Hello, hello! I’m back, safe and alive and I got proof:
Although some of you might have even think I succumbed over shingles, well keep in mind that I’m like bindweed: I never die.
It’s been a very, very, very hot and dry summer. It didn’t last long, thank God, but it heated enough to burn a good part of my garden, I’ve lost some plants to drought and moles and the great part of my summer glories lasted too short, erased by a merciless sun. Add to the picture that I couldn’t stay ahead with weeding and you obtain a rough idea of the mess my garden looks like. Result: a massive loss of interest in gardening and a total closure about the blogging thing. I’ve been missing you, though, I guess I’ll have a bit of a catch up to do now.
We just spend a week in Berlin, climate there is definitely cooler than Italy, barely chilly I’d say, but fortunately as soon as we came back home the weather had changed here too and the hot summer seems to have left space to some rainfall and some reasonable temps. Living in the garden seems possible again and despite the weeds and other issues I feel I can still make some projects.
But I’ll tell you about my garden in further posts, I’d like to tell you something about Berlin today. It’s been on my wish-list for a long time and I’m very happy I could finally pay it a visit. It’s a big city, bigger than I’d expected but very easy to walk around and with good public transport (underground stations look rather shabby and bare, though) , a great number of places to eat (worryingly too much, I’d say), great museums, great modern architecture mixed up with what remained of the German neoclassic after the War. I liked living the city and hanging around wondering whether I was on the East or West side of the Wall. Nowadays, after more than 20 years the ex-GDR looks even more modern than the West Side, yet the presence of the Wall is very strong, not as a boundary anymore but as a deep wound that is difficult to heal. I don’t want to talk about politics here, I’m not the right person and I’m not even in the right place for such topics, I’d just like to share with you what I felt during this trip.
Visiting the German Parliament didn’t leave me indifferent either. A fence made with laser-carved transparent panels read the German Constitution, consonant rich words floating and glistening in the air, over those powerful buildings.
The Jewish Museum is a place everybody should pay a visit to. The building is a masterpiece itself, with empty spaces (called Voids) capable of provoking strong feelings to the visitors.
The East Side Gallery and the Checkpoint Charlie are other two spots that impressed me a lot. The Wall thing, as I wrote above, but also all those Graffiti, ‘unrolled’ over cold plaster panels, just like a camera roll, recording history. And Hope. The first two pictures of this post have been taken at the East Side Gallery, an open air museum made of some Kilometers of still existing Wall. The trabant was a car produced on the GDR, its breaking through the Wall is an iconic image. Another image that I enjoyed was the famous kiss between Breznev and Honecker, a fraternal kiss, normal in Russia but reporting the quote both in Russian and German: My God, help me to survive this deadly love, that gives to the whole thing an ironic and kind of queer accent. The bear is the symbol of Berlin and we found these big bears coloured like some expensive fancy cows you can find everywhere lately. I liked the idea though. Ah-hum, speaking of queers, in the picture I was just checking if it growls. It doesn’t.
Berlin is also a very green city, full of parks and trees, and although I couldn’t find anything really interesting under a gardening point of view, I’ve been pleasantly surprised in finding an open border with perennials and grasses and some drought tolerant bushes (although you can’t really talk about ‘drought’ in north Germany…) all in the middle of Tiergarten, the wide green heart of Berlin.
A central stream of silver leaved artemisia made a kind of diagonal line through heleniums in various hot hues, asters, and many other perennials and grasses such as stipa tenuissima and various molinias and miscanthus. There were also eupatorium scattered here and there and silver leaved bushes like sea buckthorn and eleagnus. All surrounded by deep green, tall trees.
The white buttons I guess it’s a white form of knautia, or scabiosa or some of those things by the way. I liked it paired with deep red heleniums. The border was set in a slightly rounded slope, making it look like a big embrace and giving a little sense of dizziness to the observer. The ‘fish eye’ effect is not given by the camera settings, it was real.
Ok I’m keeping the treat for the end… Did you think I wished ‘welcome home’ to myself? Although after a trip and a long absence from blogging I feel kind of come home, in many senses, but we have some new entries on the family! Please meet the kittens:
They’re 2 month old brother and sister and they don’t have a name yet. I can only snap a picture while they’re asleep but I promise I’ll try my best to post a better one in the future. The red haired is a devil, fortunately the female is more calm and sweet. So far they have been welcomed very happily by Mina that against any expectation is always playing with them. Rudy is always a little scared of kids of any kind but I count on him to get over it. Tigre is not very happy with the newbies but at least she didn’t pack and disappear as I was afraid of. Any name suggestion for the kittens will be welcomed. I have Ginger in mind for the female, what do you reckon?