Philodendron Rojo Congo

Philodendron Rojo Congo

Philodendron Rojo Congo

Say hello to my new friend Philodendron Rojo Congo. We met a couple of weeks ago, when this curiously coloured character found its way onto my desk. It took me several google attempts to ascertain it’s species, but I wasn’t completely surprised to discovered it to be yet another Philodendron – the Araceae family does after all, have close to 500 different species.

Philodendron Rojo Congo
Philodendron Rojo Congo

Philodendron Rojo Congo

The Philodendron Rojo Congo can be identified by the bright red colour of young foliage. As the plant ages, the lance shape leafs turn a deeper darker green while the leaf stems retain their deep Auburn hue.

Philodendron Rojo Congo
Philodendron Rojo Congo

From the ancient Greek “philos” which means “love” and “dendron”, meaning “tree”, the name philodendron describes the species’ propensity for winding around trees. But unlike it’s brother Monstera, the Rojo does not share this climbing character. Instead, like the Xanadu, this philodendron is self-heading, which means it grows upwards and outwards.

Philodendron Rojo Congo

Philodendron Rojo Congo
Philodendron Rojo Congo

Native to South America, the Rojo Congo prefers partial to shady areas but does not tolerate cold temperatures. This low maintenance perennial makes an excellent houseplant thanks to its sculptural appearance and good looks, plus it keeps the air clean while doing so.

Names: Philodendron Rojo Congo
Family: Araceae, native to South America
Water: At regular intervals – keeping the soil moist but never soggy
Location: Diffused natural or indirect sunlight like a northern exposure
Soil: Fast draining acidic to neutral soil
Toxicity: Toxic to pets and children

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A weekend in Brussels with mum

A weekend in Brussels with mom

Weekend in Brussels with mum

Where to stay, what to do and where not to have waffles

When your mom flies halfway around the world to come visit you in Europe, it’s only right to treat her to a weekend trip to some place nice. Now, Brussels has never really topped my list of must-see-places-before-you-die, but at €19 a ticket (return!) I decided it was indeed a must. So mom and I hopped on a ridiculously early flight and navigated our way toward the European Capital of Culture.

It had been previously agreed on that stroopwafels would be eaten and Manneken Pis be visited, but neither of us quite expected to be so dazzled by the city. The curious architecture and exquisite detail of the art nouveau facades had me biting my fist at every corner. Poor mom had to stop at each turn, cause I was taking pictures of literally every, single, house.

This was especially true in Saint Gilles – the suburb where we resided during our trip. The elegant airbnb apartment we stayed at, belongs to Bénédicte and Matthieu, the creative couple behind the interior design blog Auguste & Claire. I can highly reccomend it! The one bedroom apartment has been beautifully renovated to create a calm and tranquil respite right in the heart of bustling Saint Gilles.

Beautiful holiday apartment in Brussels

Beautiful holiday apartment in Brussels
Perfect weekend getaway in Brussels

Cement tiles and wooden floors.

Elegant holiday home in Brussels
Bright and sunny Brussels holiday apartment

The streets around here are astir with loads of young people sipping coffee and swigging beer at the corner cafes and street bars. From there Mum and I took the tram up to Ixelles to have chips on the square at Flagey. We contemplated having a drink on the steps with the cool kids, but both of our noses were bright pink from the cold so instead we strolled around the Ixelles pond and gaped at the houses along Avenue de l’Hippodrome.

The Ixelle pond in Brussels

Brussels-architecture
Pretty-tree-in-Ixelle-Brussels

The beautiful houses along Avenue de l’Hippodrome

The next day we set out on an adventure that included both a hunt for treasure at the Marollen flea market and finding the cartoon murals of the Comic strip trail – a homage to famous Belgian comic artists featuring over 50 colourful murals on buildings through-out the city.

