May 31, 2010

Science Before Prose Writing.

Or work before pleasure.
Yesterday was such a grey, rainy, dark and cold Sunday. Indeed, it instigated a feel of December rather than May. In some way I did not mind as I was preoccupied with work. Instead of my usual blog writing and doing research for upcoming posts, I spend it on putting final touches to a scientific paper.

I enjoy writing research papers and particularly this one, as we are presenting something novel and intriguing to the world. Results like these are what makes science so very exciting and rewarding.
Therefore I have been a slacker when it comes to blogging and have been absent from your lovely places; thus forgive me if this week my visits as well as my writing here will be sporadic at the best. I simply have a deadline to meet.

I decided though to post my traditional Birch Tree update. As a very cold May ends, the tree and its surroundings are growing greener and summery. Even though as we stand on the threshold of another seasonal change, parting with spring is easy. It somehow feels as if it never really arrived this year at all...

May 29, 2010

Late Spring.

The title above invokes the feeling of an imminent seasonal change, but that is far from the case here, even though Mr. Summer sure did pay us a visit last weekend.

As the coldest May in 14 years, this last month of spring departs leaving us with bitterly cold wind, cloudy skies and temperatures resembling more those common in November. I am considering going back inside even though I am defying the weather gods, shivering while sitting on my patio, risking a case of severe pneumonia. The forecast though called for sun and thus I am in a certain disbelieve and left hoping that sun will eventually appear.

The fast moving clouds of various colours and texture do add a certain dramatic feel to the country side that surrounds me. In any room in my house, anywhere I look, I see beautiful views of landscape that from within the warmth of my home indeed do instigate the feel of late spring after all.

May 28, 2010

Flashback Friday: "Angel Si Ti".

Considering this is the Eurovision Song Contest week, I am going to make an exception with today's Flashback. Today I am not sharing an oldie, but a contemporary tune in the very beautiful and sensual Bulgarian language.

To those of you who are not European, the term Eurovision means nothing. But believe me, this is the only televised event that manages to unite (and divide) Europe like nothing else can. It has grown over the decades to become a massive undertaking, with 39 countries participating. In 2009, the show was watched by some 125 million people.
I have described the contest in details last year, thus I will not bore you with the facts today. Except to point out that once again, after two semifinals, the best songs did not even make it to tomorrows final.

Thus, let me present to you one of my absolute favorite entries this year. It might come across as flamboyant, processed and over the top, but this is exactly what a great pop song should be. It is music that makes us feel good.
The compilation below sounds good and looks good and appeals to all my senses. I enjoy it like a lavish desert. I love the catchy harmonies, that make me want to get up and dance, a sensation I have not felt for a very long time. I love the images and the sentiments and most of all, I simply love the language. To me, who has Slavic roots, the lyrics below (of which I understand some) appear as a combination of Slavic and Latin; a language match made in heaven.

"Angel Si Ti", meaning "You Are An Angel" preformed by Miro (Miroslav Kostadinov) is one of the best songs in this contest. Even though voted out in yesterdays semifinal, it has won my heart.
Well done Bulgaria.

May 27, 2010

May Nights Revisited.

The long winter and extensively delayed spring has so far caused a lack of joy, which I usually feel during this time of the year. I am trying very hard to reinstall it in my consciousness by reminding myself, that although it feels far from it, the best part of the year is indeed here.

The cold temperatures in May and April, with very few heat waves instigate a sensation of literally no spring. I fail to feel its presence, despite the bloom and the green growth. It is similar to ones dreams and desires - when fought for and awaited for too long, once they come true, they do not bring the satisfaction one has hoped for.

The only time I feel that indeed this is the season of magic is when I look at our night sky. The nights are white and almost absent. Before bedtime, when most of the world is already fast asleep and I open my windows to let in fresh breeze from the west, I can see traces of sunset finales, which colour the heavens in yellow, red and purples. Even at midnight, as the city below comes alight, the sky is not dark and the onset of darkness becomes exponentially delayed by each day. We have now gained ten hours of light since winter solstice in December and are one hour short of the longest day which will occur in about a month.

As seem on the two images below, taken at approximately the same time point, about a week apart, the increase in light is close to impossible to comprehend.

Northwest, 11th of May, 11:00PM

Northwest, 18th of May, 10:55PM

May 25, 2010

Happiness Is A Warm Loaf.

