Plant Gladiolus for Bright Summer Color

Gladiolus is a genus of perennial flowering plants in the iris family. It is sometimes called the sword lily and is a beautiful addition to any summer garden. If you plant them in the Spring they will bloom in Summer. Plant them again in the summer and they will adorn your fall garden.

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Summer Gladiolas

Special Day Lily

In Western Pennsylvania day lilies grow wild by the road side. They are always a plain orange color. They naturalize so vigorously that some people think of them as weeds and pull them out. They are available in a wide variety of colors. We tend to eschew the very popular Stella D’oro variety and plant different colors. I love the dark purple and red day lilies. This year we planted this one not knowing what color it would be and got this pleasant surprise.

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Special Day Lily

Köln Waterfront Church

Köln (Cologne) is the largest city in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Köln survived the largest bombardment of any city in Europe by the Royal Air Force In World War Two. It was nearly destroyed in the process but has been thoughtfully reconstructed. This waterfront church is a example of the reconstructed city.

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Köln Waterfront Church

Cathedral Garden Köln

We toured Köln with Claudia, a truly awful guide. Most of the guides we had on our Viking River Tour were exceptional but not Claudia. She was so awful we eventually turned off our headsets and strolled behind her. We got tired of hearing her psycho babble about World War 2 and how awful the Americans were. Köln was the most bombed city in Germany and the destruction was truly awful but we wanted to learn about the culture of the city, not a faux history lesson on the war. Once she pointed to a picture of Eisenhower and refereed to him as General MacArthur, her knowledge was not only prejudicial but inaccurate.

However she did point out one thing we might not have noticed on our own. This is the beautiful terrace garden and sculpture along the back of the Cologne Cathedral. Pretty on a gray rainy day but probably wonderful in the Spring and Summer.

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Cathedral Garden Köln

Cathedral Garden Köln

Claude Monet’s Jardin de l’eau

You could easily visit Giverny and miss the water garden. The house is a fun tour and the gardens are quite large. Then in the back of the gardens you will a little sign which reads Jardin de l’eau and a little tunnel that leads across a stream and to a path through the Water Garden.

Monet’s water garden in Giverny is located just outside of Vernon France. It is a short day trip from Paris and worth the train and bus ride. The house and gardens are unique and stunning and kept in the same way that they were during the time of Claude Monet. If you have the time it is worth spending a night since the entire area is really a tribute to nature and art.

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Jardin-de-leau

Jardin-de-leau

The Good Side of a Caterpillar

My father introduced me to science fiction at an early age. He used to subscribe to Fantasy and Sci-Fi Magazines.I loved the covers and waited for him to finish reading so I could get the issue. I probably read some when I was too young and one was a story about a planet with Giant Caterpillars. It scared me to death. I can still remember the cover with giant caterpillars and one had a young damsel in it’s pincers while he was being shot at by solders with machine guns. I had nightmares and never liked caterpillars after that.

I remember when we moved to Pittsburgh from Cleveland and it was the summer of the gypsy moth. The caterplillars would crawl on my window screen and you could hear them eating the trees. The screen pulsated with insect life The roads had to be sanded because they were thick with caterpliiar guts. I guess around that time I learned about cocoons and how they turned into butterflies. I have been conflicted ever since

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The Good side of a Caterpillar

The Good side of a Caterpillar

Roots

Today at breakfast we were talking about the ancient buildings of Europe. Some cathedrals took hundreds of years to build. Families had generations of commitment to creating a single structure. These are the roots of a Bonsai plant at Pittsburgh’s Phipps conservatory. The plant began training in 1956 so the plant is now 60 years old. Some of these bonsai are over one thousand years old. Think of that commitment. Then think of your own commitment to your art or craft. We can all do better.

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Roots

Roots