Archive for 08/04/2013

PicPost: Great Garden @ Buddha Eden, Portugal

‘The Buddha Eden Garden is an area of about 35 hectares designed and conceived by Comendador José Berardo in response to the destruction of the Giant Bamyan Buddhas, sculpted in the rocks of the valley of Bamyan in central Afghanistan and which had for centuries been a cultural and spiritual reference.

Comendador Berardo was profoundly shocked by the attitude of the Taliban Government, which intentionally destroyed these unique monuments of World Heritage, considered acts of cultural barbarism which attempted to erase from memory the art of the late Gandhara period. In 2001, in response to this loss he initiated another of his dreams, the creation of an extensive oriental garden in honour of those colossal Buddhas….’

Source: Buddha Eden website

Rethinking Childhood

I’m devoting my 100th blog post to a look back over the previous 99, and over the 20 months or so since my first post. It is a chance for me to think about the process of blogging – and an invitation to you to check out some material that you may have missed.

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Entrance to the Estrela gardenFollowing my article about Portuguese Heritage Gardens, I thought I’d turn my attention to a few of my favourite public gardens in that country. I’m beginning with one of my real favourites, one I love to return to when I’m in Lisbon (not that that’s very often!).

It’s the Estrela Garden (the Jardim da Estrela or Garden of the Star) which has a wonderful blend of exotic, artful, friendly charm with an atmosphere from the best of classic 19th century neighbourhood parks and gardens. It’s no surprise, then , that it remains as one of the most popular gardens in Lisbon. The orignal layout – 19th century romantic landscape style – features plenty of exotic plants and a central pond.
It is known officially as the Jardim Guerra Junqueiro (Junqueiro was a famous poet and politician who was a key figure in the downfall of the Portuguese monarchy and the establishment of the Portuguese Republic in 1910). In the 1840s the governor of Lisbon saw the need for a public garden in the densely populated city, and thanks to a donation by a wealthy baron, the governor was able to acquire the area  (5 acres) opposite the Estrela Basilica. Work on building the garden started in 1842 but due to the outbreak of war and financial difficulties, it didn’t open to the public for another ten years.

The gardens are laid out in a landscaped style with plenty of exotic trees, cacti, flower beds and a pond with fountains. The garden is especially popular with locals who come here during weekends to socialize, stroll along the paths, have a drink at the café, or play cards at one of the permanent tables among the trees.

The garden was designed by gardeners Bonard and João Francisco and it originally featured several romantic structures such as a gazebo and a Chinese pavilion. These structures are no longer there, but there are plenty of sculptures and a 19th century wrought iron bandstand, originally located at the site of the City’s main boulevard, Avenida da Liberdade. It was moved here in 1936.

After the creation of the Portuguese republic, several statues were installed in the park, the most expressive of which is of a farmer (sculptor Costa Mota,1913).  There is another of a female nude known as ‘O Despertar’ (sculptor Simões de Almeida).The most famous statue in the park is probably that of the Guardadora de Patos (keeper of the ducks) – a limestone replica of the marble original from 1914, it shows the protagonist of a popular fairy tale. Other statues include a dog spouting water from its mouth and 3 other busts depicting poets and an actor. More recent additions include a children’s playground and a pond-side cafe. The garden hosts the annual  Out Jazz festival – on Sunday afternoons during this time (usually May), Jardim Estrela will be alive with music and people enjoying the Sunday evening jazz in the open air auditorium.

Beyond the park is the English Cemetery, founded in 1717 and originally shared with the Dutch community. Novelist Henry Fielding, author of Tom Jones, died during a visit to Lisbon and is buried here.

Here are some images to let you get the feel of the place.

Source: A View on Cities

Old School Gardener

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It was late afternoon when I decided to take a walk down the Little Miami Bike Trail a few miles from my house.  I hadn’t been this way before.  It was to be a new adventure for me.  The sun was sleepy, lazily hanging low.  The colorful quilt of the sky was slowly covering the heavens in preparation for a nice spring evening.

I veered off the paved portion of the trail and found myself near the Little Miami River.  The water was low and I could walk across a few rocks to a small island where only trees and rocks lived.  It was a beautiful spot and for that moment in time, it was mine.  I could hear woodpeckers busy working, owls crying out “who”, and other various birds enjoying an evening chat.  I sat down on some rocks listening to the nature symphony, taking in the beauty of…

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