Still saving space for that much anticipated waffle, we decided to have a light breakfast at L’aubette on Rue Blaes – a delightful place with very friendly staff and perfect ambience. Actually that entire street is really cool with loads of interior design-, antique- and home decor stores. On Rue Haute we stumbled into a mesmerising tropical nursery and decor shop called Brut – lured in by the super vibey african beats of the shoe-box-sized jungle in the city.

breakfast at L’aubette on Rue Blaes
Breakfast at L’aubette in Brussels
Brut nursery and interior decor in Brussels

After finding most of the murals on our agenda, we headed north toward the Grand-Place. In keeping with its name, the huge market square is unquestionably grand. Bordered by ostentatiously grandiose edifices, the square, dating back to the 14th century, has been voted one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site and well worth a jaw-dropping peek.

Just around the corner stands the (in)famous Manneken Pis – a tiny peeing statue of a little boy that you would totally miss if it wasn’t for the hoards of selfie taking tourists. Contrary to the Grand-Place, this “Little man Pee” is decidedly little, and therefore, little more can be said of the fellow. The folk lore and legends that swaddle the statue is perhaps a bit more interesting. My favourite is the one of a boy named Jullianske who urinated on a burning fuse set by foreign invaders during a siege, and in doing so, saved the city from being blown to bits.

The Grand Place in Brussels

The Grand-Place, Brussels, Belgium
The beautiful Architecture in Brussels

Finally mom and I sat down for waffles at Maison Dandoy. The much hyped waffles was really disappointing and I guess coffee not their forte either… Mom was not impressed and believe me, she’s a good judge of sweet things. Other than that the service was deplorable, the place really dirty and the toilets despicable. I’d avoid eating here. Sorry for that one mom!

Despite the disappointing encounter with both our premeditated highlights, our weekend in Brussels was just brilliant. The city is beautiful and an absolute treat for admirers of architecture. Famed for its structural gems by architects like Paul Hankar and Victor Horta, the city is a kaleidoscope of styles. Every building looks different, stuck together in a creative architectural collage. My favourite of all was the Horta Museum on 25, rue Américaine. The World Heritage Site was once the studio and home of Victor Horta, and the immaculate details adorning the place is just amazing.

King Kong Café in Brussels

King Kong Cafe in Brussels
The Horta Museum in Brussels, Belgium

Hungry after our Horta hour mum and I dropped into King Kong around the corner for delicious burgers and interesting fries. Both plant-lovers we chose the cafe for it’s leafy interior but was equally pleased with the food. Just across from there is the Forcado Pastelaria, with their delicious and pretty Portuguese pastries – a great tip from Bénédicte!

If you have a day to spare, take a day trip to Ghent. The ride is only 30 minutes and easy to get to from Saint Gilles. The city is breathtakingly beautiful and dates back to the middle ages, having survived viking plunders, rebellions and a handful of wars. You can take the tram form the Sint-Pieters station down toe Korenmarkt and from there explore the surrounding area along the Leie river. It really is quite magnificent.

City of Ghent in Brussels

The beautiful medieval buildings in Ghent Belgium
The beautiful Leie river in Ghent, Belgium

Weekend highlights

Where to say:

Our beautiful airbnb apartment and the vibrant suburb of Saint Gilles

Where to eat:

Breakfast at L’aubette, lunch at King Kong, dessert at Forcado, beers at Moeder Lambic, and chips for dinner on Place Flagey.

What to do:

• Stroll around Ixelles pond to admire the surrounding architecture
• District of Marollen with its antique & vintage market, cartoon murals, art galleries and designs stores
• The Grand-Place with it’s golden swans and strangely named buildings

Where to from there:

Day trip to ghent. Look for the tickets to Sint-Pieters – reduced fair for pensioners & students

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THE WEEPING FIG i.e FICUS BENJAMINA

Close-up of branches from the weeping fig, on sitsitso.com

THE WEEPING FIG

i.e Ficus Benjamina

 

With the cheerless winter lingering on, we’ve been enjoying the company of our leafy friends at home and so the choice for this weeks houseplant post was as much inspired by it’s personality as by it’s name.