“With bread and wine you can walk your road.”
Spanish Proverb

There is no word that encompasses more what life is all about in such a versatile way than bread.
Bread is literally what keeps us alive and what we work for, it has been used symbolically throughout history in literature and art, in politics and in speeches, it has deep meaning in religion and importance in prayer and it is ultimately what brings families together at meals. There is nothing that speaks home and security more loudly than the aroma of baked bread.

Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods dating back to the Neolithic era. It is intriguing to ponder how the first bread might have come about; most likely it was a cooked versions of a paste made from roasted and ground cereal grains and water. It could have originated from accidental cooking or deliberate experimentation with water and grain flour. Descendants of this early bread are still commonly made from various grains in many parts of the world, such as the Mexican tortilla, Indian naan and Middle Eastern pita, to mention a few.

Later, again most likely by a chance, spores of yeast could have been introduced into the dough, thus this meant the origins of leavening. Although again dating back to prehistoric times, the earliest evidence of such a bread can be traced back to Egypt. Accounts exist describing Gauls and Iberians to use the foam skimmed from beer to produce "a lighter kind of bread than other peoples."

No other food caries so much meaning in many different cultures, then bread. Every country has their own recipes, their own way of making and preparing it. It holds a deep cultural and historical significance, going back centuries in time. In the country of my origin, Slovakia, offering bread and salt is an old and a very traditional welcome greeting ceremony.

I personally love bread. And I practically live on it. There is always bread in my home and although I am a lousy cook, I have been experimenting with baking bread in the past and have made delicious loafs and roles.
Bread also holds significant memories tied to my childhood. Upon our immigration to Sweden, we could get used to pretty much all the new and unusual food and missed in a way very little from our culinary origins. All except our bread. We missed it to such a degree that my father started to bake bread on weekends and became very proficient in it. Thus through out most of my teens in Sweden, we always had fresh and home-made bread at home.

To this day, the scent of baking signified Sundays to me. The best part of the day was in the late afternoon, when the fresh roles came out of the oven and we children were called to the kitchen for a slice of fresh bread with butter.
The best evening snack I can recall, a simple pleasure and happiness, a sense of security and feeling of home, all locked into such a plain thing as a piece of bread.

May 24, 2010

Veils Of White.

As gentleman Summer ends his lovely visit, it is time to enjoy all the gifts he has left behind. Aside for giving us a sneak preview of what is perhaps to come in a month or two, it also left our nature in bloom.

I have two bushes that bloom in May. One of them is my pride and joy, my precious Cherry Laurel that lines my front terrace. Damaged severely by winters frost, this spring it is struggling to renew itself and thus has so far produced no flowers.
The other shrub that gives rise to absolutely stunning white veil of flowers are my two kinds of Spiraea. I love these sturdy bushes, with their dark red branches, giving winter a hint of colour and beautiful autumn foliage, with bursts of yellow and red, a stunning addition to the landscape in late fall.
The first Spiraea blooms in May, the second one in June. I always await these flowers with great anticipation, as they signify the imminence of summer days.

As seen on the traditional update of my Birch Tree below, the first Spiraea bloom has began. Likewise, the Birch is now full of fresh new foliage. It has lost all its catkins and is thus ready for the summer season.
Even though these updates could now conclude, I hope you might still enjoy them for a few more Mondays. I'd like to follow the progress in the nature surrounding this magnificent tree a while longer, while we reach the culmination of the green growth in a a couple of weeks, at the onset of the summer season.

(Please click the image to enlarge.)

May 22, 2010

Prelude To A Love Affair.

Mister Summer came for a brief visit this week. His sudden presence helped putting our fifth month back on track, preventing it from being the coldest May on record.

Indeed, with temperatures colder than in December, the beginning of this last month of spring had put our nature on hold. As much as its progress leaped forward in the end of April, it stopped abruptly once we reached May. Again, we are about four weeks behind and the difference as compared to last year is astounding.

Thus, this brief but vital warm-up seems to have done what it intended to do, as it spurred on the green growth and the sudden bloom. Furthermore, aside from lifting the natural progress, the third season's visit lifted our spirits as well. Sun, blue skies and absence of wind together with presence of warm air - these are the perfect ingredients for a prelude to my favorite time of the year.
The Summer.
Thus it gets to be male in my imagination, as I am involved in an everlasting love affair with this season.

For the first time in ten months, the arrival of gentleman Summer indeed feels yet again imminent.

May 21, 2010

Flashback Friday: "In The Waiting Line".

