Monday, 10 February 2014

Something to cheer you all up

What miserable weather! A few minutes sunshine and clear skies, then the rain and wind start again. Still we can't complain, given what some VCs re going through. To get away from it all, I spent a few days holiday in the South of France at the end of January and was very lucky to have a spell of warm, sunny weather. (There have been floods in that region this winter too.) I've posted a couple of pictures I took while walking in the Alpes Maritimes from a village called Asprémont to Falicon on the outskirts of Nice. I've done the walk before and you get a spectacular view of the Var Valley as you descend. En route, I encountered several numerous, widely dispersed colonies of the Riviera Crocus (Crocus versicolor) and several impressive specimens of the Giant Orchid (Barlia robertiana) which I'm posting just because they are beautiful plants and cheered me up a lot. We don't have these in VC55, but I hope they cheer you up too.

While I was in Nice, I visited the Musée Masséna (free entry) which is a local museum that displays about the history of the city, especially as a resort, and includes some early- and mid-19th century illustrations of the city and its surroundings. As a botanist, I was intrigued to see the Century Plant (Agave americana) depicted in the countryside in some of the pictures (i.e. naturalised) . Assuming the pictures are accurate representations of the area, this means the Agave "jumped the fence" at least 200 years ago. I don't know the exact date and more research is needed. You see, can still do botany indoors in an art gallery. Happy holidays wherever you're going this year.


Crocus versicolor

Barlia robertiana with a bee

1 comment:

Louise Marsh said...

Thanks for cheering us up on a grey day, Geoffrey! I am also imagining the scrumptious patisserie you must have encountered in Nice... ok, where's my passport?