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Unforgettable Fire! Natural Discourse 2016

I usually have at least a hazy impression of the origin lands of the plants in my garden. Drawing from the five mediterranean climate regions for low-rainfall plant inspiration and choices as well as arid and semi-arid regions keeps my garden well stocked and me endlessly entertained. Island plants will always fire […]

Natural Discourse: Fire! 9/30 & 10/1/16

I’ve lived long enough to have experienced the dispersal of information about plants move from paper to the computer screen, and it seems I rarely have the sense anymore that I’m cut off from an essential stream of information on one of my favorite topics. But in other important cultural, scientific, and political matters, I […]

I think I can grow these

Not sure what goes with your new AstroTurf lawn? Since 2004 Czech artist Veronika Richterova’s has cultivated a playful love affair with repurposing polyethylene teraphthalate (PET) “Since 2004 she has devoted herself systematically to serious artistic work with PET bottles. The easily malleable […]

growing a planet

Have you noticed how plants really seem to be having their moment on design blogs? Seems like there’s not a photoshoot now without a potted plant lurking somewhere in the frame. Well, plants are getting their due from mainstream science, too, as the carbon dioxide-chugging, oxygen-giving cornerstone of life on earth. In between binge-watching reruns […]

postscript to Natural Discourse; Flora & Fauna

It’s been such a pleasure to see what shape and expression each successive Natural Discourse has taken. Developed by Shirley Watts and Mary Anne Friel for the Berkeley Botanic Garden, a group of artists were invited to make site-specific work for the garden and then give talks about that work. (‘Natural Discourse: Artists, Architects, Scientists […]

“Emergency Prescriptions Kept Up One’s Sleeve.”

Congratulations, Artemisia annua (Sweet Annie, Sweet Wormwood), on your recent Nobel Prize in the sciences.

photo found here

And congratulations as well to Dr. Tu, who solved the problem of increasingly drug-resistant malaria with artemisinin extracted from Artemisia annua. Dr. Tu poured over ancient texts of Chinese herbal remedies and “reread a particular […]

Natural Discourse: Flora & Fauna; A Day at the Natural History Museum 10/17/15

From the Natural Discourse event registration page:

“Natural Discourse has been invited to explore the Natural History Museum! The Museum opens its doors for a day-long conversation about gardens, art, science, and collections.

Natural Discourse is an ongoing series of symposia, publications, and site-specific art installations that explores the connections between art, architecture, […]

Natural Discourse: Light & Image 2014, an epilogue

Ever wonder when our buildings are going to have the photosensitivity and photoreactivity of plants? Dale Clifford, with his focus on biomimetics applied to architecture, is on the case, investigating the possibility of designing a photoreactive brick inspired by the quadrangular, shade-modulating shape of a cactus. Looking for a tidy description of life on earth? […]

Natural Discourse at Los Angeles Co. Arboretum 10/18/14

The drive will be considerably shorter for me to this year’s Natural Discourse, which will be held close to home at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden: “A symposium presented by the Garden Conservancy and the Arboretum that will explore the connections between art, architecture, and science within the framework of the botanical […]

on the tour; chasing variegated chimeras

A garden I visited on Saturday decidedly belonged to a devotee of the variegated leaf. (It takes one to know one.) The infatuation wasn’t apparent at first glance. This was a mature garden, well-treed, bambooed and shrubbed. But after every twist and turn, in every shady nook, another splash, blotch or stripe of variegata lurked, […]