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Posts Tagged ‘nature’

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As far as prolific growth and prevalence go, the dandelion is definitely Berlin’s plant of the moment. Yellow blossoms are carpeting every median strip and every unoccupied patch of grass in the city…
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Today, these twin baby bushes, perched on the sidewalk in front of a Berlin bar, made me smile. Today, I was also wished a happy Arbor Day. Wikipedia tells me that German Arbor Day is on April 25, but US Arbor Day is the last Friday of April – today. Since I missed the local one, happy Arbor Day today to all our readers everywhere.

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Nomadic cactus

This laid-back cactus must have an interesting life. A glam little character with its bright red color and gold spray-painted pot, chilling under a disco ball, it lives on the dashboard of a van that clearly goes places. Well stocked with maps and music, this little guy is living the dream. Spotted recently at Boxhagener Platz in Berlin-Friedrichshain.

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Spotted this scrappy little fellow intrepidly growing in the median strip of Karl-Marx-Allee, surrounded by packed dirt, rubble and six lanes of traffic. Go, little daffodil, go!

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Oversize lighbulb in bare tree

Here in Berlin, the trees are still mostly bare, but some of them are getting ideas…

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Yellow Crocus

Spotted these signs of spring in and around Karl-Marx-Allee on Sunday, March 11.

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Roses and plant on washing machine

I’ve decided that plants love laundromats. I used to think I was just projecting my own feelings onto them, as I happen to adore both plants and laundromats. But whenever I’ve seen a plant within one of these bustling, fragrant and white-tiled spaces, it seems to be thriving in its warm, humid habitat. Now that I’ve met another photographer who’s documented the same thing – Nicolas Cook, who took the above picture in Birmingham, England – I’m sure we can’t both be wrong.

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Dark painting of flowers and insects

Continuing our look at plants on the ground, let’s look a bit further back into art history then we usually do here at UPR. In the 17th century, Dutch painter Otto Marseus von Schrieck wasn’t exactly doing urban plant research already, but he was doing something very new, which was to take the close-up, observant approach of the still life painter and direct it outside, and downwards, to create nature studies that were carefully arranged but were set on the dark, damp stage of the forest floor, as in the above Still Life with Amphibians and Insects (Herzog-Anton-Ulrich-Museum, Braunschweig). The result is called sottobosco painting (after the Italian for “undergrowth”), or in German, Waldstilleben (forest still life). And it’s mesmerizing.

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Excited that the topic of discussion had turned to the tree of heaven, I went out yesterday to photograph (in the rain) my favorite specimen of ailanthus altissima so far: a couple of trees growing in a tiny city park that borders the Prospect Highway. Well, actually, describing them as “in” the park isn’t really correct because, typical of this strand of misfit tree, the trunks actually sprout from the ground just beyond the park fence, squished up between it and the wall of the highway! You can see them against the ivy-covered back of the park in the right half of the picture above.

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