Initially I thought the compilation below does not qualify for a Flashback just yet, as it still feels so very modern and new to me. However, realizing it is almost ten years since its release made me again so very aware of the relativity of time...

Thus may I present the "youngest" Flashback here to date, with its wonderfully escapist and ethereal feel.
Perhaps the name of the artist and the song might escape you, however, once you listen to it, it might be perceived as somewhat familiar. It is performed by Zero 7 , a duo based in the United Kingdom, known for using guest vocalists in their work. Their sound has a very pleasant, jazzy, downtempo style to it.

"In The Waiting Line", from the 2001 album Simple Things has been used in numerous soundtracks, among others for the Sex And The City and House series. It has that certain meditative sound, that makes us want to close our eyes and relax...

Have a wonderful, relaxing Friday everyone.

May 20, 2010

Purple Beauty.

I love any kid of onion like vegetables. Garlic, onions, spring onions. Delicious additions, bursts of taste to that very simple cooking - or non-cooking - that I do in my home.

But my favourite of them all are Chives. Being the smallest species of the onion family, this is a very sturdy and strong plant, which can withstand winter and comes back stronger by each year.

I have one big pot, full of chives in my garden. It survived our extraordinary arctic winter season, even though it was burned beyond recognition by frost, turning into a a bunch of dry weed. As soon as I cut it way down in March, it sprouted with an astounding resilience as the first plant on my patio this spring.
It grows visibly by each day and has by now become luscious and juicy green. Imminently it will bloom with absolutely gorgeous violet flowers, and comes June, it will again attract bumblebees, creating a beautiful spot on my terrace.

May 18, 2010

Wheel Of Emotions.

If I was asked to describe myself in one sentence only, "Wheel of emotions" seems a somewhat appropriate term to use.
"I feel"
is often an expression associated with my astrological sign of Cancer. As soon as emotions overcome me, logic is suppressed and my senses start to rule me. In those moments, I behave irrationally and become foolish. Like a ship lost at sea in a storm, I bounce of waves at the mercy of the raging waters, longing for a safe harbor and a solid anchor.

Intriguingly, emotions and their manifestation have been closely studied, as after all, it is not only our intellect that defines us. Our character and our individuality are shaped by our feelings as well. Robert Plutchik, a renowned psychologist actually did created a symbolic wheel of emotions in 1980. It consists of 8 basic emotions and 8 advanced emotions each with counterpart opposite.

The eight basic emotions in the wheel are: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, acceptance, and joy. The advanced ones are: optimism, love, submission, awe, disappointment, remorse, contempt and aggressiveness.

Emotions help us in our survival. We make decisions in our present based on our past experiences, all closely tied to our perception of a decisions outcome. If it resulted in pain and sadness, it will most likely prevent us from going in the same direction again, while joy and happiness have the opposite effect.
Emotions can also direct our lives, as they tell us the state of our mental being. At one point or another in our lives, we succumb to the negative emotions that rule our thinking in a devastating way. Anything from fear, sadness and jealousy, those alone or in combination prevents us from moving on and living a healthy existence.

Science and psychology apart, emotions and feelings are a part of who we are. They distinguish us, make us compelling and compassionate and make us aware of the hidden beauty within and around us. Fortunate are those, who can keep them under control, but yet again, those of us who can not, for better or worse, are true artists at heart and soul. As it is this perception and this sensitivity to our surroundings and its overflow that is so eloquently captured and conveyed through music, the written word and the beauty of the versatile art in photography, sculptures and paintings.

May 17, 2010

Changes Around And Within.

The sun is shinning again after a very rainy and cold weekend. Although it is back to work for me, as I feel the warmth of its rays on my face, I sense my spirits lifting ever so slightly.

I find myself these days in times of contemplation. Perhaps as the seasons change and everything around me seems to grow and flourish, I too long for a certain renewal. But we all know that changes are difficult to make and they only get more difficult with age. Therefore until I find the courage to change that which I can and accept that which I can not, as once stated by Saint Francis of Assisi, I will have to relish in the changes that the nature undergoes instead.

Such as the ever changing, majestic Birch Tree in our front yard. It is now full of those first, soft light green leaves, slowly loosing its flowers. The Cherry Tree is in its most splendid bloom and gazing at that pink beauty makes me smile. Some of our trees though are still bare - this due to our very cold May, which on some days was colder then some of our Decembers have been in the past.

Hopefully, as we enter late spring, a warmer air and increased light will bring on a needed change and the imminence of summer - around and within - will finally become palpable.

