It’s still cold here
And there’s ice on the lake.
But Oscar took me for a walk
To find the first tentative signs
For more hope, please visit: Camera Critters.
I’m fighting a heavy cold so please excuse me if I don’t get round to visiting you.
I love the contrast between the cold of winter
And the humid tropical temperature of visiting the greenhouse of the Botanical Gardens.
First off, you are greeted by a vibrant
Splash of colour as you go in…
Wandering around the more temperate parts of the greenhouse
You can see signs on some of the trees:
Happy Winter! I’ll wake up again when it’s spring.
(The same could be said for some of those people who don’t like winter…)
As you walk further back, you enter different regions — much hotter ones.
My camera lens fogged up and as it cleared,
I could just make out some kind of orchid
Swimming towards me like a fish with petals.
I fell in love with the fronds
And patterns of some tropical ferns.
Before I left, I spied the delicate
Pink tutu of a flower.
“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.”
– Indian Proverb
For more stories, please visit: Our World Tuesday
It’s still too mild and grey for November, so I’m looking back to the end of October
When the frost presented a cheery iced sun;
And a wild pink rose
Covered in cold eyelashes.
Further on, a rose bud
Shimmered with melted hopes and ice –
And I found myself
At the beating heart of nature itself.
For more flowery scenes, please visit: Our World.
It’s been a cool summer,
But a few days in July were hot and steamy.
It was a strange feeling to wake up to an autumnal landscape
But to feel so very sticky and sweaty.
The peonies drooped their graceful heads
In the heat –
And even the fallen petals seemed to be sweating
In the early morning dew.
And where one peony had almost finished blooming
Another was eagerly waiting to take its place.
It’s the cycle of life, the cycle of the seasons waxing and waning.
The bee emerging from deep within the peony departs reluctantly — Basho
For more loveliness, please visit: Our World.
It is a flower’s nature to bloom.
The same thing could be said of people
If we give them enough
I’m away all weekend, so won’t be able to visit you.
But thank you – once again – for your visit!
Spring is all about
Flowers waiting to unfurl
And reach their full potential.
It’s about the lone wild daffodil
Growing on the shore of the lake.
It’s about the wild weeds
That are as beautiful as flowers.
(Yes – that’s Oscar in the background.)
And – most of all – it’s about
The magical light of being.
For more magic, please visit: Our World.
Spring is about pollen
And being knee-deep in flowers.
When you’re surrounded by petalled reminders of joy,
You just can’t help smiling…
Especially if you’re a dog.
For more happy creatures, please visit: Camera Critters.
Spring sent me a bouquet of tulips
As a reminder that rays of beauty
Are also important in this modern world
Or in the words of Basho:
The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.
Spring also sent me a wonderful reminder
To stop, to wonder
And to take the time to smell the flowers.
For more reminders, please visit: Our World.
Spring is that celebration of
Of new buds daring to bloom.
It’s that warm fizzy feeling that bubbles up
From the inside in an explosion of petal and joy.
Sometimes, its dewiness trembles on a flower
So that it seems to swim in the air like a petalled fish.
And sometimes, those winter remnants remind us that endings
Can be the seeds of new beginnings.
For more spring beauty, please visit: Our World.
Winter has returned with ice and snow.
A couple of mornings ago, the sun was shining
And the icy drops on a rail were shining like golden pearls.
People going to catch the train wondered what on earth I was photographing
As I squatted there with my bottom up in the air.
A little while later, I took up my weird squatting position
To capture the newly-melted snow on the brave head of a crocus.
I passed a garden with a wooden fence that had holes in it.
Once again, I no doubt looked like a crazy woman as I peered
Through to see a friendly bunch of snowdrops on the other side.
Then I caught sight of a diamond shining next to some fluffy buds.
Finally, something I could photograph with grace!
(Oh, the things we do for our blogs…)
For more golden moments, please visit: Our World.
The mild grey weather of December
Sent me the gift of a perfect luminous pearl
Speaking of renewal and hope in the middle of winter.
Strung with a necklace of melted snow
Tells a tale of gentleness and endurance.
A faded beauty and a rose ready to bud
Reminds us – in this time of making resolutions -
To keep the goodness of the old
While enjoying the promise of the new.
For more stories, please visit: Our World.
November has been incredibly mild; buds are appearing on branches
And perfectly framed roses bring a splash of colour to the season.
Dewy mornings paint the roses
And golden leaves are the perfect backdrop.
But now, the branches are bare and one grey day succeeds the other.
We don’t have snow and light,
So I had to find them in the translucent petals of a rose
As soft as silken snowflakes.
Recently, the hunt for colour has become more difficult
As the sun hides behind its foggy veils.
Which is why I was found lying on the ground -
Causing my neighbour to ask me why I was photographing nettles.
Its flowers are as beautiful as any rose, don’t you think?
Even the humblest of objects have beauty if we take the time to look for it.
For more rosy pictures, please visit: Our World.
The much-maligned dandelion:
Humble, yet unnoticed in its beauty.
Yet when covered in glorious dew
Each feathered seed is alive
Shining like a jewel,
A small spark of sunlight.
To remind us that what we call weeds are, in fact, beautiful flowers.
(Same could be said of most people too.)
For more exquisite shots, please visit: Our World.
The warmth of early October brought out the bees.
(even with hairy legs),
With fragile wings sitting atop a throne of flowers,
And bee-draggled in the rain,
But still clinging onto the petal, onto life
Like a gorgeous jewel.
Bee-ware more stories at: Our World.
Summer is here in all its glory.
