Sunday, April 24, 2011

Monrovia, Thursday April 14, 7am

These pictures were taken in Monrovia, walking toward the foothills, during an early morning walk on April 14, 2011. We ran into very few people on this walk: a woman in her garden, a middle-aged guy who left home to go on a bike ride and said to us "Hi guys. Enjoying the best part part of the day huh?" To which I replied: "We sure are."

New York, Easter Sunday 2011

This morning Vladimir and I were on a .mission to go take a picture of the Serendipity 3 restaurant for my cousin Virginie. These pictures were taken on the way there and back, including a few in Central Park. The yellow man mural painted on the side wall of PS11 in Chelsea, is by bresilian artists Os Gemeos.This afternoon, Vlada and I are going to see a serbian film at the Tribeca Film Festival called "White white world" ("Beli beli svet").

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Echo Mountain Trail

These pictures were taken on the Echo Mountain Trail on Sunday April 17, on the morning of our return to New York. The trail starts at the end of Lake Avenue in Altadena. We started the hike at about 6am. At about 7am we were at the historic site of the ruins of Echo Mountain House. In 1894 this used to be a large and fancy hotel which could be reached by cogwheel train from the valley down below. This is a popular and spectacular trail which gets crowded later in the morning.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Topanga Canyon, Saturday morning

For yet another experience communing with nature under the bright California sunshine, we headed out to Topanga State Park early on the morning of April 16, with Vlada, Luka, Marina and Tomo. We started off at 7am from "Trippet Ranch" and decided to hike the same trail to Eagle Rock where Vlada, Marina and I had gone a year ago. This time we headed up the fire road under a fierce wind and returned on the more peaceful, shadier Eagle Rock Loop Trail. Both fire road and trail offer spectacular vistas. As Marina put it at some point on the way down: "you guys want views, evo vam views!"

Later that morning, after making a stop at Marina's place, we went shopping at my favorite place in Pasadena: the Farmer's Market which is held every Saturday morning. At this fabulous market we found some amazing organic mandarines, raspberries and strawberries, radishes and green asparagus. There we had our traditional breakfast of organic fresh pomegranate juice and those delicious tri-berry scones, made by a french baker who owns the Sconeage Bakery in Long Beach. While Vlada was shopping for vegetables, I bought yet another lavender for Milica's garden.

Descanso Gardens

Milica's back yard is clearly not in the same league as Descanso Gardens, located on the former estate of E. Manchester Boddy who was the publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News. This garden covers 150 acres open to the public. It is located in La Cañada Flintridge (between Pasadena and Glendale). The pictures on this page were taken for the most part in the California Garden section of Descanso (except for the picture of Vlada at the Tea House of the Japanese Garden). The native California poppies were in full bloom in mid April.

Milica's garden in April

Vlada and I spent a good amount of time in grandma Milica’s garden over the course of our five day stay in Los Angeles. On the afternoon of our arrival, we mowed the lawn in the back, which had become a wildflower field (left) – not without its own charm, so that we decided to preserve a wildflower border along the alley over which the grapevines grow. Weeds of a much less charming variety had also invaded all the flower beds. I eventually pulled out what amounted to two large containers filled to the brim. I also clipped the grapevines, picked lots of grapefruit and lemons in order for Vlada to make lemonade, grapefruit juice and lemon-grapefruit curd, and trimmed the tallest branches of the fig tree.

The Spanish lavender plants which I planted two year ago in the front garden have become enormous and were full of flowers and bees busily collecting pollen. The fern lavender plant (below left) which I moved from back to front garden last August because it was not getting
enough sun there, was now healthier and bushier but completely hidden under tall weeds. This is a more delicate plant, which I have only ever seen in California gardens and whose leaves are incredibly fragrant. During the next few days, Vlada and I got four more lavender plants for the front border, including another Spanish lavender which seems to be the hardiest kind and most adapted to California as well as a more mysterious (also Spanish) “Madrid” variety, which came from a nearby garden center and is supposed to have deep purple flowers.