Human Flower Project
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Nose-Pros Travel to Isles of Scilly
As cut-flower production around the world gradually trades scent for show, English farmers invest in analysis of their famed narcissi.
The Isles of Scilly, sprinkled in the Atlantic Ocean 30 miles off southwesternmost England, are home to 25 varieties of narcissus, some of the most powerfully fragrant flowers in the world. Among the most delicately beautiful, too.
Flower farmers on the islands are hoping, in an age of increasingly scentless flowers, to learn more about their narcissi’s properties and so have invited three fragrance experts in to sniff and provide them with an “‘organoleptic’ description.”
Andrew May, representing the growers, said: “We thought it would give us a real edge if we were able to describe the unique scents of our flowers in much the same way as the bouquet of wine is often described.”
I’m relieved to hear the Scillian flower growers have brought in three noses, since even among my amateur-smeller friends there’s widespread disagreement about paperwhites, probably the most popular wintertime narcissus in the U.S. Some call its strong sweetness “heavenly.” I’ve heard others ask, “Do you have an electrical fire?”
Dead Phones Sprout Living Flowers
Facing a landscape littered with old cellphones, university scientists make a compostable device that doubles as a seed casing.
Verizon may soon be making a run at the Burpee Company, now that scientists at University of Warwick have devised a compostable, seed-bearing cellphone.
The portable yammer-tool has become one of the most quickly outmoded articles of daily life, but fast as customers trash these things and go looking for a newer model, yammer-holics “want to feel they are making an environmentally sensitive purchase.”
Dr. Kerry Kirwan
So a team of University of Warwick engineers “led by Dr Kerry Kirwan, have worked with hi tech materials company PVAXX Research and Development Ltd and Motorola to create a mobile telephone case” that’s safe for your compost pile; ” just weeks later the case will begin to disintegrate and turn into a flower. “
Yes, they’ve embedded dwarf sunflower seeds in the mobile phones and are experimenting with other flower varieties too.
May we recommend to Motorola biodegradable beer cans studded with morning glory seed and disposable diapers laden with nasturtium. Presto! Littering becomes gardening.
Monday, November 29, 2004
Here Come the 14,000 Brides
It’s wedding season in India, and a particularly auspicious astrological event inspired more than ten thousand couples to tie the knot yesterday in New Delhi alone.
New Delhi pundits (priests) and flowers were both in short supply yesterday as couples swarmed into the city to marry. “Businessmen made the most of the day with prices of even marigold flowers to decorate the wedding marquees shooting up to about Rs.400 per kg from just about Rs.25 per kg on normal days,” India Times reported.
According to renowned astrologer Ajay Gautam, “of the six auspicious days that fall this month,” Nov. 28 was the “most propitious.”
Leaping from news to fantasy (always appropriate where weddings are concerned), may I recommend the Indian film “Monsoon Wedding” (and thank Phil Ardery for suggesting it). It includes far and away the most wonderful proposal of marriage ever extended.
Vijay Raaz in “Monsoon Wedding”
(Please let us know your favorite floral movie scenes, matrimonial or otherwise.)
Is There Anything Neem Can’t Do?
In India, neem has been considered a “miracle tree” for centuries. U.S. growers, now getting wise, predict it will be the next “aloe vera.”
Two business partners in Brandon, Florida, are hoping to make a smash success of growing and importing neem trees to the U.S.
Native to India, “neem is a member of the mahogany family and is one of the most widely used herbs in the world, though relatively unknown in the United States. It can grow to 60 feet tall, spreading like an oak.”
Neem flowers, sweet as jasmine, attract bees.
“In bloom neem has honey-scented white flowers like a locust tree. Fans are so loyal because every part of the neem tree - leaves, oil and bark - can be used for products including medicines, pesticides, soap and beauty products.”
What’s not to like about a tree that can kill head lice, cure diabetes, soften your hands…and survive you and your children? Some say neem trees live for two centuries.