Piazza without plants or how history and botany have met in stone

Talking about my botanical garden I try to present the abundance of flora variety all over different places be it my garden, botanical garden in my city or gardens in places I’ve visited.I’ve found plants in art , pictures,music or literature,they make me happy when made of glass or pictured on a porcelain piece, I’ve actually seen plants everywhere.But what would it look like without plants?  Thinking about a place without plants I recognized a place I not only have known for a long time but that has since forever  been  one of my favorite places.It actually is one of the most beautiful piazzas I’ve ever seen. Although very small it bears certain grandiousness in it .This may be due to its date of origin,it may be because so many centuries have passed since 16-th century when this piazza was built , that times passed since then left delicate imprint of far forgotten sorrows in the walls of the palaces surrounding the white stone pavement made of Istrian stone with some petrified plants and fishes as fossils giving the invisible pattern to the stone bricks shining after so many centuries as water surface mirroring the history of Adriatic coast.And the history is rich here ,indeed.After prehistoric settlements were abandoned the Romans build their villas here to trade with olive oil and vine not recognising when history turned in favour of Venetian republic when magnificent Praetor palace was built to host many praetors,captains and city municipality.Venetian dodges visiting their province took part of their siesta behind these white stone walls letting only the tiny sound of a letter falling trough the stone bocca to disturb them for a minute.Bell from the nearby church was loud as pigeons flew back to Piazza San Marco in Venice, leaving behind the magnificent Loggia Caffe where first coffee in this part of the world has been served far before Stendhal arrived to sip his coffee  in Loggia overarching the mirror of white stone plaza staying calm despite centuries passing by without any flowers to decorate the place.Tourists like to come here today,me among them,capturing the moment of petrified time and listening to the silence of history.Having my machiatto there last Saturday ,observing old inhabitants of the city smoothly crossing thee empty plaza to buy the first wild asparagus in the market behind the place, I’ve discovered that even here beauty of plants stands by my side,paradoxically, decorating this white emptiness of the white beauty of stone elements.I had only to rise up my eyes to recognize the plants carved in stone, talking without words about an old stoneccuter loving his garden enough to leave an imprint of flora known to him in decorations of pilasters, portals and windows.Turns out this entirely shiny emptiness of plaza actually does bear beauty of plants with it, to stand here against centuries ,bringing calm to visitors, in spite of tiny weeds trying to survive in this world dedicated to stone carvings as memories of words lost far before.

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The Praetor’s Palace in the central Koper Square (Slovenia)

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Caffe Loggia

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Apis mellifera carnica Pollman,painter apiarist and honey heart

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In my last post I was writing about bees and a reader has asked me to tell some more as her father is an apiarist.It certainly is not my field ,but in My botanical garden bees always have been dear guests specially since also in Slovenia Colony collapse disorder has been recorded and it became clear that we all,as a society,should know more about bees ,to be able to act with full responsibility.Why? 

Colony collapse is significant economically because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by bees; and ecologically, because of the major role that bees play in the reproduction of plant communities in the wild. from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colony_collapse_disorder

Knowledge about bees and beekeeping is an old one in my country.The pioneer in this field is Anton Janša (1734-1773), painter and apiarist.He was a big authority in the field,becoming first royally appointed teacher of apiculture for all Austrian lands. 

I simply love what he wrote:

Bees are a type of fly, hardworking, created by God to provide man with all needed honey and wax. Amongst all God’s beings there are none so hard working and useful to man with so little attention needed for its keep as the bee.

The EmpressMaria Theresa issued a decree after Janša’s death obliging all teachers of apiculture to use his books.from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Jan%C5%A1a

The bee he was talking about is Carniolan honey bee (Apis mellifera carnica Pollman).

The bee is the subspecies of the Western honey bee that has naturalized and adapted to the Kočevje (Gottschee) sub-region of Carniola (now in Slovenia), the southern part of the Austrian Alps and the northern Balkans. It is favored among beekeepers for several reasons, not the least being its ability to defend itself successfully against insect pests while at the same time being extremely gentle in its behavior toward beekeepers. from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carniolan_honey_bee

Long tradition of apiculture in Slovenia mirrors in many crafts up to today.Their products evolved from deep understanding of the nature,they were shaped trough centuries giving bread to generations.They are sustainable in their origin, but still able to reach esthetic of today.For example this modern wooden jar for honey with waxed inside I use for our Sunday breakfasts:

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And of course ,the traditional wooden honey spoon-a simple but smart tool  to prevent honey dripping all over the table when preparing bread-butter-honey “sandwich”:

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And finally the honey-hearts from Slovenia.Traditionally they are used as gifts-let this one be gift for my readers!

picture from:http://www.slovenia.info/?kulinaricno_dozivetje=3578&lng=2&redirected=1

Apis mellifera carnica from folk art to the architecture

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Last time I had the opportunity to see how a beehive looks from inside.I was absolutely amazed and couldn’t stop watching laborious bees,I am still fascinated by the organisation of those little animals.And as they will always be the most welcome guests in My botanical garden let me talk about some interesting bee-topics from my country today.

