"A garden is to be a world unto itself,it had better make roomfor the darker shades of feelingas well as the sunny ones.”
"On Robinson Crusoe Island, part of an archipelago off the coast of Chile, he found Gunnera peltata, which looks like a rhubarb plant so enormous that it dwarfs whoever stands below its wide, veined leaves. Analyzing it was a thrilling challenge. “Normally, a scalpel is used for dissecting plants,” Hallé writes. “This time, I had to wield a meat cleaver!” A photo would convey the size and the “nest of ruby-red fibers,” but the author eschews snapshots. “I cannot think of a better way to present it than with a drawing.”
"Think that I am here, confined to the sandy streets of Charleston, where the ox, where the ass, and where man, as stupid as either, fill up the vacant space, while you range the green fields of Florida.”
"I know that every letter which I receive not only revives the little botanic spark in my breast, but even increases its quantity and flaming force."
Today's book recommendation
This Atlas invites the reader to tour the farthest reaches of the rainforest in search of exotic―poetic―plant life. Guided in these botanical encounters by Francis Hallé, who has spent forty years in pursuit of the strange and beautiful plant specimens of the rainforest, the reader discovers a plant with just one solitary, monumental leaf; an invasive hyacinth; a tree that walks; a parasitic laurel; and a dancing vine.Further explorations reveal the Rafflesia arnoldii, the biggest flower in the world, with a crown of stamens and pistils the color of rotten meat that exude the stench of garbage in the summer sun; underground trees with leaves that form a carpet on the ground above them; and the biggest tree in Africa, which can reach seventy meters (more than 200 feet) in height, with a four-meter (about 13 feet) diameter. Hallé's drawings, many in color, provide a witty accompaniment.Like any good tour guide, Hallé tells stories to illustrate his facts. Readers learn about, among other things, Queen Victoria's rubber tree; legends of the moabi tree (for example, that powder from the bark confers invisibility); a flower that absorbs energy from a tree; plants that imitate other plants; a tree that rains; and a fern that clones itself.Hallé's drawings represent an investment in time that returns a dividend of wonder more satisfying than the ephemeral thrill afforded by the photograph. The Atlas of Poetic Botany allows us to be amazed by forms of life that seem as strange as visitors from another planet.
Today's Garden Chore
I can’t let tax day pass us by without suggesting you get with your significant other and negotiate your budget for the garden this season. Pick a number and try to stick to it; Base your number on reality so you get honest about what you spend on the garden. It can’t be good karma to bring shame about overspending on plants into the garden.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
Headline: Doctor Used Moss To Bandage WoundsSphagnum moss, used by florists to keep seedlings and stems moist, was used during the Revolutionary War to bandage wounds; and as recently as World I.Acidulous preservative water runs from the moss when squeezed and, no matter how often it is squeezed - it never becomes dry.
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