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History Nature Plants

Pteridomania

PICT2843 PICT2942 PICT1821 PICT1830 PICT1848 PICT3062 PICT3064 PICT3077I guess people in common do have at least slight inclination towards collecting different artefacts. Then I am among the ones who have stronger tendency for collecting. Which makes me happy is not the possession of different items, but the ways they can be arranged in logical categories. From that point of view I could  find ferns interesting items.But I was still surprised to hear about pteridomania, a fern collecting craze in Victorian England. People got crazy collecting different ferns to that extent that some of the ferns got almost extinct! Honestly, I can’t blame them, arranging those photos I’ve almost started collecting ferns!

Pteridomania, meaning Fern Madness or Fern Craze, a compound of Pteridophytes andmania, was coined in 1855 by Charles Kingsley in his book Glaucus, or the Wonders of the Shore:  Your daughters, perhaps, have been seized with the prevailing ‘Pteridomania’…and wrangling over unpronounceable names of species (which seem different in each new Fern-book that they buy)…and yet you cannot deny that they find enjoyment in it, and are more active, more cheerful, more self-forgetful over it, than they would have been over novels and gossipcrochet and Berlin-wool.[1]                           

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

 

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History Nature Plants plants everywhere

Punica granatum and two friends

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In 1771 a young man got a new plant for his plantation. This  was a pomegranate, a new species shipped to America only four years ago, and now sent to him as a gift from his precious mentor. Slaves planted the new plant in the fruit garden, where many fruit trees grew. Can you imagine an old plantation, with a main building and many pavilions, with extensive vegetable gardens and  orchard , young man admiring this new plant for his collection and writing back to his professor to say thank you? And can you imagine these two, a professor and his student, admiring a simple pomegranate plant , were the first law professor of the United States, George Wythe, and the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson?

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George Wythe (1726 – June 8, 1806) was the first American law professor, a noted classics scholar and Virginia judge, as well as a prominent opponent of slavery.

Fauquier, Wythe and college professor William Small often socialized together, conversing about philosophy, natural history, languages, history and other matters. In 1762, Small suggested Wythe supervise the legal training of a star student, Thomas Jefferson, which had profound impact that went beyond their lives. [17] from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wythe

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Thomas Jefferson planted pomegranates at Monticello in 1771: he had them from George Wythe of Williamsburg.

[27] from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomegranate

Monticello is the primary plantation of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States. from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monticello

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History Nature Plants plants everywhere Plants in art

Cichorium intybus blue flowers and Horace diet

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Chicory is quiet an unnoticeable plant ,surviving where streets end, sometimes even trying to invade side walks, growing in the corners of kindergarten playgrounds and behind shopping moles where city lawns meet native plants.But when it starts to flower , then it is seen  afar. Sky-blue flowers look as small oceans of blue colour , transforming weed-like into sky-like. Once far ago I wanted to have this beauty with me, at home, so I picked a big bouquet and put it in a vase . How disappointed was I ,recognizing chicory is no cut-flower plant, nice blue petals shrank and my bouquet was a sad one. Since then I admire chicory there, where I find it! 

The chicory plant is one of the earliest cited in recorded literature. Horace mentions it in reference to his own diet, which he describes as very simple: “Me pascunt olivae, me cichorea, me malvae” (“As for me, olives, endives, and mallows provide sustenance”) from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicory

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Horatius reads before Maecenas, Fyodor Andreyevich Bronnikov (1827–1902), from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fedor_Bronnikov_014.jpg

Categories
History

Baroque garden with puttos

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image It was in the middle of winter when Nigel (Old school garden ) was asking me about historical gardens in my country. Dear Nigel, I have not forgotten I only haven’t found the right one My Botanical Garden could present-till now! But this one is just perfect, listen to  the story:

A.D. 1763

Count Lanthieri enters his room, with handful of first cherries from the valley. Crop is good this year, God knows how will the  wine be. Anno Domini 1762 was a good year. Extensive family vineyards, dominating the valley, gave exquisite wine, it was sold to Venice, Rome, Vienna, Luwigana. And the palace was renovated, garden was redesigned, all in baroque manner. Count opens the window overlooking  the garden, his glance slowly glides along the long garden axis. He is expecting guests from Luwigana today. Before they come, he will have a walk down in the garden, to admire new puttos . Thanks God,  it  was possible to set the concert stage in the garden this morning, in a way that new palace façade is seen from the best angle, dominating the garden and its exotic plants. Count Lanthieri,  trying to imagine surprised eyes of his eminent guests,takes a deep breath.  The cooks are meantime  preparing food to be served in the garden after the concert, musicians are already preparing their instruments .Count is satisfied with God and himself……..

