Jardin Botanique Montreal – Outdoor Gardens

On Saturday (6/17), we headed out to the botanical garden, which was an easy subway ride from our hotel.    The place is huge – there’s also an insectarium and a biodome you can visit – I don’t know how people do it.     We managed maybe a quarter of the outside gardens, and the conservatory (that’ll be the next entry).    I need to go back – there are still things I want to see that we didn’t get to.

I really loved how much in the outdoor gardens were plants I could grow in my own garden – I was taking (picture) notes left and right when labels were available.

Governor’s Garden at the Chateau Ramezay

This garden was a really cool find – it’s attached to the Chateau Ramezay Museum and Historic site, but had free access.    It’s set up with sections reminiscent of an earlier 18th century garden in New France.    There’s a potager, an orchard and ornamental sections.    I was so excited to see this – it’s along the lines of the kind of garden I’d like to set up if I had my own space to play with.

Old Montreal and Cirque du Soleil

Here’s where the vacation became international – on Friday morning, we headed up to Montreal.    (It’s an easy two hour drive from Burlington.   What ended up not being easy was finding our hotel, since they’re rebuilding the main bridge over the St. Lawrence, and the road closures are epic, and random.)

We stayed at the edge of Chinatown, which is right next to Old Montreal.   It was two blocks away to be able to wander around the old town, which was lovely.    It actually reminded me quite a bit of the Old Port here, but with older buildings, and more of them.

That night, we had Cirque du Soleil tickets, for Volta.     They were set up on one of the quays on the river, right over the hill from our hotel.    The show was fantastic.   It’s just absolutely amazing what the performers are able to achieve.

I don’t speak French, but I can pick up enough to know that the main clown of the show was an American who was basically telling everyone how bad his French was.    That was fairly funny, considering I otherwise pretty much had no idea what he was saying.

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The above is an example of one of the projections you could see on the sides of many of the buildings at night.   In some cases, they were part of the 375th anniversary celebration for the city.   In other cases, they were adds.     In all cases, they were pretty cool.   I’m a bit surprised I haven’t seen this done elsewhere.   (Though I can see it running into Maine’s billboard law.)

Actual picture date: 6/16/17.

Burlington, VT

We ended the first day in Burlington, Vermont.   After a fantastic dinner at the Farmhouse Tap and Grill (which used to be the McDonald’s that BF depended on for quick food during his college radio dj days), we wandered down to the waterfront of Lake Champlain, where we promptly saw a random beaver swimming about- no where near any obvious prime beaver habitat.    Perhaps he was also on vacation.

A Sampler of Wayside Herbs – Barbara Pond

d031e9ef1d0afbf59374a616151434f414f4141This book was published out of Connecticut in 1974. I tend not to go for reference books that old, but when I saw this in a used bookstore on Cape Cod, I had to pick it up, since the name of my wildflower blog is Wayside Flowers. The serendipity was a little bit too much in evidence for me not to snag it.

The book has lovely plates of a number of flowers I’m constantly running into, that we now consider weeds, but were by and large brought over by the original New England colonists because they were useful. It’s a nice to see those old uses acknowledged.

It’s also somewhat of a hoot to see easy evidence of how much plant classifications change – probably half of the family names listed here are completely obsolete. (Actually, the general conventions are obsolete – family names now end in –aceae. In the book, they’re using the –itae format for a number of the families, though there are some –aceae’s.) I do get a kick out of seeing how much things are constantly changing.

Grail – Stephen R. Lawhead

9b72e2a25801009596a4a636e41434f414f4141The last two books in this series are a little out of sequence, since Arthur did die and was taken off to Avalon in the third book. So here in the fifth book, we have the story of the grail, in the middle of one of the times not covered in Arthur.

After the battles covered in Pendragon, Arthur almost died, but Merlin brought him to King Avallach’s palace, where Avallach used the Grail to heal Arthur. At that point, taken over by pride, Arthur decides to build a shrine to the Grail nearby, and naturally, Morgain gets involved to ruin his plans.

She’s had a daughter by her step-son Lot, named Morgaws, and she sends Morgaws in to corrupt the fellowship. She manages to ensnare Llenlleawg (the closest thing to Lancelot in these stories) to her side, and the grail is stolen, along with the Queen. (Again, this the closest you get in this series to Lancelot and Guinevere running off together – in this case, it’s against Gwenhwyvar and the champion’s actual will.) The Cymbrogi must journey into Llyonesse to get the Grail back. It’s a harrowing journey.

This is an interesting way to bring Morgaws/Morgause into the story – it’s always interesting to see how different people interpret Morgan and Morgause – sometimes they’re the same person, or they can be different, but with various relationships to each other. This was a good way to bring the two as separate entities into the story.

It was an interesting interlude, but somewhat short – I think it would have worked better as a section of Arthur.