Curled petals

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Late this autumn, I planted some mixed seeds into the soil of the empty looking pots on my balcony, and to my surprise some these lovely orange flowers came up. I can see them every day, through the glass of the balcony door when I sit at the kitchen table.  Their hardiness and bright colour have been giving me so much joy in past weeks.

Normally the petals reach straight outwards from the center, but recently, maybe because of the cold, they started curling slightly, making the flower even more beautiful.  One morning last week I decided it was ok to miss the usual tram I take to work, to spend a few quiet moments to photograph its fleeting charm in the first rays of daylight. So glad I did!

Taking time to just be

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #153

Last Sunday I kept an entire day free of plans, so that I could recharge my batteries.  I had some work to do on my writing assignment and plenty of other to-dos, but I decided to first take some time for myself.

I spent an hour meditating, sitting in silence and trying to focus only on my breathing (which in reality ended up being more like becoming aware of my incessant thoughts and letting them come and go).  It felt like a reset for my overstimulated brain, a welcome break from constant inputs.

Afterwards, since the sun made a welcome appearance after some very rainy days, I took the chance to go for a slow walk in the neighbourhood. I did my best to stay as much as possible on the sunny side of the street to soak up lots of vitamine D and watched people enjoying the good weather as I ambled along.

The autumn colours were beautiful, with colourful leaves holding tight to their branches and covering the pavement.  I also enjoyed observing the details of the last flowers remaining in people’s gardens, like this purple flower with its silky petals emerging from the strange black and green pod, and the petals around the remnants of this bordeaux-coloured flower.

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Pink speckles

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Just a few words today, because I’ve spent too much time at the computer this weekend, working on my writing assignment in the hope that my genius would turn up and give me a hand (in vain!).  So I leave you simply with this photo of a beautiful camellia, of which there are many at the Botanic Garden in Cologne. I love how the silky light green outer petals open for the explosion of the flower, the flurry of pink speckles and dark pink patches on the curves of the petals.  Wishing you a good week!

 

 

Flowering time

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When Federica returned from her amazing trip in South Africa, where she enjoyed seeing elephants, penguins and lots of other wildlife, her Christmas Cactus had prepared a surprise to welcome her home.

Federica was so kind to send me this beautiful picture of her Christmas Cactus’ yearly bloom:) Grazie!

Observing the details

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Last weekend as the sun was shining, we decided to get out of the city and headed to Castricum. We enjoyed a beautiful walk through the dunes and had a lovely picnic on Heemskerk beach.

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I was looking for some inspiration for my homework for the photography course which consisted in taking close-ups.

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I’m used to taking a lot of close-ups of plants, but tried to challenge myself to look for some different subjects this time (except this giant poppy flower which was just too amazing to resist;).

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Really looking at things and taking in the details, is great practise for mindfulness as it takes a lot of focus.  I enjoyed the creative challenge of combining colours, textures and imperfections.

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Lovely plants of Madeira

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At home we regularly tease my foodie sister about how she is into foodporn and how the majority of her travel pictures consist of new dishes she discovered along her journeys. However recently it’s been dawning on me that I’m obsessed with something similar, which I guess can be called plantporn.

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I love close up photos of gorgeous plants with their tiny leaves, colourful petals, uncanny shapes and intriguing textures…

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What made Madeira so special to me in terms of plantporn, was that succulents grow in the wild all over the place and in general there were also many unfamiliar plant species I don’t get to see every day.

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I spent a great deal of time in the holidays behind my camera attempting to take decent macros of the amazing plants that caught my eye. (Thanks to Paolo for the picture above and especially for his patience when I get mesmerised by yet another plant!)

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I took these last two pictures in the natural park of the São Lourenco peninsula – though to me these plants look like they really belong in the landscapes of Arrakis (Dune;)

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Festive blooms

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #8

Christmas cactus season is upon us again! Every year in December my Christmas cactuses start growing pink buds on the end of their leaves that grow slightly bigger each day…  Then, usually just before Christmas, the flower blooms wildly, spreading its petals in all directions for a few days of extravagant beauty. It’s a nice touch of colour in these short winter days:)

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Plants and the city

Spotting cute plants growing out of cracks in the pavement, in between bricks of a wall or high up on roof tops is something I really enjoy doing as I walk around a city. I love seeing how plants find a way to thrive regardless of humans building over every available surface with bricks and cement, or spraying sidewalks with toxic weed-killer.

The plants somehow just persevere and find new nooks and crannies to call their own. Like these stunning pink flowers that caught my eye, growing out of a guttter on the roof of a church in the center of Bilbao .

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Or these plants and ferns that amazed me as they held on precariously to the top of this brittle stone wall in an alleyway in Santillana del Mar.

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Fleeting beauty

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When I met my boyfriend’s aunt zia Pina during my first visit to Sicily, I quickly discovered we have a shared passion. She cultivates an amazing roof-top terrasse full of hundreds of cacti, succulents and other plants which are thriving under the hot Sicilian sun. That evening in the dwindling heat, she held onto my arm and walked me around, showing me all the different plants while I enjoyed discovering her little paradise on the roof.

This summer my boyfriend brought me a surprise back from zia Pina’s in his hand-luggage: a gorgeous round cactus to add to my plant collection:)

After a few weeks of acclimatising on my windowsill, a long shoot started to grow out of the cactus. Though we could tell a flower would soon bloom, we had no idea what it would look like.

Until finally one rainy summer morning I woke up to this beautiful flower with light pink petals rising high above the cactus like a firework. I enjoyed observing and smelling it. It seemed so incongruous that such a graceful flower would come out of this ball of spikes and needles.

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Unfortunately, after just 2 short days the flower shriveled up and drooped.  I don’t know how often the cactus will flower, but I hope I’ll have the joy of seeing more of these gorgeous flowering events.