The Weeping Fig is a handsome character; it’s downward drooping branches and glossy pointed leaves giving it a moody charm. And with the whole of Berlin still gloomy and grey, the weeping fig is both a splash of happy greenery as well as a reminder of the melancholy of winter.

Dried leaves of the ficus benjamina or weeping fig
Dried ficus leaf of the weeping fig

 

The Benjamina (as it’s scientifically called) is part of the ficus genus and a popular choice for a houseplant, due to it’s relative ease in care. The reason I call it moody is because this beautiful tree can be quite temperamental. The weeping fig is rather intolerable of disturbances, and will quickly shed all of it’s leaves if you dare to move it. A protesting tree can look rather bare and dull, as if winter has find it’s way indoors.

 

Weeping fig or ficus benjamina on sitsitso

Close-up of leaves from the weeping fig tree
Beautiful leaves of the weeping fig on sitsitso.com

 

Weeping figs enjoy bright areas with a bit of sun and shade, so a spot near a west or east facing window should provide a good setting. Once in it’s place, let the ficus settle, and only move it if you have to. Benjamina’s are sensitive to colds and drafts so best not place it in areas with fluctuating temperatures. Make sure your pot drains quickly and well. The ficus dislikes soggy soil so be sure to water it less often during the colder months.

 

Close-up of leaves from a weeping fig on sitsitso.com
Ficus leaf ensemble on sitsitso.com

 

Much like introverts, Benjamina’s are great company as long as you don’t expect them to go anywhere. They will silently grow without any bother, and will look great doing so throughout the year.

 

Names: Weeping Fig, Benjamin Fig or Ficus tree
Family: Moraceae, native to Asia and Australia
Water: Moderate watering in Summer, less during Winter

Leaves dropping from over-watering: Fallen leaves fold easy
Leaves dropping from under watering: Fallen leaves are crispy

Soil: Fast draining soil mix
Prune: After Summer and before Spring
Toxicity: Mildly toxic to cats & dogs
Propagation: During Summer months by placing branch-cuttings into soil 

 

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Johannesburg guest house 2 Mokolo

posted in: TRAVEL, Uncategorized | 0

Patio area of Johannesburg guest house 2Mokolo

 

JOHANNESBURG GUEST HOUSE
2 MOKOLO

 

When I lived in South Africa, my sis and I ran a small design studio. One of our first and favourite projects was to design the brand identity for a new guest house in Johannesburg, called 2 Mokolo. The project was for Sandra de Witt, the then Creative Development Officer at the Jupiter Drawing Room, and her husband Graham Hickson. Both nature lovers and avid birders, Sandy and Graham sought to create a refuge for visitors in search of a nature filled respite from the bustling surrounding city. On my resent trip to South Africa I decided to stop by and say hello.

 

Birder friendly guest house in Johannesburg
2 Mokolo guest house in South Africa

 

The 2 Mokolo guest house is situated in the beautiful Johannesburg suburb of Morningside in Sandton, a stone’s throw away from the Outspan Bird Sanctuary. With its natural canopy of wild olive and white stinkwood, the garden itself is home to an abundance of bird species and 100% indigenous flora, which makes it the perfect retreat for bird and nature lovers.

 

Pool side patio of 2 Mokolo guest house in Johannesburg
Pool side lounge area at 2 Mokolo guest house in Johannesburg

 

The bed and breakfast has recently expanded to include an elegant 4-star guest house called Annex at 18. Each of the luxurious rooms have wooden decks where guests can relax in the sun among giant palm trees. Sandy and Graham designed louvred sliding screens, to provide complete privacy while allowing access to the surrounding garden.

 

The Annex at 2 Mokolo guest house in Johannesburg

Suite I at Anex at 18 at the 2 Mokolo guest house in Johannesburg

Guest house 2 Mokolo in Johannesburg South Africa

2 Mokolo guest house in Johannesburg South Africa
Luxurious bathrooms at 2 Mokolo guest house in Johannesburg

 

The rooms are vibrant and friendly, each with a brightly painted barn style sliding door that opens into a luxurious en-suite bathroom with beautiful bath and huge shower. The spacious bathrooms open onto the private deck as well, giving them an almost spa-like feel. My favourite is Annex III with it’s pewter bath and private outside shower.

