Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Spring blooms for the eyes and soul

I mentioned last week that I was going on a day trip to Germany on Friday, including a little "visit to Sweden". Well, last Friday, me and my mum went to Constance for the day, which is just an1 1/2  hours train ride away from Zürich, on the other side of the border. We left early in the morning and after arriving in Constance, took the next bus to the beautiful Mainau, a little island in Lake Constance. It wasn't hard to find beauty there, as the whole island is an abundance of beauty. Floral beauty. And right now, it's a feast of spring blooms. Daffodils, poppies, and many more, but most of all tulips. Tulips everywhere, whole carpets of tulips, and in so many colours and varieties you didn't even know existed.

I remember coming here for the first time (at least as far as I can remember) a few years ago, and I was somewhat puzzled that all the information was in German (obviously), English (makes sense) - and Swedish. Swedish?? Well, it all became clear when I read a bit more about the history of the island.

In 1928, Grand Duke Friedrich II, to whom the island belonged at that time, bequeathed it to his sister Viktoria, who was married to Gustav V, king of Sweden. The island so became property of the Swedish royal family. In 1932, Viktoria's grandson Lennart Bernadotte was given charge of the island. After his marriage to a commoner, he quite the royal house and moved to the Mainau and started to turn the island into a beautiful park and opened it to the public. Today, the island is still managed by the Bernadotte family, who continue to live in the palace. Many of the buildings on the island have a Swedish touch, and the oldest of the restaurants, the "Schwedenschenke" (Sweden tavern) serves some typical Swedish dishes.

The baroque palace, church and palm house on top of the island.

There was an orchid show in the palm house as well. Some of them look like little alien flowers from space.

They are fascinating flowers, orchids. But sometimes a little bit too fancy for my taste. I really prefer the simpler, more "common" flowers, and anyway, it was a hot day, and even hotter inside the palm house, so we soon went outside again, to continue wandering around the island and adoring yet more tulips and other spring blooms, sometimes displayed in rather unusual ways.

After lunch we took the bus back to the city for some retail therapy before taking the train back home. It was a wonderful day, and I took tons of photos of flowers on the island. I want to use these photos to practise some botanical painting with watercolours. And although I was far too exhausted to get started with it straight away that evening, I couldn't resist making some drawings into my sketchbook and colouring them with Neocolor while resting on the sofa.


  1. B-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l!!! Thank you sooooo much for sharing....and your water colours are awesome as well....


  2. These photos are absolutely gorgeous! Wow!

  3. Wow! What a jam packed post today. There are so many lovely flowers - I especially love the colors of the first tulips and the spider-like structure of the last orchid. And your sketchbook drawings are fantastic. Thanks for sharing your day.

  4. You must feel so lucky to live near such luscious gardens! I love how the tulips have naturalized instead of being planted in rows. This is a gorgeous garden; I'd love to visit one day. Thanks for sharing your stunning photos.

  5. Phew! I am so glad that after answering your comment I came back and found that it was your blog I was thinking of and not someone elses! That proves that it's memorable! I was worried about the colour of my blog so I simply turned the background of the posts white and that really brightened it up :0)
    Really, I LOVE your blog and those sketches are beautiful! And what a wonderful idea to split the page into sections like that! Inspiring :0D

  6. Wow, what excellent photos. Love them all. Your sketchbook drawings are just excellent. Nice work. Thanks for sharing. Loved it.

  7. unheimlich schön... ich bin begeistert von den Fotos und von Deinen Studien mit Wasserfarbe dazu! GROSSARTIGST!

  8. Each and everyone of these photos made me oooo and ahhhh! Such beautiful captures, what a lovely place. Thanks for sharing!