A.D. 2013

A woman enters Vipava town park, with handful of first cherries from the valley.  This year cherries are sweet , who knows how will the grapes be. She admires putti and the original entrance to the baroque park . A pedestrian is walking down the park,  in a hurry, not to miss his job in a  little vine shop for tourists. From a window across the park radio plays modern music . She tries to imagine how would her readers, from England, Canada, USA and elsewhere, like some pictures from this garden. As she takes the camera from the bag, her glance glides slowly  along the garden axis to meet rich baroque façade, renovated last year. It is said School of Viticulture and Enology of the University of Nova Gorica is entering the building in a year.  She feels as if the old count is looking down from a palace window , happy with a nice day …

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History plants everywhere Uncategorized

Tržič flowers in iron and stone and Radetzky march

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 Visiting Tržič last time , still in winter, I discovered cute floral architectural details. Old town’s times of prosperity had faded away and road towards a better future made a turn here years ago .Still witnesses of old times, now protecting some new kids and their secrets, stone houses built in rows managed to somehow carry trough time their artisan-al details.Carved flowers made with certain love and devotion , now frozen in future of their dreams.Who were the ones walking the narrow streets almost without noticing stone flower rosettas looking after them……..and how much did like these iron flowers the man with March named after him, coming from big battles to invest in his wife’s homeland…….

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Johann Josef (Joseph) Wenzel (Anton Franz Karl) Graf Radetzky von Radetz (English: John Joseph Wenceslaus, Count Radetzky of Radetz,Czech: Jan Josef Václav Antonín František Karel hrabě Radecký z Radče) (November 2, 1766 – January 5, 1858) was a Czech nobleman[1] and Austrian general, immortalised by Johann Strauss I’s Radetzky March In 1798 he married Countess Francisca von Strassoldo Grafenberg, from Tržič, Carniola (now inSlovenia). They would have five sons and three daughters.

Radetzky was intimately connected with the Duchy of Carniola, because of his wife and because he owned much land there. His courage was praised in folk songs. The first representative statue in Ljubljana, the capital of Carniola, was a statue of Radetzky. It was placed in the most elite location, the Congress Square, and all main public events took place in front of it.[5] As he owned the Tivoli Castle in Ljubljana, the capital of Carniola, he greatly contributed to the arrangement of Tivoli Park.[6]

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

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History plants everywhere Uncategorized

Tulip mania and Bitcoin

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Our dinner today  was an educative event, kids were teaching parents and grandparents about bitcoin, an interesting phenomena of the internet era. Things went pretty bad for us, older ones, it almost looked like we were complete idiots not understanding basic new concepts of virtual world. I said almost, for then I’ve remembered tulip mania.Some concepts were known already far ago, it would be shame to forget them, just in case…….which of course does not mean I do not believe in bitcoin…or tulips!

At the peak of tulip mania, in February 1637, some single tulip bulbs sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. It is generally considered the first recorded speculative bubble (or economic bubble),[3] although some researchers have noted that theKipper- und Wipperzeit episode in 1619–22, a Europe-wide chain of debasement of the metal content of coins to fund warfare, featured mania-like similarities to a bubble.[4] The term “tulip mania” is now often used metaphorically to refer to any large economic bubble (when asset prices deviate from intrinsic values).[5]

A tulip, known as “the Viceroy”, displayed in a 1637 Dutch catalog. Its bulb cost between 3,000 and 4,200 guilders (florins) depending on size. A skilled craftsman at the time earned about 300 guilders a year.[1] from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania

 

Categories
History plants everywhere Plants in art

Paper flowers-an old craft

 

 
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botanic garden History Plants plants everywhere

Euphorbia and ancient king Juba II of Numidia

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Euphorbia forms one of the biggest genera of plants.It originates in tropical and subtropical Africa and America and its more as 2000 species show big diversity.Which fascinates me, is the same plant making my day brighter today, took attention centuries ago already. Isn’t it strange to know the plant I write about today (and your read it ) was named by husband of Cleopatra’s daughter ? King Juba II of Numidia named Euphorbia after his personal Greek physician Euphorbus!

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Coin of the ancient kingdom of Mauretania. Juba II of Numidia on the obverse, Cleopatra Selene II on the reverse.from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleopatra_Selene_II

Juba II (Iuba in Latin; Ancient Greek: Ἰóβας, Ἰóβα or Ἰούβας)[1] or Juba II of Numidia(52/50 BC – AD 23) was a king of Numidia and then later moved to Mauretania.His first wife was Cleopatra Selene II, daughter to Greek Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Roman triumvir Mark Antony.