May 15, 2010

A Tulip Fairytale.

Although I love any kind of flowers and plants, my favorite have always been the resilient perennials, that sprout from a bulb.
There is no greater joy than seeing the early crocuses pushing through the last snow and as the sun grows stronger, later daffodils, the heavenly scented hyacinths and tulips.

Last October I planted fresh bulbs all over my terrace and impatiently waited for their bloom, which was heavily delayed due to the record breaking, cold and long winter. The bloom of my beautiful red tulips is indeed weeks behind schedule. Still, the ethereal, almost vulnerable beauty of the cup shaped, showy flowers, as they turn towards the sun and slowly unravel their petals when heated by the vital rays is at all times worth the endless wait.

May 13, 2010

Countdown To Midnight Sun.

Last week marked the beginning of the Scandinavian White Nights. These are the short nights of the North. A magical time, when the daylight reigns and sun sets late at night.

White Nights, also called Light Nights, last officially in my part of the world from the 5th of May to the 7th of August (5/5-7/8). This is the most beautiful part of the year, peaking in the early summer, when sun sets for hours and never really disappears, only to turn into sunrise on the other side of midnight.
Some of you might recall my short series of images which I shared last year, documenting this enticing phenomenon in yet another installment of my progressive photography.
The culmination of this time of twilight occurs on Midsummer Night at the end of June; thus the countdown to this enchanted night has begun.

Below a collection of April and May sunsets, as seen from my windows. It might be of interest to note the visible difference of the position of the setting sun on the top left and the bottom right picture; the pictures are taken only ten days apart.

(Please click to enlarge).

May 11, 2010

Ghost Towns.

The title above has a certain uncomfortable feel to it. However, it doesn't refer to actual haunted towns, but rather to abandoned cities. They exist all across the world; eerie places that once flourished and functioned like any other settlement, but are now deserted and utterly devoid of any life.

The reasons why a town becomes a ghost town are numerous. It could be due to the collapse of its infrastructure, failing economic activity due to epidemics or relocation of its inhabitants, or due to natural or human-caused disasters such as a flood, government action, uncontrolled lawlessness, or war.

One ghost town that intrigues and haunts me more than any other has to be Pripyať. It is located in the zone of alienation, in northern Ukraine. The tragic story linked to this abandon city is well known.

Founded in 1970, Pripyať was to house the workers that were employed at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, located near the towns vicinity, then in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. First officially proclaimed as a city in 1979, it was home to some 50,000 people, right until that fateful spring night almost 25 years ago.

On April 26, 1986, reactor number four at the Chernobyl plant had a meltdown. This incident is commonly referred to as the Chernobyl Disaster. The resulting fire sent a plume of radioactive fallout into the atmosphere, spreading radioactive material over an extensive geographical area, including large parts of the western Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and Northern Europe. Large areas in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia had to be evacuated, with over 336,000 people resettled. A complete abandonment of Pripyať took place first on the second day after the incident, severely effecting the health of its inhabitants. No one was ever allowed to return, thus the city is now a ghost town.

I remember that day very vividly. Or rather the few days after. They were beautiful spring days in Sweden, coinciding with a weekend and most Scandinavians were outside, enjoying the sun. Including my family, quite oblivious to the fact that we were being hit by radioactive dust.

There are several factors about Pripyať that move me in an uneasy way. The obvious is the extend of the terrible accident, that even today is not under control. The ultimate sacrifice by the many workers who gave their life when participating in the initial clean up and the horrid conditions they had to work in. The tragic fate of their families and the effects still seen today in their descendants.

But even more perhaps it is the town itself. It reminds me of my childhood. I grew up in towns in former East Bloc, in very similar housing conditions as those seen on the many famous photographs. Concrete ghettos, the only way we knew how to live. I attended similar schools as the one that remained until very recently in Pripyať , sitting in similar school benches, attending similar activities as the children of this former communist city. Seeing that famous Ferris wheel, that now stands abandon and withered like a silent witness to a life that once flourished, sends shivers down my spine. Never used by children, it was about to be opened a few days after the incident, yet it looks so ancient today.

They say that the Chernobyl Disaster was in a certain way a catalyst to the fall of communism, which came later that decade. Today most of the countries in the former East Bloc have changed beyond recognition. New generation is growing up, with no recollection of the past and the traces of the old regime can not be seen anywhere.

