Sunday Trees : Nostalgic

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Crystal Palace, madrid

“Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself at its most brilliant~ Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)

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Crystal Palace, Madrid

I am nostalgic to many places and events but for now I decided to combine Sunday trees theme and Lens-artistis-photo-challenge theme.

These images are taken at the El Retiro park in Madrid during our recent visit. I would love to visit Madrid again and spend a day in this beautiful park.

El Retiro Park : Covering over 125 hectares and comprising more than 15,000 trees, El Retiro Park is a green oasis in the heart of the city. In it you’ll find all kinds of interesting monuments and gardens, including the Jardín de Vivaces, the Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez (Andalusian-inspired classicistic gardens), the Jardines del Arquitecto Herrero Palacios, the Rosaleda rose garden and the Parterre Francés.

A note: When we came out of the metro station El Retiro, I wanted to take street shot, only to realize that I forgot to insert battery in the camera. Which was still in the charger at the hotel near Opera.  😦 😦 😦  One possibility was to explore the park and take pictures using our mobile phones but looking at my face, my husband suggested that we get back to hotel and bring the battery. Due to some maintenance work on the tracks between Sol and Opera it took almost an hour and half to get back to the same place.

A popular though steep trail in Bergen

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Spectacular view of Bergen city from Stoltzekleiven, which is one of the most popular trails in Bergen. It is a steep paved trail and stairs with approximately 722 steps up to Sandviksfjellet. Sandviksfjellet is one of the traditional seven mountains that surround the city centre of Bergen.

For Tuesday Photo Challenge

 

Weekend 77: Rhododendron

This morning I told Kate about my plan to visit Rhododendron section in arboretum and I managed and I am really happy about it as it’s going to rain tomorrow and as per our weather forecast department we might see more snow on Monday.

weekend77_1Rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal, the state flower of Sikkim in India and the state flower of West Virginia and Washington. It is is a genus of 1,024 species of woody plants in the heath family. I am sure I have seen more than 100 plants/shrubs and I found it difficult to see the exact difference between two similar plants with similar colour. All were gorgeous.

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All the parts of Rhododendrons are dangerous, especially leaves, showing symptoms of Stomach irritation, abdominal pain, abnormal heart rate and rhythm, convulsions, coma, death. Honey made from the nectar of Rhododendron flowers is also toxic and should not be consumed.

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Azaleas make up two subgenera of Rhododendron. They are distinguished from “true” rhododendrons by having only five anthers per flower. I wanted to see the Christopher Wren Mollis Hybrid Azalea (the above bud). The Mollis deciduous azalea hybrids were developed in Belgium. These are orange azaleas which were yet to bloom. They might be ready in next couple of days.

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It was good to see many smiling faces.

Weather and the flowers change human behaviour in a good way.

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None the less, I enjoyed the beauties today and was quite surprised seeing various shades of blue. Each one was different yet more gorgeous than others.

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Rhododendrons are referred to as the King of Shrubs since they are regarded by many as the best flowering evergreen plants for the temperate landscape

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Jo’s Monday Walk

For more information:

https://www.theflowerexpert.com/content/mostpopularflowers/morepopularflowers/rhododendron

A tour to Norwegian cherry farm

For Jo’s Monday walk, today we shall take a tour to a farming village called Lærdal in Norway where major agriculture production includes potatoes, apricots, oats, raspberries and most of all cherries. Sweet cherries or Morello cherries, originally from China now grown in Norway are popular and are sold in majority of grocery stores in Norway. The cherry production in this region is more than 200 tons and accounts for half of the total cherry production in Norway.

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To learn about Norwegian farm life and its challenges we took a guided tour/walk with one of the renowened farmers of this region.  His talk also includes the following topics:

  • Cherries – varieties, root stocks, tree architecture and cover systems in operation
  • Testing and benchmarking for the cherry varieties:  The Canadian varieties from Summerland reseach: Van, Lapins and Sweet Hart, and the European: Regina (Germany), Kordia  (Czeck rep) and Girgia (Italian)
  • Ideas around robotics and drone monitoring in fruit orchards

Long growing season, soft light, good soil and plenty of fresh water give the cherries the good taste. Cherries or Moreller tastes best when they have a deep dark red color and kept on room temperature.

The Norwegian agriculture has by far the strictest rules. It’s one of the reasons why one can safely eat cherries and other norwegian proctuct.  Our tour also included

  •  Visit to Lærdal Grønt Pack House to study the operation of cherry grading machine that will deliver more then 200 tons of cherries to the Norwegian market this year (about 50% of Norwegian production)
  • Discussing ideas around big data and cherry grading based on the 30 pictures pr cherry data optical grading system
  • Visit to “Smak av Sogn Landhandel” local & regional food and drink shop

Nurturing Thursday: Leave your comfort zone

Yesterday was yearly skiday/tour day at my office. There were 3 major possibilities  down hill ski, cross country ski or walking/hiking tour. Here comes a twist, (not really) last week we had a few days with some sunshine. Last two days were dark, wet and cold. There were lot of “to be or not to be” discussions but apparently I decided to join the walking tour despite of bad weather forecast.

For this week’s Nurturing Thursday theme, I would like to share a great quote by Neale Donald Walsch, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

This is so true! If I would have said NO yesterday, I would have missed a great deal of fun, fresh air, team building spirit and most of all my confidence. Here are two photos to justify 🙂

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