May 19, 2015

Peony and other beauties

Quite a few years ago I planted a little tree peony bush (Paeonia suffruticosa) in our garden. I bought it in a garden centre because I liked the picture of its pink flowers presented on a label and based on described growing conditions I decided the peony could grow happily here. It did and though they say the plant doesn't tolerate replanting easily, it even survived when we needed to move it into a different part of the garden. It doesn't grow way too quickly but every spring it is covered with impressive buds and then flowers which I'll never grow tired of being looking at.

In autumn those beautiful flowers turn into quite interesting ovaries. I'm going to collect and dry a few of them and add them to my still life photography props. (You know, the other day I saw similar dried ovaries in a hobby centre and remembered the peony immediately...)

A few days ago I went to the garden with the intention to take a few photos there and my first steps headed towards the peony. When I got closer and chose a flower I wanted to portray, I noticed there was quite a big green beetle sitting inside. I was surprised to see another beetle sitting inside a near flower as well and eventually I found out that there were quite many of them sitting or moving inside the flowers, apparently drinking the nectar. Some of them had a nice shining wing case, others had their wing case scratched and worn. I wonder whether it might have corresponded to their age or perhaps to how adventurous they were? :)

Based on the beetle's appearance and behaving, I identified it as a Rose Chafer (Cetonia aurata). I found two quite interesting facts regarding rose chafers. Firstly, though they have quite hard looking wing cases, they keep them down when flying, which means the wing cases stay closed in the air and just the wings are out. Secondly, according to Wikipedia "The metallic green colouring of the beetle is caused by the reflection of mostly circularly polarised light, typically left circularly polarised light. When viewed through a right circular polariser, the beetle appears to be colourless." How curious is that?

I decided to take more photos in the garden this year to document it better. I've been key-wording my archive photos lately and I've found it very interesting to get back in time and see how the garden and the plants looked those years ago. Look at this Saxifraga × arendsi that is decorating my rock garden at the moment... Wasn't the capture worth the time and effort?

Or having captured the tulip, beautifully contrasting a Hosta...

...which has just unrolled its leaves. 

I've just replanted my Hostas and hope they will like their new place. They are very decorative plants and I only regret that they don't keep their leaves throughout winter.

A garden may become a friend one loves to visit and spend time with, including all the work that needs to be done and all the effort that needs to be made. A garden may also become an enemy if the work and time consumed don't seem worth the results. I feel fortunate enough to have the garden as a friend that inspires me and challenges me year after year...

April 28, 2015

Spring wandering

Every year, when cherry trees open their beautiful white flowers and enchant me with their charm, I feel compelled to go and capture the beauty. Last year I missed that occasion which doesn't last very long but this year I took advantage of a nice weekend afternoon and asked my husband to go with me to the cherry tree orchard situated near our village. I intended to take a few captures there and go home but my husband took advantage of that stroll to get much further and eventually we explored the surroundings of our village much more thoroughly. 

The following photo was taken just at the beginning of the village. I love that fresh greenery of the little leaves and tend to capture this spot repeatedly. It's interesting to compare the captures taken throughout the years as they are and yet they are not the same.

The orchard is a nice place but this time it seemed a bit neglected and instead of shooting we were discussing its condition. 

There must be a lot of work to be done to keep the orchard in shape and the trees are old and may not have enough good quality fruit any more so the work may not pay off.

Then we got to the fields and meadows stretching around the village and some places looked very nice...

Along the way we saw several hunter's stands and started a few deer does... 

Well, it was much easier to get a photo of such a stand than a photo of any of the does as they always took us by surprise. They were hidden in the fields and among bushes and until they started to run, away from us of course, we had no idea they were there. Here is one of the hunter's stands:

We also saw evidence of boars having been there but fortunately we didn't start any of them, hopefully they were far enough.

Eventually we got back to the village but from quite a different direction than I had expected. I was pleased to take this photo at an old dilapidated house we were passing by: 

We got home tired, with our clothes and shoes dirty from mud, but enormously pleased. It was a great afternoon!

April 19, 2015


When returning home from Křivoklát, we stopped for a while by a group of buildings we noticed along the way and which arose our curiosity. 

We found out that the complex represents a regional museum and gallery Mariánská Týnice which has been placed in the premises of a former Cistercian pilgrimage destination. When I read that the museum was opened in 1952, I wasn't much surprised as the fifties, having been under the communist rule, were quite unfavourable to religious orders and religion generally. On the other hand, the buildings were preserved in this way and that's valuable.

It is noteworthy that the church and the provost office were built according to plans of Jan Santini, a Bohemian architect of Italian descent, whose major works represent the unique Baroque Gothic style. 

We didn't enter any of the buildings as we were already tired and eager to go home, we just contented ourselves with the exteriors and with getting some idea about the place. 

There is a nice door inside the old walls above...

and a nice paving covers the yard.

In the back I discovered a door which was old and blotchy but beautifully decorated...

And two more with interesting design. You can imagine I could stay there much longer and be looking for interesting details...


I'm so glad we made that detour and I think it would be a great idea to return there during another season, let's say in summer when the trees would be covered with leaves and the yard would be decorated with flowers… or in winter when the premises are covered with snow…