Rose 'Black Baccara'

If I am being completely honest there is no such thing as a black rose.

However, there are a few cultivated varieties that have taken advantage of the very dark red pigments that roses can produced.

There are a number of different varieties of these so-called black flowering roses - the most popular being  'Black Jade' and 'Black Baccara'.

 How to grow black roses

Black roses should be planted in sandy soil so if you feel that your soil is particularly heavy due to clay then you will need to improve the drainage by adding some horticultural grit or well rotted compost to the soil. To preserve the deep colouration, plant out of direct sunlight to prevent the flowers from bleaching -  partial shade is preferable. Once planted, water in thoroughly.

Rose 'Black Jade'
During hot weather, black roses should be watered at least three times a week - sometimes more for newly planted stock, but avoid water-logging the soil as this will only result in root damage which in extremely cases can result in the death of your roses.

Using a good quality, well-rotted farm manure give your black roses a good thick mulch in the autumn, and once again in the spring. This will help to provide the nutrients needed to maintain healthy growth over the spring and summer.

When to prune black roses

Back in the olden days, the rules behind pruning roses were kept very simple - at least they were for bush/shrubby roses. The only time you would dare approach a rose in anger was...

' the third week, of the third month, to the third outward facing bud...'

However, a second pruning can be attempted in November in order to keep your black roses looking tidy over the winter period.

For related articles click onto:
How to Harden Off Seedlings
How to Improve Drainage in Lawns
How to Make John Innes Compost
How to Make Liquid Fertilizer from Comfrey
Hardy Exotic Plants for that Tropical Garden Effect
Hellebores and Hand Pollination
How and Why does Over-watering Kill Plants?
How Can You Improve Clay Soils?
How to Build a Compost Heap Pile
How to Build a Dry Stone Wall
How to Choose Plants for Hot, Dry Sunny Borders
How to Cure and Store Pumpkins
How to Grow Roses from Cuttings
How to Grow Roses from Seed
How to Grow Tomatoes - Growbags or Soil?
How to Make a Leaf Mould Compost
How to Make an Asparagus Bed
How to Make and Prepare an Asparagus Bed
How to Make your Own Organic Pyrethrum Insecticide
How to Prune Raspberries
How to Prune Roses
How to Recognise Vine Weevil Damage on Plants
How to Repot an Orchid
How to Save and Recover an Over-watered Plant
How to Tell when Pumpkins are Ready to Harvest
How to take Cuttings from Roses
How to use Crop Rotation on an Allotment
Nectar Rich American Wildflowers for Attracting Native Bumble Bees
Plants for Autumn Colour
Plants for Dry Shade
Public Bench Misdemeanours
Rose 'Purple Tiger'
Salad Crops for Late Summer/Autumn Planting
The Black Rose
The Hardy Begonia - Begonia grandis
The 'Native Trees' of England
The Plight of English Woodlands
The Worlds Best Gardening Tips
What are Mycorrhizal Fungi?
What are Plant Macronutrients and Micronutrients?
What are Plant Nutrients?
What Causes Blue Hydrangeas to Turn Pink?
What Causes Moss in Lawns
What is Chlorosis?
What is Cork Made of?
What is E.Coli?
What is John Innes Base?
What is John Innes Compost?
What is a Leaf Mould Compost?
What is Lavender?
What is Lobelia?
What is a Truffle?
What is a Wormery?
What is an Epiphyte?
What is Frankincense?
What is an F1 Hybrid?
What is an Orchid?
What is Over-watering and How to Recognise it?
What is Pricking out?
What is Rhubarb Poisoning?
What is the Biggest Flower in the World?


Sharks apart, the majority of fish species that can be a danger to humans are neither particularly aggressive or see humans as a potential meal. However, they can still be dangerous - even deadly, for an altogether different reason. They are either venomous, and in the majority of cases sting when stepped on or manipulated, or they are are potentially dangerous when eaten - such as the infamous fugu.

That being said, below is a list of potentially deadly fish that you really should be aware of if you intend putting your foot anywhere near the sea - and not just the tropics!

 Stingray (family Dasyatidae)

The Stingray
Clearly the clue is in the name. Stingrays inhabit shallow water, especially in the tropics but can be found in temperate regions as well.

The different species have a distinctive ray shape but their colouration often makes them hard to spot unless they are swimming. Stingrays defend themselves by lashing out with whip-like tails equipped with one or two spines.

Because the spines are barbed they can cause serious gashes; besides, they are venomous in about two-thirds of species. The spines are capable of penetrating wet-suits and shoe leather and have been known to cause serious injury, and even to kill people unlucky enough to have been stabbed in the chest (like the famous herpetologist, Steve Irwin).

