Friday, December 28, 2012

Jardim da Sereia

Jardim da Sereia March 2012

Jardim da Sereia March 2012

Jardim da Sereia March 2012

Jardim da Sereia March 2012

Jardim da Sereia March 2012

Click here for more photos of the Jardim da Sereia.

The Jardim da Sereia, or the Mermaid's Garden, is located in the Parque de Santa Cruz, in Coimbra, Portugal.  There is no sign of any mermaid.  The garden does little to give the impression of the sea.  You might say it is not a garden at all, but a plaza with 2 fountains, one of them amazingly elaborate.  My thoughts about what constitutes a garden are evolving.  I am willing to accept this as a garden, mermaid or not.  Must a garden contain plants?  How much of a garden should be green?  Here we have a space that is almost entirely stone, tile & water.  The trees of the park provide a backdrop.  But the only plants in this garden are moss, a few ferns & mostly the Soleirolia soleirolii (Baby's Tears) that grow in the larger fountain.  An easy walk from the wonderful Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Coimbra, the Jardim da Sereia is definitely worth a visit.

This garden was designed and built in the time of  Dom João VThe Parque de Santa Cruz & the Jardim da Sereia can be credited to Friar Gaspar da Encarnação, the minister who, between 1723 and 1752, reformed the Convent of Santa Cruz, one of the most important monuments of the City of Coimbra. The aim was to create a park suitable for contemplation. The entrance to the Mermaid's Garden, facing the Praça da República, is crowned by three statues representing Faith, Hope and CharityFrench baroque influence is seen in the decorative elements such as tile panels and statuary. In the center of the fountain stands a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, framed by tile panels.  This fountain was extensively repaired in 2005.  (Translated from, a Portuguese-language website, with the help of Google Translate.) 

Friday, December 14, 2012

November in Seattle 2012

Birch at the Washington Park Arboretum in November 2012

Maple & Coca-Cola in Mt Baker in November 2012

Platanus acerifolia at Seattle Central Community College in November 2012

Scarecrow in Mt Baker in November 2012

Seattle University in November 2012

Click here for more pictures of November in Seattle.

November 2012 was warmer & wetter than normal.  The mean temperature was 46.9F/8.3C.  The normal mean temperature is 45.4F/7.4C.  The highest temperature was 64F/17.8C, the lowest 31F/-0.6C, a light frost on November 10.  Total precipitation was 8.28 inches.  Normal precipitation is 6.57 inches.  There were 2 days with heavy rain, 9 days with rain, 23 days with light rain, 23 days with fog, 3 days with haze, 21 cloudy days, 8 partly cloudy days & 1 fair day.

Starting with November 2012, I dispensed with pictures from my own garden.  I thought long & hard about how to replace them.  I came up with the idea of urban landscape photos, which could come from any part of Seattle.  I have spent almost my entire life living in large cities, which have also included Los Angeles & San Francisco.  I'm keenly aware that the urban landscape includes streets, sidewalks, vehicles, advertising, graffiti, structures & other manufactured objects, as well as gardens & parks.  Fortunately, the landscape of Seattle includes an enormous number plants & quite a few natural areas.  My pictures now include the entire urban landscape.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Jardim Botânico da Universidade do Porto

Jardim Botânico da Universidade do Porto March 2012

Scilla peruviana, Jardim Botânico da Universidade do Porto March 2012

Jardim de suculentas, Jardim Botânico da Universidade do Porto March 2012

Jardim de suculentas, Jardim Botânico da Universidade do Porto March 2012

Arbutus xalapensis, Jardim Botânico da Universidade do Porto March 2012

The Jardim Botânico da Universidade do Porto is an interesting garden near the center of Porto, Portugal.  It includes 3 small formal gardens near the house, an excellent succulent garden filled with cactus, Euphorbia & Agave, & an arboretum in need of renovation.  There are a number of other gardens, not distinctive enough for me to specifically recall.  The Jardim Botânico da Universidade do Porto began as a farm purchased by João Henrique Andresen Júnior in 1895.  He built the house & formal gardens.  The property was purchased by the Portuguese government in 1949.  Part of the property became the botanical garden.  The house & formal gardens were preserved.  New gardens & the arboretum were installed.  The botanical garden was closed to the public in 1983 in a state of disrepair.  It reopened in 2001 after some improvement.  The garden is important today for having a significant number of large or rare species, particularly exotic species.  This is not 1 of the world's finest botanical gardens.  But it is definitely worth a visit & is free of charge.  The walk from Estação de São Bento, considered to be the heart of Porto, is pleasant & takes about 40 minutes.  As you walk, you pass by a number of interesting sites, including the Torre dos Clérigos, the Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis, & the gardens of the Palácio de Cristal.

 Gardens of the Palácio de Cristal March 2012

 Garden of the Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis March 2012