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garden volunteers

SCULPTING TOGETHER-inter generational learning in botanical garden

These days I am thrilled finishing the preparatory phase for my first inter generational learning project in botanical garden to happen this Saturday.

2012 is European Year of Inter-generational Solidarity and Active Ageing,for Europe is facing big demographic changes towards society of older people.To sustain  such society  we will have to change our mindset.Living longer will inevitably rise the need of older people staying active longer,be it in their professional lives or in different fields of their interests, not only for the society will not be reach enough to pay you to be retired 30 years or longer, but also for retirement as known today too often pushes old persons on margins of our society,making them unable to develop their potentials or to contribute to their local community.The only clue to solve this situation is education.Education of older people to recognise, that they are valuable for community and that they are to learn further to stay “on track”.And education of young people and kids against stereotypes about old age, for they will have to live in ageing society. Inter generational learning is a way to make generations learn from each other and to start appreciating each other.

The idea for this project was to cower these mentioned thesis in a innovative way, binding senior garden volunteers,senior sculptors and kids from secondary school on one side,  coupling natural sciences and culture on the other side,having a learning workshop and an exhibition for broader audience.The aim? To overcome stereotypes young do have about older people and vice versa, to learn that botany and biodiversity are important issues,to learn that we all need culture-and to spend a day together, in botanical garden, instead of sitting in front of comp or TV at home being alone.

How will it look like?

In the morning we will meet in BG-kids from secondary school with two professors, senior sculptors with their mentor,senior garden volunteers and some professionals from the garden.Together we will have an hour of education about certain plants and their ecosystems.Then we will express this new knowledge in clay and prepare an exhibition in the garden.Hope everything goes well!Promise to post some pictures, but do , please .cross your fingers for the project!

Categories
botanic garden Plants plants everywhere

Citrus plants from Botanical garden Florence or big chino secret revealed

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Memories from counties I’ve visited are like kaleidoscopic pictures made from vivid colors, music and noises from far away and-smells and flavors so different from what I know that I remember them forever.One such memory takes me back in eighties,when still living in socialist country but being lucky enough to travel abroad.Returning from our trips to Italy we would always stop in little shops just in front of border,spending last lira to buy some specialities to bring home.Among them was Chinotto,a  drink so different from our lives at that time that it remained in my memories as a  reminiscence of summers when everything seemed so far away..From those times  many things have changed, but the taste of this drink remained the same-sweet and bitter, a bit sour like nothing we’ve tasted before.

Clicca qui per ingrandire la fotofrom:http://www.spuma.it/etichette.asp

Moja fotografijafrom:http://spumapaoletti.blogspot.com/

Visiting Florence this march I remember by spring colors of Tuscan gardens, smooth flow of Arno river and wonderful smell of orange flowers in Botanical garden –Giardino dei semplici.They have a vast collection of citrus plants.  I’ve never imagined lemons  in shape of Buddha’s hand or in shape of a pear,that Jews have their own Citron, as  also Florence does ,but most intriguing of them all is Bizzaria , botanists needed three centuries to solve this chimera puzzle from Florence .And me? I’ve solved my chinotto puzzle in Florence:- among citrus trees!Citrus myrtifolia, the myrtle-leaved orange tree gives fruit which is used not only to flavor chinotto,but also many Italian amari !

Myrtle-leaved orange tree
Chinotto oranges growing on a tree
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Citrus
Species: C. myrtifolia
Binomial name
Citrus myrtifoliafrom:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citrus_myrtifolia
Categories
botanic garden garden volunteers

Garden volunteers and willow garden obelisks

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Here are last news about garden volunteers. They are not only working in botanical garden, they are also learning!

Last month garden volunteers learned an old craft-making willow garden obelisks.Gardener from the garden shoved them the materials to be used and then, step by step, the technique of weaving willow.It may look simple, but it is skill ,and you need time to develop proper skill.We had a lot of laughing and we tried hard making something to be at least similar to a decent garden sculpture.And we did it!But the greatest thing about learning this craft was not the sweet feeling of learning something new, but the fact, that volunteers took part in educational workshop in botanical garden next week-helping professional stuff to teach broader public how to make willow garden obelisks! Like the idea that, as good garden obelisk is a strong support for the plants to grow upon it, so the new learned skills are strong support for volunteers to ”grow” knowledge further…….

