Wish I Was There . . . Again (Part 2)

Alhambra, Granada

A few posts ago, I shared some garden travel photos that I had found in a box in the attic.  They were from a time when photos were developed on film, the sort of pictures you could touch and flip through to relive the moments caught.

Today, however, I’m doing some digital cleaning.  There may not be any flipping through pictures, but there is clicking through snapshots of vacations gone by.

While I certainly love the hefty feel of an open photo album across my lap, any kind of photo can re-ignite the senses from a captured piece of time.  A picture is worth a thousand words, but so too is a pixel.

Like the photo above, for example, which was taken at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.  Each time I see this photo, I can imagine trysts and stolen kisses, plots and deceit — all hidden from view by the thick greenery . . .

But I’m jumping ahead.  I wanted to save the Spain photos for the end of this post.

Our first stop, then, is a brief stop in the southern United States.

I'm not one for whimsy in my own garden, but when I see it elsewhere, I can't help but smile and appreciate the gardener's sense of humor.

I’m not one for whimsy in my own garden, but when I see it elsewhere, I can’t help but smile and appreciate the gardener’s sense of humor. I believe this was in Charleston, South Carolina.

I believe this photo was taken outside of Savannah -- just don't hold me to it.

I think this photo was taken outside of Savannah, Georgia — just don’t hold me to it.

This one was definitely taken outside of Savannah, Georgia.

This one was definitely taken outside of Savannah, Georgia.

Scotland, for me, is one of the most magical, most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.  There are bagpipes, of course, and my ancestors once lived there, leaving the port of Glasgow hundreds of years ago for the New World — and that genealogy tale could be its own post.

Because it is so special to me, I feel I must add narration that’s longer than a caption.  The photo below was taken of a garden in Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides.  I say all this because this is my most northern journey, and the photo was taken in summer, late at night (notice the amount of sunlight).  That amazes me; the earth’s maneuvering so the northern hemisphere leans toward the sun, creating an incredibly long span of daylight in this part of the world.

It’s also amazing to see what does grow, because as long as a summer’s day is here, so too is a winter’s night — and yet gardeners are quite successful in coaxing blooms to appear.  As proof, I’d like to offer up these garden blogs from Scotland with love: Island ThreadsThe Scottish Country Garden, Gardening at the Edge, and Aberdeen Gardening.

Stornoway, Scotland

Stornoway, Scotland

While also on the Isle of Lewis, Joe and I visited the Callanish Standing Stones, a stone circle dating from 3000 BC to 1500 BC.  Inspired by Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, I kept walking in and out of the circle, hoping to fall into a vortex of time to the past.  Although I never traveled back in time — not even for a second, I did find myself fascinated by the ever-present thistle.


While driving through the Highlands, it’s important to stop and look behind you — or wherever the sun happens to be lighting up a hillside.  That way you can see what amounts to a living watercolor of thistles and heathers and grasses.

Scotland 5

And now for Spain. . .

The ruins of a water wheel in Cordoba.  This did not appear in any guidebook, but I like the way nature overtakes something not in use.

The ruins of a water wheel in Cordoba. This did not appear in any guidebook, but I like the way nature overtook something not in use.

The photo at the start of this post was taken at the Alhambra, a palace/fortress in the heart of Granada that is prized for its history, architecture, and gardens — which incorporate water in a way that is both practical and elegant.

Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Who says a garden can’t be made of candy?  This tasty display was found at the Mercat de lo Boqueria in Barcelona.

Barcelona, Spain, Candy

The final picture on our tour is also one of my most favorite photos of all time.  When Joe and I arrived in Pamplona, we checked into our hotel, climbed the stairs, and opened the window.  Leaning out to see our view, we realized the hotel was adjacent to a convent — and from our window we could see into its walled garden, where we spotted a lone nun.

Pamplona, Spain

I immediately wondered what she had been doing.  Planting?  Pruning?

And could I lend a hand?  Please?

Happy gardening and happy travels!

43 thoughts on “Wish I Was There . . . Again (Part 2)

  1. I love the waterwheel. It’s a little like looking at recent photos of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone: Mother Nature taking back places we’ve discarded and forgotten. There’s a hopeful feel – a hint that she may be able to heal her planet once we’ve gone.

    I’ve got to go unearth my Lucid Druid CD; I have this sudden urge to hear pipes.