 

2 Mokolo guest house in Johannesburg

2 Mokolo guest house in Johannesburg South Africa

Spacious bathrooms at 2 Mokolo guesthouse in South Africa

 

As a film maker, Graham’s love for story-telling is visible throughout the guest house. Quirky elements like repurposed tripods (now used as bedside lamps) and old tin cars and wooden toys, add to the inviting character of the interior. The couple’s love for birds and the african bushveld is also evident in the collector-like aesthetic, choice of fabrics and use of materials.

 

2 Mokolo guest house in Morningside, Sandton

The private outdoor shower at 2 Mokolo guest house in Johannesburg

 

Sandy, who’s won numerous awards at Cannes, D&AD, One Show and the Loeries during her corporate career as Creative Director of TBWA South Africa, now runs 2 Mokolo with equal fervour. So it’s without surprise that the guest house has such an excellent traveller rating on Trip Advisor.

 

2 Mokolo guest house in Morningside South Africa

2 Mokolo guest house in Sandton
Guest house in South Africa, 2 Mokolo

 

2 Mokolo is central Joburg’s first BirdLife SA accredited birder-friendly establishment, but it’s not just nature lovers and birds that are welcome here. The guest house has it’s own beehive too. So aside from Graham’s delicious home-made sourdough bread and preserves, guests can enjoy honey from the resident bees!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this story. For more details and booking information why not check out their website or facebook page.

As always, thanks for reading!

 

2 Mokolo's Beehive in Johannesburg
Garden animals at 2 Mokolo guest house

Home made honey from 2 Mokolo's resident beehive

 

STORY + PHOTOS: BARBARA CILLIERS

 

F R E E • G I V E •  A W A Y

What better way to kick off the new year than with a free gift! You can win a 2 night weekend* stay for yourself and a friend at 2 Mokolo guesthouse in Johannesburg to the value of R3400.00.

To win, all you need to do is follow each of these steps:

Step 1. Like this post

Step 2. Follow both ositsitso AND 2mokolo on instagram OR facebook 

Step 3. Share this post on your wall (sharing buttons below) and tag 5 friends who you think would like to enter

And that’s it!

Competition closes on 12 Feb 2017.

*Please note the prize includes breakfast and a room for two. Other costs related to your travel is not included & dates may be subject to availability.

 

eco-friendly christmas with plants and lights

Candles in my home made christmas wreath

 

PLANTS AND LIGHT

for an eco-friendly christmas

 

This year, in honour of tip number thirteen on Plastic Free Friday, I decided to create a festive atmosphere without buying any plastic or cheaply made christmas decorations. My aim was to keep it as green and eco-friendly as possible and to try and use plants wherever I can. Combining them with lights and candles also meant that my christmas-plant-ensembles were perfectly suited for this months Urban Jungle Bloggers theme; Plants and Light

 

Christmas Wreath

My mom used to have advent candles and this year I wanted to partake in the tradition by making my own. An advent wreath is a Lutheran tradition where four candles–that signify the four weeks leading up to Christmas–is placed in a circle (often combined with an evergreen wreath) to symbolise the eternity of God. The candles are then lit every Sunday, starting with the first candle on the 1st advent and finally lighting all four on the final Sunday before christmas.

 

eco-friendly home made advent wreath with real plants

 

For my own advent wreath, I wanted an eco-friendly option that was made from real plants, so that I could use it every year or use the plants elsewhere once christmas was over. I decided to get four small plants that I could later repot. I positioned them in a circle with four candles and filled the open spots with chestnuts and pine cones. For the base I used a round baking tray and placed it in this pretty copper bowl – a previous christmas gift from my mum.

