Today afternoon I’ve been gardening with my friends again. Remember how excited we were this spring? I am happy to announce, things are under control even in the middle of the gardening season. The recipe? I think it is in the fact, that we do not take it too seriously, I mean, we all like to come to our garden, we like to work there much better as going to fitness class, we like learning new skills and green theory, but great part of our gardening is also having a coffee together, talking new sorts to plant and good recipes to try with our harvest. Then we do battle weeds, too, but again, not too seriously, and it turns out to be a good idea-our beds are green (there are some weeds around) despite hot days, a reasonable amount of weeds gives some shade and protection to young plants, I guess. We did some mistakes, too, but that’s learning by doing (mistakes). The biggest was we planted different sorts of zucchini and pumpkins all the place around. We simply were not able to resist to that many sorts and we were even less able to decide which would be the best. The consequence of this liberal attitude is now clear to each one passing our garden, vines of different pumpkins, growing here and there without a logical pattern seem as an alien invasion. By now the broccoli and red beets have already lost their territories, yellow pumpkin flowers shine from all angles of our amateur gardening experiment. But then we planted many flowers, too, and when the sun shines bright all the garden looks as a big bouquet! I wanted to make some pictures today, but it started to rain . By the next time when I make some pics to post, have,please, a look on how versatile homegrown vegetables are !
Buddleja or Buddleia , the butterflyy bush, was named by Linneaus in honour of botanist Adam Buddle . Buddle (1662-1715) died before the bush was named after him, but reading some old letters of him we can assume he, as a profound botany lover altrough a wery humble and modest one, would appreciate this gesture…
You were pleased to say you would send me some seeds and roots of your northern plants : they would be extreamly wellcome to me and to Chelsea Garden, which is now putting into very good order ; and the first place we design ( for I call myself of the number ) to cultivate all the rare English plants we can get to grow there ; and I hope you will answer our longing expectation of some from you, in answer to which I promise you the seeds and roots of any plants growing in the garden, which I assure you is very much improving.
I have no more to say now; but beg specimens, or your remarks on the following catalogue.
I am, Sir,
Your humble servant,
Excerpt from the letter from Mr. Buddle to Dr. Richardson, Gray’s Inn, May 28th, 1709
From: Extracts from the Literary and Scientific Correspondence of……Richard Richardson, Dawson Turner, Charles Sloman, Thordarson Collection, Harvard University,
This summer a big mullein has appeared in our garden , I don’t know where has it come from, nor where would it go to next year, but I am grateful for its beauty bringing joy in our days. Apparently it has been a big traveler for a long time, meeting Carolus Linnaeaus to get its name in 1753. Thapsus part of its name was introduced even before, by Theophrastus. Each time we admire yellow mullein flowers we should praise Theophrastus, head of Peripatetic school for almost forty years that wrote Historia plantarum- Enquiry into Plants to influence renaissance science profoundly. There he introduced classification of plants based on their reproduction ( anno 350 BC !! ) and was since then considered father of the botany. And as mullein has many flowers, so Theophrastus had many talents and interests. Regarding happiness I feel admiring my visiting mullein shall I cite:
In ethics, he regarded happiness as depending on external influences as well as on virtue and famously said that “life is ruled by fortune, not wisdom.” from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theophrastus
Anything else to say as: enjoy the summer beauty of mullein as long it lasts !
Theophrastus, depicted as a medieval scholar in theNuremberg Chronicle
Viburnum tinus is among stars of the Mediterranean spring. Its dark green leaves contrast fragrant pentamerous flowers in white or pale pink, evolving into dark blue fruit resembling small pearls. Yet this obvious picture from maquis has its invisible side .It is called domatium, after Latin word domus, for home. Domatia are microscopically small chambers at the under sides of the evergreen leaves. Plant grows domatia to host mites. In this way Viburnum tinus can be seen as a botanical skyscraper with many tiny apartments for arthropod neighbors. Imagine a little mite calling her friends to come over for a party at her condo! I am kidding, it only fascinates me to recognize there is another life underlying the botanical beauty of the plant we can see with our eyes. It is like a parallel world. Only the question remains, are the mites, or are we , at the right side?
There were many beautiful illustrations in the old zoological textbook I wrote about in my last post. Today I’ve picked some illustrious examples of what is known as masquerade or mimesis. Basically, prey animals during evolution developed mechanisms, to camouflage and have higher surveillance rates. Mimetic animals look like something else, not interesting to the predator, like bark, twig, leaf or even lichen. You have the examples on the pictures above, they are actuary full of mother nature’s wit. But could it be presumed, that mimesis is a form of aggressive influential behaviour? Meaning ,that flora in general, is in a way pushing other species to try to survive by being more flora like. Which in turn ends in better surveillance rates of real flora, as the, so to say, fake mimetic subjects de facto are ”incompetent plants”? Would like to hear your opinion about this science-fiction idea!