Human Flower Project


Monday, October 11, 2004

Industry Parades on the Faces of Floral Clocks

Emblems of humankind’s dominion over nature, floral timepieces look kitschy, out of sync with today.

If there’s anything that doesn’t watch the clock, it’s flowers. Like people, they bloom and die on an unpredictable schedule, determined by water, warmth, food, daylight and a whole lot of something else. Karma.

But in the 19th and 20th Centuries, landscapers and town planners, enthralled with industrial power, wanted to broadcast another notion. If people could be herded into offices, factories and mills and forced to punch the clock, why not flowers? To symbolize modern-day efficiency (and keep everyone running on schedule), they built huge public clocks adorned with flowers. The faces of these giant sloped timepieces were covered with annuals, routinely planted, stripped away, and replaced with new blooms.

The floral clock of Alexandria, Egypt

One of the earliest floral clocks was the centerpiece of the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.  “Once a minute, the master clock released a puff of compressed air strong enough to move a hand of the floral clock 5 feet, which designated one minute.”

The thought of combining puffing machinery with 10,000 petunias now seems surreal and campy. It’s easy to condescend to pop culture of the past. But its crazy juxtaposition—and the blatant message of dominion over nature—are a lot less sinister than the bio-engineered foods and flowers we have today. At least the old industrial ideologues felt some compunction to made their politics public.

I hope you’ll enjoy HFP’s brief tour of floral clocks. And please send your recommendations of other ticking gardens.

The Floral Clock at Kentucky’s State Capitol, Frankfort

The Floral Watch of Geneva, Switzerland

Modesto, California, flower clock Check out the live action cam!!

Floral Clock in Niagara Falls, Ontario

Floral Clock, Taronga Park Zoo, Australia

Floral Clock of Edinburgh, Scotland


Detroit (Michigan) Water Works Floral Clock

Later moved to Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village

Posted by Julie on 10/11 at 10:46 AM
Culture & SocietyTravelPermalink

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Vietnamese Town Capitalizes on “Eternal Spring”

A city in Vietnam’s central highlands plans to open an international flower auction next year, another development in its longstanding romance-for-profit.

Beauty sells itself. Just ask anyone in the travel business who’s booked trips to Sevilla but not Malaga, Niagra Falls not Buffalo.

Just so, the city of Da Lat located 300 km from Ho Chi Minh City has long been a favorite destination of travelers in Vietnam. “Dotted with waterfalls, lakes and evergreen forests, (Da Lat) is often called the City of Eternal Spring and is a favourite spot for honeymoons.”

Asia Pulse reports today that Da Lat plans to build an international flower auction by next year, taking advantage of its year-round temperate climate and adding a pretty business to its architectural and natural attractions. Eco-tourism, it’s not just for Westerners, never has been.

Chinese flower growers and sellers have advanced this year, with exports up 15% in the period January-July, according to today’s Xinhua. And Asia Pulse reports: “Da Lat has recently sent officials to China to learn about organising flower shows.”

Posted by Julie on 09/21 at 10:10 AM
Cut-Flower TradeTravelPermalink
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