The days after the holidays can often be a bit depressing. You work up to Christmas so much and then suddenly it’s over, and it’s still dark, dark, dark and cold, cold, cold. We had a great Christmas, but in the end I was a bit sad to be away from family. It didn’t help that I turned 27 a few days ago, and for the first time in my life I feel like time is not on my side. Shouldn’t I have accomplished a bit more by now?

A depressing, wet scene

To fight the winter blues Jesse and I headed to the Botanical Gardens, a short walk from our apartment. It was a wretched day to be outside with strong winds throwing the rain about and the sky a low gray. But we had free passes that were set to expire soon, so we forged on. What better way to add some joy to our world than green living things, bright flowers and, cheeriest of all, butterflies?  We escaped the rain in the  warm greenhouses and enjoyed the colorful creatures.

Credit due to Jesse for these fabulous photos

The Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, established in 1638. As the Dutch East India Company sailed to the corners of the world they brought back spices and seeds, clippings and samples. A single coffee plant, Coffee Arabica, was brought to the garden and served as the “parent” plant to Europe. All that coffee and conversation throughout London and Paris in the 17th century was because of one humble plant in this garden!

The greenhouses were full of ferns, cork trees, water lilies, pitcher plants and more. We also saw one of the oldest trees in the garden (300!), which effectively puts my 27 years into perspective. With delicious pumpkin soup in the cafe and a warm apartment to walk back to, I can fight off the winter blues after all, I think.

This tree is over 300 years old.