Juba II was brought to Rome by Julius Caesar and took part in Caesar’s triumphal procession. In Rome, he learned Latin and Greek, became romanized and was granted Roman citizenship.[1] Through dedication to his studies, he is said to have become one of Rome’s best educated citizens, and by age 20 he wrote one of his first works entitledRoman Archaeology.[1] He was raised by Julius Caesar and later by his great-nephew Octavian (future Emperor Caesar Augustus).

He is also known to have written a book about a spurge found in the High Atlas which he named Euphorbia after his personal physician. It was later called Euphorbia regisjubae (‘King Juba’s euphorbia’) in his honor (it is now Euphorbia obtusifolia ssp. regis-jubae).Botanist and taxonomist Carl Linnaeus assigned the name Euphorbiato the entire genus in the physician’s honor.[8] 

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

Categories
botanic garden History plants everywhere Plants in art Uncategorized

A garden story with frog service and botanic garden poem

Image Taking a train ride for Stoke on Trent I was observing Potteries landscape running by, all green and smooth.It made me happy to recognize English countryside  just as sculptured in Wallace &Gromit our kids liked that much .Yet my thoughts at that moment  were: “If I survive this I shall reward myself  with one Wedgwood cup!”-sorry my friends in Stoke, but at that moment I couldn’t know that all the clay and coal from these green paysage helped writing a garden story I would listen with open mouth… 2012-10-28 08.50.41

I met a young man by the name of J. Wedgwood  who had planted a flower garden adjacent to his pottery.He also had his men wash their hands and faces and change their clothes after working in the clay.(attributed to John Wesley).

I was  happy indeed, when I found this sentence, visiting Wedgwood museum.There were so many potters there around, for centuries, but just one of them, Josiah Wedgwood, succeeded to become the one and only one.  How he did it?  The mentioned sentence explains it all.  I am not saying each gardener will become best potter ever. Yet to make porcelain that different from average, so beautiful, with fantastic patterns, one has to be a good observer,and one has to dare. Young Joshua dared to plant a garden behind his factory, there he could observe the beauty of nature, and to transpose it into porcelain.I state this shows nature is the best teacher keen observer  can have.

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Garden themes Joshua Wedgwood revived in porcelain brought his name far away.

One of Wedgwood porcelain masterpieces-Frog service- was commissioned by Empress Catherine in 1773 .Incredible number of 952 pieces of the service were all painted with 1,244 realistic scenes with buildings ,gardens and landscapes from England.As the service was intended for the palace built on a frog marsh a green frog emblem was painted on each piece of the service.

Frog Service Dessert Plate View 947. A View taken near Mr Smith’s House at Battersea looking up The Thames. Designed & engraved by Boydell, 1752. (Possibly a duplicate that was not sent to Russia due to an imperfection).from:http://wedgwoodmuseum.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/by-royal-approval-wedgwoods-queens-ware/#more-216

Nature and gardens didn’t bring Joshua Wedgwood only to the queens of England and Russia, there arouse even more important friendship.In 1780 Wedgwood turned to Erasmus Darwin,English physician, natural philosopher, physiologist, inventor and poet, to help him running the business after Wedgwood business partner died.It is no surprise the two became close friends.Why? They both admired botany! While in Etruria Works  fantastic porcelain with scenery from nature, gardens, botany was produced Darwin worked for seven years on  Carolus Linnaeus  latin text coining many English botanic terms in use up to today.

Erasmus Darwin, from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erasmus_Darwin

Erasmus Darwin was not only a scientist and inventor, he was also a poet.His two poems; The Economy of Vegetation and The Loves of the Plants,were published together as The Botanic Garden (1791).The book was an expensive one, but it became a best-seller  It was educating broader public, making botany interesting ,speaking about evolution in nature.

Title page from The Botanic Garden(1791), from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Botanic_Garden

But the story does not end yet! Joshuas daughter married Erasmus son.Their son was Charles Darwin, father of the evolution theory! Could you believe what arouse from the love of nature , gardens, botany?

Three quarter length portrait of seated boy smiling and looking at the viewer. He has straight mid brown hair, and wears dark clothes with a large frilly white collar. In his lap he holds a pot of flowering plants

The seven-year-old Charles Darwin in 1816.from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Darwin

This post was written as a guest post for The Beagle Project, a blog  about Charles Darwin journey ,so inspiring even today.