Mallard duck on the rocks

There were not many photography opportunities this month for me.
We've had a terrible May, with very low temperatures and the rainy days seam to never come to an end.

I took my camera this afternoon and went out to the river, to try my luck with photographing on a cloudy day.
Surprise! The sun came out for a few minutes, very shy, but a big difference for the photo.

This Mallard duck pair is enjoying the last rays of the golden hour too.

Mallard ducks on rocks, warming up in the late afternoon sun
Mallard ducks on rocks, warming up in the late afternoon sun.

Bristly Locust - Rose acacia in flower-Robinia hispida

Rose acacia - Robinia hispida is the little sister of flowering trees and shrubs in the pea family (Fabaceae).

Unlike the large Black locust tree, Rose Locust is a medium-sized shrub, 1.5-2m tall with the same spread, ideal for small gardens.
Though its branches are very fragile, these twigs are very well armed, being covered with dense, sticky bristles. That explain some common names of this species like Bristly Locust and Hairy locust.

I don't see this tree very often in gardens and I was surprised to find this one on the street, near the sidewalk.
Blurry because of the wind, my close-up photo still shows you its dark-brown to violet bristles and the long, sharp thorns at the base of the branches.

Close-up photo showing rose acacia flowers, bristles and thorns
Bristly Locust - Rose acacia flowers, leaves, bristles and thorns 

Flowering Rose Acacia tree - Robinia hispida
Flowering Rose Acacia tree
Rose acacia has very showy, rose-pink flowers, formed in short clusters in May-June. Sometimes, on a hot summer, it flowers for the second time at the end of July- early August.

Its leaves are mid green, pinnate with 7-15 leaflets which are larger than on black locust.

This shrub needs no maintenance except some protection from strong wind as its branches can easily get broken.

It is drought tolerant, prefers full sun, sandy, poor soil and dislikes wet feet.

Strawberry shortcake recipe - Delightful Dessert

Home made strawberry shortcake with fresh berries and whipped cream is a delicious dessert in early summer. Here is an easy recipe, to surprise your family with.
Delicioush home made strawberry shortcake with cream


For the shortcake:
  • All Purpose Flour - 1 1/2 Cups
  • Sugar - 1/4 Cup
  • Butter - 1/2 Cups
  • Baking Powder2 tsp
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp
  • Heavy Cream - 1/2 Cup
  • Egg Yolk, beaten - 1
  • egg for egg wash - 1
For the filling:
  • Strawberries - 2 pounds
  • Sugar - 2 Tbsp or more, depending on how sweet the berries are
  • Lemon - 1/2
  • Heavy whipping cream - 1 Cup


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (176°C), line a baking sheet with parchment paper in a cake pan and set aside.

Strawberry filling:
  • Place about one third of the strawberries in a bowl and crush them with a fork.
  • Slice the rest of the strawberries and add them in the same bowl, along with the sugar, lemon zest and juice.
  • Mix well and place the bowl in the fridge until the scones are done and completely cool.
Shortcake - scones:
  1. In a large bowl, sift together all dry ingredients: the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  2. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or an electric mixer, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the cream, beaten egg yolk and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and combine together just until a dough forms.
  4. Transfer to a lightly floured board and knead the dough gently into about half inch thick.
  5. cut the dough into rounds with a cookie cutter or with a common water glass, 7-10 cm (2.8 - 4 inch) in diameter, as to your liking. Place the rounds on the prepared cookie sheet and brush the tops with egg wash or a little cream.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden. When done, transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.


  • When cool, carefully split the shortcake into two layers and set the top half nearby.
  • Spoon the mashed berries with their juice over the bottom layer of the shortcake and spread the lightly whipped cream on top of the berries.
  • Place the top half on and top with whipped cream and a few more strawberries.
    The few kiwi slices add also some color contrast to the decoration.
Makes about 6-8 servings, scones of a 2.8 inch (7 cm) diameter .

Bon Appétit!

Snowball viburnum - Viburnum macrocephalum photos

Snowball viburnum bushes in full bloom are an impressive focal point in the May landscape.
I'm following this Chinese viburnum more than a week now, waiting for the green flowers to finally turn pure white. Too much rain and too low temperature is what kept it from blooming earlier.

Viburnum macrocephalum is a hardy, large growing shrub, up to 3-4m (10 - 13 feet) in height with an equal spread.

Snowball viburnum flowers - Viburnum macrocephalum branch
Chinese Snowball viburnum bush branches with flowers 

The flowers are born in clusters of an apple green color at first,  growing into large, white snowballs when in full bloom.
The heavy, ball-shaped flower head is composed of many, tiny, sterile florets. Puffy, pristine-white blossoms nearly cover all the branches on the shrub.

Snowball viburnum flower-closeup photo
Viburnum flowers - white snowballs 

It prefers partially shaded growing conditions, slightly moist but well-drained soil.

This last picture was taken about a week earlier than the previous ones. The yet green flowers among the leaves are barely visible.

Snowball viburnum shrub with green flower buds


Flowering Black Locust tree-Robinia pseudoacacia

Black locust trees are in full bloom in May, feeling the air with their pleasant fragrance, similar to orange blossoms.
Its white flowers are pea-like, borne in long, pendulous racemes, just like Wisteria and Laburnum tree flowers. The flowers are edible and an important source of the renowned acacia monofloral honey.
Its fruit are long pods containing 4-8, dark orange brown seeds. These seed pods ripen in late autumn, hanging on the branches until next spring.

 Black locust trees  are planted alongside streets and in parks in my town, as ornamental trees. One of its common names is False Acacia.
Old trees of this species can reach 1.6m in diameter and even 50m in height.

Black Locust tree branch with white flowers-Robinia pseudoacacia
Because of its huge size, this tree is not for small gardens but its little sister, the Rose Acacia or Bristly locust is an ideal garden tree.

The wood of Black locust trees is extremely hard, durable and rot resistant. It is used for furniture, flooring, paneling, fence posts and highly valued as firewood.

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