And that, of course, includes the soft summer rain
Bringing a chill with it that makes us appreciate the sun even more.
Just as a flower is thankful for the rain,
So am I thankful for all the small beauties that surround me.
Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.
- Rabindranath Tagore
For more beauty, please visit: My World.
Some spring treasures that have brightened my week include …
The dazzling beauty of a daughter’s smile
The thrill of a son’s daring somersault
(Nothing shouts “Spring!” louder than a trampoline in a muddy garden!)
The burst of flavours and laughter popping on my tongue
And, finally, the brave budding of fragile flowers through the last of the ice.
Oh – and I just can’t resist a final final shot of spring – pussy willows with a message of warmth and promise hidden inside.
For more spring (or autumn) glimpses, please visit: My World.
The spring sun made the buds shine like pearls
In the pure blue of the sky
And turned the tulips into bowls of sunshine.
“The sun admitted…
I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in darkness,
The astonishing Light
Of your own Being!” — Hafiz
For more sunlight, please visit: Skywatch.
As many of you know, my world is submerged under white snowstorm skies and a warm blanket of snow at this time of year.
The trick to enjoying a long winter is to capture its treasures.
Bedazzling diamonds glinting in the sun,
Winter twins wearing their diamond tiaras
And there – a miracle!
A ruby jewel lighting up my world.
The latest disaster in Japan shows us that life really is a miracle.
(Healing thoughts go out to all affected in the affected areas.)
For more treasures, please visit: My World.
Sometimes there is nothing more delightful than bundling up in warm jackets
And heading off to the tropics! (Yes, I have a wild imagination.)
To the huge greenhouse filled with warmth and sunshine
And marvels of nature.
Where colours and blossoms run riot
With soft velvet petals sprinkled with gold.
Outside – the delicious cold of winter.
Inside – a festival of flowers,
A blossoming of the heart.
For more celebration, please visit: My World.
Last week I scared some of you with pictures of snow (taken back in February). This week, I want to delight you with some sunny weather so that you won’t think it is cold in Sweden all year round. (Well, OK – there is still snow up in the north, you know – where the polar bears roam the streets…)
We have gone straight from winter to summer – or so it seems – and we are enjoying the lush and warm countryside while the sun lasts.
Because next week – we might very well be back in winter again!
In the meantime, spend your days well – after all, you can’t take them with you.
For more sunny creatures, please visit: Camera Critters!
If you ask a Swede what their favourite holiday is, they would probably find it hard to choose between Christmas Eve and Midsummer’s Eve. Midsummer is a magical time in Sweden – at least, that’s how most people imagine it to be. The sun is shining, they escape to their summer cottages and have a wonderful time dancing around a maypole with their families.
OK… so it very often rains, too much alcohol and herring are consumed, and old family wars might break out… Yet it is still a magical holiday.
The tradition of Midsummer celebrations goes back to pre-Christian times as a way of welcoming in the summer and celebrating fertility. Just look at the maypole and you’ll see what I mean.
Photo: www.imagebank.se Fredrik Sweger, Lou B/Fredrik Sweger and the Swedish Institute
The maypoles are dressed with leaves and flowers and raised, ready for people to dance around, accompanied by live folk musicians. One of my favourites is the song ‘Little Frogs’ – where you dance around the pole pretending to be a frog (jumping on your haunches while making silly hand gestures).
After this, you eat herring (if you like it – I don’t), new potatoes and, of course, lots of strawberries and cream. The Swedes tend to consume lots of alcohol, so that schnapps drinking songs can be heard long into the night.
Midsummer’s Eve falls around the longest night of the year, so that it hardly every gets dark. The sun may dip down onto the horizon like a golden or bright orange eye, only to rise again fairly soon after.
What better way to celebrate balmy days and long light nights than with flowers, song and food?
For more stories, visit That’s My World!
Spring in Sweden is the colour purple. A riot of purples ranging from delicate pastel lilac to deep maroon.
The explosion of flowers meets its match with the dizzying fragrance of the lilac bushes as they droop under their burden of perfumed petals.
Looking up, you are surprised by the budding of the fir cones.
They hang from the branches like a luscious bunch of decadent maroon berries.
And, of course, no spring – or summer – here in Sweden is complete without long, light days and sun glinting on water.
This is the sagging jetty that we share with the ducks, swans and the Canadian geese.
Now, if only the rain would keep away so that spring can keep its purple promises…
You can join in the fun at: That’s My World!
So – what colour is YOUR spring?
I’m often asked what certain flowers and birds are called in English. I usually cover up my lack of knowledge by saying that they are called Bert or Sally or … You get the picture!
However, I have learnt the name of some spring flowers. After twelve years of living in Sweden, I suddenly decided to use the dictionary. Enterprising, I know!
Sometimes, I wonder if it is worth the trouble… You see, every spring beautiful flowers grace the forests with their lovely faces and prompt Swedes to ask me what they are called in English. When I tell them, they usually respond, “Wooden enemies? That’s a funny name for a flower!”
Yes – indeed!
They are really called wood anemones and are very plentiful in the spring.
It’s much easier when people want to know what these cheerful flowers are called:
The blue anemone is a protected flower in the Stockholm region – and that means we can enjoy looking at them in the woods, but we are not allowed to pick them. (By the way, this picture was taken by my 7-year-old daughter! )
OK. Sorry about that proud mama interlude!
Last week, her class walked around the lake to a special place where you can gaze in wonder at thousands of these perky little flowers in full blossom. The verdict? It’s like a magical carpet woven out of purple flowers!
For more fun, then go visit That’s My World!