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

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

Friday, November 23, 2012

Xardíns históricos de Castrelos

Xardíns históricos de Castrelos March 2012

 Pazo Quiñones de León, Xardíns históricos de Castrelos March 2012

Pazo Quiñones de León, Xardíns históricos de Castrelos March 2012

The French garden, Xardíns históricos de Castrelos March 2012

Xardíns históricos de Castrelos March 2012

Click here for more photos of the Xardíns históricos de Castrelos.

The Xardíns históricos de Castrelos are a series of gardens, or a large garden with many parts, in Vigo, Galiza.  It is a pleasant, if not spectacular, garden.  The Pazo (Palace) Quiñones de León is a beautiful structure & backdrop for the garden.  It houses the Museo Municipal de Vigo "Quiñones de León," certainly worth a visit in itself.  According to the museum website: O Pazo Quiñones de León é en si mesmo un documento histórico e unha obra de arte como edificio. (The Palace Quiñones de León is itself a historical document and a work of art as a building.)  Completed in 1633, it is an example of an urban Spanish renaissance palace set in the Galician countryside.  Upgrades & renovations, including the gardens, were made by the Marquis de Alcedo in the late 19th and early 20th centuriesThe gardens were designed by the prestigious Portuguese landscape designer Jacintho Mattos, based in Porto. There are 6 distinct partsthe entrance garden, the rose garden, the French garden, the English garden (also called the tea meadow), the terrace at the bottom of the meadow, & the bosque beyond, which features an allee of immense Eucalyptus globulus.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bradner Gardens P-Patch plot B29B

Bradner Gardens P-Patch plot B29B when it was given to me on November 10, 2012

Bradner Gardens P-Patch plot B29B 5 days later

Downtown Seattle from the Bradner Gardens P-Patch November 2012

Tool shed, restroom, meeting room & kitchen at Bradner Gardens P-Patch November 2012

Inside the tool shed at Bradner Gardens P-Patch November 2012

Click here for more pictures of Bradner Gardens Park.
Click here for the Bradner Blog.

I was very happy to get half of a plot there after waiting for only 3 months.  It is located on Mt Baker Ridge, 1.6 miles from my current home in the Mt Baker neighborhood & 1.8 miles from my future home at Rainier Vista in the Rainier Valley.  When the Rainier Vista house is built, it will have a small shade garden.  My current garden is mostly in sun.  I moved a number of perennials for sun to plot B29B.  I will plant vegetable seeds in the spring.

The Bradner Gardens Park P-Patch is perhaps the nicest p-patch in Seattle.  There is an excellent view of Downtown Seattle.  The tool shed is spacious & filled with tools.  In the same structure, there is also a restroom with tile-mosaic walls, a kitchen & a meeting room with a fireplace.  The 1.6 acre park contains a pavilion, a native plant garden with a bioswale & seasonal pond, ornamental theme gardens & a basketball court.  From September of 1970 to June of 1971, I was in the 6th grade at John Muir Elementary School Annex on the property that became Bradner Gardens Park.  The baby boom caused John Muir to become so crowded that the 5th & 6th grades were temporarily relocated there in portable classrooms.  

Below is the plant list for plot B29B.  I have a plan for a formal, nearly symmetrical perennial & vegetable garden.  The plot is said to be 100 square feet, but is really about 60 square feet, not that I'm complaining. 

Plant List
Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’ (Carpet Bugle): 4
Allium cristophii (Star of Persia): 10 bulbs
Allium karataviense: 10 bulbs
Allium unifolium: 50 bulbs
Beta vulgaris ‘Perpetual’ (Swiss Chard): seed
Brassica napus ‘Purple Top’ (Turnip): seed
Brassica oleracea ‘Gai Lan’ (Chinese Broccoli): seed
Brassica oleracea ‘Tundra’ (Cabbage): 4 from seed
Brassica oleracea ‘Yu Choi’ (Chinese Greens): seed
Brassica oleracea ‘Vates’ (Collards): 4 from seed
Campanula medium (Canterbury Bells): 4
Campanula portenschlagiana (Dalmation Bellflower): 4
Clematis integrifolia: 4
Cucurbita pepo ‘Sunburst': 2 from seed
Daucus carota ‘Caracas’ & ‘Merida’ (Carrot): seed
Fragaria vesca (Woodland Strawberry): 12
Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill): 4
Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ (Japanese Forest Grass): 4
Hemerocallis ‘Bela Lugosi’ (Daylily): 1
Hemerocallis 'Root Beer' (Daylily): 1
Hyacinthus ‘Peter Stuyvesant’ (Hyacinth): 8
Iris hartwegii: 4
Lamium maculatum ‘Beacon Silver’: 4
Lilium auratum (Gold Band Lily): 5
Luzula sylvatica ‘Aurea’: 2
Nectaroscordum siculum: 10
Paeonia veitchii: 1
Penstemon x mexicali: 8
Phaseolus vulgaris ‘Serengeti’ (Bush Bean): seed
Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus ‘Minowase’ (Daikon): seed
Scilla peruviana: 5
Spinacia oleracea ‘Bloomsdale’ (Spinach): seed

Friday, November 9, 2012

October Garden Pictures

Aster novae-angliae 'Hella Lacy' October 2012

Crocus kotschyanus October 2012

Quercus gambelii October 2012

Rosa 'Queen Elizabeth' October 2012

Zauschneria latifolia October 2012

October 2012 in Seattle was warmer & much wetter than normal.  The mean temperature was 53.8F/12.1C.  The normal mean temperature is 52.8F/11.6C.  Total precipitation was 6.71 inches.  Normal precipitation is 3.48 inches.  The highest temperature was 75F/23.9C, the lowest 38F/3.3C.  There were 3 days with heavy rain, 14 days with rain, 16 days with light rain, 18 days with fog, 19 cloudy days, 5 partly cloudy days & 7 fair days.  The weather changed abruptly with 0.19 inches of rain on October 13 & more than 1 inch of rain over a 3 day period.  There had been no significant rainfall since July 20, a freakish period of 84 dry & mostly sunny days.  Suddenly, very wet fall weather began & continued throughout the month.

This will be the last regular posting of pictures from the Cascadia Garden.  In November, I will start posting urban landscape photos from various places in Seattle.  After 4 years, photos from my garden have become repetitive. Also, I plan to leave this property within the next 6 months.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Green Wall Trellis

Green Wall Trellis October 2012

Humulus lupulus (Hops) October 2012

Green Wall Trellis October 2012

Environmental Works October 2012

This green wall trellis is a project I noticed while out walking on Capitol Hill in Seattle.  You may find it an interesting idea for your home or office.  These are the offices of Environmental Works, housed in an old fire station on 15th Avenue E.  You can read about this project from the sign pictured above.  So far, there appear to be very few green walls in Seattle.

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Next Garden

Sanguinaria canadensis 'Multiplex' April 2009

Saruma henryi April 2010

Tulipa 'Little Princess' April 2010
Erigeron glaucus May 2010

 Iris douglasiana May 2009

My next garden will be perfect.  There will be no weeds.  Nothing will die, or get ugly, or grow too big, or disappoint me in any way.  My next garden will not be too much work.  It will be smaller.  It will be perfectly planned.  It won't need much water.  Perennials will not fall over.  There will be no diseases, or troublesome insects, or stray dogs.  When I go out in my new garden, I will have only positive feelings, inspired by the beauty around me.  I will plant only plants I truly love.  Of the thousands of plants I grew in my old garden, I will choose from the 150 listed below.