 

Christmas Lights

Maybe you’ll recognise my glass jars from last month’s Urban Jungle Bloggers post on plant pots. Well, I decided to give them a christmas spin by wrapping some christmas twine around the brims. Since the plants in here don’t need water I added the battery operated fairy lights to make it even more christmassy and added a white candle for a bit of warmth.

 

December's Urban Jungle Bloggers theme: Lights and plants.

 

Christmas Trolly

I found this trolly on the street back when I lived in London. It’s not very slick but works great for displaying plants, which gives it a rather bohemian air. I wanted my bohemian nook to look christmassy too, so I used old cardboard to create a fun mountainous backdrop (I saw this clever idea on pinterest a couple of years ago). With some candles lit, the setup looks undoubtedly festive, albeit a little unusual. I love it.

 

My eco-friendly christmas with plants and lights

 

Christmas Dinner

For our annual Berlin-family christmas dinner I wanted to create a super simple table setting that would be elegant but also a little striking. So I combined lots of candles in bottles and terracotta holders with cypress cuttings in glass jars. The table cloth is simply unbleached cotton linen to compliment the earthy tones. To add to the festive ambiance, I created a hanging “christmas tree chandelier” with home-made paper pendants that could hang above the table.

 

Simple table settings for an eco-friendly christmas

 

I got the idea for the hanging branches from this neat idea for an advents calendar. The pendants I folded from paper (using this tutorial) and just added some beads to round it off. I had so many paper corner cuttings from the folded pendants so I decided to turn them into little paper “leaves” to go with my wooden beads. It was really hard to get a good photo of the hanging branch, so I hope you can get a slight idea of what it looked like in the end.

 

Green christmas decor: plants and lights

 

Creating an eco-friendly plant-based christmas theme turned out to be much easier than I expected it would. Somehow the restrictions I had placed on myself (like not being allowed to buy any plastic or ready made decor) forced me to be a little more creative then usual and I had so much fun making it all.

 

I hope you enjoyed my contribution to this month’s Urban Jungle Bloggers post! Be sure to check out some of the other Plants and Light posts on Urban Jungle Bloggers and if you haven’t been there, both blogs by UJB creators Igor Josifovic and Judith de Graaff are well worth the visit!

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

 

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District Six – South African design in Berlin

Woven Raphia bags at the District Six store in Berlin

 

DISTRICT SIX

South African design in the heart of Berlin

 

December in Berlin can be rather gloomy. It’s rainy and misty and dark – a darkness that is heavy and black and I, for one, need a very good reason to leave the house. The usual way I coax myself outside is through christmas market shopping but recently I found another carrot onto the streets.

In the heart of all this winter grey, tucked away in Graefekiez, is a tiny store that one might easily miss if it wasn’t for the brilliant colours that beckon you inside. Colours that remind me of home; like the blood-orange-red of Pincushion Proteas, or Khaki green and Fynbos yellows or the cobalt hues of the Agulhas. The store is called District Six, and inside is a wonderful display of products designed and made in South Africa.

 

Prints and other curious design items at the District Six store in Berlin
Cool bags and rugsacks at District Six in Berlin

 

The vibrant store is owned by equally lively Caroline Adam, a Berlin-born graphic designer who fell in love with the expressive designs from South Africa and started selling them online back in 2013. Her concept store on Graefestraße 80, is now in it’s second year and stocks a myriad of products from South African brands like Skinny laMinx, Anne Hodgson, Pichulik and Soil Design (to name but a few).

 

Caroline Adam at her District Six store in Berlin
Beautiful botanical tote from Soil & Co at District 6 in Berlin

 

Inside, the store is a visual plethora of patterns, colour and textures; from bright blue raphia clutches and tan leather bags, to decorative woven vases and geometric metal side tables. The Ndebele inspired jewellery by Pichulik is super colourful and chic while the offbeat bucket stools of Pedersen + Lennard really bring home that humorous character and South African spirit.