Stingrays pose a risk mainly to people wading, who often get injured on the leg, as well as to careless fishers and divers who sometimes get lashed by a startled stingray as they swim above it. Prevention involves shuffling feet when wading. Wounds should be washed thoroughly with sea water and the spines removed carefully.

Scorpion fish or Zebra fish (family Scorpaenidae) 

 Scorpion fish are mostly marine fish that live mainly in the reefs in the Pacific and Indian oceans. The hundreds of species can measure anything between 30 and 90 cm (1-3 feet), are usually reddish in colouration  and have long wavy fins and spines.

They inflict an intensely painful sting and include many of the world's most venomous species such as the Lionfish, or Turkey fish, Dragon fish, Scorpion fish, Fire fish, Firefish, Butterfly cod (family Scorpaenidae).

A Lionfish is any of several species of venomous marine fish in the genera Pterois, Parapterois, Brachypterois, Ebosia or Dendrochirus. Most lionfish inhabit the tropical Indo-Pacific region of the world, though some species can be found worldwide. Recently, lionfish have even been spotted in the warmer coral regions of the eastern Atlantic Ocean around the Azores and extending into the Mediterranean Sea, as well as in the Caribbean Sea.

Lionfish sting
This introduction could be the result of the destruction of an aquarium in southern Florida, by Hurricane Andrew. Lionfish are coloured differently (red, green, red, navy green, brown, orange, yellow, black, maroon or white) but with a distinctive striped appearance with extremely long and separated spines. Like in the stonefish, the dorsal spines are highly venomous and divers and fishers should avoid any contact with these fish.

Fortunately, lionfish are not aggressive towards humans and prefer to keep their distance, when they are given a choice. Spines are used for defence only; the threatened fish faces its attacker in an upside down posture to expose them. For humans, stings are extremely painful and can cause headaches, vomiting and breathing difficulties; however, they are normally not deadly. Medical treatment is still advised, though, as it is difficult to tell how badly a person will react to the venom. A common treatment consists of soaking the stung area in hot water.

Rabbitfish, or Spinefoot, Chimaera, Siganus fish (family Siganidae, order Perciformes)

Rabbitfish are found predominantly on the reefs an shallow lagoons in the Pacific and Indian oceans, as well as in the eastern Mediterranean.

 They are active during the day, some species being solitary, others living in schools. They average about 30 centimetres long (though some measure hardly 10 cm) and have small rabbit-like mouths, large dark eyes, generally bright colours or a complex pattern, and very sharp spines in their fins.

The spines are venomous and can inflict intense pain. These herbivorous fish, though, have a shy temperament (hence their name) and will only use their spines in defence. Their poison is not life-threatening to adult humans, but is likely to cause severe pain.

Weever fish, or Weaverfish (family Trachinidae, order Perciformes) 

Weever fish
The eight species of weever fish are found mostly in tropical waters, though the lesser weever (responsible for most human stings) has a wide distribution: from the southern North Sea to the Mediterranean; it is especially common around the south coast of the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Atlantic coast of France and Spain, and the northern coast of the Mediterranean.

 These fairly slim fish are mainly brownish and measure about 30 cm. All their fins have venomous spines that cause a very painful wound. During the day, weevers bury themselves in sand, usually in shallow waters (especially in the case of the lesser weever), sometimes little more than damp sand, just showing their eyes, and snatch prey (small fish and shrimps) as it comes past.

Weever fish sting
The vast majority of injuries occur to the foot when victims accidentally step on a buried fish; stings are also commonly located on the hands and buttocks.

 Stings are most common in the hours before and after low tide, so one possible precaution is to avoid bathing or paddling at these times. It is also recommended to wear sandals or wetsuit boots with a relatively hard sole (stings can penetrate wet suit rubber soles), and to avoid sitting or "rolling" in the shallows.

 Stings are extremely painful and cause a throbbing pain and swelling in the affected area, sometimes accompanied by a numbness, nausea, joint aches, headaches, abdominal cramps, light-headedness, increased urination and tremors. In rare cases, victims had more severe symptoms, such as abnormal heart rhythms, shortness of breath, weakness, seizures, decreased blood pressure, unconsciousness, and tissue degeneration.

Stonefish (family Synanceja) 

Stonefish occur in the tropical waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. These 30 cm-long (1 foot) fish are extremely well camouflaged as the lie on seabed, trying to ambush shrimps and small fish, looking exactly like an encrusted rock. They can be found from exposed sand and mud in tidal inlets to depths of 40m.

 Their cryptic colouration and hunting technique make the Stonefish especially dangerous to humans. Indeed, to protect itself against bottom-feeding sharks and rays, these fish have developed 13 defensive spines along their backs. When stepped on, the pressure on the spines causes the sheath under them to shoot venom from their attached glands deep into the wound (It then takes a few weeks for the glands to regenerate and recharge.) The pain is excruciating and can last for hours. It can be accompanied by temporary paralysis, shock and sometimes even death. To avoid being stung, turn over rocks with caution and mostly wear thick-soled shoes and tread gently - spines may penetrate soles if a stonefish is jumped on. 

