Saturday, April 22, 2017

Spring Signs

Scylla Gone Wild

I couldn't live in a place that did not have a change of seasons. In spring each day brings surprises as growth and change is so rapid. Where one day a lawn looks tired and sepia-coloured, the next it is covered with leaves and then next with tiny blue flowers. Scylla always delight me; they pop up where they will, never staying within the constraints of a garden.

First Daffodils

Daffodils show their sunny faces. These hardy plants can endure the spring frosts and occasional snow.

Hyacinth and some Daffodils

In sheltered spots the flowers arrive sooner with heady-smelling hyacinth sharing a spot with these daffodils.

Downcast Daffodils

It has been a very rainy April with temperatures going up and down. Many people are craving a bit of sunshine as are these flowers, heads down, waiting for the sunshine to perk them up.

There has been flooding in a number of communities as the rain and melting ice in rivers combine to raise water levels. We are heading for the rainiest April on record, which apparently may lead to the most mosquitoey months ahead. Here's hoping for a couple of weeks of sunshine ahead.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Gardens at the Huntington

Waterlilies

I spent my last full day in California with my two friends going through the gardens at the Huntington.  Funny how so many years can dissolve and friendships pick up where they left off. It was wonderful to renew our connections, to share our interests, to realize that what sparked our friendship so long ago was as valid today.

In the Japanese Garden

We strolled, chatted and enjoyed the beauty around us (here in the Japanese garden) and ate lunch together - even ordering the same meals.

Blossoms

Here is a taste of what we saw.

Cormorant

I think this is a cormorant. He stood watching.

Shaking Its Gullet

Then he started to shake its gullet - I saw a programme about herons who do that in hot climates to cool down. Perhaps this bird was doing the same thing.

In the Rose Garden

We wandered through the rose garden.

Rose

Beauty comes in many colours.

More Roses on the Way

Along with promises for the future.

Iris

Friendship renewed. The bonds of friendship are a mystery - those connections that were strong can last. And now we have to find ways to nurture them into the future despite our distant homes.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Getty Museum

The Getty Museum

We spent a delightful afternoon at the Getty Museum. It is located on one of the hills of the Santa Monica Mountains. I was captivated by the architecture and the use of the setting. Architect, Richard Meier, did a fabulous job of mixing buildings, plazas, gardens and incredible views.

The Entry Hall

It is a mix of curves and straight lines and it takes advantage of natural lighting, even in the galleries.

Multiple Pavillions

The plazas feature fountains and sculpture and the swaths of windows reflect back other aspects of the site.

Looking Over the Gardens

The buildings are faced with travertine stone - smooth in some areas and very rough in others. And everywhere are these incredible views.

Contemplation

Despite the number of people who were on the site, there were still quiet, contemplative areas to be found.

Framing

At times, the architecture provided natural frames through which to view the city below - creating a living piece of art.


Stairways

I loved the combination of curves and squares and the lines.


Lines and Shadows

Lines and shadows - always making new patterns.

Curves and Straight Lines

I had to keep stopping to enjoy the architecture

Circular Gardens

The gardens echoed the curves and lines.

Feet

And everywhere people enjoyed the art, the architecture and the grounds.

Knees and Feet

Sometimes the people looked like art installations...

Shadows

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Farmer's Market

Green Goodness

Coming from Montreal where local produce this time of year means greenhouse grown tomatoes, I ogled at all the fresh fruit and vegetables at the farmer's market in Los Angeles.

Radishes and Mini Squash

We are not deprived in the winter. I grew up with tinned fruit and vegetables in the winter and iceberg lettuce. Now everything is plentiful, but it is trucked in or flown in and is never quite as fresh as what was on display here.

Heirloom Tomatoes

The colours and shapes were a feast for the eyes, to say nothing about the feast they could provide for the body.

Carrots and Celery

Even simple vegetables looked fresh and appealing

Beets

Sunday, April 9, 2017

On to Los Angeles

Palms

From Twentynine Palms we drove across the mountains to the coast, to Los Angeles. The drive was spectacular with bright yellow fields of wild flowers to mountain sides also covered with blossoms. We passed through an enormous wind farm - good to see the growth of renewable energy. The winds were certainly blowing and the turbines were in motion.

Wild Flowers

 One of the main reasons for this trip was so I could see two friends from summer camp whom I had not seen in over forty years. Both of them had moved to Los Angeles. It was wonderful to reconnect!

On the Beach

A must for us northerners is a walk on the beach - always something to notice and always the sound of the waves.

Sailing

We could see sailboats on the horizon.

Splash

On the shore, the waves splashed against the breakwaters.

Marbled Gotwit on the Beach

This marbled gotwit also took advantage of the beach, strutting in and out of the water.

Marbled Gotwit

I had to go hunting on the internet to find out the name of the bird.

Under the Umbrellas

Many were taking advantage of the lovely weather - not quite warm enough for swimming, but definitely warm enough to enjoy a walk, a sit and the sound of the sea.


Poppies

And for me - after a long white winter, time to enjoy the colourful flowers.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Joshua Tree National Park

Prickly

We spent part of a day in Joshua Tree National Park, located in the Mojave Desert, planning to go back later to catch the night skies.

Flowering Joshua Tree

A number of the Joshua Trees had flowers - nothing exotic, but fun to see.

Flowering Cacti

We missed the height of the blooms in the desert, but were still treated to some of the flowering.

Flowers on the Hill

Yellows glowed under the blue skies.

Skull Rock

The rock formations were as intriguing as the plants. This one is known as Skull Rock

Rock Creature

This hooded creature intrigued me.

Growing in Rock

And the way life can take root in what seem to be hostile places

Rock Formations

This felt to me like someone's leg trying to push free of the rock - forever trapped.

Joshua Trees

The Joshua trees were everywhere - I learned that you cannot tell their age when they are cut down. It is a member of the yucca family and instead of growth rings it has thousands of small fibres.

Rocky Hills

These plants survive in very arid conditions. This year there was a good rainfall in the winter.

Mountain After Mountain

A road in the park took us up to views of a series of mountains. The snow covered peak one of the San Bernardino mountains.

Amazing Views

Even up here a Joshua tree manages to take hold.

Land of the Joshua Trees

As for our plans of returning to see the night skies... The winds whipped up and I received an alert on my cell phone


We travelled as far as a restaurant for dinner - with winds gusting. Local visibility wasn't bad, but the skies were somewhat obscured.