Bad Honnef's Blaue Band of Crocuses

Every year around the first week of March, I visit the Blaue Band am Rhein, a 2.5 kilometer "blue ribbon" of blossoming crocuses along the Rhine Park in Düsseldorf. It's one of my favorite things to photograph and is the first big sign of spring. Since Düsseldorf is no longer around the corner from where I now live, I looked forward to taking some annual photographs after an appointment in the city last week. But I ended up disappointed with the results - the hurricane that hit Düsseldorf last June left many of its trees with limbs and branches lopped off, leaving an unsightly element to the pictures.

When I didn't get the photos I was hoping for, I worked on a drawing inspired by the variations of crocuses I had seen in previous years at the Blaue Band.

Then I remembered having passed by a field of sprouting crocuses in Bad Honnef, only ten minutes away, and was delighted to have the chance to capture this new blue ribbon. The flowers all grew densely together and had the most intense shade of purple. Seeing it was the perfect beginning to my favorite of all seasons. Happy springtime!


Searching for Fliegenpilze

I always look forward to this time of year in Germany when summer dwindles down and Bavarian culture is a little more present. As Octoberfest approaches, dirndls are in all the shop windows and motifs of mushrooms and hunting themes are everywhere.

When the temperatures become this mild I find hiking through the forests to be a perfect Sunday afternoon activity. Something I absolutely love about German forests is sighting the varieties of mushrooms and fungus growing everywhere. I really enjoy taking photos and identifying what I found later on. 

Since living in Germany I have been on the lookout for Fliegenpilze (or the fly agaric mushroom as they are called in English). Their vibrant red coloring makes them unique among all the other mushrooms I have encountered and I wanted to catch a glimpse of their beauty. I was told they grow in pine forests in the fall time, but after many disappointing searches I started to believe they were only a myth. I gave up on trying to find them until one day last October I unexpectedly stumbled upon a whole array of Fliegenpilze growing in a local cemetery in Meerbusch. This sighting, so full of surprise and chance, felt like I was given the stroke of good luck they are known to bring.