Monday, January 5, 2015

Garden Remembrances

The gloomy sky offers another day of cold rain and I have been struck down by a dreadful winter illness.  In between my bouts of coughing and fevered exhaustion, I can't manage enough energy to do much of anything.  You know what I need?  Summer garden photos.  If we can have Christmas in July, why can't I have summer garden in January?

The garden wasn't really at its best in 2014, as a number of shrubs were damaged or killed by the Polar Vortex.  We lost a big rosemary plant in the front garden and had to severely cut back the hydrangea and crepe myrtle shrub in the back garden.  I still have some work to do to fill in gaps in the back garden that will continue this spring and summer.  The vegetable plot wasn't very productive, perhaps due to the increasing shade from the nearby tree.  But we had lots of new garden art, and there were lovely annual flowers.  We had some very nice (i.e., not too hot) days and I tried to keep up better with tending and weeding.  There were bunnies and butterflies and birds, including a number of hummingbird sightings, which I always find thrilling.

So let's explore the garden, shall we?

Front garden, west side (Aug 2014)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

St. Vitus Cathedral and Prague Castle (Prague, Czech Republic)

St. Vitus Cathedral

Our walk around Hradčany included seeing Bílek Villa (an art nouveau villa designed by Czech sculptor and artist, František Bílek; we just saw the outside, as it was closing when we got there), the Pisek Gate (a baroque gateway that was part of the new fortifications built in the 18th century -- alas, it was under construction) and two cubist houses designed by Josef Gočár. By that time, it was getting dark, so we walked over to Prague Castle to see St. Vitus Cathedral by night.

The building of St. Vitus Cathedral took over 600 years (beginning in 1344 and not completed until 1929). It is an amazing Gothic cathedral -- Q was particularly struck by the elaborate flying buttresses (not visible in this photo). The cathedral itself was closed at night, so we decided to come back the next day to see the interior.

 The stairs up to Prague Castle