Wake Up call at Wakehurst Place. Home of the Kew Gardens Millennium seed bank.

IMG_2536.JPGWakehurst Place is a large estate with a diverse range of trees from different areas of the globe. It is the country home of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew and there is the space for not only many trees but different botanical areas and the Millennium Seed Bank. Our visit in August gave us a glimpse of many of  the flowering plants showing off the glory of their seeds in the garden areas. This seemed quite fitting as housed  deep under some long glass barn shaped buildings is the Millennium Seed collection. This is part of the conservation work of Kew Gardens and  involves collecting as many of the rare and endangered plant seeds and preserving those that can be kept at very cold temperatures. The aim is to protect the biodiversity of plant life as habitats come more under threat. It will also ensure future research into the amazing range of plants and their properties.  The seeds I have taken photos of are in the lush gardens by streams and ponds.

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Stinking Gladwyn Iris foetidissma, S>W> Europe, N Africa

Adopt a seed and save a species is a campaign set up by Kew. It seems that four plants a day are at risk of disappearing forever. At present Kew has stored 30,000 species. More info on www.kew.org/adoptaseed

The Seed Bank is already helping with conservation and an online seed list makes 900 collections of over 450 species available to organisations. These can then help in the conservation of other species.

IMG_2556.JPGWakehurst Place also has many sculptures and art and photography exhibitions. We also enjoyed the labyrinth set up in the woods. And a finger one on the stump of one of the many trees lost in the 1987 hurricane that hit the south of England.I am determined to try a labyrinth shape in one of my fields in Spain! I must also try some more painting and sculpture. So much to do! Or just enjoy the close ups of the seeds themselves  that provide plenty of sculpture and in many forms.

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Last of the summer flowers: And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Final farewell fotos of flowers  on the finca.  August 2014. Summer is passing…….

In August in Spain the weather is usually too hot and dry in the summer. The flowers start to fade and all seems rather dried out. Some flowers resist the parched conditions but most decide to allow their seeds to finish developing and be ready to disperse. This helps survival of the species  through a long dry summer. Deep roots keep the trees and other bushes in business.

Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare and a different interpretation based on the natural world.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate,

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Hoary Mullein
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Candytuft
Knautia  - small blue/ purple
Knautia – small blue/ purple

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;

And sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, ( the very hot sun as in Spain?)

And often is his gold complexion dimmed; ( English weather with clouds in the summer!)

And every fair from fair oft times declines,

By chance or by nature’s unchanging course untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;

Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

Silene
Silene

Shakespeare’s sonnet reflects the transience of beauty with the beauty of summer. But nature like the focus of his sonnet has an everlasting and ever changing beauty, beyond the flower! This is my  interpretation of a sonnet often thought to be about love. Maybe it can be about the intricate workings of nature that go beyond the transient beauty of a flower or a young man or woman! When we understand the true beauty of a person or of nature we can truly appreciate the deeper aspects of love, life and the natural world. Or was Shakespeare just trying to immortalise himself or his’dark lad..y’ love  with words?  His words offer such richness and are open to interpretation and appreciation through the ages and to different cultures.
I think I have found another angle on this sonnet and an admiration for what goes on beyond our sight within the seeds creating the changing seasons.

CO-CREATING WITH NATURE: HOW WOLVES GAVE NEW LIFE TO YELLOWSTONE PARK, EVEN CHANGING THE RIVERS

I saw this video on another social media site and thought how amazing it was as there is such a physical effect on the landscape by the wolves. When I was teaching we used to do creating writing based on animals and would watch a documentary about the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone.So this is doubly amazing to see the true impact of the wolves in helping create more biodiversity.
Thanks to Altzar and Tamara for this.

ALTZAR

  1. Screen Shot 2012-09-18 at 10.48.08 PM from Yellowstone Healing Ceremony, Sep 2012
WOLVES OF YELLOWSTONE: STEWARDS OF MOTHER EARTH

We often hear stories about catastrophic results when man tries to play God and messes with nature. This video about the Yellowstone National Par, which I just got from a friend in Canada, may change your mind about it. It shows that man can sometimes successfully co-create with Mother Earth. Instead of catastrophic, in this case the result was a “trophic cascade.”

(“Trophic cascades” are powerful indirect interactions that can control entire ecosystems. Trophic cascades occur when predators limit the density and/or behavior of their prey and thereby enhance survival of the next lower trophic level.)

We’ve all heard about the “big bad wolf,” the “sheep in wolves clothing,” or the sweet little Bambis. Such fairy tales give the wolves a bad rap, and ironically glorify the animals even man kills for food (think venison, lamb chops).

Obviously, the wolves could…

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The extraordinary in the ordinary!

Having ignored taking any photos of all these common white flowers, one had to suddenly appear, larger than most, brightening up the view by our house and building site.IMG_2399

 

 

These wild white folk are abundant on the Finca late July and August. Some amazing red striped bugs also find some of them very attractive! Possibly the sap or are they laying eggs in the dried up flower head ?image

 

Who are these common folk found all over Europe? And recently seen in the North of England. Well, we love their cultivated cousins and chop, chew and boil their orange roots. How did the wild one help us create the very edible one?