Monday, April 16, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

I have now been back home for almost two weeks.  I have returned to work.  I have tried to resume familiar routines. recently nourished Country Dreams continue to remind me of another land, with expanses of land and sky.  Not too many buildings, and not too many people.

I continue to thank the lovely people who treated me so well.

Part of being back home is telling my New York friends about how much I enjoyed my holiday.  I have made phone calls, and visited with folks.  I have bought a curious little droopy-limbed succulent plant, and am pretending it's a tree that I can draw.  It gives me an alternative landscape possibility while it sits on my windowsill.

Perhaps this close up view will let you have an idea of why I brought this little plant home from the Union Square farmers market last week.

Eventually, I may get the watercolors out and try some mini-landscape painting.

It was very warm while I was in London, and since my return to New York there's been a bit of a chilly span, and now, as of today, we are experiencing heat that seems like summertime. This is creating some sort of havoc with the spring blooming schedule.

For the past few years, I have tried to get over to Park Avenue to take photos of the tulips that annually bloom in the middle of this elegant boulevard.  I do this photographic summary  for lovely Merisi, who writes the magnificent blog Vienna for Beginners.  If you have not yet visited Merisi's Vienna, you are in for a treat.  If you have visited this site, you will agree with my opinion!

And so, I now offer you all a few views of the giant yellow tulips that now grace Park Avenue.

The tulips share their mid-avenue garden spaces with trees and shrubs.  This avenue is quite beautiful during each season.

The fully bloomed tulips were as large as my hand.

I took this journey to the East Side between four and five-thirty this afternoon, and loved the effect that the westward bound sunlight had on all that I saw.

As I took my photographs, other passing pedestrians smiled.  They also loved the look of these extravagant flowers.

I just happened to notice that one golden tulip had a bit of a scarlet accent.  

Leaving Park Avenue, I began walking westward back towards Central Park, and noticed a rather extravagant expanse of flowers in a little garden in front of a sumptuous East Side mansion.

Closer to Fifth Avenue, this Ducati showed me that tulips were not the only ambassadors of golden yellow gleaming in the afternoon light.

The next photo is for Gretel, whose Middle of Nowhere blog is another magical place to visit. I know that she is a fan of the Stuart Little stories written by E.B. White. and think she might enjoy seeing this view of the model boat pond where Stuart had a harrowing sailing adventure.

The pond looked tranquil and breeze free this afternoon, and I made note of the rather amusing sign posted nearby.  The remote-controlled model boats sailing in the pond must have had some sort of exemption to this warning.

Continuing on my walk, I passed by beautiful Bethesda Fountain, surrounded on one side by flowering trees and shrubs, and on the other by the Lake where rowboats and one gondola were sailing.  None of these were motorized by other than person-power.

Getting closer now to Central Park West, I took this photo because I liked the look of the back lighting on the familiar statue of Daniel Webster.

You can perhaps also see the umbrellas in front of the tree.  These mark the location of three  vendors who most likely did a wonderful bit of business today, selling hot dogs, ice cream sodas and water.  I thought these fellows deserved a bit a of close up.

I crossed over into the Strawberry Fields area, and made my way past the usual collection of tourists paying their respects, and having their photos taken near the Imagine mosaic.

My hopes that the nearby wisteria, that luxuriantly wraps itself around a rustic wooden archway, might still be in bloom were answered positively.

Can't you imagine how this sort of tangled wisteria might have inspired many Art Nouveau artists?  I also very much admire wisteria left to just be a shrub.

Nearing the western edge of the Park, I came upon some additional showy groups of tulips.

Yellow is not the only color that tulips favor.

Just before leaving the Park, I noticed these demure little blue beauties.

Not long thereafter, I was home, and able to take another look at another treat I brought back from the East Side.  I think that these macarons are flown in daily from Paris.

When I checked my mailbox, I found an additional Federal income tax refund check had arrived!

I return to work very early tomorrow, attending a meeting, and will try not to drift off into continuing Country Dreams.

I do hope that your mid-April days are equally pleasant.


