountains, where the villages had beautiful bougainvillea plants overflowing the walled gardens. In some places the bougainvillea was using trees for support and was growing amazingly high.

Click on the small images below to see a larger version.

Firethorn bushes in Halkidiki, Greece

We visited Halkidiki, Greece in September. It is a dry and arid area near the coast. There was an abundance of firethorn (Pyracantha) bushes. They were covered with berries at the time of our visit and looked magnificent. Grape vines were growing in many gardens, trailing over wooden frames to provide shade on the patios and lots of fruit.

Click on the small images below to see a larger version.

Alpine flowers in Slovenia

I took these pictures in the alpine meadows surrounding the resort of Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. We were there in early July and the weather was so hot we would walk in the morning and spend the afternoon cooling off in the hotel pool. The meadows were teaming with butterflies that were making the most of the profusion of wild flowers.

Click on the small images below to see a larger version.