Sunday, December 24, 2017

Path to a better place...

Who doesn't love a path? Like orange sunsets and woodsy waterfalls, sandy coves and mountain views, a path curving in a garden like this is an archetype that triggers pretty much the same emotion in everyone, I suspect. Mystery, curiosity, what's next around the corner?

These paths I'm showing in this rather uncharacteristic blog (not many mug shots of blooming alpines here!)  were all taken at Copenhagen Botanic Garden's remarkable rock garden. Not perhaps as famous as Kew, Edinburgh, Gothenburg's or Munich, the rock garden here in Denmark is every bit as complex, extremely well laid out, with thousands of perfectly grown plants that are extremely well labeled...and paths and views galore.

This should give you a sense of how rich the plantings are--but notice how the tetragonal cobblestone paths set the garden off. Many European botanic gardens have this sort of path, which I envied enormously. I despaired that we'd never have anything like this in Colorado, then a few months ago I noticed that a large section of Monaco Avenue near my house had an island paved with exactly this same kind of rock. I've GOT to find out where they got it! These pictures, by the way, were almost all taken this past September 6, 2017 on my last visit. This garden is wonderful any time of year!

As wonderful as this Muhlenbeckia axillaris is (and it is remarkable), the arc of stone around it sets it off. Lao Tzu observed that the empty space is what makes the bowl useful.

I was surprised to see how well Tanacetum densum ssp. amani grew in Europe. It was just as lusty at Kew. I love the way it tumbles down to the path...

 I never take enough pictures like this, showing the various levels complex gardens like this display: the two fellows in this picture didn't sign release forms--I suppose they can sue me. Don't tell them, please!

The bright light beyond beckons you out of the woods. Humanins have experienced this sensation for millions of years.

There are two kinds of gardeners in the world--those who have paths like this crowded with plants, and those who have trim lawns.

This greenhouse was closed the day I visited: the botanic garden in Copenhagen worries me a bit: aside from the world class rock garden, the other areas were restricted and some were desolate and unkempt. I worry about the staffing. The overall management appears to NOT be directed by botanists (there were many signs about the Geological museum--which may be the overlord). Rocks matter, but botany and horticulture do as well. I hope this gem of a garden follows a better path in the future!

Another greenhouse I couldn't visit. Looks to be very well maintained...but what good does it do if visitors are locked out? Paths must not be blocked! Libraries and coffee shops as well should be open day and night and never close!

I cannot say how much I admire this mass of Bergenia ciliata:  my very first visit (see below) it was in full bloom. Although this is the only deciduous bergenia, it's still my favorite for the wonderfully furry leaves. I wrote a whole post about the plant--click here if you need a plant mug shot fix!

Here's a flashback to May 3, 2013 to the same slope I photographed above: pretty spectacular difference, don't you think?

And I end on a path not far from the rock garden, through a peculiar complex of beds that are displaying native plants and weeds (and perhaps displaying a bit of complacence as well)...

America is currently being dragged down a distressing path at the behest of the strangest agglomeration of bad circumstances (aided and abetted by vast sums of oligarchical money domestic and foreign)...but as this most amazing year comes to a close--a year that was enormously rewarding for me personally and professionally, and utterly devastating for my hopes for my country...I would like to hope we might find ourselves on a sunnier path, one leading my beloved country (and Copenhagen botanic garden) to a better, more righteous and rewarding place.


  1. “… Another greenhouse I couldn't visit.”

    Maybe the reason the two greenhouses were closed is because the botanic garden had things they did not want to lose.

  2. You are generous to think that, James. I think the reason they're closed is because the Garden is underfunded and undersupported. In a city like Copenhagen and a government like Denmark (possibly the most enlightened country in the world), this is really unconscionable. There are serpents even in paradise.


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