Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Sunday, April 24, 2011

An Eye for Plants

Direct experience is the best launching pad for botanical education. Put aside the microscope, and let naked fingers and eyes do the studying.


A walk in the park in Mendicina, Italy, with botanical vision

Photo: Desi

By James H. Wandersee and Renee M. Clary

EarthScholars™ Research Group

Horticulture today focuses systematically on scientific principles applicable to the cultivation of garden and ornamental plants, including fruits, vegetables, flowers, and landscape and nursery crops. In addition, horticultural scientists explore and explain the many contributions of plants to a healthy environment for human life and well being.

Liberty Hyde Bailey, co-founder of the American Society for Horticultural Science [ASHS], was both a horticulturalist and a botanist. Cornell University curator Elaine Engst writes, “He worked to remove the barriers between theoretical botany and practical horticulture. He believed that horticulture should be an applied science based on pure biology, and that it should reflect the application of basic botanical knowledge. As early as 1885, in a speech titled “The Garden Fence,” Bailey urged botanists and horticulturists to reconcile their interests by ‘getting the science from the field and laboratory into the garden’” (Cornell University Exhibition—L.H.B.: A Man for All Seasons; Elaine Engst, curator, 2004).

Reading the second edition of Bailey’s Lessons with Plants (1899) has been inspiration for us – as it should be for anyone interested in plant science.

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Posted by Julie on 04/24 at 02:15 PM
EcologyGardening & LandscapeSciencePermalink

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Floral Footholds

We stumble over a family milestone, inching on with the fortification of blooms and friends.


Rue anemone, periwinkle and narcissus in the April yard

Louisville, Kentucky, 2011

Photo: Human Flower Project

“April is the cruelest month,” our mother recalled. She had been admitted to the hospital April 4, her 90th birthday, seized with pain after a spinal compression fracture.

Who knows how it happened? She suspects it was a vigorous two hours about a week prior – one of the first fine spring days in Kentucky. With someone to look after her 97-year-old husband (our father) for the morning, she had checked on the peonies in her side yard, then gotten down on her knees and begun weeding with relish.

“I was having so much fun,” she told us from a bed at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, bitter and wistful.

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Posted by Julie on 04/17 at 09:32 PM
Culture & SocietyFloristsGardening & LandscapeSecular CustomsPermalink

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Imagining Derek Jarman’s Garden

‘The garden is off’ and John Levett is going with it.


Dungeness Beach

Photo: John Levett

By John Levett

A few months ago I was paid a fine compliment by one of the college students with whom I have had the privilege of working. She is Korean and an outstanding photographer. After a two-hour forum she came to me and said: “I don’t understand what you say but I like it very much.” I knew what she meant and I thanked her. The session had been a useful rambling affair in which one idea followed another without any seeming connection, without direction or goal and, importantly, without any consequence. I’m a Visiting Fellow this semester. There are no course credits for these sessions, no papers to file on time, no reading list to be marched through; just an opportunity to take ideas and see if they fit. I think we’d fit the idea of the university in the mind of Newman.

The session in question had involved extemporising on visual representations of memory and whether such representations are equivalent to trying to represent materiality. My view at one point was that any representation of memory should (as with materiality) equate to its fading and disappearance which, in turn, led me to thinking that the singular thought and acknowledgment of a memory would be a sufficient representation of it. I then thought that this sounded too much like my very own personal Onoesque ‘Fluxus Moment’ and I ought to ramble off somewhere else.

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Posted by Julie on 04/14 at 10:23 AM
Art & MediaGardening & LandscapePermalink