I have been surprised and delighted with how far-reaching my contacts have been as I have begun creating this blog. Thanks to Blotanical, my blog has been exposed to new friends from South Africa to New Zealand to the northernmost island of Scotland, the home of both my husband’s and my ancestors, to the warmth of Umbria in Italy. I have been astonished to shatter my imaginings of what those places might look like and view them also from their resident gardeners’ points of view. I have found that we are more alike than we are different.
So, here is a small spotlight on a few of the far-flung gardens I read about regularly and hope you enjoy visiting them, too.
island threads – Isle of Lewis, Scotland
A lonely spot on the Isle of Lewis, the northernmost isle of the Outer Hebrides, with Iceland to the north as nearest neighbor; to the south, Ireland; and to the west, the wide Atlantic Ocean: the name of the place is Callanish. Near it are the few houses of the village of the same name, and behind these the shining water of a sea arm. Besides this, there is nothing but treeless hills covered with peat. Nel van Weijdom Claterbos
Nel van Weijdom Claterbos did not know about Frances and her garden. She lives and gardens on the Isle of Lewis, adding beauty to the surrounding ‘big sky’ scenery. There is nearly 24 hours of sun in a day here at the tip top of Scotland with only a difference of 10 degrees is between summer and winter(between 41-52F). There is nearly 50 inches of rain annually (twice as much as here in the Sierras).
Beautiful sunrises are shown on her blog, taken right outside her door. Familiar perennials, like Snow in summer, Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’and Santolina, grow in her neat, rock edged flower beds and ones I can’t grow like Heathers and Ericas are tantalizing. I eagerly await seeing her garden grow through the next year. As well as her garden, Frances also creates beautiful textile arts.
The Field of Gold – Central Otago, New Zealand
Kerry ‘s occupation is out-standing in his field, and so he is, with lots of fascinating posts, about helicopters and cherry trees during frost and Sauv Blanc vineyards, California poppies and ‘very neat’ woodpiles; his part of the world is the gold country of New Zealand and has many parallels with California’s gold country. One of his best posts is Mountain Ranges, which orients you to the surroundings and reveals how much beauty and glowing splendor there is in the Central Otago.
“I take off for the hills
where gulls circle
and soar in the thermals
as if caught
in the sky’s blue plughole
when in fact
their flight’s elan
where the nor’wester
flips off the ridges
and the tussock’s
restless and shines
on the hillsides,
inland Otago’s vast acres
browning in the sun.” by Brian Turner, an Otago poet
Many of his posts are about nearby historical areas, the gold regions and the agriculture. His garden which includes fig trees, peonies, (Viper’s bugloss) and unfortunately, rabbits, ‘borrows’ the views from nearby Mount Difficulty and nearby vineyards. Kerry’s photographs glow, and through his descriptive posts, we see the Central Otago through his eyes, feel his attachment to the beautiful countryside and long to see his ‘Field of Gold’ for ourselves.
Driftwood Ramblings – Western Cape of South Africa
Desiree lives and gardens near the Southern tip of Africa with her husband and pack of cute dogs. Amazingly, her climate there is rainy winter-dry hot summers just like here in Central California foothills. Both areas are generally considered Mediterranean, so we can grow lots of the same plants. It’s interesting to see what exoctic and indigenous South African plants she has in her garden that so many Californians can also grow. Her posts are interspersed with lovely poetry and quotes, she, and her precious pups, lead you through her garden just as you would if you were visiting in person. You feel as if you could reach down and pat a dog’s head and I’m sure there is a cup of tea somewhere!
She has recently posted a photo series on her husband’s ecological survey of the Massingir Dam wildlife area and tells about several outings to nearby scenic places. On any given day you will be taken to Victoria Falls, to the nearby mountains and beach towns or to the vineyards. Her photographs, as well as her husband’s, to whom she gives plenty of credit, are wonderful and you will feel you been taken along with her on her trips.
Vita Lenta nel Bel Paese – in Umbria, Italy
In Italian this means the ‘Slow life in the Bel Paese’ and although Bel Paese can also mean a soft cheese, it means “Beautiful Country”. I’m thinking that’s what Ingrid, who calls herself a “Scanditaliana”, means. I must admit that I am a lurker here, finding this blog, I know not how. I might have submitted a comment or two, but mostly I love, love, love the photographs she takes of the ancient walls, streets and colors of her part of Umbria, a region north of Rome.
She is restoring an old Italian house and posts often on her ‘Everyday Life’. Any photograph included in this category could be framed. You will see old ironwork, a rose climbing an old crumbling wall and narrow, cobbled streets. Interior decorating and garden design are here, but it is the exterior shots where I believe Ingrid shines. These photos will take you on a little vacation to Italy and that’s what I like!
Note: All the photos are from WikipediaCommons, and I must say I enjoyed finding just the photos I wanted from the ones offered. Fun! The sheep above are Cheviots and Mom is very cute with her twins.