Monday, 26 December 2016

A wonderful artist

Love and light,

The most romantic flower gardens in the world...

Husband plants thousands of pink blooms so people would come to see them and spend time with his blind wife so she didn't feel lonely. Toshiyuki Kuroki and his wife Yasuko had been married for 30 years when she began to have trouble with her sight. Within a week Mrs Kuroki, from Miyazaki Prefecture, had gone blind, after suffering complications from her diabetes. Mr Kuroki, a dairy farmer, had to watch on helplessly as his wife became depressed and withdrawn from the world. But he struck on the idea of creating a garden so beautiful that people would come to visit it and keep her company.

A husband in Japan has spent a decade creating a landscape of pink blooms to cheer up his wife after she went blind. Toshiyuki Kuroki and his wife Yasuko, from Miyazaki Prefecture, had been married for 30 years when Mrs Kuroki began having problems with her sight. Within a week, she had gone blind, suffering from complications relating to her diabetes. To the pair of dairy farmers, who had woken early every morning to look after their herd of 60 cows, her loss of sight was devastating.
They had led a difficult but rewarding life, also raising their two children, and had planned to celebrate their coming retirement with a massive tour around their country.
Mr and Mrs Kuroki were heartbroken that all their plans now seemed impossible. Mrs Kuroki shut herself away from the world and Mr Kuroki was forced to watch on, helpless, as his wife sunk into a deep depression.
That was until one day, Mr Kuroki noticed passersby admiring their small garden, which was filled with bright pink Shibazakura flowers, also known as moss phlox.

Shibazakura is a flower that grows thickly, covering the ground like a lawn. The shape of its pretty flower petals looks like that of sakura (cherry blossoms) and it comes in a variety of colors including different shades of pink, white, and light purple, with some petals having striped patterns.

He thought that if he planted more blooms, more people would come to see them and would help to keep his lonely wife company.
And so he quit his dairy farm and started work on creating a carpet of the pink flowers, surrounding their house and creating a striking and beautiful landscape.
He spent two years creating the foundation for the garden, reported RocketNews24, chopping down trees and caring for the fledgeling plants.
Now, more than a decade after the first seeds were planted, the garden in Shintomi Town is open to the public and attracts more than 7,000 visitors every year.
Throughout March and April, when the flowers are in full bloom, Mrs Kuroki has countless people to talk to and put a smile back on her face.
And visitors can also tour the old cow sheds, where they can hear more about the flowers and about the touching love story that brought the garden into being.
Source - HERE
The Shibazakura Festival is one of the most unique and colourful festivals on the Hokkaido flower calendar. Winding paths lead you across a surreal pink and purple hillside overlooking Takinoue town. Every year from early May to early June, Takinoue Park is covered with a carpet of Shibazakura which started from the equivalent of a single tangerine box filled with seedlings. These flowers have spread and grown every year and now cover an area of 100,000 square meters.
Image Source HERE
Shibazakura ~ Takinoue Park 
The park began in 1956 with a “mandarin orange box full” of moss phlox seeds. More and more flowers were planted each year until they filled a 100,000m2 area. The beautiful carpet of flowers covers the hillsides for around a month. As well as being a beautiful bright pink, they fill the park with a sweet scent, drawing you into a dreamlike world. 
May 1 - early June
The backside of the Daisetsuzan Mountain Range offers its pointy snow-covered peaks as a backdrop and tulips adorn the wide gently-sloped paths on your journey across the hill.
In the Ainu language, the Takinoue area is called Ponkamuikotan which roughly translates to "Village of the Small Gods." The name Takinoue, which literally means "Above the Waterfall," originates from the first Japanese settlers who founded the city upstream from a waterfall.
Hokkaido Ainu is the sole survivor of the Ainu languages. It is spoken by members of the Ainu ethnic group on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Ainu has no generally accepted genealogical relationship to any other language family.
How beautiful...This Ponkamuikotan reminds me of Calageata in which (first draft of book) Bea travelled through a waterfall to visit. In this special place, purple flowers are abundant and it is the home of ethereal beings called the Sindria.  
Moss Garden, Saiho-Ji Temple [Kyoto, Japan] ~ Infrared photography
An interesting theory ~ (used inspiration for book - Calageata and Well of Souls)
Purple Earth hypothesis is an astrobiological hypothesis that life forms of early Earth were retinal-based rather than chlorophyll-based thus making Earth appear purple rather than green. An example of a retinal-based organism today is the photosynthetic microbes called halobacteria.
 Early Earth
Furano City, just south of Zerubu Hill above, is where tourists go to get their lavender fix. Even though the lavender blooming season is relatively short—just July and August—this city is very popular that there are more than one million visitors a year. This violet garden spreads out in every direction. Aside from lavenders, there are also cosmos and dahlia.
Flower Soul
Love and light,

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Of the stars...

Obsolete constellations
Non-astronomers are often puzzled by the concept of a disused constellation – surely, a constellation is either there or it isn’t. However, the patterns we see in the stars are purely a product of human imagination, so humans are free to amend the patterns as they choose – and astronomers did so at will during the heyday of celestial mapping in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Former constellations are constellations that are no longer recognised by the International Astronomical Union for various reasons. HERE

Ophiuchus is a large constellation located around the celestial equator. Its name is from the Greek Ὀφιοῦχος "serpent-bearer", and it is commonly represented as a man grasping the snake that is represented by the constellation Serpens. Ophiuchus was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations. It was formerly referred to as Serpentarius and Anguitenens. More HERE
Ophiuchus is located between Aquila, Serpens and Hercules, north-west of the centre of the Milky Way. In the northern hemisphere, it is best visible in summer. It is located opposite Orion in the sky. Ophiuchus is depicted as a man grasping a serpent; the interposition of his body divides the snake constellation Serpens into two parts, Serpens Caput and Serpens Cauda, which are nonetheless counted as one constellation.