  1. What a lovely walk in the park. The yellow tulips in the avenue look stunning – sometimes one sees more flowers in an urban environment than in a small rural town. I also believe wisteria is one of the most romantic flowers and surely inspired many artists. After coming back from a lovely trip abroad as the one you just took it takes a while to get back into the regular world so I can understand why you are still thinking about your Country Dreams.

  2. it really is so lovely to walk along with you frances. i like all the things you notice and point out. i can imagine how much your recent trip meant to you (it was amazing to read about!)and stays with you still. but that's a good thing i think.
    yum macarons!

    p.s. your drawings are so delicate and pretty.

  3. Another beautiful walk with you Frances, the tulips and wisteria are just gorgeous. May you continue to have Country Dreams!

  4. Thank you, Francis, for the beautiful images of Park Avenue and all those other wondrous sights!
    Thank you for mentioning my humble blog, you made me smile! :-)

    I notice often that when people realize I am taking pictures of something they stop in their tracks, start looking more closely themselves. And if they are tourists, they start looking through the viewfinder to see what they imagine I saw. It a magnificent way to spread some curiosity and cheer, isn't it?

    You would not believe that the Garden Fairies of the City of Vienna have planted yellow roses between the trees on the boulevard in front of my home (it's a four-way boulevard, with one main street separated on both side by a grassy strip planted with trees - and now tulips - from the access roads running alongside. Luckily, on my side of the street, there is also a wide strip of front yard. I think of it of my own quaint little Park Avenue. I did snap pictures of the tulips. Will go look for them.

    A wonderful week to you, Francis!

  5. P.S.: Please excuse the mistakes. I clicked publish instead of edit.

    Btw, wisteria is one of my favorite spring bloomers!
    In the gardens of Rome's Villa Sciarra there is a small garden pavilion with old-growth wisteria practically building the roof and the walls. It is a sight to behold in April. Even so I was very young when I was able to enjoy their beauty in spring, I appreciated their spring show immensely even back then.

  6. Another lovely blog, Frances. I feel I am in New York with you, but you see so much more than I would have seen - or maybe different people notice different things. But yours, surely, is the land of the wide open space and if you take a train how far would you need to go before you could not see a house? An hour? Less probably. That's certainly the case with crowded London.

    The Wisteria you picture is beautiful. We have a couple here, but they are young ones with much growing to do. There is the most beautiful one in the Town Square in Figeac of which I think I have a photograph. Anyway glad your refund has come through; spend it wisely. You might but a wisteria and grow it on your windowsill.

  7. What a charming walk! It's a grim day here - wet, cold and windy, tulips will be flattened and sadly my wisteria looks as if it's been ruined by the late frosts.

    I can imagine why you were drawn to the little 'tree',

    Enjoy those macarons - they look so beautiful!


  8. I so enjoyed seeing all your spring city views today, Frances. You really capture the feel of a place in your photos.
    I also loved seeing your trip to the UK in the last post which I somehow missed over Easter week. Lovely to see your take on a city that I do know a bit! You cetainly fitted in a lot on your trip, and saw so many interesting things.
    Enjoy your painting, and the rest of your week.
    Helen x

  9. What a super post!
    I think I recognize that little tree/plant.
    Such tulips!
    I have been a follower of Merisi's super blog for 6 years.
    Hoping that work is not proving too stressful.

  10. What gorgeous spring days you're having - those massed yellow tulips really took my breath away - fantastic! And Central Park's ponds and flowers look quite lovely, like being in deep countryside in the middle of the city.
    The macarons and your check must have been a perfect finish to your day!
    And I'm sure you know we're having the most awful weather in England now - you timed your trip here most perfectly :)
    All best wishes, Karen xo

  11. You are truly in the middle of Spring in New York! Spring, with all its vibrant colour - what a treat to see.
    Do you find that on returning from a trip you see your own surroundings with a different eye?

  12. What a colourful spring you have! Not so much colours here yet. The last days have been sunny, but the wind comes from the north so it is really cold. And we even got som snow yesterday. Winter is still refusing to let go...
    But spring will win in the end :)

  13. Your photos are wonderful. I particularly love the one of the wisteria through the squares (trellis? window panes?)

    Regarding the little plant you bought to draw: I'm no botanist, but it looks as if it might be a Crassula Argenta, or Jade plant, or Money Tree as it is sometimes called in England. My English mother-in-law had one which grew (slowly!) to be about three feet tall in an 18" pot. So you may get your green tree yet!