Categories
Plants Plants in art

Hyacinth and rebirth of spring

In Greek mythology Hyacinth was a divine hero.His cult dates from the Mycenaean era .When Hyacinth was killed by Zephyrus, Olymp made flower from the spilled blood of Hyacinth.As this myth talks about death and rebirth of nature hyacinth flower is the one deserving this name indeed.Each year, after winter ,the bulb produces one of the first spring flowers,in wonderful colors, smelling as coming from eternity,giving us hope that after cold winter spring is bringing new chance to everyone………Mozart at only eleven years,  in 1767, wrote opera based on Hyacinth story-Apollo and Hyacinthus. From the same time originates also book about rare flowers with botanical illustration of Hyacinth (see link below)…….after 255 springs Mozart music still brings spring, as does hyacinth flower-but I wonder how is with rebirth of Hyacinthus viridis from mentioned botanical illustration , is it extinct yet or hopefully not?

….

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hyacinth-old botanical illustration

Hyacinthus orientalis
Scientific classificatione
Kingdom: Plantae
clade: Angiosperms
clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Scilloideae
Genus: Hyacinthus
L.
species
Hyacinthus litwinowii
Hyacinthus orientalis
Hyacinthus transcaspicusfrom:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyacinth_(plant)
Categories
botanic garden Plants Plants in art

Chaenomeles japonica or pink clouds

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But he could detect nothing except a faint sweet lemony scent, rather agreeable than otherwise, which evidently emanated from the bushes budding in the sunshine. He was on the point of resuming his promenade, when a blackbird close by burst into song, and, looking up, Mr. Nilson saw at a distance of perhaps five yards a little tree, in the heart of whose branches the bird was perched. He stood staring curiously at this tree, recognising it for that which he had noticed from his window. It was covered with young blossoms, pink and white, and little bright green leaves both round and spiky; and on all this blossom and these leaves the sunlight glistened. Mr. Nilson smiled; the little tree was so alive and pretty! And instead of passing on, he stayed there smiling at the tree.The Japanese Quince  (1910) by John Galsworthy

In early spring,when shrubs and trees mostly still prepare to blossom,one plant deserves all  attention. Cultivated for more centuries in Japan, native to Japan and China, now planted in parks and gardens all ower the world, bonsai version included, as it is easy to grow,it turns into a pink cloud each spring.

http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/uKYkCjjjz2k?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0

In autumn the plant produces hard fruit, good enough for preserves but also very decorative when left on shrub.

Chaenomeles japonica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Chaenomeles
Species: C. japonica
Binomial name
Chaenomeles japonica

from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaenomeles_japonica

Categories
botanic garden

Florenz- Giardino dei semplici

Medici from Florenz were a powerful family. Their wealth (they owned Medici bank, one of biggest and most truthful banks in Europe at that time), connections (family gave 4 popes,their daughters married to European courts) and fact that they themselves become royal house enabled them to politically dominate the region from late 14-th century up to the 18-th century.They were generous patrons to the artists of the time and spent huge amounts of money building palaces, fortresses, gardens.

It is obvious that it was in the spirit of renaissance to invest in lavish buildings with picturesque gardens around,to study humanities and collect art.But what was the reason , that on December 1, 1545,  Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany established botanical garden in Florenz -, Giardino dei Semplici (medicinal herb garden)]just after  Pisa and Padova had got their botanical gardens? What made him think this is important, as there were yet only two botanical gardens in the world? After all, he could build just one more palazzo with beautiful garden .

I guess the reason lies in his grandmother Caterina Sforza, for he inherited passion for alchemy from her.She dedicated her last years of life to her children, grandchildren and her alchemical experiments.She had curiosity (or need?) to experiment in alchemy, this were in a way natural sciences .From here is just a step towards wish to investigate natural phenomena, botany included. 

As enough passion to investigate nature and enough knowledge to distinct  observations of nature as something important were needed (among with enough money) to set a botanical garden in 14-th century-do we today have enough passion, knowledge and money to recognize botanical gardens as important humanistic legacy for  future generations?

Categories
plants everywhere

Palm sunday and butarica

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One of old customs in our land (from 9th century) is to make BUTARICA for palm sunday .After the BUTARICA have been blessed in the local church  they are brought home for decoration.The roots for this old custom are in pagan times when people believed that certain plants may prevent illnesses, bad weather, disasters, etc

BUTARICA in Ljubljana region is typical-made from colored shavings and green branches from juniper,yew,cypress and ivy.

They are so colorful, I buy them each year  for decoration at home.I admire them till their color fades away.They make me believe everything will be OK……

 

 

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Uncategorized

Viva Italia and cherry -tree hotel

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Viva Italia-my husbands gift for my birthday is trip to Florence .This night we stayed at Hotel l Ciliegi – Cherry tree hotel some miles before Florez .
Here are some pics of the tree before the hotel -it obviously is cherry tree .
Have to go now ,more posts are coming!

