theharmoniousgarden


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medieval transylvania

Okay okay. I’m aware this started out as a gardening blog (who needs another travel blog, right?!), but I can’t really control myself. Having entered our third ‘winter’ this summer – London temperatures are currently on par with the southern hemisphere’s winter – the gardening scene is decidedly flat around here. Which is why I’m going to share with you some flora and fauna from a recent mini-break to rural Transylvania in central Romania.

The focus of this particular trip was to visit some of the fortified churches that dot the Transylvanian countryside. There are over 150 still surviving, and the one photographed here is in Viscri. And true to form when I’m travelling, I had my camera on ‘macro’ mode to zoom in on the visual feast on display! As you can see from all the insects, this place is positively buzzing with life! And how adorable to see that hundreds of years on the grasses are still bearing flowers (eg comfrey, buttercups, clover, wild berries) most likely around when the church was established back in the 13th century! And the wildflower meadows around the village were sensational!

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And here’s a little bit of trivia for you: after some tough economic times, this region’s local farmers are the leading suppliers of elder flower for the UK drinks market! I’ve been so inspired by my visit to this beautiful region and its abundance of butterflies, bees, and other insects that I’m seriously considering ditching my own domestic gardening attempts and turning my whole garden into an urban wildflower meadow!

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winter gardens at the people’s palace

With families abroad and friends out of town, my partner and I decided to take a roadtrip around Scotland over Christmas. Like the rest of the UK, it poured (almost) the entire time. It didn’t matter, because the country is so beautiful you don’t even notice the rain. As long as you’re wrapped in plastic and have your wellies on.

We started our vacation in Glasgow, and some friendly locals suggested we head to the People’s Palace, a museum of social history for the city. While I enjoyed the museum, what I (and the Glaswegians, I suspect) love most are the attached winter gardens.

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To be fair, it was unashamedly indulgent with all manner of tropical and subtropical plants jammed in together (they even had cunjevoi – an Australian native I haven’t seen since my childhood!). But hey, we’re talking about the people’s palace, so why should it be restrained?! And with its giant Christmas tree, mass plantings of poinsettia, and Magic FM piped through the overhead speakers, it was the perfect start to our Scottish Christmas adventure.