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.
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 Threads, The Scottish Country Garden, Gardening at the Edge, and Aberdeen Gardening.
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.
And now for Spain. . .
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.
Who says a garden can’t be made of candy? This tasty display was found at the Mercat de lo Boqueria in Barcelona.
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.
I immediately wondered what she had been doing. Planting? Pruning?
And could I lend a hand? Please?
Happy gardening and happy travels!