 

Categories
florilegium Plants plants everywhere Plants in art

Viola odorata and pastilles from Favigny

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imageViolet Bouquet - Albrecht Durer

Albrecht Durer-Violet bouquet (watercolor, 15-th century)

Bouquet of violets - Edouard Manet

Edouard Manet-Bouquet of violets (Oil on canvas 1872) – for more Manet works check : https://www.artsy.net/artist/edouard-manet

 

Common violet , tiny  beauty,hides in semi shades of forest edges. Sweet scent  betrays easily overseen plant.  Modest in nature this flower entered world art galleries ,literature and music,biggest artists love her since ewer, perhaps for it is plant from everyday life with smell from heaven?

http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/U7AUclm14UA?version=3&hl=en_US

Listening to the music,would you treat yourself with something special? My favorites are violet pastilles from Flavigny. I love their  violet flower, and the  decorated oval box makes me remember the summer far ago, when  I got a tiny box of violet pastilles from my mother.Since then for me this little pastilles bear memories of almost forgotten summers when eating violet candis we tried to imagine what would the coming summers look like…..

….BOITE OVALE 50 G - VIOLETTE

http://anis-flavigny.com/boutique/en/original-range/2-oval-tin-50g-violet.html

Categories
Uncategorized

BOTANICAL GARDENS and IG LEARNING

 

Historically looking the first precursors of the botanical gardens, as we know them today, were medicinal gardens in Europe, their solemn raison d’etre was studying medicinal plants .Most Italian universities in 16.th century owned such gardens. With big discoveries new era for botanical gardens came, they started to collect and cultivate new species from new territories. (1)

Ljubljana botanical garden was established during the time of Illyrian provinces, general Marmont’s decree of July, 04, 1810 in article 9 refers that a central school with library, physics and a chemistry cabinets and a botanical garden shall be founded. As at this time Slovenian language entered public institutions for the first time the meaning of botanical garden was not only collecting and studying flora from the place and abroad but also symbolical, building national identity through the use of Slovene language. And we may say IGL took place there already at that time. Professor of botany Hladnik who run the botanical garden at its beginnings took on as a gardening apprentice a fourteen year old boy, Fleischmann, who wandered with him, bringing plants from different parts of country. Much later the management of the garden was entrusted to Fleischmann, who also took over the botanical lectures.

It is a paradox, that after their onset, when botanical gardens played a strong intellectual role in their environment, fostering academically study, they felt to a merely unimportant subject in their environment of recent history. Their role as collectors of different species is too often under stated, their educational role being too often only in simplistic education message for kindergarten and school groups. Even their role as a place for amusement and recreation fade away, as there are so many more attractive spaces for consumer society of nowadays.

And this paradox seems even bigger on close examination of numerous potentials botanical gardens do have for learning society of 21st century.

Intergenerational learning may be able to solve this paradox.

In next lines the main domains of influence of IGL in botanical gardens are described:

1. Influence on human (individual) development-IGL in botanical gardens:

-fosters individual knowledge of botany, environment, ecology, biodiversity, extinct species, climatic change, pollution, ecosystems, alien species

-teaches learning skills, promote learning and teaching

-provides better skills for giving and recieving social support

-increases self esteem

-helps build pro-social life values

-raises community sense

-helps build nature oriented healthy lifestyle

-raises responsibility towards environment

2. Influence on community life-IGL in botanical gardens:

 –contributes to community cohesion

-establishes environment-friendly culture

-promotes sustainable values, makes community life better (teaching about pollution, water

Recycling, eco-friendly gardening etc.)

-helps fighting poverty (gardening lessons, growing vegetables, fruit)

-increases local (government) responsiveness to the needs of local interests

-increases youth and older adult inclusion

-promotes inclusion of migrants (teaching / learning different growing techniques)

-help stakeholder groups to see biodiversity, pollution, ecology, sustainability as valuable frames for their local action

-increases community spirit (our botanical garden-our neighbourhood-our city-our planet)

3. Influence at national level-IGL in botanical gardens:

builds an environment-friendly society

implements values of sustainability through generations

builds a prejudice-free society, open to diverse values, with respect across age, ethnic and race lines

impacts on institutions (educational, environmental, health)

increases communication and collaboration among diverse fields of life (culture, natural sciences, social sciences etc.)

4. Influence on international relations-trough IGL in botanical gardens laypersons and professionals learn about:

-various intergenerational learning practices in different countries

-state of biodiversity, nature-protection, sustainability measures in other countries

– care for the nature on international level

-broadening the approach of IGL and IG activities across different countries

-connecting professional institutions from different countries, exchange of knowledge

Among scientific priorities for 21st century are the most important life sciences, with important areas such as: structural biology, integrative biology, biodiversity, ecosystems. Application of genetic technology will change agriculture. Humanities and social sciences will have to begin to communicate with the natural sciences, and to make junctions among them, finding a new common language between the different scientific disciplines.

IGL in botanical gardens could be a catalyst of this process.