Beekeeping has a long tradition in Slovenia. Our bee is Apis mellifera carnica, very laborious and non aggressive bee.Kranjska čebela (Apis mellifera carnica)

picture from:http://sl.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%8Cebele

Cultivation of buckwheat in the 15th century meant autumn pasture and possible advance in beekeeping. So already in 1689 a beehive timbered of boards is mentioned .In mid 18th century  first painted front boards of beehives, first with religious motifs, later also with profane motifs appeared, contributing a big share to the Slovene folk art.

bee house

Adam and Eve in EdenAdam and Eve in EdenPilgrims' MadonnaPilgrims’ MadonnaWeddingWeddingPegam and LambergarPegam and Lambergar

pictures from:http://web.bf.uni-lj.si/jbozic/muzej/hivefron.html

Original vintage painted front-boards can be seen in museums today, but souvenir shops have plenty of replicas tourists like to buy.And as it may look like all these aren’t very serious art  I have to admit how it surprised me to discover that bees impressed Jože Plečnik, our great archirect.Beehive he projected for his garden in Ljubljana is definitely work of art bees-laborious architects deserve!Good news-Plečnik was born 140 years ago  and this anniversary will be celebrated with restoration of his beehive !

Čebelnjak, Plečnikarchitectural beehive in architect’s garden from:http://www.rtvslo.si/kultura/drugo/tudi-cebelnjak-je-del-plecnikove-dediscine/279068

Jože Plečnik

Jože Plečnik, 1904
Born January 23, 1872
Laibach (modern-day Ljubljana),Austria-Hungary
Died January 7, 1957 (aged 84)
LjubljanaYugoslavia
Work
Buildings Prague Castle (1920–34)
Triple Bridge, Ljubljana, (1929–32)
National and University Library(1930–41)
Projects Slovene Acropolis / Cathedral of Freedom (1947)

from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo%C5%BEe_Ple%C4%8Dnik

 

 

Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’- many names for colors of white

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Snowball bush-European snowball bush more precisely,is in full bloom now here in my garden.Its wonderful white pompom-like flowers are the last reminiscence of forgotten winter snows of white,but not at all for granted as the flowers at first appear in apple green color.Numerous pompoms turn into white color in next two weeks,when the bush is like one big snowball.White flowers turn to light old pink color, sometimes with patches of violet, brown color and this is the end of show as this species is sterile cultivar, born in 16-Th century in Europe and still today admired and used by florists and gardeners.The last 5 centuries of its continuous use trough Europe might be the reason for its many synonyms: Guelder Rose (first grown in Netherlands),Cramp Bark, Whitsun Rose, May Rose,Silver Bells, Kings Crown are actually all Viburnum opulus var sterile Roseum .

 

Viburnum is a genus of about 150–175 species of shrubs or (in a few species) small trees in the moschatel family, Adoxaceae. Its current classification is based on molecular phylogeny.

In prehistory, the long straight shoots of some viburnums were used for arrow-shafts, as those found with Ötzi the Iceman.from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viburnum

 

 

Clematis montana memories

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It has all started with big concrete wall I wanted to hide with some plants able to grow from the top of the wall downwards.Clematis was the choice as its ” feet” have to be in shadow while his “head” needs a lot of sun.The choice was Clematis montana which doesn’t need any pruning and looks more natural as other Clematis .I remember its first blossoms,we were so happy I took a picture of my son and his friend in front of it,which actually was not difficult as there was only a single branch in blossom.I even remember thinking how would it be nice to have bigger Clematis, to make a better picture, it was almost a small regret of me.Clematis needed several years to cower the wall ,but the spring show of pale pink little blossoms with almost vanilla scent makes me happy each year again. And each year again I remember how fast the kids grew up ,and how the time with only a single branch of Clematis in blossom was a happy time.

Clematis - Claude Monet

Claude Monet, CLEMATIS, 1897

Fagus sylvatica-grandma of e-book

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Each year the same-going to the forest I look after the very first beech leaves.For first beech leaves mean in a day or two all beeches will get their spring light green leaves and that means spring is reaching summer soon!Imagine summer holidays,deep shadow and a good book or e-book to read! Interesting enough the etymological origin of word BOOK lies in BEECH!

