Saturday, June 25, 2016

Ostia: Nature and Antiquity

I was always interested in Ostia Antica and in May when I've been to Italy I finally could visit this ancient city. The beautifully preserved ruins of Ostia lie twenty miles from Rome. By the 2nd century AD, it had become a flourishing commercial center inhabited by upwards of 100,000 people, whose apartment buildings, taverns, and grocery shops are still intact. But later the river Tiber became shallow, and changed its mainstream.
Tyrrhenian Sea waves covered the city with water and silt.

It was striking impression when I walked down the ancient city. Main street, then I turned into the lane. Well preserved ruins of buildings and mosaics were everywhere but the nature tried to recapture its territory occupied by the ancient Romans. 

Plants made their way among the bricks of the ancient walls, through the lime obtained by burning the ancient city's marble.
It was completely silence... No modern houses, roads or telephone wires were visible. I could hear only the crickets in the umbrella-like pines. Many of pines were covered with lianas and vines extending along the trunks to the tops.

Walking along Ostia's main street I've seen deep ruts left by four-wheeled carts used to ferry merchandise and baggage between Rome and Ostia and millions of poppies growing on the both sides of the main road. Tall cypresses, pines, bushes have grown between walls, statues, on squares.

Behind the theater is the Forum of the Corporations, so called because the offices of sixty-four maritime companies. Now dandelions, poppies, oats and veronica reigned on the ground in front of each office. 

I found a cluster of four-story apartment buildings that were inhabited by middle-class families. Many of buildings still have the ground floor shops, kitchens with pipes that channeled hot running water.
It was lunch time and I decided to sit in an ancient room and have a snack. Quietness, high pines, a riot of wild flowers and trees was around me.

Have you been before to such ancient places? 
What is your opinion about nature displacing antiquity?
Would you like to visit a place like Ostia Antica?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

GBBD in Mid-June 2016


This year June became to me the month of many surprises. Why? Because the plants survived the rainy and icy winter even those of which I had forgotten. For example Ismene or Hymenocallis. I kept the bulbs in a corridor that was very cold when outside was -24 C (0 F).  During the winter storage bulbs were in good condition and now young Ismene are blooming in the garden.

I wonder how many lilies of the valley are in bloom in a shady corner near the pond. 3 years ago I bought in the Garden Center a single lily dried root, I planted it and since then have never seen flowers. It turns out the root had grown and gave a lot of leaves and flowers this year. I walk along the pond feeling scent of lilies of the valley.
Near the new fence the plants wintered better, I think the fence protected them against the northern wind and frost. The lawn in the front garden is green and I'm glad the bed with Geranium, decorative onions and Geum coccineum is coloful.

Tall and very hardy Canadian rose 'Therese Bugnet' started to flower, I love its strong scent! Canadian rose grows near a red-leaved bush, it's Physocarpus opulifolius, it shades the rose and nicely flowers in June.

I love another decorative bush in my garden - it's Cornus alba sibirica, it's in bloom now, but its flowers are too simple.

To tell the truth I had never liked the Centaurea montana and considered them wild flowers. As they reminded me of bur that was always growing along the road to the river. Centaurea montana is now flowering near Primula and Bergenia and goes well after they finish blooming.

I'd sowed Viola seeds last autumn in a pot and put it in the greenhouse. Despite the bad winter flowers sprouted and now the multi colorful viola adorns a bed.
This wild white tea rose unknown variety appeared itself in my garden and I loved its hardiness and scent. It flowers once in June for 20 days.

Another one is a fragrant rose Rugosa, it gives lovely bright orange fruit in autumn, I love their taste and they are known in medicine as a valuable source of vitamin. Both wild roses attract many bees and bumblebees to my garden.

Despite of cool days and cold nights my veggies grow little by little, I cover some of them (beet, carrot) and feed fertilizers to protect from cold nights. I show you some of them:

Beet, carrot, celery and green onion

gooseberry and small apple

I'm hoping this summer is warm finally and all my flowers and veggies grow well.
Do you grow flowers and veggies in your garden? 
What do you think: are your own veggies ecological or not?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Color and Expression by Artist Alexey Zaitsev

I'm sure your gardens are full of flowers and joy! (sorry my friends from another hemisphere, you're in winter now). If you have some minutes to unwind I want to introduce you to an artist whom I was unfamiliar with till these days. Recently I've seen his works.
Alexey Zaitsev was born in Ryazan, in central Russia, graduated faculty of Book Graphic and participated to some art exhibitions as: 
1993 Art exhibition, Budapest, Hungary 
1993 Art exhibition, Jakarta, Indonesia 
1995 Personal exhibition, Moscow -Tbilisi, Russia

He is always on the go: Volga river, little old towns and villages in central Russia. He paints landscapes and genre scenes, still life, portraits, urban compositions - under the fresh impression.

Later in his studio, the artist creates oil canvases, and as it's written on his site: “he tries to get rid of unnecessary detail, achieving perfection and elegance. The distinguishing feature of his works is an unusual composition of color and expressiveness”. 

I do agree with these words. Looking attentively at Alexey's paintings I noticed that he paints in details the main part of the canvas (flower heads, stems, petals, leaves, faces or clothes, fence, etc) and he paints without any details auxiliary components of the work (background, sky, bushes, fields, road, etc)

It reminds me the macro photography when you see the main piece in focus and others parts are blurred.

What is your opinion on this kind of art? What can you say about Alexey's paintings? What of his painting you'd like to have in your living room?