Catfish (order Siluriformes)

Striped eel catfish 
Catfish are a diverse group of bony fish. Named for their prominent barbels (though some species don't have any), which resemble a cat's whiskers, catfish range in size from the heaviest, the Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia and the longest, the wels catfish of Eurasia, to the tiny candiru (Vandellia cirrhosa) a parasitic species. Catfish species live in inland or coastal waters of every continent except Antarctica, but are particularly common and diverse in tropical South America, and to a lesser degree in Africa and Asia.

Catfish (with the exception of the electric catfish (Malapteruridae)), when interfered with, produce three barbed spines which stick out at right angles from the back and side fins and can discharge a potent venom and inflict severe wounds (the whisker-like sense organs around their mouths are harmless). Stings from all these fish are painful and can lead to collapse and even death (especially with the striped eel catfish -  Plotosus lineatus) in exceptional circumstances. The venom in the spines remains active for days, so discarded spines and even refrigerated specimens should be treated with caution.

Toadfish (family Batrachoididae, order Batrachoidiformes)

Toadfish are found in the tropical waters off the coasts of South and Central America. Most species are marine, but species in the Thalassophryninae subfamily, especially, occur in brackish water and even in freshwater habitats. Toadfish measure between 17.5 and 25 cm (roughly 2/3 foot), have a dull coloration and a large mouth.

Their English and scientific names come from their toad like appearance. They also share with toad an ability to "sing", using their swim bladder as a sound-production device used to attract mates. Toadfish bury themselves in the sand to ambush their prey and may be easily stepped on. They all have very sharp spines on the dorsal fin, and in the subfamily Thalassophryninae, these are hollow and connect to venom glands capable of delivering a painful wound to predators,and unwary waders.

Click here for related articles:
All about Chimpanzees
All About Coyotes
All About Wolves
All about Dolphins
All about Lions
Can Dolphins Kill Sharks?
Can Flying Fish really Fly?
Cheetah Facts, Videos and Photographs
Do Fish Sleep?
Great White Shark Facts
How do Dolphins Communicate?
How do you find Truffles?
How fast is a Snail?
How Long can a Flying Fish Fly for?
How to Catch Crayfish
Poisonous Plants
The Blue Whale
The Coelacanth - a living, breathing fossil
The Coyote
The Differences Between Crocodiles and Alligators
The Differences Between Horses and Zebras?
The Duck-Billed Platypus
The Hippopotamus
The Jaguar
The Koala
The Ostrich
The World's Largest Seed
The World's Tallest Man
The Wolf
The Snow Leopard
Ugly Animals
What are Mycorrhizal Fungi?
What are Plant Macronutrients and Micronutrients?
What are Plant Nutrients?
What Causes Blue Hydrangeas to Turn Pink?
What Causes Moss in Lawns
What do Dolphins do?
How do Dolphins Breath when they Sleep?
What do Dolphins Eat?
What do Emu's eat?
What do Killer Whales Eat?
What do Pandas Eat?
What do Whales Eat?
What does a Wolf Eat?
What is Chlorosis?
What is an Alligator?
What is a Duck-Billed Platypus?
What is a Dolphin?
What is an Emu?
What is a Gorilla?
What is Homeostasis?
What is a Jaguar?
What is a Wolf?
What is Frankincense?
What is John Innes Base?
What is John Innes Compost?
What is a Leaf Mould Compost?
What is Cork Made of?
What is a Wormery?
What is an Epiphyte?
What is an F1 Hybrid?
What is an Orchid?
What is Over-watering and How to Recognise it?
What is Pricking out?
What is Rhubarb Poisoning?
What is the Biggest Snake in the World?
What is the Difference between African and Indian Elephants?
What is the Difference Between Alligators and Crocodiles?
What is the Difference between a Fruit and a Vegetable?
What is the Difference between a Frog and a Toad?
What is the Difference between Currants, Raisins and Sultanas?
What is the Difference between a Moth and a Butterfly?
What is the Difference Between a Tortoise and a Turtle?
What is the Difference between a Zebra and a Horse?
What is Saffron?
What is the Worlds Biggest Shark?
What is the Worlds Fastest Animal?
What is the Worlds Fastest Bird?
What is the Worlds Largest Amphibian?
What is the Worlds Largest Eagle?
What is the Worlds Largest Flower?
What is the Worlds Largest Insect?
What is the World's Largest Spider?
What is the Worlds Fastest Fish?
What is the World's Poisonous Fish?
What is the Worlds most Poisonous Frog?
What is the World's most Poisonous Snake?
What is the Most Poisonous Spider?
What is True Love?
When should you Re-pot an Orchid?
Where to find Dolphins?
Where do Pandas Live?
Where do Snow Leopards Live?
Where do Wolves Live?
Why do Onions make you Cry?
Why do Leaves Change their Colour in the Autumn Fall
Why do Trees drop their Leaves in Autumn Fall
Why is the Sea Salty?
Why is the Sky Blue?
Wolf Facts

