greentapestry : Down The Garden Path

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Down The Garden Path

Well I am still feeling somewhat pogged after the seasonal indulgences and should really take myself out for a long walk. Instead I have been mulling over last year's photos and have had a few armchair walks which I would like to share. The first is a gentle meander through Strasbourg Botanical Garden early in December. Although it was a rather cool and slightly melancholy day we enjoyed our stroll. From the city centre it took about twenty minutes to walk to the garden along the side of the tram route. Our first stop was the tropical greenhouse where our winter wear suddenly became surplus to requirements as there was a dramatic rise in temperature. There was much lush greenness as well as some colour to admire ~

We had fun sniffing the spices although the once I got the smell of cinnamon on my paws my guessing prowess seemed to be somewhat blunted ~

Back outside, back on with coat and scarf we wondered down the path in the direction of a lake where we came across some most spooky protuberances. These were absolutely intriguing and for me were the highlight of our visit. They belong to the taxodium distichum or false cypress tree, which is a native to the south east of the United States ~

These little woodies are known as cypress knees and their exact function is apparently the cause of some debate. One theory is that they take in oxygen on behalf of the roots. Another is that they provide anchors for the tree in the flood plain environment where they usually grow, the surrounding soil often being rather unfirm. I was interested to find out that this cypress is a deciduous tree hence the carpet of brown needles on the ground. I have only come across evergreen cypresses before so was convinced that the tree was seriously ill, until I was able to do some research back at home.

We left the garden by way of this clematis laden with last year's seed heads ~

and an edgeworthia chrysantha showing promise of spring to come ~

Should we ever be fortunate enough to return to Strasbourg we would not hesitate to visit this garden again. Judging by the extensive labels it is jam packed with plants, many of which had gone underground for winter. It must be full of colour for a good part of the year and is a great place not only for tourists but for anybody living, working or studying nearby to enjoy regularly.


  1. Hi Anna, Love the cypress knees! So sweet. And the word pog is ace! (As is the website you link to. I love unusual words and dialects.) Finally, do you know how close Strasbourg is to Stuttgart, where I lived for six months? 158 km, that's how close! At the time Americans needed a visa to get into France (from Germany) and a certain ex-husband of mine never got round to arranging it (at the time, I had German citizenship and so needed no visa due to the EU). Grumblies.

  2. Hi Anna, Well, those cypress knees look as if they are going to all start wobbling off together on an adventure. How cute!

    I think "pogged" pefectly describes how I am feeling after several days of lying about :-)

    Time to get outdoors and "move it, move it"!

    Lovely pics!

  3. Thanks for sharing - Strasbourg is definately on my wish list now

  4. The garden path in the first picture makes me want to jump into the photo and go for a stroll.

  5. Hi Anna~~ I love all of your photos but the first one is stupendous... a mixture of welcome-mystery. Wouldn't it be fun to "dress up" the knees? Not in sparkles but with moss for hair and leaves for clothes, etc. Wouldn't kids love this? Even without adornments they resemble a gathering of people, don't you think?

    I bookmarked Pogged, a fun site for us word-nerds. "Floordrobe." Love this! Describes a few members of my household. "Nokay" is already widely recognized around here. And "hidying" well, this kind of describes me.

  6. Going out for a walk sounds like a great idea... I've eaten far too much over the past couple of weeks and know I'll be paying for it when I go back to work - no doubt some of my clothes are going to feel a little snug...


    For now I'll content myself with your photos, very nice! I especially love the clematis seedheads, wow they're really impressive! At first I assumed it was some sort of exotic tree! :)

  7. The pathway in your first super photo is leading us into an enchanting world. The trees are so wondrous. I love how you framed the picture Anna. What a lovely garden and greenhouse. Curious Cypress knees and the cloud of clematis seeds is the perfect. Your photographs are beautiful and your writing as always interesting and inspiring. I would love to visit Strasbourg Botanical gardens someday. Carol

  8. Anna:
    You've provided me with a wonderful virtual tour for yet another bone chillingly cold day here ( -12 C or 5 F ) I only wish I had rood for Taxodium distichum in my yard.... truly is a wonderful tree. You must return in the spring to see its new 'needles' as they emerge..... simply divine!

  9. Anna, this is beautiful garden. Wonderful photos to enjoy on cold winter day.

  10. What a pretty walk. I'd never heard of Cypress knees before, they are really unusual looking!

  11. Cypress knees eh!

    I haven't been to a good botanical garden in years. Strasbourg looks excellent.

  12. I have always admired Bald Cypress knees wherever I see them, the best specimens I've encounted being on one of the Borromeo Islands in Lago Maggiore. The Clematis seedheads are lovelly, like wisps of cotton.

  13. Anna, thanks for taking us on your lovely walk. I am always fascinated by the knobby knees of bald cypress. If you missed it, you can see a photo of one in my post at

  14. Thank you Anna for sharing your walk through the gardens in beautiful Strasbourg. Your photos are so vibrant, I particularly like the winding path in the first - leading us through to enchantment - and the the whispy clematis seeds bringing hope of an early spring.

    Jeanne x

  15. Hi Anna, thanks for the walk, even if only virtual. We too need to walk off the overeating of the holidays. What is it with winter festivities and too much food? I do hope you go back when the Edgeworthia is in bloom. From the looks of those buds, it will be a grand show. There are some monumental cypress knees along the river walk in San Antonio, Texas, very interesting and rubbed by nearly every passerby. Good luck, they say. :-)

  16. I enjoyed coming on your trip with you thank you


All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at :


- Anna.