Self was first made aware of this garden while reading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Will Parry and Lyra Belacqua come from parallel universes. Once a year, they “visit” each other by going to a bench in the Oxford Botanic Garden.
This year, after a three-year hiatus on traveling, self was finally able to return to the UK. The Oxford Botanic Garden was a required stop. These pictures were taken in the last week of May (thanks so much, Becky, for reviving the Squares challenge)
It was fun looking through the archives for photos taken at ground level.
Finally settled on two pictures she took last May while visiting the Oxford University Botanic Garden. The greenhouse housed all sort of exotic plants, such as these speckled beauties. Self didn’t know what they were, so she looked for the plant tag. It turned out to be underneath the hanging basket:
Seeing double is all about reflections—probably one of my biggest photographic obsessions. I tend to see them everywhere & actively seek them out when they’re not readily apparent. My reflection hunting started shortly after I got Snappy, my DSLR, 12 years ago with some poolside reflections.
This was such a fun challenge. Thank you for dreaming it up, Jez!
Lily pond, Oxford University Botanical Garden:
Ruth Asawa, permanent collection, De Young Museum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco:
Alexander Calder mobile, from Calder/Picasso Exhibit, 2021, de Young Museum, Golden Gate Park:
Self has lately been thinking of adding a water feature to her garden (though, she is worried about Lucia falling in, so maybe not until she learns to swim). Here are examples from various gardens she has visited in the past month:
The Glasshouses, Oxford University Botanic Garden
Central Fountain, Oxford University Botanic Garden
Central Courtyard, Christchurch, Oxford University
Self took these pictures at the Oxford Botanic Garden, which she visited in May. What she loves about the location is that, all around and across the street, are very old buildings. The roses are grouped by color: here pink, there orange; here yellow, there white.
There is a permanent installation of San Francisco artist Ruth Asawa at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. Just happened to be in Oxford when the Museum of Modern Art did a show on her, in May. Saw the exhibit with two American friends, Amy and Sam. In one word, stunning.
Self loves the lore of the Thames. She loves the Embankments in London: Southbank, with the National Theatre and Waterloo Station and the Tate Modern. And the Victoria Embankment, with the Jubilee Bridge and that view of the London Eye. The Thames has quite a different aspect in Oxford. There, it has boats and punts and rowers.
There’s a big event that occurs annually, end of May: the crew races where teams from all the Oxford colleges compete against each other. This was the vantage point from Donnington Bridge.
She had no idea until that day that crew was so grueling. As the boats skimmed beneath the bridge, she could hear grunts. Loud grunts. Which was so at odds with the graceful way the boats skim the water. There are shouts, too, from a person at the front of the boat (the one who steers, holding two lines) who has a whistle and keeps up a constant stream of encouraging cries like “Come on!” She’s sorry that the boats were moving so fast (they cleared the bridge in seconds) that, even though she pointed her camera straight down into the individual boats, everything was really blurred.