Based on an article from Introduction to Dive Medicine Dangerous Creatures of the Sea and and and and and and and
Images care of and and and and and and and,%20Plotosus%20lineatus. and


Written by guest author Danielle McAnn

The little old shed is the place of hobbies, of storage, of workshops. It is like a home just outside of your home. The definition of the shed is so varied that a shed can look like anything really.

A shed is a stylish addition to your back yard, giving everything you do in your backyard a purpose and a centre to revolve around. Having a shed will revolutionise what you do in your backyard, because it makes everything ordered and accessible. Who doesn't need more storage space.

I don't care what anyone else says, the key to a clean, tidy and ordered home is having the right amount of storage space.

I recently built a shed based on one I saw at National Sheds, and now I don't know how I ever did without one. Basic shed designs are really varied, so I spent a while looking around.

Having a shed will also add value to your property, especially if the shed is well-built, good quality and aesthetically pleasing.

Again, the scope for what a shed can look like and do is infinite, so if you want to make your shed multi-storied and windowed with an electricity and hot water connection and sound-proofed walls there's nothing stopping you. If you just want it to be a solid steel box structure with a door and some hooks on the walls, that's OK too. Just build your dream shed, whatever it is, because that way you will enjoy using it, which is after all the whole idea.

For related articles click onto:
Garden Sheds


If you want to grow a successful, quality lawn from turf then the first thing you will need to know is that it is ALL about the preparation! In fact the decisions you make before you even start to work on your new lawn can have a crucial effect on the end result.


The proposed area for your new lawn will need to be well drained. If the area suffers from damp or even periodic water logging, it may be necessary to lay either a soak away or drainage pipes under the soil. If drainage problems are not dealt with at this initial stage then you are only opening the door for plenty of work later on.

A lawn will grow best on well drained medium loam. If this sounds like your soil then your preparation can be minimal, but if the soil is clay or sandy, you'll need to do more work.

With heavy clay soils, you should add sharp sand, and any well-rotted organic compost as this will improve drainage under the lawn.

With sandy soils, you should just add well-rotted organic compost as this will help to improve moisture retention under the lawn.

The top soil will need to be prepared to give a fine, workable tilth to a depth of 4 to 5 inches. If you are adding organic matter, you should aim for a minimum depth of 6 inches. If the area of the lawn is fairly small, it can be prepared by hand using a spade. For larger areas it is well worth using a rotavator.

When starting to prepare the soil, it needs to be not too dry and not too wet. Start by digging or rotavating the whole area to the required depth, breaking down any large clumps of soil and remove any stones or rubbish you come across.

TIP. When digging, work backwards so you don't tread down the soil you've just broken up.

Having turned over the whole area and broken down the soil, add only half the sharp sand or organic compost that you need, and dig over or rotavate the whole area again. Once completed, add the other half of the material waiting to be dug in, and go over the whole area once last time.

Rake over the area to level it while removing any vegetation, stones or rubbish which may appear. Now leave the area to settle for a week.

If a lot of weed or vegetation appear in the first week, consider using a non-residual herbicide to kill them off. Carefully follow the instructions and leave the soil for the recommended period before proceeding.

Rake over the area again and remove any more vegetation, stones or rubbish which may appear.

Tread down the entire area. Start in one corner, then walk slowly across the soil placing one foot in front of the other. When you reach the other end, turn around and repeat until the whole area has been trod down (if the area is large, you may need more than one person!). The first time you do this, you'll probably find some humps and dips, remove these by giving the surface a light racking and repeat the treading down.

Once completed - or at least once you have had enough working on it - the ground is now ready for turfing.

For related articles click onto:
How to Control Weeds in the Lawn
How to get rid of Lawn Weeds
How to Get Rid of Moss in Lawns?
How to Grow Banana Trees from Seed
How to Grow a Lawn from Seed
How to Grow the Sago Palm from Seed
How to Grow Palm Trees from Seed
How to Improve Drainage in Lawns
How to Kill Moss in Lawns
How to Lay Turf
How to Prepare Ground for Turfing
How to Prepare a Lawn for Seeding
How to Turf a Lawn
Lawn Mowers Maketh the Lawn
What Causes Moss in Lawns?
Article based on the writings of
Photos care of and and and


Cleopatra's Needle is the popular name for each of three Ancient Egyptian obelisks re-erected in London, Paris, and New York City during the nineteenth century.

The London and New York ones are a pair, while the Paris one comes from a different original site, Luxor, where its twin remains.

