Saturday, June 28, 2014

Of White Nights and Green Plants

The northern European nations enjoy gloriously long sunlit days in the summer.  We were there for the apex of those long days, a holiday the Scandanavian nations call St. John’s Day.  The Russians call it White Nights and, no matter what it’s called, the sunlight really was splendid.  Twilight is nearly always my favorite time of day because the light is so lovely, soft with the saturated color of the season.  In summer, with so many green plants and blooms, the colors make twilight even more beautiful.  And the twilights of the season of white nights were even more impressive to behold.

I enjoyed these lingering twilights all the nights that I was traveling.  On our first night, in Copenhagen, we took the boys to Tivoli Garden after 9 pm and things were still quite light outside.

I also made some photos of the light in the sky as we left St. Petersberg on the evening of June 21st.  These photos were made looking on the Baltic Sea looking out at the the Gulf of Finland at 11 pm and it’s pretty obvious why the Russians call it White Nights.

A side effect of this extended period of sunlight is that plants enjoy an exceptionally long growing day and so they grow quickly; some becoming quite large.  I was impressed with these hostas in a courtyard in Stockholm, Sweden.

The flowerbed had dahlia flowers blooming much earlier than they do in my part of the world.  The tour guide explained that people plant the bulbs indoors until the danger of deep cold has faded, setting them out in their gardens in early mid-May, where they soak in the light-filled days and begin to bloom in June.

An ivy display like this is the sort of thing I would really enjoy.  

Much as my trip to the Butchart Gardens in Vancouver set me on a path to a clematis vine of my own, I expect I will be working up some sort of ivy project in my garden as well.

It seems unfair that I was able to enjoy the rewards of these long northern days without having endured the dark winter days that are the opposite side of the season.  But enjoy them I did.  I’ve decided to treat it as the unexpected dividend of my own cold and dark winter.

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