One of the reasons I love the Botanic garden in Amsterdam Zuid so much is the amazing collection of succulents and cacti. Because of Covid-19, the greenhouses are currently closed to the public, but luckily there is still a huge collection on display outside. There are so many different species, all more beautiful one than the other, so I tried to pick out a few that caught my eye.
The succulents seem to have thrived thanks to the very sunny indian-summer we had lately, and there were some intriguing flower stalks and plenty of vibrant flowers.
Along with the symmetry of the thick leaves, I can’t believe how well-coordinated the colours are, like these golden-brown and grey ones with pastel green at the very centre.
Or how the tip and edges on the leaves are bright pink. It’s as if a child had taken a paint box and simply combined their favourite shapes and flashy colours, and the result is so playful!
For more pictures of plants taken on previous visits to the Botanical garden in Zuid, take a look here, here and here 🙂
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #192
Before I left to France for over a month, I moved all the plants from inside my flat onto the balcony, where they would get naturally watered by the rain in my absence. I wasn’t sure what to expect on my return, and was agreeably surprised to find that they were in great shape, to the extent that I nearly felt insulted that they were thriving so well without me;)
This week in the course of walks in the neighbourhood, I was lucky to come across three undamaged pots, discarded by their previous owner but perfect for me to repot those of my plants which were getting cramped. So yesterday afternoon I put on some music and got to work on the balcony, performing what I visualise as the gardener’s equivalent of the hermit crab dance, where each plant gets repotted into a larger container leaving a pot free for a slightly smaller plant to expand.
One by one, I transferred the plants from the biggest to the smallest. Coaxing the bundle of roots out of its pot and placing it into the rich soil in their new pot, enjoying the handfuls of cool dirt that I carefully nudged down the sides around the roots, leaving me with a dark rims under my nails and the calm satisfaction of knowing the plants have a bit more space for now.
Exploring a botanic garden is a great way to travel without needing to go too far. It’s the possibility of stepping into totally different worlds just a short bike ride away.
These days we are slowly entering spring but it is still chilly outside, I particularly enjoy ducking into the warm green-houses, small jungles with a different climate to explore in all safety. Hundreds of species inhabiting the very tight space, the plants so densely packed together and overflowing on the path that they brush you as you enter their world, the air is saturated with humidity, drops falling from the ceiling and settling delicately into the creases of the leaves. So much exotic beauty brought to our doorstep.
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #74
Nothing like a quiet Friday afternoon in the Botanic Garden to slow down and bring my attention fully back to the present moment. I am grateful that my dear friend Eva joined me today (we have a history of visiting other botanic gardens together, spending hours exploring the Hortus which is just around the corner of her house in Leiden and also on a trip to Glasgow:).
We had a great time in the warm green-houses, observing the succulents, cacti and other plants, pointing out to each other many amazing details from the wide collection and getting inspired by the colours and patterns.
Recently I found out that there is another botanical garden in Amsterdam and it’s less than a 10 minute bike away from my flat! So on one of my free Friday afternoons, in between 2 rain showers, I decided to go and check it out.
It’s free and you can just walk in, while volunteers mill around doing their thing. It’s a lovely place to relax and you don’t feel at all like you are close to the busy Zuidas.
The collection of succulents and cacti both in and around the glasshouses is spectacular, with hundreds of different species in every single available space.
Observing all the different plants, with their details and colours was a real pleasure as usual. There were very few visitors so I was undisturbed as I got in close to photograph the details. I think I’ll be heading back there soon for some more inspiration:)
Check out Botanic Garden Zuidas for the opening times (it’s near the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam Zuid).
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #27
When I saw these tiny succulents it totally made my day! Looks like they are having an awesome party, dancing away and throwing their hands up in the air, like they just don’t care!
A few years back I took a photo course and the field trip consisted in spending an afternoon taking photos at the Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam of plants and butterflies. My favorite section was of course the desert greenhouse with the cacti and succulents.
It was so much fun to look so close up at the plants and see their amazing details and patterns. I loved observing these gorgeous little flowers with such beautiful pastel colours.
The texture of these velvety purple leaves was amazing and a challenge to try and capture on camera.
I remember being so focussed on the details, I was totally in the flow and didn’t feel time pass by. I think I will schedule another excursion there soon.
It all started out quite innocently. I fell in love with this wonderful flat in part for its great windowsills, which I proceeded to decorate with a few plants (and Barberine the photobomber, who I was cat sitting at the time ;).
Little by little the amount of plants increased as I decided to experiment with cultivating the baby plants and cuttings in second hand pots, and selling them online.
My appartment slowly became a greenhouse (or a jungle, as Paolo would say). There were plants covering all available surfaces, including the whole coffee table, placed awkwardly in the corner where they would get the most of the sunlight.
Radical action needed to be taken, as the plants were threatening to take over our small living space;) So with the money I made selling plants, I bought a simple shelf to store the plants vertically and as you can see they are now thriving in that sunny corner:)
I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who supported Cultivating Joy by purchasing a plant for their home!
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.
I love close up photos of gorgeous plants with their tiny leaves, colourful petals, uncanny shapes and intriguing textures…
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.
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!)
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;)
I love botanical gardens (this should not really come as a surprise given the nature (literally) of this blog). But I was not prepared for how excited I would be about the Botanical gardens in Funchal.
Since the island has quite a tropical climate, the botanical gardens have a huge section dedicated just to succulents and cacti which is simply outdoors, with the plants growing directly in the ground.
The best thing was that we went at the end of the afternoon, near closing time and by the end of our visit we were all alone in the gardens. It was wonderful to be free to observe all the plants at our leisure, in the warm light of the magic-hour sun.
There were so many different species, I walked around several times to try and see it all. I couldn’t get enough of the amazing colours and details. Like the symmetry of the plant above, and like these little red spikes all along the outside of the leaves of the plant hereunder.
Or this little guy below who looks to me like a monster’s paw with many tiny claws on it. It’s fascinating how so much colour can just emerges from a stump that looks grey and dried-up…