morning: a swan, a Corsican pine

A perfect morning — dark coffee, sunlight, a swan on the walk over to de Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam,

Swan on the canal

and a patient heron as we approached the garden:

Heron at the hortus botanicusFor a lover of plants (and a consort willing to come along), this was heaven. The Hortus was founded in 1638 in the wake of a plague epidemic, a living storehouse of medicinal herbs. Wonderful arboreal specimens, e.g. a hinoki cypress (I know that our west coast yellow cedar has a similar wood which is exported to Japan when hinoki cypress is in short supply for building (among other things) Shinto shrines. Corsican pine:

Corsican pine

I loved the knobbly cork oaks

Cork oak

and look forward to seeing them in Portugal tomorrow. (Tomorrow!) As for tonight, there’s a party to celebrate Anik and Walter’s wedding and we’ve been promised oysters and champagne. More perfect pairings.

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