November 18, 2010

Jacarandas blooming all over

November is my favorite month in Buenos Aires. Not only is November 17th our arrival anniversary date, but spring is in the air, the air itself is the perfect temperature and most importantly, the Jacarandas are in bloom all over this beautiful city. These trees grace the plazas, line the major avenues, and provide explosions of unexpected color as they peek out on small streets among the more common trees. Whenever I see them, there is a burst of joy in my heart, and I remember to pause and take in their beauty. The blossoms don't last for very long, so it is important to take them in while they last.

The purple contrasts brilliantly with the bright green of the young leaves of the Tipa trees. Carlos Thays (my favorite 19th century French Landscape Artist) knew what he was doing when he planted these trees so close together all those many years ago. It is especially stunning in Plaza San Martin as there aren't so many Jacarandas and they lend a surprising burst of color.

I hope you enjoy the sample of some of my photos and the embedded slideshow below. You can see a larger slideshow on Flickr.  There is also a photo essay up on The Argentina Independent.

Jacaranda and Tipa
Purple Jacarandas, Green Tipas and the Blue and White Sky at Plaza San Martin
(Photo: Beatrice Murch)

Jacaranda at Plaza San Martin
A Jacaranda anchors the corner of Plaza de Mayo in the heart of Buenos Aires

Jacaranda Blossoms
Jacaranda Blossoms - to infinity and beyond!

Jacaranda blossoms carpet the ground in Recoleta
(Photo: Beatrice Murch)

Plaza Miserere garden
Plaza Miserere is home to a beautiful garden in the middle of the chaos of Once
(Photo: Beatrice Murch)

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

January 14, 2010

January 12 Rainstorm

Cut tree, originally uploaded by blmurch.

The night/morning of January 11/12 the wind whipped through Buenos Aires at top speeds of 60 km/h. More than 140 trees toppled in the storm and over 22 cms of rain pelted the city. Our windows shook and rattled, the shutters banging in place. It was a sight and sound to behold.

The downed trees smashed cars, damaged roads and two people were hurt. Most unfortunately, one young man was electrocuted by a downed wire.

I love the trees of Buenos Aires, but they are not trimmed much and grow really tall. The cathedral effect they cast over narrow streets is delightful, however that grace and beauty can come at a cost when storms roll through. This trade off might need to be re-examined if the weather patterns keep tending to extremes.

Thanks to Katie who tipped me off to Wayne from "Southern Cone" with his lead to the article in Clarin.

By the time I got out to see some of the damage on the afternoon of the 13th, it looked like a lot of the trees had been cleaned up (at least in Palermo). There still remains a lot of repair work. 42 cars were damaged and I don't know how many sidewalks and roads. The parks guys are keeping busy.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

January 8, 2010

David Murbach - RIP

When I started this blog, I had no idea who the readership would be. I still don't really (thank you very much for reading!!), but one frequent commenter was Dave. He left very detailed comments, often correcting, gently, my ignorance about the flora of Buenos Aires. He really knew his stuff. We started an email correspondence and it turned out that he lived here in Buenos Aires part of the year. We made tentative plans to meet up in August of 2009, but the stars never aligned and unfortunately we didn't meet in person for our drink, but it was okay because we would just meet the next time he was in town. This will never come to pass. I just found out that he died in December in his West Palm Beach home in Florida. He sent me some incredible shots of Ficus trees and their root systems from Florida. We got into various discussions and he pushed me to see and write up the Carlos Thays exhibit. I'm really glad I went, I wish I'd written everything up sooner. I really regret not having had the chance to meet him in person, but I am very happy that we connected about a passion we share. I want to take the time now to suggest to myself and to everyone: carpe diem!

Dave was a humble man in our interactions and it wasn't until we'd been conversing for a while that he told me his full name and suggested that I google him. He definitely knew his stuff about horticulture. His touch will be missed and there are some pretty damned big shoes to fill this next year in New York Rockerfeller Center.

Photo by David Murbach