Human Flower Project
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Sexy as a Septennial
Some plants—and other species—flower every seven years. Anticipation really lights a fire (and can withstand one, too).
Photo: Mumbai Central
I’ve been waiting for you…
And you’ve been coming to me
For such a long time now….”
long, as in, seven years. No wonder the Mumbai newspapers and bloggers sound deeply in love—with karvy.
Strobilanthes callosus is blooming after a seven year rest. “Local businessman Julius Rego travelled for nearly two hours to see the Karvy. ‘It is not just the flowers but the entire landscape,’ he says.”
“I did see a whole clump of these shrubs with buds formed about two weeks ago in the forests near the Tansa sanctuary, just off the Mumbai Nashik road.” So India Mike alerts his readers, as if sighting a Bollywood starlet.
Art & Media • Ecology • Gardening & Landscape • Travel • Permalink
Monday, August 25, 2008
The Many Flowers of D. Tanning
Can there be a second act at age 89? And a second language? Just ask Dorothea.
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, by Dorothea Tanning (1943)
Photo: Tate Online
Several months ago we came upon this work—Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music), from 1943 by Dorothea Tanning. Who wants to venture in—presuming to explain these tense, swooning girls, or the broken sunflower at the top of the stairs? We are, thank you, very much more comfortable hovering at a bit of a distance, above and outside wooden railing. (Note how DT has not just permitted but encouraged that perspective.)
We were even more impressed by this lesser known painting “The Mirror” (no date, sorry.) As Human Flower Projects go, this one manages a sublime, nightmarish comedy minus the screeching and dismemberment typical of 21st century art. Where have you gone, Dorothea Tanning? A nation turns its bloodshot eyes to you….
…Tanning turns 98 today. Not everyone would attempt a career change at age 89. But she did it, or perhaps we should say—is doing it.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Flower Ethics: How Deep Is Your Love?
More and more, buying anything is an act subject to moral scrutiny. In an economic slump, how are conscientious consumers of flowers responding?
Watering gerberas on a Kenyan flower farm
Photo: Business Daily
Just two months ago, the Fairtrade Labeling Organization was cheering. Its record of buying habits in 2007 showed a 47% increase in global sales of Fairtrade certified products – including flowers.
Since 2004, Fairtrade has certified flower farms in Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Zimbabwe that have proven “safe and acceptable working conditions for their employees. Consumers can buy Fairtrade flowers that carry the FAIRTRADE Mark knowing that the rights of the workers who have produced them are being respected,” the organization writes. “An additional payment, known as the Fairtrade Premium is included in the price for projects to improve the social conditions of workers and their communities.”
The group’s flower division plans to introduce new standards October 31.
One retail expert, quoted by Dominique Patton in Business Daily (Nairobi), declared in June that fairtrade goods, flowers included, have captured a permanent chunk of the consumables market. Joanne Denney-Finch, of London-based IGD, said then of fairtrade goods that concerns about the economy “are unlikely to have a significant impact on ‘ethical’ shopping, which is based on ‘deep-seated beliefs.’
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Bookends: Native and Ornamental
On an Amtrak trip from Chicago to Los Angeles, Georgia Silvera Seamans shuttles between two gardening ethics. Ride on, Georgia!
Point of Return, the garden at Los Angeles Union Station
Photo: Georgia Silvera Seamans
By Georgia Silvera Seamans
Not quite bookend gardens on the Southwest Chief Amtrak route, the perennial garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park and the rose garden at the Los Angeles Union Station exemplify two types of design: native ecology and formal ornamental.
The Lurie Garden though located in downtown Chicago and framed by well-known skyscrapers is planted with North American natives and designed in honor of Chicago’s pre-development prairie landscape. The garden was designed by the Seattle landscape firm Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd and won the 2008 ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) General Design Award of Excellence. Piet Oudolf, “world-renowned plantsman,” collaborated with Gustafson not only to “bring beauty to the Garden in every season” but to “reference Chicago’s Midwestern locale.”