  14. It was great to see those big yellow tulips in bloom in NY spreading their springtime joy. Spring wouldn't be the same without tulips, would it. We've been enjoying them here in the Netherlands also.

    I also like the photos of the wisteria. It's one of my favorite vines and I've always wanted to have one myself. I've just not been lucky enough yet. Maybe some day.

    I always enjoy reading your posts. I just seldom comment. Thought the tulips were a good reason to.

  15. What a lovely post! The tulips, Stuart Little's pond, the wisteria -- there's a lot more 'nature' in NYC than I had realized. And I agree with you about Merisi's blog -- her photography has inspired me for some time now.

  16. Thank you, dear Frances for that walk and what you have seen - so enjoyable to look at! I love those black and white tulips.
    Hope you feel ok at work and the macarons are giving as much pleasure as the photograph promises. I wanted to try it out for so long - must do it and find out if they taste as good as the bought ones.

  17. Just catching up Frances, how lovely that you were in London, but isn't it also lovely to come home. I love the beginnings of your water colour. The flowers in your photos are so vibrant, we have lots of daffodils and primroses here, but so lovely to see wisteria in bloom.

  18. Oh thank you for that glimpse of Stuart Little's world! I almost believe that Central Park really exists now. :) Hard to believe you were here nearly three weeks ago now, it seems like another time! (Though there is still a tiny bit of rather stale lemon drizzle cake left)I just love the macaroon box, what classy packaging, are you going to use is as a brush box or similar?

  19. This may not be the countryside but you have an abundance of flowers and greenery right in the big city. I think your environment is an enviable one and I'd love to come for a walk with you.

  20. Hi Frances,
    My mum used to call your little window-ledge plant a 'money tree'. Fingers crossed, eh!

  21. Wow! Such beautiful tulips, and I love your drawing of the little succulent!

  22. Thanks you for sharing your colourful adventure, Frances. It's always a treat when you show us around New York.

  23. How funny - you begin your post by telling of your purchase of the little plant from the farmers market - which looks like the "money plant" - and which is supposed to bring luck. Then you end your post by telling of the cheque from the tax man. Perhaps there is some truth in that superstition after all!

    May your money plant bring you continued good fortune and help you build travel funds to visit those yet to be discovered country views - from the city of dreams!

  24. Hello Frances - I have just discovered your wonderful blog, and just wanted to say how beautifully you write - I was with you for the whole journey! Amazing tulips - well captured! I am writing from the English countryside, and you mention that you have just been over here. I look forward to settling down and discovering more about you and your journey!

  25. It seems that you really do have spring in New York too. I enjoyed your walk through the park, so many lovely colours and blooms. The yellow tulips really look magnificent amongst the buildings..
    Your paintings are a pleasure to see, you seem to be inspired after your trip. Great to see you painting.
    I think you have a spring in your step too, your trip has done you the world of good.

  26. Francis , fancy you came to London and I knew nothing about it!. Glad you had such a wonderful time. Many years ago my brother was a chorister in St Martin in the Fields. The east end that your saw is very removed from the East End that I grew up in. Hope you are well. Carol xx

  27. Dear Frances,

    Lovely photo's of pretty Tulips, I have only a few flowering this year, mainly yellow and red ones.

    Sorry not to have met up with you dear Frances, I know you will have had a wonderful vacation in England visiting the Art Galleries and catching up with dear friends.

    I do love your sweet little drawing of the succulent Frances.

    Lots of rain here for almost two weeks constantly and more on the way.!

  28. Hi Frances!
    My eldest daughter is now in NY with her friend and will clebrate there her 21 th birthday next week!
    She sent some pics of huge buildings....but I'm not a citygirl...I don't like cities so much!
    But they will visit all those places we always see in american movies and I'm sure they like it!
    I read you visited the cotswolds and that more my cup of tea!!
    Keep on looking for those beautiful green spots filled with color in the city! Like those tulips!
    greetings Fleur from ;
    in de polder

  29. Thank you for taking us along on this lovely walk!