Sometimes a plant becomes an obsession. That is the way I feel about Agave parryi. It is definitely one of the few Agaves which always present a great show whenever they are encountered. There are variations in the species exhibiting many forms. I love them all. I love the truncatas, the couesis, and even the distant cousin neomexicana. In habitat they are even more attractive, and are definitely worth the sometimes perilous journey to observe. They are exceedingly tough plants which can handle unpredictable wintry conditions very well. Therefore, if you are that way inclined. and would like to try your hand at growing, seeds are the easiest route to take. Careful nurturing will ensure their survival. And that way you can never have too much of them.
This is my second visit to China, and I was very impressed to to be in what is now the largest city in the world. It is definitely more of the metropolis landmark than Beijing, which I had visited last year. I was staying at the Novotel Shanghai Atlantis in Pudong, and from my room on the 31st floor, the view was fantastic. Just as I was told, Shanghai does display all the signs of a vibrant financial centre, and convinces you, without a doubt, that it is the best place to do business.
To get there, I took a long journey with Qatar Airways. It involved a six hour afternoon flight from London to Doha, and yes I finally made it to city in the Middle East. But it was not for very long , just two hours later, I was headed for a nine hour flight to Shanghai, which had me arriving the following day in the afternoon. The experience was very revealing, and full of surprises to me, as I was passing through that part of the world for the first time.
Although intending to make this visit many years ago on my first visit to the Mexico City ,I finally managed this year, and believe me I was not disappointed. The setting in Coyoacan, a very attractive area of the city, does prepare you for what I feel is a very small sized, and yet exceptional museum.
You can avoid the crowds, by making arrangements to buy your ticket early. But I did not, and truly believed the long queue was all part of the fun. I was also particularly impressed by the fact that they offered me the senior rate even though I was a foreign visitor.
If you ever make it to Mexico city, this is a must see, the art studio setting also dragged me back to the days when I was art Art College in the UK. I felt a great need to drag out the brushes and start creating masterpieces all again. Like so much of this city, the local culture encourages a urgent need to express yourself.
Sometimes I feel the need for an island experience, and the best way to satisy that need is to visit one. What better way to start than by boarding a plane and heading to the Caribbean. This time the choice is Trinidad and I have given myself just over a week to explore. Enjoy some of the photos I made while on my selective journey towards the interior.
October 1st, the Chinese National Day, I intended to rise early and take in the expected celebrations in Tiananmen Square. I did not make it. Still jet-lagged from my ten hour flight from London, I overslept. Rising swiftly, I quickly got dressed, and grabbed some breakfast downstairs in the restaurant, at the excellent Novotel Hotel where I was staying
in the downtown area of Dongcheng, and headed for the ‘Forbidden City’ complex.
Today called the Palace Museum – (The locals call it Gu-Gong which means Ancient Palace), it offers a striking insight about the Emperors who ruled China many years ago. It was so impressive that I spent a whopping five hours there; walking through an imperious Meridan Gate, gliding into numerous halls of Harmony and Palaces, all offering splendid architectural styles of the day. And then on towards the revealing Treasure Gallery with its minature icons, and finally exiting through the Imperial Garden. Enjoy the photos.
It is the month of the year when the weather is fine, or should be. It is definitely the season to watch my plants grow. It is also the time to grab your camera and capture the blooms.
Aeoniums and Puyas do not fit perfectly together. But in this garden they were numerous. The puya species are not difficult to grow, but they do need patience especially because of their many awkward spines. Another consideration is that they do grow quite large, and do need careful staging when grown in the garden. Aeoniums are very much more easy to deal with, especially as cuttings, because growing from seeds can take forever.
Tecoma Stans and Uncarina Decaryi! What a lovely colour coded combination. The Tecomas are very commom in the tropical zones, and are quit easy to propagate. Theie resplendent yellow blooms are a godsend. The Uncarinas are very new caudex style plants, and do not like to experience cold. Care must be taken, even though they will do nicely in greenhouse culture.
Brachychiton and Euphorbia make a very unusual combination. Euphorbias are quite commom in various combinations wherever we go. The Brachychitons are less well known, as they hail all the way from Austrailia. The Brachychiton Bidwillii is even quite rare, and is never expected in any average botanical garden.
Here are some Aloes and Cacti , two genre of plants which are well known.
More Euphorbias, Aloes and Aeoniums!
If you ever make the journey to Las Palmas, make sure you save sometime for the Jardin Canario. Situated on the outskirts of the city, you will fine it in an incredible setting. Whichever way you approach, prepare for a dramatic climb, but you do not have to do it all at once. I started at the top, gradually and gently winding my way downwards, admiring the species of plants as I walked along. At the base you will be confronted with a dramatic presentation of native plants and succulents; the walk becomes easier, and you can enjoy the quiet ambiance of this tranquil setting.