 

Ndebele-style jewellery and vibrant cushions at District Six

 

Another favourite of mine is the exquisite wallpapers that you can order in-store or online. I really like the Liquorice and Lesotho stripes by Rene Rossouw, but the botanical prints from Soil Designs and Room 13 are just as enchanting. With the opportunity for custom made orders (minimum amount of only 3sqm) the only effort is in choosing between all the great designs.

 

Pedersen & Lennard bucket-stool from the Distirct-Six store in Berlin
Beautiful metal baskets and mohair throws at District Six

 

At District Six you’ll not only find time-less and high quality products but ones with a conscious and sustainable approach to manufacturing; be it socially fair or environmentally friendly.

So if you haven’t done your christmas shopping yet, maybe do it here! I think the woven Itawuli towels (or pretty much everything else in the store) will make excellent gifts. Or just get yourself one of the beautifully woven alpaka or mohair blankets for January, when–let’s face it–the dreary winter weather is sure to be worse. :)

Find it here:

Graefestraße 80
10967 Berlin
U8 UBhf Schönleinstraße
Bus M41

Opening hours (12-23 December):

Monday – Friday: 11:00 – 19:00
Saturday: 11:00 – 18:00
Sunday before christmas: 13:00 – 18:00

Or check out the details on their website here.

As always, thanks for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed the post!

 

STORY + PHOTOS BY BARBARA CILLIERS

 

Plant pageant: Creative plant pots

Home made hanging planters for November's creative plant pots issue

 

 PLANT PAGEANT

Seven solutions for dressing up your plants

 

November’s theme for Urban Jungle Bloggers is all about creative plant pots. Having pretty plants is easy. Finding beautiful pots for them, not so much. So here’s a round-up of my seven favourite styles for displaying your leafy friends. Although many of my pots are either home made or second-hand finds, I’ve done a bit of e-window shopping to help you source your own. 

 

01. Glass

My favourite way to propagate cuttings is to do so in beautiful glass containers. This way the most precious part of the process – the sprouting of new roots – is magnified by the water and glass. I’m particularly partial to containers and vases that resemble old medicine or science jars. Maybe because they make me feel like a biologist, with my very important plant specimens. You can find a variety of different ones like these at Manufaktum. For the folks back home, Mr Price has a few that are quite cool. Off course, if you enjoy a drink every now and then, Monkey Gin and Hibiki Whisky come in pretty nifty bottles that in my opinion, are worth keeping in any event. 

 

Beautiful glass bottles, vases and jars for styling your plants

 

 02. Concrete

Concrete planters are a big trend right now, and with good reason. It’s such a beautiful material, and suits pretty much any style. Plus, judging by the myriad of DIY tutorials out there, it’s not even that hard to make. But if you don’t feel like getting your hands dirty; check out the new proudly South African Notation Design. They make a whole bunch of pretty concrete stuff. Their square planters are my favourite. I found the ones pictured below at Hellweg, but these white ones from Future Kept are also quite nice. 

 

Concrete plant pots

 

 03. Terrariums

Terrariums, if you don’t know, are glass containers, often sealable, that allow a water cycle to form due to the transparent glass and resulting condensation. They work really well for plants that require humid or moist environments. Also, it protects your plant if you have a ginger cat who loves to nibble on its leaves. I created my own terrarium using a glass dome from a cloche I found at Butlers. It fits neatly into a beautiful base I got as a gift. The other two are just upside down jars that fits into plant pots I already had. If you’re in the market for a real one though, I really like this one: Montra Vaas from Bolia.

 

Create your own terrariums with upside down jars and plant pots

 

 04. Fabric

My friend Meagie from Makers, gave me these beautiful fabric bags to dress up my plant pots. I love them cause they’re reversible – with completely different looks on either side. She has a great selection at her studio, so go stop buy if you’re in the area. Alternatively, apart from looking pretty, these washable paper ones, are multi-purpose.  