There is no evidence of the constellation preceding the classical era, and in Babylonian astronomy, a "Sitting Gods" constellation seems to have been located in the general area of Ophiuchus. However, Gavin White proposes that Ophiuchus may in fact, be remotely descended from this Babylonian constellation, representing Nirah, a serpent-god who was sometimes depicted with his upper half human but with serpents for legs.

The brightest stars in Ophiuchus include α Ophiuchi, called Rasalhague ("head of the serpent charmer"), at magnitude 2.07, and η Ophiuchi, known as Sabik ("the preceding one"), at magnitude 2.43. Other bright stars in the constellation include β Ophiuchi, Cebalrai ("dog of the shepherd") and λ Ophiuchi, or Marfik ("the elbow").

 Barnard's Star, one of the nearest stars to the Solar System (the only stars closer are the Alpha Centauri binary star system and Proxima Centauri), lies in Ophiuchus. It is located to the left of β and just north of the V-shaped group of stars in an area that was once occupied by the now-obsolete constellation of Taurus Poniatovii (Poniatowski's Bull).

Taurus Poniatovii (Latin for Poniatowski's bull) was a constellation created by Marcin Odlanicki Poczobutt in 1777 to honor Stanislaus Poniatowski, king of Poland. It consisted of stars that are today considered part of Ophiuchus and Aquila. It is no longer in use. It was wedged in between Ophiuchus, Aquila and Serpens Cauda.

The stars were picked for the resemblance of their arrangement to the Hyades group which form the "head" of Taurus. Before the definition of Taurus Poniatovii, some of these had been part of the obsolete constellation River Tigris.

River Tigris or Tigris (named after the Tigris river) was a constellation, introduced in 1612 (or 1613) by Petrus Plancius. One end was near the shoulder of Ophiuchus and the other was near Pegasus, and in between it passed through the area now occupied by Vulpecula, flowing between Cygnus and Aquila. It did not appear on Johann Bode's atlases and was quickly forgotten.

 In 2005, astronomers using data from the Green Bank Telescope discovered a superbubble so large that it extends beyond the plane of the galaxy. It is called the Ophiuchus Superbubble.
Urania (Ancient Greek: Οὐρανία, Ourania; meaning "heavenly" or "of heaven"), also spelt Ourania, was, in Greek mythology, the muse of astronomy and a daughter of Zeus by Mnemosyne and also a great granddaughter of Uranus. Eldest of the divine sisters, Urania inherited Zeus' majesty and power and the beauty and grace of her mother Mnemosyne.

Urania dresses in a cloak embroidered with stars and keeps her eyes and attention focused on the Heavens. She is usually represented with a celestial globe to which she points with a little staff. She is able to foretell the future by the arrangement of the stars.
Griepenkerl, Venus Urania
Urania, o'er her star-bespangled lyre,
With touch of majesty diffused her soul;
A thousand tones, that in the breast inspire,
Exalted feelings, o er the wires'gan roll—
How at the call of Jove the mist unfurled,
And o'er the swelling vault—the glowing sky,
The new-born stars hung out their lamps on high,
And rolled their mighty orbs to music's sweetest sound.
—From An Ode To Music by James G. Percival

During the Renaissance, Urania began to be considered the Muse for Christian poets. In the invocation to Book 7 of John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, the poet invokes Urania to aid his narration of the creation of the cosmos, though he cautions that it is "[t]he meaning, not the name I call" (7.5)
Urania Cottage was a refuge for fallen women established by the writer Charles Dickens in Lime Grove, Shepherd’s Bush, London in the late 1840s. 
Bacchylides, Fragment 3 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (C5th B.C.):
"[The poet] has his share in the violet-haired Mousai (Muses).The light of man's excellence, however, does not diminish with his body; no, the Mousa (Muse) fosters it. And the sweet-voiced cock [the poet] of lyre-ruling Ourania (Urania)."
Aratus Solensis, 1600, Hug. Grotii Syntagma Arateorum. Ophiuchus, Serpens, Scorpius.
Isis Urania 
Sidney Hall Urania's Mirror Monoceros Canis Minor and Atelier Typographique
Love and light,

Christmas Writing

Claíomh Solais  (Shining Sword) first draft in Progress
Book Three ~ The Future
Book Three ~ The Past

Love and light

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Magical Places ~ Regaleira Palace ~ Sintra ~ Portugal

Regaleira Palace ~ Sintra ~ Portugal
Quinta da Regaleira is an estate located near the historic center of Sintra, Portugal. It is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO within the "Cultural Landscape of Sintra". Along with the other palaces in the area such as the Quinta do Relógio, Pena, Monserrate and Seteais palaces, it is considered one of the principal tourist attractions of Sintra. The property consists of a romantic palace and chapel, and a luxurious park that features lakes, grottoes, wells, benches, fountains, and a vast array of exquisite constructions. The palace is also known as "The Palace of Monteiro the Millionaire", which is based on the nickname of its best known former owner, António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro. More Here.

Love and light,

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Dunvegan ~ Eilean Donan Castle (Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland)

Eilean Donan Castle 
TJ Drysdale
Eilean Donan Castle (Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland)

A picturesque castle that frequently appears in photographs, film and television dominates the island, which lies about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) from the village of Dornie. Since the castle's restoration in the early 20th century, a footbridge has connected the island to the mainland.

Eilean Donan, which means simply "island of Donnán", is named after Donnán of Eigg, a Celtic saint martyred in 617. Donnán is said to have established a church on the island, though no trace of this remains.