Although the needles are genuine Ancient Egyptian obelisks, they are somewhat misnamed as they have no particular connection with Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt.

Furthermore, they were already over a thousand years old in her lifetime.

The London "needle" is one such example, as it was originally made during the reign of the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Thutmose III but was falsely named "Cleopatra's needle".

The Paris "needle" was the first to be moved and re-erected and the first to acquire the nickname.

On erection of the London obelisk in 1878 a time capsule was concealed in the front part of the pedestal, it contained:
 A set of 12 photographs of the best looking English women of the day, a box of hairpins, a box of cigars, several tobacco pipes, a set of imperial weights, a baby's bottle, some children's toys, a shilling razor, a hydraulic jack and some samples of the cable used in erection, a 3' bronze model of the monument, a complete set of British coins, a rupee, a portrait of Queen Victoria, a written history of the strange tale of the transport of the monument, plans on vellum, a translation of the inscriptions, copies of the bible in several languages, a copy of Whitaker's Almanack, a Bradshaw Railway Guide, a map of London and copies of 10 daily newspapers.
Cleopatra's Needle is flanked by two Egyptian sphinxes cast from bronze that bear hieroglyphic inscriptions that say netjer nefer men-kheper-re di ankh  - the good god, Thuthmosis III given life.

The two sphinxes are not Egyption as they were cast in bronze at the Ecclestone Iron Works in Pimlico in 1881.

Strangely, these Sphinxes appear to be looking at the Needle rather than guarding it.

This is because of the Sphinxes' improper or backwards installation. Around the obelisks the Embankment has other Egyptian flourishes, such as buxom winged sphinxes on the armrests of benches.

On 4 September 1917, during World War I, a bomb from a German air raid landed near the needle.

In commemoration of this event, the damage remains unrepaired to this day and is clearly visible in the form of shrapnel holes and gouges on the right-hand sphinx.

How Cleopatra's came to London

Cleopatra’s Needle was presented to the British Government in 1820, although there had been plans to bring it back as early as 1801 as a memorial to the victories of Nelson and Abercromby over the French in Egypt. However, it was 1877 when the obelisk finally arrived in this country.

As it weighed over 200 tons it was encased in an iron cylinder which was then rolled by means of levers and chains down a track into the sea. It was fitted with a deck house, mast, rudder and steering gear and was manned by a crew of Maltese sailors. This ‘craft’ was named Cleopatra and was to be towed to Great Britain by the steamship Olga. They sailed on 21 September 1877. Captain Henry Carter (who had supervised her construction) commanded the Cleopatra and Captain Booth was in command of the Olga.

The two vessels could only make 7 knots and disaster struck in the Bay of Biscay when the tow ropes had to be cut in a violent storm on 14 October 1877. The Cleopatra began wildly rolling, and became untenable. The Olga sent out a rescue boat with six volunteers, but the boat capsized and all six crew were lost - named today on a bronze plaque attached to the foot of the needle's mounting stone.

Cleopatras Needle in transport casing
Eventually Captain Carter and his crew were rescued and the Cleopatra drifted away in the storm.

It was assumed she was lost but she was later sighted by the Fitzmaurice and towed in to Ferrol Harbour. From there, she was towed back to England by the paddle tug Anglia arriving at Gravesend on 21 Janaury 1878.

The obelisk was eventually erected on the Thames Embankment while the Cleopatra was broken up immediately after the obelisk had been removed on 6 July 1878.

For related articles click onto:
ATHENS: The Caryatids
ATHENS: The Caryatids
ATHENS: The Parthenon
ATHENS: The Temple of Zeus
ATHENS: Tower of the Winds
Cleopatra's Needle
FRANCE: The Versailles Gardens
EGYPT: What is a Mummy?
ITALIAN HISTORY: Who was Christopher Columbus?
LONDON: Buckingham Palace
LONDON: Cleopatra's Needle
LONDON: The Houses of Parliament
LONDON: The London Eye
MARRAKECH: Marjorelle Gardens
MOROCCO: Marrakech
MOROCCO: The Jemaa el-Fnaa
PARIS: The Eiffel Tower
PARIS: The Louvre
Rembrandts House
Roman England: The Kings Bath
Rome: Gladiator
Rome: The Coliseum
Rome: Gladiator Graveyard Discovered!
Rome: Gladiator School
Rome: How to get to Villa Adriana from Rome
Rome: How to get to Villa D'Este from Rome
Rome: How to make Roman Bread - panis
Rome: Julius Caesar
Rome: Opening Times for Villa D'Este
ROME: The Pantheon
Rome: Photographs of and around the Colosseum at Night
ROME: The Colosseum
Rome: The Pantheon
Rome: The Roman Colosseum
Rome: The Pyramid of Rome
Rome: Villa Adriana - Tivoli
ROME: Villa d'Este
Rome: What did Gladiators Eat?
Rome: What did the Romans Eat?
Rome: Who were the Ancient Gladiators?
SPAIN: Valencia
The Eiffel Tower
VALENCIA: The Turia River
VALENCIA: The Turia River
What is Homeostasis?
What is the Louvre?
What to do in Valencia
Where is the Louvre?
Where is the Nile?
Based on an article from and's_Needle
Images care of and and and's_Needle_(London)_sphinx_2.jpg