 

Fabric bags to dress up your plant pots

 

05. Hanging planters

I saw these beautiful wooden hanging plant pots at Anthropology and decided to try and make my own. For the macramé hanger I used this super easy to follow tutorial and appropriated an old wooden fruit bowl for the base. I also made the planter on the right, using the inside circle of an embroidery hoop wich, incidentally, fits neatly around those white socker pots you find at Ikea. I also really like these ones from Hallescheshaus.

 

Hanging planters as creative plant pot alternatives

 

06. Ceramics

This ceramic vase was one of the very first things I bought for my first home back when I was a student. I found it at a flea market and still love it. It’s rather small but works super well for displaying dried flowers and beautiful leaves. Maybe for my birthday or for christmas one day I could get one of these beautiful pieces, by the super talented Florian Gadsby. They are exquisite.

 

Ceramic vases

 

07. Terracotta

Next to being really affordable, terracotta plant pots are easy to find and work with any type of setting. Also, thanks to the friendly price tag, one is not as hesitant to venture a paintbrush toward their auburn exterior. I’ve done mine up in a few neutral tones and a spot of cobalt. Marij from My Attic has a great selection of pots that you can buy, if the thought of painting your own terrifies you.

 

Painted terracotta plant pots for a creative twist

That’s it for my November Urban Jungle Bloggers creative plant pots contribution. I hope you enjoyed my plant pageant! I’d love to hear which of my seven solutions are your favourite, or even if you have your own creative ideas for styling your plant buddies. Do let me know by leaving a comment below. And as always, thanks for reading!

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Check out some more awesome posts like these on Urban Jungle Bloggers, or visit the blogs of UJB creators;  Igor& Judith.

Desert still life

Desert still life at the Berlin Botanical Gardens

 

DESERT STILL LIFE

 

Ooooh wee, this post is decidedly overdue! But as the old adage goes; better late than never right? This is my first Urban Jungle Bloggers entry and I’m so thrilled to be part of it, even if it is a little late. For their October still life series, the chosen theme was desert. A perfect juxtaposition to the currently wet and wintery weather…

It’s hard not to fall in love with flora from arid regions. I instantly recall the magnificent colours of the desert rose (Echevaria), the fiery limbs of the Euphorbia tirucalli, often called fire sticks, or the spiky spheres of the barrel cactus. This one gives me a giggle cause as a little girl I pretended to sit on one. In expected protest it pricked me on my bum and I can still remember, firstly my surprise at the itchy burn of the sting, and secondly, my sister cracking up at my silly manoeuvre.

 

Ecvevaria's and other succulents at the Botanical Gardens in Berlin

 

There are so many awesome succulents that it’s almost impossible to choose a favourite. But one of the forerunners in my opinion, would most certainly be the Myrtillocactus. I call it the Lucky Luke cactus. They look just like cartoon characters throwing their arms up in protest. Almost like they’re ready for a fist fight. It’s a tough life in the desert. Which of course is why their entire bodies are covered in spikes.

 

Perfectly still still life of arid region cacti

 

But not all of them look like meanies. With their hairy hides, the Cleistocacti seem almost cuddly; like they’re wearing sweaters as they wave you over with their long spiny arms. The african Aloes are equally welcoming; like the vera with its spotted tentacles or the thick and fleshy candelabra-like head of the ferox

 

Hairy Cleistocacti at the botanical gardens in Berlin. For UJB Still life

 

If you’re in Berlin and want to meet some of these prickly and spiny characters, you can find an entire greenhouse filled with them at the Berlin Botanical Gardens. I’ve decided to use a photo from one of my visits there as inspiration for my October UJB entry. In a way, the thoughtfully assembled desert garden serves as the perfect still life in itself.

 

Still life in the desert photoshoot for UJB

My own desert still life for Urban Jungle Bloggers

 

Have you enjoyed this blogpost?

If so, please like my facebook page or consider sharing it on your timeline.

Check out more awesome posts like these on Urban Jungle Bloggers, or visit the blogs of UJB creators;  Igor & Judith.

Thanks for reading!

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