In some way, Pripyať is a snapshot of a moment in time. The only city preserved in a haunting way, showing us what once was. A ruin of a not so distant past, a sad memorial to innocent lives lost, a symbol of human imperfection, a political system gone wrong and a piece of European history; all in one...

May 10, 2010

The Danish Trees.

Slowly, the plants around are turning green. Despite the fact that last week was the coldest May week in the last 13 years, nature nevertheless still moves forward.
This progress is always mostly visible on our trees. It is interesting to note their state right now; some are already green, some are barely displaying leaves, some are in bloom but leave-less and some are still bare.

Our Birch tree is now in full bloom and its foliage is getting more lush by every day. The update below is not as significant as last week, except for the Cherry tree to the left that is now displaying pink flowers. However, the trees around, which I assume to be Ash and Oak continue to be unchanged.

Except for these three (Birch, Oak and Ash), my immediate surroundings contain a selection of various fruit trees (including Cherry trees), some Fir trees and Spruces. Additionally, if I take a short walk, I can spot Elm, Hazel, Willow, Maple, Chestnut, Beech and a few Linden trees, which bear heavenly scented flowers in late summer.
Still these account only for a selection of almost forty different species of trees that grow in Denmark. About 12% of the country surface is covered by woods an this number is luckily on the rise, expected to be 25% in 100 years. The Danes are very attentive when it comes to their nature and recognized early on the potential of large wooded areas.

In my city, there are numerous natural forests that follow the coastline and are a home to versatile plant and animal life. A stone throw away from almost any location one can find solace and tranquility in the shade of the crowns of many magnificent, at time ancient trees.

(Please click to enlarge)

May 08, 2010

Pearls Of Water.

After a very cold, breezy but sunny week, it is raining. It is a gentle, spring rain that is so vital for plants and flowers, as they continue on their renewed cycle of growth.

A drizzle at the best, when the wind is absent and the air saturated with earthy scents of soil and fresh foliage. As it drenches my surroundings, it leaves behind drops of water, resembling scattered pearls, as if some gentle being passed through in a hurry, leaving behind magical beads of a precious necklace...

May 07, 2010

Flashback Friday: "Guardian Angel".

I do not know much about Masquerade. Except for the somewhat ethereal composition below, made in 1984 in collaboration with Drafi Deutscher. It moves me back at least two decades, when it was played on the radio and reminds me of care free times of my youth.

Even though the harmonies in "Guardian Angel" might be slightly old fashioned, the lyrics feel very time less...

May 06, 2010

Details In Red.

"Perfection lies in the details, but perfection itself is not a detail".

My mother used to say this very often. Unfortunately I do not know the origins of this quote, which I believe carries a lot of truth in it. As it is often the details that create the big picture.

I am not a perfectionist, and although I like to pay attention to details in my surroundings, I do so only if I choose to. I can walk into a room and be quiet oblivious to its decor, as I usually rely on the overall impressions I feel upon entrance. First when that impression has settled in do I look around and notice the objects.

I can not claim to have any kind of talent in interior design. However, just like with fashion, I rely on my instinct, using colours and shapes that I feel create a pleasant atmosphere. With my inclination to the eclectic and bohemian, I stay away from the modern and streamlined. I most likely break all the design rules and my home is anything but stylish, but I hope it is unique in one particular way; there is not one single other one like it.

Inspired by a comment that the lovely Sandy left here recently and that was inspired by this post on her lovely blog, I decided to share with you the red details in my home. I have already disclosed in the past that I own a cosy red sofa. However, that is far from the only red in my home.

The red details can be found almost everywhere. They most likely do not create perfection in the overall sense, but they create a home perfect for me.

May 04, 2010

Objects In The Sky.

On Sunday evening, as I was talking with that handsome man in Ireland, discussing current events as we usually do, I happened to gaze out of my large living room window. Even though the remains of another magnificent spring sunset still lingered in form of a red line above the horizon in the northwest, the southwest which I was facing, appeared by now dark.

That is when I saw it. It took me a few seconds to piece together the visual information received at that very moment with the one I read online a few days ago. Still, eventually I knew exactly what I was looking at. It was a sight like I have never witnessed before.

A majestic bright object, resembling the biggest star that I have ever seen, was moving across the dark sky. Without a sound, effortlessly and with a constant speed, it was crossing the southwest horizon as the largest object in the jet black heavens. If I did not know better, I could have sworn I was witnessing a UFO sighting.
However, I was seeing the International Space Station (ISS), definitely an 'identified flying object' and a man made one as well. Additionally, right after the moon, the largest orbiter of our Earth. I was holding my breath as it moved in a easterly direction, feeling very fortunate to have gazed out of my windows at the exactly right moment, to watch something that is rare and to me - extremely enticing.