The Musee du Louvre is on of Paris's  historic monuments and is undoubtedly one of the world's most impressive museums. It contains a staggeringly impressive 35,000 priceless objects from prehistory to the 19th century which are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres. With more than 8 million visitors each year, the Louvre is also the world's most visited museum

A brief history of the Louvre

Originally built as a fortress by King Phillippe-August in 1190, it was King Charles V (1364-80) who first made the Louvre his home.

In fact you can still see remnants of the fortress as they are visible in the basement of the museum

In the 16th century, François I replaced the existing building with a Renaissance-style palace and founded the royal art collection with 12 paintings from Italy.

During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum, to display the nation's masterpieces.

It opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property.

The young Napoleon
Shortly after, Napoleon renovated the Louvre as a museum and had it renamed the Musée Napoléon.

By 1874, the Louvre Palace had achieved its present form of an almost rectangular structure.

In 1983, French President François Mitterrand proposed, as one of his Grands Projets to renovate the building  allowing displays throughout the building.

Architect I. M. Pei was awarded the project and proposed a glass pyramid to stand over a new entrance in the main court, the Cour Napoléon.

The pyramid and its underground lobby were inaugurated on 15 October 1988. The second phase of the Grand Louvre plan, La Pyramide Inversée (The Inverted Pyramid), was completed in 1993.

Top must see exhibits - in no particular order

1. Of course you will want to witness the Mona Lisa, despite the crowds and poor presentation.

To see the Mona Lisa, head straight for the 13th-15th century Italian paintings section (on the first floor).

Arguably the most famous painting in the world, Leonardo da Vinci's portrait  is thought to be of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo.

It was painted in oil on a poplar panel, and is believed to have been completed between 1503 and 1506.

It was acquired by King Francis I of France and is now the property of the French Republic, on permanent display at the Musée du Louvre in Paris.

2.  Venus de Milo – The positioning of the Venus de Milo is dramatically lit at the end of a hallway and enhances the beauty of this magnificent statue.

It dates from the end of the second century BC and was discovered on the Greek island of Milos in 1820.

It is an ancient Greek statue and one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. Created sometime between 130 and 100 BC, it is believed to depict Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty (Venus to the Romans).

Here’s a fact, the statue used to be on the seal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

 The Winged Victory of Samothrace
3. The Winged Victory of Samothrace. This Hellenistic treasure is approximately 2000 years old, massive and beautiful. 

It conveys a sense of action and triumph as well as portraying artful flowing drapery through its features which the Greeks considered ideal beauty.

Also known as the Nike of Samothrace, it was discovered in 1863, and estimated to have been created around 190 BC.

 It was created to not only honour the goddess, Nike, but to honour a sea battle at Rhodes. 

Modern excavations suggest that the Victory occupied a niche in an open-air theater and also suggest it accompanied an altar that was within view of the ship monument of Demetrius I Poliorcetes (337–283 BC). 

Rendered in white Parian marble, the figure originally formed part of the Samothrace temple complex dedicated to the Great gods, Megaloi Theoi. It stood on a rostral pedestal of gray marble from Lartos representing the prow of a ship, and represents the goddess as she descends from the skies to the triumphant fleet. Before she lost her arms, which have never been recovered, Nike's right arm was raised, cupped round her mouth to deliver the shout of Victory.

 The work is notable for its convincing rendering of a pose where violent motion and sudden stillness meet, for its graceful balance and for the rendering of the figure's draped garments, compellingly depicted as if rippling in a strong sea breeze.

4. The Raft of Medusa. This 1818–1819 by the French Romantic painter and lithographer Théodore Géricault is simply astounding. Rather than a classic Greek theme as you might expect, this is the aftermath of the shipwreck of the French Vessel Meduse’ where 146 people struggled to survive on a raft. 

Only 15 were rescued, the others were eaten, committed suicide, were killed or died of the elements. The painting depicts the moment when rescue appears imminent.

The event became an international scandal, in part because its cause was widely attributed to the incompetence of the French captain perceived to be acting under the authority of the recently restored French monarchy. 

In reality, King Louis XVIII had no say in the captain's appointment, since monarchs were not directly involved in appointments made to vessels like a naval frigate. The appointment of the vicomte de Chaumareys as captain of the Méduse would have been a routine naval appointment, made within the Ministry of the Navy.

