Human Flower Project
Thursday, April 30, 2009
HFQ #7: The Floral Part of No
How should a person handle unwanted gifts of flowers?
Someone who for obvious reasons wants to remain anonymous has written to say s/he’s being deluged with flower deliveries. S/he recently broke off a dating relationship, and the other person has continued to try making contact via emails, text messages, and phone calls. When our correspondent blocked those sorts of communications, s/he began receiving flowers at work from the ex.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Born to Smell
Inhale! An exhibit of fragrance, its psychology, physiology, and symbolic power, captivates two Americans in Paris.
The Grand Palais exhibition of scent science opened last
fall and runs through Sunday, May 3.
Photo: Alex Borden
By John and Alex Borden
Having participated in Human Flower Project’s sensory favorites survey, I felt compelled to comment on our visit to this exhibit with the partnership of daughter Alex.
This exposition at the Grand Palais in Paris is an exhibit focused on fragrances and smell. It’s an easily whiffed interactive attraction. The 90 or so available opportunities to test one’s sense of smell, with high and low opportunities for big people and little people respectively, run the gamut of foods, trash, gumballs, perfumes, spices, wines, and cognac (we are, after all, in France). The exhibit’s name, Né Pour Sentir, is translated as “Born with a sense of smell”, so this Yank could think “but tramps like us baby, we were born to smell.”
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Armed for Easter - São Brás
On the Feast of the Resurrection, one town in southern Portugal remembers an insurrection, with flowers held high.
Men beat their “torches” together on Easter Sunday
São Brás, Portugal
Photo: Katrina Berry
Christians, told to turn the other cheek, have been a notoriously combative people through the ages. And in São Brás, Portugal, that martial spirit even creeps upon Easter.
The town’s Festa das Tochas remembers when locals citizens repulsed invading sailors, Sir Francis Drake and the like, in the 16th century, holding the intruders off with only clubs and branches.
In the Easter rite, the streets are decorated with floral carpets and local men and boys carry “tochas” – torches, illuminated with flowers.
Photographer Katrina Berry of London kindly wrote us this spring:
“My family and I have been regular visitors to São Brás for the past 20 years, but it was only last year that we discovered the quite astonishing ‘Festa das Tochas Floridas.’ Words can’t describe how breathtaking it is to wake up on Easter Sunday morning and see the floral wonders the local womenfolk have created in the streets since the early hours of the morning.”
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Out of the Pennsylvania wild comes a palace of sticks, the collaboration of a nurseryman and a sculptor. BYOF (bring your own fantasy).
Visitors marvel at Patrick Dougherty’s “Summer Palace,” installed at the Morris Arboretum, Philadelphia, April 2009
Photo: Rob Cardillo, for the Morris Arboretum
By Allen Bush
Gardeners on the fringe are dirt dervishes who sometimes push the gate wide, wide open. They see the forest and the trees.
Bill Barnes, a self-styled nurseryman, has got his thick, calloused fingers in more pies than most. If research scientists are looking for germplasm of red mulberry, Morus rubra, chances are he will know where to find a peculiar phenotype. If special care and expertise are needed to move a huge balled and burlapped Acer wyuense - a very rare maple (try Googling this!)—from Washington’s National Arboretum to the The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, Barnes will be on horticultural speed dial. Who else would dream of breeding the eastern North American prickly pear cactus to western species?
Bill and I talk every few weeks, and in mid-March I called and asked how he was doing. The boundless Jack-of-all horticultural trades, and owner of Lorax Farms, who lives in Warrington, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, confessed he was dog-tired from collecting brush all week. The 2005 recipient of the Award of Merit from the Eastern Region of the International Plant Propagators Society (he is also their current president) is way beyond the daily grind of a yard boy. So I asked what’s with the brush? He said he’d gotten a contract from The Morris Arboretum. This brush pile—no ordinary one—was for artist Patrick Dougherty who limbs-up gardens like no other.