Thursday, 3 May 2018

And the weather breaks

After ~4 days of overcast, driving rain and miserable cold, Tuesday dawned...

...overcast, rainy and cold.

But that all changed at noon when the clouds finally broke and the sun came out. We had to get outside despite the chilly weather to take advantage of it, so walked across town, past pretty tram lines...
I like when they do the grass thing
...past the Dutch military moving bits of road up a canal...
What? It even has lines. the Botanical Garden. The garden's not big, but it's really well done. Obviously more set up for locals than us visitors, some of the descriptions take a while to figure out.

What's not hard to figure out is how important the gardens were to identifying, introducing and protecting plant species not just from the Netherlands but from wherever the Dutch East India Company would go. This story on coffee, for instance.
Who knew?
There were lots of interesting and rare things in the garden, including endangered trees only found in "captivity", the world's oldest potted plant, and others. There were birds...
Not rare, but photogenic
...and bees. There was a wonderful show on called "Table Topics", looking at plants we eat, how they get to the table, and food through history.
Artfully laid out lettuce. Prettier than your vegetable garden
There are several exceptional greenhouses, including one dedicated to palms.
The Palm greenhouse
Sparse but pretty
Three others are interconnected and feature tropical, desert and the South African Cape. Why the Cape? Because it's the smallest of the globe's defined unique bioregions.
Pretty pool 
Birds of Paradise, of two kinds... 
Cactus flowers 
This succulent demonstrates the Fibonacci sequence 
A pretty flower
Patterns in ferns
A great photo by Karen of a fern
While we were in the greenhouses, a bride and groom were there getting their wedding pics done. Even I was impressed by her wedding dress.
The photographer primps the dress 
You don't see a lot of fuchsia wedding dresses 
Posing for the photographer 
Heck of a setting 
Dress details
And... they have a butterfly garden, which is hot and humid and almost kills you to stay in it for any length of time. But, you get to commune with about 500 butterflies who like to pose for you.
Big dude 
Dramatic orange dude 
Stripy guy 
Looking a little worse for wear 
Black and orange guy 
More dramatic orange guys 
More stripes 
A different big one 
More black & white 
4 at once
We really enjoyed the garden despite it's size. We walked home from there, too, which by my measurements is ~4 km. On our way home, we saw them setting up for the May 4 Remembrance Day and May 5 Liberation Day celebrations.
Cranes erect a stage and bleacher on the Amstel River

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