5. The Virgin of the Rocks  -sometimes the Madonna of the Rocks - is the name used for two paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, of the same subject, and of a composition which is identical except for several significant details. 

The version generally considered the earlier of the two hangs in the Musée du Louvre in Paris and the other in the National Gallery, London. The paintings are both nearly 2 metres high and are painted in oils. Both were painted on wooden panel; that in the Louvre has been transferred to canvas.

Both paintings show the Madonna and Christ Child with the infant John the Baptist and an angel, in a rocky setting which gives the paintings their usual name. The significant compositional differences are in the gaze and right hand of the angel. There are many minor ways in which the works differ, including the colours, the lighting, the flora, and the way in which sfumato has been used. Although the date of an associated commission is documented, the complete histories of the two paintings are unknown, and lead to speculation about which of the two is earlier.

6. The Horses of Marly made by Nicolas Coustou for Louis XIV at Marly-le-Roi were re-set triumphantly in Paris at the time of the French Revolution, flanking the entrance to the Champs-Elysées.

 In the 1640s, bronze replicas were to flank the entrance to the Louvre: moulds were taken for the purpose, but the project foundered. Paolo Triscornia carved what seem to have been the first full-scale replicas of the groups for the entrance of the Manège (the riding school of the royal guards) in St. Petersburg.

Marly's sculptures are copied from the colossal pair of marble "Horse Tamers" - often identified as Castor and Pollux  - have stood since Antiquity near the site of the Baths of Constantine on the Quirinal Hill, Rome. 

They were too large to be buried or to be moved very far, though Napoleon's agents wanted to include them among the classical booty removed from Rome after the Treaty of Tolentino, 1797 

Even these are fourth-century Roman copies of Greek originals. They gave to the Quirinal its medieval name Monte Cavallo, which lingered into the nineteenth century.

Where is the Louvre?

The address for the Louvre is as follows:
4 Place du Louvre  
Post code  75001

It is located on the right back of the river Seine. There are various ways to get to the Louvre, so consider the following:

By Métro: 

Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre station.
Bus: the following bus lines stop in front of the Pyramid: 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, 95, and the Paris Open Tour bus.

By Car: 

An underground parking garage is available for those coming by car. The entrance is located on avenue du Général Lemonnier. It is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

By Batobus:

Get off at the Louvre stop, quai François Mitterrand.

From Orly Airport:

Take the RER C train, direction Champs de Mars-Tour Eiffel, and get off at Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame. Walk to the place Saint-Michel and take bus no. 27, direction Saint-Lazare. Get off at the Louvre, in front of the Pyramid.

From Charles de Gaulle Airport:

Take the RER B train, direction Massy-Palaiseau, and change at Châtelet-les-Halles to line 14, direction Saint-Lazare. Get off at Pyramides station and walk to the Louvre from there (3 minutes). Alternatively, take Métro line 1 at Châtelet-les-Halles, and get off at Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre.

Controversy at the Louvre

The Louvre is still involved in controversies that surround cultural property seized under Napoleon I, as well as during World War II by the Nazis. After Nazi occupation, 61,233 articles on more than 150,000 seized artworks returned to France and were assigned to the Office des Biens Privés.

In 1949, it entrusted 2130 remaining unclaimed pieces (including 1001 paintings) to the Direction des Musées de France in order to keep them under appropriate conditions of conservation until their restitution and meanwhile classified them as MNRs - Musees Nationaux Recuperation or, in English, the National Museums of Recovered Artwork.

Some 10% to 35% of the pieces are believed to come from Jewish spoliations and until the identification of their rightful owners, which declined at the end of the 1960s, they are registered indefinitely on separate inventories from the museum's collections.

They were exhibited in 1946 and shown all together to the public during four years (1950–1954) in order to allow rightful claimants to identify their properties. they were then stored or displayed, according to their interest, in several French museums including the Louvre.

From 1951 to 1965, about 37 pieces were restituted. However, according to the French government, the Louvre is in charge of 678 pieces of still unclaimed artworks by their rightful owners.

Napoleon's campaigns acquired Italian pieces by treaties, as war reparations, and Northern European pieces as spoils as well as some antiquities excavated in Egypt, though the vast majority of the latter were seized as war reparations by the British army and are now part of collections of the British Museum.

