Sunday, 19 July 2009

Texas State Flower – The Bluebonnet

The land known as Texas is actually the 2nd largest state within the United States. It's a place of legacy and lore that extends back to the ranchers, cowboys and oilmen who built it into the proud place of independent people that it still is today. You will find this Lone Star State boasts three big cities, but still prides itself on its vast area of land and beautiful scenery.


One of the most gorgeous flowers in the state, it's not surprising that the bluebonnet is the official state flower. Texas is covered in bluebonnet blooms during their season and you'll be able to recognize the tall-stemmed blossoms by the way they fade from deep, rich blue at the bases to a pale whitish shade at their tips.

With star shaped leaves and proud waving blossoms, it's not much of a leap to see why they could remind one of the Lone Star State itself. A springtime drive through the Texas countryside will showcase the waving sea of pure blue that the bluebonnets bring with them. The rich colors make for gorgeous photographs and many vacationers snap a few during their visits.

Sadly, the bluebonnets do not last for long. Their season's duration only covers the spring and by summer they've faded out almost completely. With their beauty, it's no wonder that they've come to be seen as almost sacred by many Texans. Some will tell you that it's a crime to pick these blossoms, but that's simply a Texas whopper. You can pick as many as you like, but you might get a few odd looks from the natives if you do.

Growing Bluebonnets

Strangely, despite being one of the heartier species of wildflower in Texas, the bluebonnet is not known as easy to garden. It's an annual and if you plant the seeds or transplants during Autumn, then you can expect some blossoms in the spring if everything goes as planned. They need full sunlight and well drained soil to survive and establish their network of roots.

Romantic Destinations to Visit in Russia

Russia is rapidly becoming one of the most fascinating destinations in the world. Since the fall of Communism, Russian traditions that were hidden for decades have come back and are frantically making up for lost time. Though Russia, the most massive country in the world by physical scale, offers countless other options, most first-time visitors to Russia start at Moscow and St. Petersburg. Here are four romantic places to visit in Russia.

Abramtsevo is an retreat north of Moscow. It was a retreat for artists and writers during the 19th century. Originally owned by Sergei Aksakov, novelists and designers like Nikolai Gogol stayed there as guests. They wanted to purge Russian art of Western influences to create a more purely Russian ethos. In 1870 it was taken over by Savva Mamontov, and under his influence, Russian art flourished there. Abramtsevo contains a charming church, winding paths through woods, and a rather bizarre house straight out of a fairy tale. The main manor may have been the starting point for Chekhov's setting for The Cherry Orchard.

Gorky Park, Moscow is a romantic place to visit in cold weather. The footpaths ice over converting much of the park into a skating rink. Skating together with your sweetheart is one of the most sweet ways to experience Moscow. If you go in the summer, you can enjoy the many rides, cafes, and booths where you can shop for mementos. First opened in 1928, Gorky Park was formerly the gardens of a local palace. Whether you go when it’s cold or during summer, you will find innumerable things to delight you and your love. Located by the Moskva River, it is a beautiful setting you shouldn't neglect when visiting Moscow.

The Hermitage Winter Palace is perhaps the most spectacular place in St. Petersburg. With its innumerable architectural flourishes, this magnificent building has over 1, 000 rooms. In the past the residence of Russia's royalty, it also was the site where in 1917 Bolsheviks began their coup d'etat. While that specific incident of the Revolution was not as brutal as it was later reported, it did lead to civil war and the Bolshevik triumph in 1921. Now, the Winter Palace holds the Hermitage Museum, the most expansive art gallery in Russia. Artwork by da Vinci, Raphael, and Rubens are some of the works in this spectacular art collection.

The Grand Hotel Europe is a very posh delight, with outstanding food in the many restaurants, and a long and rich history. Among the Grand Hotel Europe's numerous historic visitors was Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky From this hub of indulgence, visitors can easily reach St. Petersburg's most famous sites. As a setting for bliss, Grand Hotel Europe cannot be topped. It is like returning to an earlier setting, with opulence and elegance complemented by 21st century amenities.

While Russia is graced with many charming sites, these four are excellent choices for first-time visitors. The amazing architecture of Eastern Europe blends with a 20th century largely filled with events that are unknown to Westerners make Russia a unique, but unforgettable setting for romance.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Edelweiss - Austria - Pictures

Edelweiss Pictures from the Internet.