    • Hi Ann. Well said. A few years ago, there was a show called “After People,” which predicted what would happen if people disappeared. Interesting to see the progression of nature reclaiming Earth. Happy listening. 🙂

  2. Kevin, they are all beautiful gardens and photos but I must say the one that piqued my interest and made me smile was the pig with the hat of flowers! What a whimsical touch that was. Thanks for brightening our rather bleak Wednesday. Sandi

    • Hi Lori. With a snowstorm approaching, I can honestly say that the only thing I truly enjoy about snow is seeing it fall on my knot garden. I love the structure — especially in winter. Be safe out there.

  3. These pictures are pure torture!!! I just had to postpone a much anticipated trip to England because a friend’s residency Visa hasn’t come through yet and she’s stuck in the US. I really wish I could click my heels together and visit all those places. I’ve been to Charleston and Savannah. LOVE THEM!

  4. Lovely holiday pictures, I haven’t been to Scotland but being from Norway I know what bright summers evenings and dark winters means. Gardening in our part of the world is mainly possible because of the lovely Gulf Stream coming from Florida, London is zone 9, many winters more like zone 10.

    I don’t travel anymore, my last trip was to southern Spain in 2008 to visit family. I enjoy travelling through other people’s photos though, thanks for the trip 🙂

    • Hi Helene. I was so surprised to see palm trees in the southwest corner of Scotland — but the effects of the Gulf Stream make perfect sense. Amazing what this planet is capable of! If you have an iPad, a very fun travel app is TourWrist. Travelers upload their 360 degree photos — so you could be in your living room but stand in a cathedral. Very cool!

  5. In all our travels, my fave place for gardens in this country is Savannah and Charleston.
    They just seem to do it right!
    I agree with Ann. I thought the same thing when I saw that water wheel.
    Thanks for sharing these!

    • Hi Sissy. That’s an interesting observation about the water wheel. In my response to Ann, I mentioned a recent show called “After People,” which looks at how the planet would change if people disappeared. Be well.

  6. Beautiful memories again, Kevin! The scottish purple hillside is fantastic, until you find yourself running down that slope full of thistles at least… I think thistle is one of the symbols of Scotland too, isn’t it?
    I always say I have to go to Alhambra. It must be amazing.

    • Hello Alberto. Yes, thistle is a huge part of Scotland. Its image is on everything — which is perfect since it’s everywhere! You would love the Alhambra — and you can drive to it. Take a very long weekend. 🙂

  7. Love your post! Thought u had traveled to visit my cousin in GA. But no just looked like his pond and garden. So finding out u r also of Scottish descent has me asking myself this question wonder how many gardeners r and is it just in our blood? Sometimes I feel as if I will suffocate if i can’t get my hands in the dirt. Keep up the good work! Spring is just around the corner, wishing u an early spring and bountiful summer!

    • Hello and welcome. I don’t know if the Scots are prone to gardening, but I think it is one of those genetic or heritage things — something that connects us to our ancestors, no matter our tribe or clan. Thanks for commenting, and warm thoughts right back at you.

  8. Wonderful photos! I’ve spent some time in Savannah, but that’s about it! I love the photos of Scotland. My grandmother was born and raised there, not coming to California until she was 15–and yet I have never been. You have had some wonderufl travel experiences!

    • Hi Debra. Savannah is easily one of the most walkable cities — and a treasure if you love gardening. So many gardens and courtyards in which to peek. And I do hope you get to travel to Scotland. Magical!

  9. hello Kevin, I haven’t been blogging and reading blogs so much recently but I am glad I caught this post, the garden in Stornoway I know well and pass frequently, it belongs to an elderly couple (like me) and you often see them working in it in the summer months, there is always something of interest it their garden.
    I travelled with your photos of Spain having visited both Granada and Cordoba in the 90’s, I never saw the waterwheel though, I’ll keep that in mind should I be lucky enough to visit again, the first time I visited the Alhambra I was lucky enough to join an evening visit to the gardens when they were lit up, it was beautiful.
    thank you very much for your link to my blog, Frances

    • Hi Frances. Great to hear from you — and I am so excited to learn that you are familiar with the Stornoway garden! The Alhambra was spectacular by day — I could only imagine what it would be like at night. If I return, I’ll take your suggestion. Be well!

  10. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Window | Nitty Gritty Dirt Man

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