Small jungles

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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.

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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.

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Succulent inspiration

 

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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.

More botanic beauty

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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.

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The collection of succulents and cacti both in and around the glasshouses is spectacular, with hundreds of different species in every single available space.

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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:)

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Check out Botanic Garden Zuidas for the opening times (it’s near the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam Zuid).

Succulent party

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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!

Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

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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.

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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.

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The texture of these velvety purple leaves was amazing and a challenge to try and capture on camera.

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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.

Plants all over the place

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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 ;).

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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.

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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.

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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:)

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I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who supported Cultivating Joy by purchasing a plant for their home!

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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Sublime succulents in the Madeira Botanical Garden

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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Beautiful balconies and windowsills – 5

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Sao Jorge, Madeira


Ok, so I admit this is neither a balcony nor a windowsill, but I feel this breathtaking collection of succulents overlooking the ocean still kind of fits the topic;-)

(It was very hard not to seem like a stalker while attempting to take decent pictures of the plants through the metal fence of the property, while the owner sat on her deckchair a few meters away).