Those of you who have read my many posts in the past know well that I am infinitely fascinated by the evening sky. There is nothing more captivating than watching the dark blanket above us, covered with zillions light specks of varied size and intensity. Knowing they are all part of distant and not so distant galaxies intrigues me. There is no other time, when the space seems more infinite and vast, then under the dark veil of the night.
I fall asleep under the shine of stars, as I watch them in my roof top window. If I gaze at that small part of heavens for a short while, I can witness shooting stars and orbiting satellites. But I have never seen the Space Station until now.

Such a sighting is indeed rare and requires specific conditions to be in place. As stated by the wikipedia: "The station must be above the observer's horizon, and it must pass within about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) of the observation site (the closer the better). It must be dark enough at the observer's location for stars to be visible, and the station must be in sunlight rather than in the Earth's shadow."

Operated as a joint project between the five participant space agencies, the ISS serves as a research laboratory that has a microgravity environment in which crews conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy and meteorology. The ISS is operated by Expedition crews; as of 18 March 2010, the crew of Expedition 23 is aboard.

My sighting of the Space Station the other night is the closest that I have come to observe something out of the ordinary in the skies. Except for one summer afternoon last year, when white, semi transparent globe moved high above me in an organized fashion; constant speed and direction. I gazed at it for a long time trying to solve its origins; perhaps it was a balloon or something else that can easily be explained. But perhaps not. Eventually, the fascination lies in the unexplained.

What about you, have any of you ever seen something infinitely intriguing, either identified or unidentified in the skies?

May 03, 2010

Quantum Leap Of Nature.

Quantum Leap is actually a physical phenomenon, but somehow it feels as a very adequate term to use in order to describe the progress our nature has made within this past week. And if you take a look at the images below, I am sure you will agree.

The change is enticing at the very least. As I write this, I recall some of your comforting words in your comments a few weeks ago, telling me that you see the changes happening over night and that I will too soon. Well, you were correct.

The progress is leaping forward with an astounding speed, almost each hour offers a new change. My hedge lining the back terrace has turned green within a matter of days. Once again, the patio becomes a secluded spot, hidden from view by the ever growing foliage. Our cherry trees are now in the beginning of their bloom and of course, the birch trees has changed beyond recognition.

The perfect combination of rain and sun that we received last week produced visible results. Our birch tree is not only in full bloom, but the very first leaves are now obvious. The recent three weeks delay has been shortened to only ten days.

As we make the transition from April to May, this signals the beginning of the absolutely best time of the year in Scandinavia. It brings not just the culmination of the spring season, but also the imminence of the magical white nights.

(Please click to enlarge.)

May 01, 2010

Perennials And Evergreens.

I have two terraces or patios connected to my house; a front terrace and a back one. They are both tiled and big enough to house many pots. I love to plant seasonal flowers, from spring to autumn, but my favorites are my perennial plants and my evergreens. They can grow in their pots for many years, always remaining green and luscious, giving the outdoors a feel of an exotic garden.

However, even though these are very sturdy plants and can withstand our winters quiet well, they too have a breaking point. This past winter with its record breaking prolonged subzero temperatures was simply too cold for my potted evergreens and most of them perished, to my great dismay. It breaks my heart every time I see a plant die. To me it is as alive as any animal and I love to see plants and flowers grow and flourish. While taking care of them for years and seeing them do well, they in a way become my very good friends.

Thus I have been with certain distress watching my old perennials, which over the past few weeks grew weaker, gradually loosing all their foliage and drying out. My herbs seemed to have met the same fate. Except for the hardy chives, all my other herbs sadly failed to make their seasonal come back.

Yesterday was an official day off and I decided it was time for a plant renewal, therefore I spend my free Friday visiting the local garden center.
I love walking around in these large plantations, filled with flowers, shrubs, bushes and even trees. There is always an earthy, rich fragrance of soil in the air, mixed with the scent of seasonal flowers. I can spend hours just walking around there, relishing in the tranquility and the serenity that is always so significant of these beautiful spots.

I returned home with many fresh plants and spend my afternoon doing what I love to do the best; feeling the rich soil between my fingers and bringing a sense of renewal to my garden, while I parted with many of my old friends...