Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Stamp out Narcissus

For the lunar new year, the U.S. postal service has issued a special stamp to commemorate an old floral custom of the holiday and celebrate Year of the Tiger.


A holiday tea set carved from narcissus bulbs at a

garden in Zhangzhou City. “Daffodil sculpture for indoor

decoration has become increasingly popular… at the

current high season of narcissus efflorescence.”

Photo: Lin Jianwu for Xinhua

With apologies to PETA:

We would like to see a giant heart-shaped doily set on fire and a white tiger, narcissus flowers in its mouth, leaping through the flames. However, we’ll be content with the U.S. Postal Service’s new commemorative stamp: Year of the Tiger.

February 14th is a double-whammy occasion this year. Remember your sweetheart tomorrow but note that Sunday’s also the Chinese New Year (also known as “Spring Festival.”) Year of the Ox, which has admittedly been a plodder, gives way something, we can only hope, more vigorous and bright.

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Posted by Julie on 02/13 at 02:57 PM
Art & MediaSecular CustomsPermalink

Thursday, February 11, 2010

‘Mr. Bromeliad’ Heads for Singapore

A famous Florida botanical garden is losing its proud research scientists, as the institution trims the budget and juggles multiple goals.


A bromeliad at Selby Gardens, which has the largest collection in the world

Photo: dotpolka

Thanks to Holly Chase for alerting us to the tumult at Selby Botanical Gardens. Selby, in Sarasota, Florida, has been world renowned for its study and collection of epiphytes – principally orchids and bromeliads.

Here grows “the most diverse collection of bromeliads in the world… over 20,000 plants from some 6000 species in 1200 genera from 214 plant families, including 6,000 live orchids. More than 150 expeditions to the tropics and subtropics have contributed to these collections.”

Recently, two of the garden’s orchid experts were dismissed, and now “Mr. Bromeliad” Harry Luther is leaving to take a position in Singapore. “It comes down to cash,” Selby’s CEO Thomas Buchter told the Herald-Tribune. Ah, yes. It comes down to that, but in the case of this 35-year-old institution, it may keep on rolling downhill, at least insofar as Selby’s reputation and community relations go.

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Posted by Julie on 02/11 at 10:17 PM
Culture & SocietyGardening & LandscapeSciencePermalink

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pruner’s Diary

Photography, teaching, reading, riding, fund-raising can’t crowd out the gardener in John Levett. Out come the pen, and shears, just in time.


Essay and photos by John Levett

This piece of writing is not about gardens. More follows.

I have the advantages of retirement—state pension, teacher’s pension and time. I spend most of the first on train fares but still have some left over for savings which will go on Istanbul. The second, time, I fill with all the energy and inefficiency that I did whilst working for the pension.

I have projects. Getting up in the morning is a project. Walking to the shops is a project. Sitting in the summer garden, in the deckchair, reading is part of the ‘Ten histories and ten biographies by the end of March’ project. My photography goes according to the project—even if it didn’t start as one it finishes as one once the final click clicks.

I currently have the benefit and no small honour of being a Visiting Researcher of a college of London University. This came completely out of the blue and is better for that. I have the added benefit that I can enjoy all the academic benefits bestowed by a fine college with none of the exams that my last stint in a university had attached to it. As I wrote in my letter of grateful acceptance, “Thank you for this opportunity to fill my boots!”

It also means that I have more projects. I walk into a university for the first time in forty years, look at the lectures, seminars, proposals, collaborations on offer; take a tour of the library; sit in on a casual meeting with the next desk occupant; pick up the latest departmental publication, read the latest email digest—how can one not have projects?

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Posted by Julie on 02/10 at 11:40 AM
Art & MediaGardening & LandscapePermalink

Monday, February 08, 2010

Olympic Bouquets, Green with Piety

After much deliberation, the Vancouver olympic committee has settled on a monochromatic bouquet for the 1800 winners. O (what’s with you?) Canada!

imageThe winner after 23 attempts: the design chosen for the 2010 Olympic bouquet.

Photo: Bill Keay, for Canwest News

The “green-gos” have spoken.  Last week, the powers that Olympicize introduced the bouquets that winners in the 2010 Winter games will wave.

“The Olympic bouquets are a soft, elegant green, with five B.C.-grown spider mums in the centre, surrounded by layers of monkey grass, aspidistra leaves and hypericum berries imported from Ecuador.”

What do you think?

We reported awhile back that June Strandberg, partnering with Margitta Schulz of North Vancouver, had won the contract to design and make the games’ 1800 victory bouquets. Strandberg’s Just Flowers, based in Surry, hires ex-convicts and trains them for livelihoods in floristry, giving her a conscionable advantage over the competition.

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Posted by Julie on 02/08 at 04:03 PM
Culture & SocietyFloristsSecular CustomsPermalink
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