Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gethsemani’s Ginkgo Tree

An ancient golden tree lights up the inner man. Allen Bush, traveling to the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemani, finds a gift from Japan and a garden inspired by it.


Leaves of Ginkgo biloba

Photo: Allen Bush

By Allen Bush

There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness. This mysterious Unity and Integrity is Wisdom, the Mother of All, Natura Naturans…

Thomas Merton

I didn’t expect a whole lot this fall. We had scarcely any rain for three months and there wasn’t a hint of color by mid-October. I imagined the leaves in our garden would turn brown and that would be it. But there was a good soaker one Friday evening and overnight a steady unveiling kicked-off a brilliant show for two weeks. The colors kept getting better and better.  The sassafras was red and orange, the big dogwood was burgundy and a strong-growing golden larch was golden-brown. I waited on my little fifteen year old ginkgo to turn yellow and wondered about an unforgettable ginkgo that I hadn’t seen in seventeen years.

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Posted by Julie on 11/17 at 09:41 PM
Gardening & LandscapeReligious RitualsTravelPermalink

Sunday, November 16, 2008

David Moffitt:  Marigold Missionary

One raised bed, one overheard conversation, and a New York man spreads doughnut-sized marigolds across the land.


Barb and Dave Moffitt of Cortland, NY, and the ‘donor bed’

that launched 2000 marigold seed packets

Photo: Courtesy David Moffett

“The purpose of the raised beds was originally for vegetables to sell on our stand, but I gave into my wife’s desire for flowers.”

Just that little slip and David Moffitt shot himself out of a cannon, instigating a nationwide human flower project that’s clearly caught the seat of his pants on fire. (See that streak of marigold-orange?)

Moffitt and his wife, Barb, live in Cortland, New York, and belong to plantcycle,  an Ottawa, Ontario, based group that exchanges plants, seeds, gardening tools and tips. There’s only one hitch: “Everything Must be Free!” In other words, David was wise to seed swapping and passalong plants when his marigold opportunity arrived.

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Posted by Julie on 11/16 at 06:32 PM
Culture & SocietyGardening & LandscapeSecular CustomsPermalink

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Florists of Telegraph Avenue

The Local Ecologist turns ethnographer. Georgia Silvera Seamans cruises from Oakland to Berkeley and finds flower shops going strong, gone, and converted along Telegraph Avenue.

imageA former flower shop in Oakland, now an art gallery

Photo: Georgia Silvera Seamans

Running four and a half miles, from downtown Oakland, California, to the southern edge of the Berkeley (“Cal”) campus, Telegraph Avenue is a beaten—some might even say battered—trail. Oakland’s first horsecar operated here, and in 1858 that town’s first telegraph went up along the route—thus its name.

Georgia Silvera Seamans, scholar of cities and local ecologist, made a recent inventory of the flower shops along Telegraph Avenue. Her inspired photo-essay shows some of the differences between Oakland and Berkeley and the ironies of this urban thoroughfare, which somehow manages to be both a tourist destination and a struggling commercial district, blessed and blighted at the same time.

Georgia reports:

“On Telegraph Avenue, a road that runs through Berkeley and Oakland, there are several flower shops.  The ones in Oakland are big stores while the ones in Berkeley are small, edge of the sidewalk shops.

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Posted by Julie on 11/13 at 03:32 PM
Culture & SocietyFloristsPermalink

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Garden at the Top of the World

Jim Wandersee and Renee Clary don’t miss much, including a chance to see the world’s northernmost botanic garden, in Tromso, Norway. It’s closed for the next six months, but thanks to the EarthScholars, we visit today.


Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis sp.)

Tromso Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden

Photo: EarthScholars™ Research Group

By James H. Wandersee and Renee M. Clary

EarthScholars™ Research Group

This past August we were working in Oslo, so only a thousand miles away…. We just had to see it—the world’s northernmost botanic garden!  The Tromso Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden is, at least in our estimation, the 8th wonder of the botanic world.

Can Tromso, Norway, really stake claim to the world’s northernmost botanic garden? Yes. It is farther north than its two closest competitors—the Polar-Alpine Botanic Garden at Kirovsk in Russia and the Akureyri Botanic Garden in Iceland. For US readers’ geographical comparison, Tromso’s Botanic Garden lies at approximately the same latitude as the northernmost point in Alaska: Point Barrow.

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Posted by Julie on 11/11 at 05:17 PM
EcologyGardening & LandscapeScienceTravelPermalink
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