One explanation is runes were inscribed on beechwood tables, as in some slavic languages BUKVA (beech) is cognate with “letter”.In Slovene language, the word BUKVA (beech)is cognate with “book”(bukva).So in Slovene language we use the same word for tree and book(archaic).The explanation is very simple-in many monasteries across the land books were written and transcribed very early .Those old books had covers made of wood, beech , so in our language book remained BUKVA (beech) and the same root “*bōk-” stays in english BOOK and e-BOOK!

I’d prefer not to dig more deeply into etymology, for in Slovene language we also use the word beech(bukev) to describe someone not quiet bright….

The word comes from Old English “bōc” which (itself) comes from the Germanic root “*bōk-“, cognate to beech.[2] Similarly, in Slavic languages (for example, RussianBulgarian) “буква” (bukva—”letter”) is cognate with “beech”. In Russian and inSerbian, another Slavic language, the words “букварь” (bukvar’) and “буквар” (bukvar), respectively, refer specifically to a primary school textbook that helps young children master the techniques of reading and writing.It is thus conjectured that the earliest Indo-European writings may have been carved on beech wood.[3] Similarly, the Latin word codex, meaning a book in the modern sense (bound and with separate leaves), originally meant “block of wood”.

The first books used parchment or vellum (calf skin) for the pages. The book covers were made of wood and covered with leather. Because dried parchment tends to assume the form it had before processing, the books were fitted with clasps or straps. During the later Middle Ages, when public libraries appeared, up to 18th century, books were often chained to a bookshelf or a desk to prevent theft. These chained books are called libri catenati.

from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book

Fagus sylvatica
European Beech
European Beech foliage
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fagales
Family: Fagaceae
Genus: Fagus
Species: F. sylvatica
Binomial name
Fagus sylvatica
L.from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fagus_sylvatica

Versatile blogger award

 nominated My Botanical Garden for The Verstile Blogger Award.Thank you indeed!

According to the rules here are 15 blogs I recommend:

1)allthingsboys

2)mtlawleyshire

3)jennysserendipity

4)Attempting zero waste lifestyle in a military household

5)Romancing the Bee

6)Donnameindinger

7)Stories About My Life and Day to Day things by a Pond Enthusiast

8)Help me Rhonda

9)Dear Kitty. Some blog

10)Painting Skiathos Greece

11)VictoriaElizabethBarnes

12)scootinsandi

13)mountainmae

14)magsworld

15)denobears

And now 7 things about me, this time  7 places I like:

1)Ljubljana

2)Trieste

3)Venice

4)Budapest

5)Lisboa

6)Los Angeles

7)Oslo

Thank you again, !

 

 

Wisteria sinensis and buzz about flower constancy

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No matter how I’ve tried,I’ve newer recorded such a success with my garden efforts as did I with simple act of planting Wisteria sinensis alba about ten years ago.I am absolutely noncompetitive gardener,but must admit that it feels good when my neighbors stop by our house in simple admiration of white waterfall,I’ve noticed even some envy in eyes of my dear next-door neighbor having blue variety of wisteria which doesn’t want to flower.But there is something I enjoy even more as flattery during May, when my wisteria is  just as magical smelling cloud-it is sitting on our wisteria terrace and observing many bees and bumblebees constantly flying among scented flowers.There are so many a buzz is becoming  a sort of music,vanishing with wind and appearing stronger again and again.The same one bumblebees are coming back to eat sweet nectar again and again,day after day!Well, this is called flower constancy (and not,as one might assume the constant beauty of my wisteria) although from my point of view it could be called bumblebee constancy!

Bumblebees will also tend to visit the same patches of flowers every day, as long as they continue to find nectar and pollen,[11] a habit known as pollinator or flower constancy. While foraging, bumblebees can reach ground speeds of up to 15 metres per second (54 km/h).[12] from;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumblebee

Wisteria sinensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Millettieae
Genus: Wisteria
Species: W. sinensis
Binomial name
Wisteria sinensis
(SimsDCfrom:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisteria_sinensis

sculpting together pics part 2

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It really was a creative Saturday!After a rainy walk in the garden the workshop started.It was so nice to see kids and seniors working together on their sculptures!Next time these will be painted and an exhibition will be set in the garden glasshouse,so anybody may see what has been done.

Yet there is still something not visible to others,but important even more as these works of art, that emerged from the workshop.Spending their time together, learning and creating together they both, kids and seniors, got time to know each other better ,the stereotypes were lost and they all were happy ,saying they spent great time together……….