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Sweet smelling roses

 

Rose-14The beauty of a rose can -with a bit of luck- be captured with a camera. Unfortunately, a photo can’t convey its sweet smell. But maybe you can imagine their scent looking at these pictures. These shots are from the Oxford Botanic Garden, and one or two from the Orto Botanico di Padova.

 

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Maybe you’re familiar with Cicely Mary Barkers painting that accompanies the poem of the Rose Fairy. If not, you’ll find it here. I bought the print years ago, had it framed and still admire it. The poem is lovely as well:

Best and dearest flower that grows,
Perfect both to see and smell;
Words can never, never tell
Half the beauty of a Rose —
Buds that open to disclose
Fold on fold of purest white,
Lovely pink, or red that glows
Deep, sweet-scented. What delight
To be Fairy of the Rose!

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Plants, animals, and scientists set in stone

As with the Natural History Museum in London, I like the building of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History just as much as the collections it contains. There is so much to be seen on the stonework: squirrels eating acorns, carved tulips, pineapples, irises, orchids, meat-eating plants, ferns unfurling, birds and a frog hiding between leaves, and a fair number of plants and animals I don’t recognise.

Not only are the stone pillars adorned with carvings of animals and plants, the iron pillars are beautifully decorated with leaves and branches as well. Whale skeletons seem to swim in this sea of pillars.

Statues of eminent men of science stand guard in the court on the ground floor.

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Pink and purple poppies

On an earlier visit to the Botanic Garden in Oxford, I found mainly poppies of the ‘Ladybird’ variety. About a week later, there were still a lot of Ladybirds around. But pink, lilac and dark purple poppies were now towering over them. As before, bees were around as well. Flying from flower to flower to gather food.

 

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Bright poppies

In the Botanic Garden in Oxford, a collection of red poppies with black dots reminded me of ladybirds. Seen from above, my husband associated them with ballerinas in a tutu.

One thing is for certain: this bumblebee liked them as well.

Lots of buds, so more poppies to come…

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Would the orange poppies have anything to do with the Dutch monarchy?

 

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Some large-leaved bright red papavers

And the occasional white poppy

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Tulips as far as the eye can see

Fields full of tulips are a joy to behold. In several provinces in the Netherlands, the colourful fields stretch as far as the eye can see.

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At the beginning of a row, you’ll often see a knotted net. The tulip bulbs are planted in nets as this makes it easier to harvest them, especially in areas where the soil is more clay-like than sandy.

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Sooner or later a stowaway shows its true colours.

Around the end of April, farmers are taking the flowerheads off: they are topping the tulips. In this way, the bulbs grow bigger before they are harvested during the summer months. Not all flowers are chopped off, though. Between the green stems, a fair number of tulips come into bloom. They were too small when the others were topped.

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