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?

Helleborus in snow and in Anticyra

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Christmas rose -Helleborus niger-is one of my favourite flowers.Each year, already somewhere in the midst of December ,it brings first flowers of the upcoming spring.When days are short, nights cold,when woods is silent and when snow covers everything under our feet,then its big white flowers show up like a correct botanical drawing. They seem two-dimensional in a way, but on a closer look you may see they are real ones,and even more , they are not three-dimensional,they have the fourth dimension within them :the promise if spring,When I see them I know spring is to come .As all of us sometimes need to believe spring will come I am sending this year’s first helleborus bouquet to my dear friend in hospital.

Hellebore was the main reason for Antikyras’ fame all over the ancient world. The city was famous for its black hellebore (helleborus niger), and for a drug elaborated from the base of white hellebore (veratrum album).[3] Both species of hellebore are herbs which grew in the vicinity of Antikyra and were regarded as a cure for insanity. This circumstance gave rise to a number of proverbial expressions, like Αντικυρας σε δει or “naviget Anticyram,” and to frequent allusions in the Greek and Latin writers. Hellebore was likewise considered beneficial in cases of gout and epilepsy.from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anticyra


File:Illustration Helleborus niger0.jpg



Crossandra ‘Fortuna’

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Invited to see my friend’s new kitchen I wanted to bring her a small surprise.Of course it pretty soon turned out that a flower is the best option-what can be better as preparing breakfast in a new modern kitchen, looking at beautiful flowers and looking forward to a new day? No wonder as soon as I came to nursery  this Crossandra fortuna was the one I picked for my friend-look at the vivid flowers and shiny leaves!And her name!On my way to my friend’s house I was thinking of many Indian woman buying Kanakamparam (Indian name for Crossandra) at street markets to make karnakamparam garlands for their hair, wishing to have a great day.

A Street Market Scene, India - Edwin Lord Weeks

Edwin Lord Weeks: A Street Market Scene, India” oil on Canvas, location: Private collection


Crossandra infundibuliformis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Acanthaceae
Genus: Crossandra




Grasshopper movie star

My petunias eaten? Green grasshopper was near by ,so I claimed him guilty.To feel better about it ,I went on net to check it out.I am calm now, grasshoppers do eat plants,indeed.But I’ve got another question by now-I’ve remembered old Aesop tale ”Grasshopper and ant” and I wonder does this assumption about lazy grasshopper have any realistic backgrounds or was it just made up for didactic purposes by Aesop? For my grasshopper was quiet laborious to cut so many petunias as it did……Nevertheless,I have found two old grasshopper films on you -tube.Both of them around 100 years old, yet ending a bit different one from the other-to fit didactic needs of the time.Which could mean, that also Aesop made it up,too.Of course My Botanical Gardens in this case absolutely disprove use of grasshoppers good name in a way that has no realistic grounds ;). But please, do have a look-and enjoy! Any scientific explanation about grasshoppers working habits is welcome!

Grasshoppers prefer to eat grasses, leaves and cereal crops. The majority of grasshoppers are polyphagous. Many will eat from multiple host plants in one day, while some prefer to rely on the same host plant. Only one of the 8000 species of grasshopper is monophagous and will only eat a single species of plant.[2]

Temporal range: Late Permian – Recent
Immature grasshopper
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Suborder: Caelifera
Ander, 1939


Sempervivum tectorum-Common houseleek,Jupiter’s eye






File:Illustration Sempervivum tectorum0.jpg

drawing from:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sempervivum_tectorum

Today post is without story, for I am just too tired after this week-wish to be like sempervivum ,that:

History relates that a botanist tried hard for eighteen months to dry a plant of the House Leek for his herbarium, but failed in this object. He afterwards restored it to its first site when it grew again as if nothing had interfered with its ordinary life.[2]from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sempervivum_tectorum

Common Houseleek
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Saxifragales
Family: Crassulaceae
Genus: Sempervivum
Species: S. tectorum
Binomial name
Sempervivum tectorum

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

Gentiana asclepiadea, blue end of summer

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Every year ,when the summer gets hot each day making me believe it would newer end , comes the moment bringing a small piece of forthcoming autumn with it. Seeking shadow forest paths I’ve found  blue willow gentian started to flower this week, with flowers blue as the bluest skies I’ve ewer seen. There is something sad in these blue bells I can not explain,is it their announcement the summer is dying  or is it their blue blue color painting eternal skies in front of me but leaving me to wonder what comes after this summer……….  

One of the larger species within the genus, it produces pairs of leaves, sometimes whorled in three’s or fours around particularly vigorous shoots on stems that generally arch elegantly outward from the base of the plant between 60-90cm (2-3ft) in length. Flowers occur in late summer into autumn.

Gentiana asclepiadea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Gentiana
Species: G. asclepiadea
Binomial name
Gentiana asclepiadea

Saved office Phalaenopsises in full bloom

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My husband works in a big new building with many modern offices equipped with some minimalism furniture and plants.I don’t know when these plants have become orchids and mostly orchids,namely phalaenopsises. It could be they have become trendy plants for their beauty,low maintenance,long flowering,colors available.Jet their decorative value can not reverse that they are live plants,they do get worse if not properly watered,if let on hot sun ,neglected.Dead or almost dead  plants then finish in trash bin.My husband ,knowing my love for rescuing creepy flowers from nurseries ,took his office’s fallen Phalaenopsis star  home,as I could give it a second chance.Looks like his coworkers are some hidden plant lovers, too,so knowing he took his Phalaenopsis corps home for me to rescue it, they have given their creepy ones  for me, too.Anyway,it is a good feeling to know these plants have been rescued,they are just in the middle of abundant flowering right now………..

The generic name means “Phalaen[a]-like” and is probably a reference to the genusPhalaena, the name given by Carolus Linnaeus to a group of large moths; the flowers of some species supposedly resemble moths in flight.[2] For this reason, the species are sometimes called Moth orchids.They are native throughout southeast Asia from the Himalayan mountains to the islands of PolilloPalawan and Zamboanga del Norte in the island of Mindanao in thePhilippines and northern AustraliaOrchid Island of Taiwan is named after this genus. Little recent information about their habitat and their ecology in nature is available since little field research has been done in the last decades.

Closeup of a Phalaenopsis flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Vandeae
Subtribe: Aeridinae
Alliance: Phalaenopsis
Genus: Phalaenopsis
Blume 1825
Type species
Phalaenopsis amabilis
Blume (1825)
see text.
  • Doritis Lindl.
  • Grafia A. D. Hawkes
  • Kingidium P. F. Hunt
  • Kingiella Rolfe
  • Polychilos Breda
  • Polystylus Hasselt ex Hassk.
  • Staurites Rchb. f.
  • Stauroglottis Schauer
  • Synadena Raf.   from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalaenopsis