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

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File:Illustration Helleborus niger0.jpg

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

 

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

from:http://www.wikigallery.org/wiki/painting_86384/Edwin-Lord-Weeks/page-1

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

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