Sunday, May 24, 2015

Visiting Gibraltar part 2 -- A Fascinating Rock

I hadn’t grasped how small and densely populated Gibraltar is: 2.6 square miles with over 30,000 people.

The bay teemed with commerce. 

The residents are packed in along the coast. Since the land rises steeply and Gibraltar has water on three sides driving is tricky. In the residential areas, cars weave through narrow streets. The essential tourist trip to the Top of the Rock is one-way, winding and sometimes motionless, with lines of vans carrying tourists.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Visiting Gibraltar--At the End of the Mediterranean

GibraltarGibraltar! A name of adventure. I had read of it in many novels; now I was eager to see it for myself.  Not only was there The Rock, but I also found monkeys, coastal plants and caves.

Gibraltar is, in the words of Wikipedia a "monolithic limestone promontory."  On the southern edge of Europe, it protrudes south into the Mediterranean, creating the spot where the passage from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic is the narrrowest. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Plant Story--Daphne, Attractive and Fragrant

Daphne odora

Winter daphne, also called fragrant daphne, Daphne odora, is a flowering shrub from Asia. It is in the plant family, Thymelaeaceae, which, because most of its members are Old World, is not well known to Americans. You could call the Thymelaeaceae the daphne family or the spurge laurel family. Daphnes are planted as garden shrubs.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Visiting Northern Colorado--June Flowers at Carter Lake

fringed puccoon, Lithospermum incisum
Check out the flowers at Carter Lake this spring!

This blog post shows flowers from early June 2014--soon to be visible again!

 We drove to the south end of Carter Lake, southern Larimer County, Colorado, and took a casual walk in the campground. It was very quiet on a weekday morning.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Plant Story-- Yellow Salsify, Tragopogon dubius, Weedy and Edible

Yellow salsify, a plant I always called goat's beard, Tragopogon dubius, is coming up as a weed all over my garden. Right now it looks like the picture below, a spidery little plant.

yellow salsify

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Visiting San Francisco -- Asian Influences

San Francisco

I recently wrote about Taiwan and Singapore as places to enjoy Chinese New Year celebrations. That made me think of places closer to home with rich Asian traditions--in particular, San Francisco. 

I lived in San Francisco for part of a year and across the Bay in Berkeley and Oakland for five. I have visited frequently since. I'm not particularly fond of cities, but I'm fond of San Francisco.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Visiting Taiwan--Taroko Gorge

Taiwan is an island off the coast of Asia, shaped, they say, like a sweet potato. (map). The Tropic of Capricorn runs through it about 2/3 of the way south, so the northern part of Taiwan is subtropical and the south in the tropics. A chain of mountains fills the center of Taiwan, high enough and rugged enough that they are quite wild. 

On the east (Pacific) side of the island, just north of the middle of Taiwan, Taroko Gorge brings water from the mountains down to the ocean. It is spectacular.

I was back in Taiwan in March 2015 on a tour with China Span led by photographer Keren Su. We drove across Taiwan at Toroko Gorge. 

Taroko Gorge, Taiwan