For related articles click onto:
ATHENS: The Caryatids
ATHENS: The Parthenon
ATHENS: The Temple of Zeus
ATHENS: Tower of the Winds
FRANCE: The Versailles Gardens

ITALIAN HISTORY: Who was Christopher Columbus?
MARRAKECH: Marjorelle Gardens
MOROCCO: Marrakech
MOROCCO: The Jemaa el-Fnaa
PARIS: The Eiffel Tower
PARIS: The Louvre

PARIS: Where is the Eiffel Tower?
PARIS: Where is the Louvre?
Rembrandts House
Roman England: The Kings Bath
Rome: Gladiator
Rome: The Coliseum
Rome: Gladiator Graveyard Discovered!
Rome: Gladiator School
Rome: How to get to Villa Adriana from Rome
Rome: How to get to Villa D'Este from Rome
Rome: How to make Roman Bread - panis
Rome: Julius Caesar
Rome: Opening Times for Villa D'Este
ROME: The Pantheon
Rome: Photographs of and around the Colosseum at Night
ROME: The Colosseum
Rome: The Pantheon
Rome: The Roman Colosseum
Rome: The Pyramid of Rome
Rome: Villa Adriana - Tivoli
ROME: Villa d'Este
Rome: What did Gladiators Eat?
Rome: What did the Romans Eat?
Rome: Who were the Ancient Gladiators?
SPAIN: Valencia
The Eiffel Tower

VALENCIA: The Lonja de la Seda
VALENCIA: The Turia River
What is the Louvre?
What to do in Valencia

Where is the Louvre?
Based on an article from and and and and
Images care of and and and and and and and and


The Peony family is comprised of 33 species of hardy herbaceous and shrubby perennials. They are grown for their opulent flowers and attractive foliage and are suitable for growing in herbaceous, mixed or shrub borders. Peonies also make for surprisingly good cut flowers!

The shrubby species are best planted in a position shaded from early morning sun as they can be easily damaged after a night frost.

The herbaceous perennials can take several years to become established and do not like any kind of root disturbance.

Left to their own devices, and with their roots left untouched - they can last up to 50 years!

Peony leaves are comprised of several leaflets of irregular size and shape, which may show themselves as lobed or unlobed.

The large showy flowers range from globular to globe-shaped - often opening out flat when fully mature.

The seed pods of many species open up wide in the autumn to reveal glossy, blue/black seeds.

How to grow Peonies

You can grow peonies in any moist, but well drained garden soil in sun or half shade. As mentioned before, plant in a position shaded from early morning sun as they can be easily damaged after night frosts.

Before planting, dig the ground at least one spit deep and add a decent amount of well rotted farm manure.

Peony's can be planted between September and March but not during the harsh winter period. Set the crowns of herbaceous perennials no more than 1 inch deep - any deeper and they may fail to flower! The union of stock and scion of shrubby peonies should be three inches below the surface.

Hoe bonemeal in at a rate of 4 oz per square yard in to the top 4 inches of soil after planting, taking care not to damage the roots.

Mulch annually with well rotted manure in April if the soil is light and sandy or chalky. Water freely in dry weather. Avoid disturbing the roots unless absolutely necessary.

Dead head the old flower as they fade and cut down the foliage of the herbaceous perennials  in October.

The taller growing peony varieties such as Paeonia lactiflora may need the support of some twiggy sticks in exposed conditions.

TOP TIP. To prevent those flowers being used as cut flowers from dropping their petals, cut the blooms as they begin to open and lay them flat in a cool, dry place indoors for 24 hours. Then trim 1/2 inch from the stems and place deeply in water.

With regards to pruning, none is required save for cutting out any dead wood from shrubby  species in March or April.

For further reading click onto:
All About Peonies
BATH: Roman Baths
Crocosmia 'Hellfire'
How to Grow Bulbs
How to Over-Winter Rare and Species Tulips
Hot Spa
How to Grow the Baobab from Seed
How to Grow Beaumontia grandiflora
How to Grow Bougainvillea?
How to Grow the Californian Lilac - Ceanothus species
How to Grow Cuttings from Hydrangea
How to Grow Daffodils
How to Grow Lavender
How to Grow Tulips?
How to Grow Wisteria
How to Over-Winter Tree Peonies
Lost Tulips of The Dutch Golden Age - Semper Augustus and Viceroy
Old Dutch Tulips - Tulipa acuminata
Old Dutch Tulips - Tulip 'Absalom'
Old Dutch Tulips - Tulip Duc van Thol 'Rose'
Old Dutch Tulips - Tulip Duc van Thol 'Scarlet'
Old Dutch Tulips - Tulip 'Lac van Rijn'
Paeony lactiflora 'Bowl of Beauty'
Rembrandt Museum
Roman England: The Kings Bath
Rome: Julius Caesar
Rome: The Pantheon
Species Tulip - Tulipa turkestanica
The Peony
The Tree peony -Paeony suffruticosa
Tulip History and Popular Varieties
Top Tips for Tulip Care
Tulip Diseases
How To Propagate Tulips
What is an Agave?
What is a Bulb?
What is a Rainbow Rose?
What is the Tulip Breaking Virus?
What is a Yucca?
Based on an article from The Readers Digest ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF GARDEN PLANTS ISBN 0276 00086 2
Images care of and and