Monday, August 9, 2010

Penjing

Penjing is the Chinese version of bonsai. Bonsai seems to be more simplified with balance and form being top priorities. After this road trip, I prefer penjing introduced to me at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. Recently my friend received photos of fantastic topiaries that presumably were at these gardens:
and of course, she wanted to see these creations in person so I invited her along as I was going to Montreal anyway. Alas as we found out, these were not from the gardens at all but from a special exhibit down in the old port that they have only occasionally. It was there last summer. We did find one topiary at the MBG

though this sheepdog seems to be made out of various grasses so it probably isn't a topiary. In Old Montreal, we did see elaborate garden plantings:

Montreal is over 600 miles away, tough to drive in one day (though we did it on the way back) so we decided to stay in Kingston Ontario where I have happily stayed before on at least 3 occasions on my way to visit Jeannette. In the past, when the kids were little, we'd stay in Toronto. Kingston is a university town similar in many ways to Ann Arbor but much older and  having more interesting architecture. We stayed at the Rosemount.
It has fantastic rooms, an all over shower with around 20 shower heads, beautiful gardens, a gourmet breakfast, friendly staff and a nice porch to sit on. At night, Kingston has a very popular haunted tour in which they tour the town in groups. This inn is one of their stops as it looks spooky at night and they tell some silly ghost story. Later after dinner, we sat on the porch after dark drinking our wine and saw at least 4 of these groups. We made spooky noises .

Looks spooky, eh?
Cute pink house
Kingston has lots of interesting houses, gardens and a nice waterfront area.

Where we ate with its fancy drinks and eclectic menu
Gelato next door after dinner. I had mango/peach and nocciola

My friend and I at dinner. We ate in a pretty courtyard out of the sun. It was very toasty and humid that day. At one of cute shops, I bought this shapeable necklace that I am wearing here. Hadn't seen anything like it before but then again, I don't go out much.

We did take our own haunted walk at night seeing the very mixed architecture there. I got up very early to take a run along the waterfront-still unbearably hot and humid. I was dripping for quite a long time afterwards sitting on the porch, sipping coffee, reading local papers to get a feel for the area (Kingston Whig Standard? What a name!). The waterfront has plenty of nice gardens and public art. Kingston is at the point that Lake Ontario turns into the St. Lawrence seaway. Also a big river empties out there along with the Rideau canal that leads to Ottawa. So it is a strategic spot both from an economic standpoint and as a military one (A huge fort there to protect "Upper Canada" from its land-grubbing neighbors across the lake). After my deluxe shower, time for our gourmet breakfast eating with mostly Canadians although there was one couple from NJ there to see the cigar boat races. Sur la Route!!! We drove on the 1000 Island Parkway for my friend to see:
Some of the smallest islands had cottages on them


1 comment:

Sara Williams said...

Sounds like a great trip, I love the dog made from grasses and I love your necklace too x

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