Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dye Plants: "That's A Good Dye Plant"

On a plant walk recently, people noticed that I commented that various of the plants we saw were good dye plants. Sometimes I have little else to say about native plants. On the other hand, I enjoy dyeing with plants and so I always notice which plants are good dye plants.

Here are six plants I would say "and its a good dye plant" about: 
Eucalyptus trees, Australia
Eucalyptus trees, Australia

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Visiting Argentina--Corrientes in the Northeast

along the Parana River, Corrientes Argentina
Along the Parana River, Corrientes Argentina
My slides remind me of past adventures. Beginning in the late 1980s I collaborated with Guillermo Norrmann of the Universidad del Nordeste in Corrientes, Argentina. We were working on related grasses (Andropogon) from North and South America, and made good use of the similarities and differences. One consequence of this collaboration was that I visited northern Argentina several times.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Plant Story--The Dramatic Heliconias

Heliconias, Bali
Heliconias, Bali
I traveled halfway around the world, to tropical Asia, and the iconic plant I saw everywhere is one I associate with the American tropics, heliconia.

In Bali, the gardens there were glorious with heliconias.

Heliconias, Bali

But heliconias, also called crab's claws and even Japanese canna, are plants in the genus Heliconia, native to the New World tropics. I first met them in Costa Rica, and admired them where they grew in open spots in and along the lowland rainforest.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Visiting Northern Japan--Sakura (Cherry Blossoms)

cherry blossoms, Tendo, Japan
Cherry blossoms, Tendo City, Japan
Japan is famous for celebrating spring with cherry blossoms. In mid April we flew from Colorado where we don't have a lot of flowering cherries but where the apples and crabapples were in full bloom.
apple blossoms, Colorado
Apple blossoms, northern Colorado


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Tulips and the Tulip Bubble Part 2

This is part two of a pair of postsabout the Tulip Bubble, aka tulipomania, when in the 1630s in Holland the price of a tulip bulb inflated incredibly, and then suddenly dropped. My last post described Holland at that time. The merchant class had lots of money but because of sumptuary laws and Calvinist beliefs, spent it on houses and gardens not jewels and furs.Tulips had been introduced from Turkey after 1550. They were still uncommon and some highly desirable varieties were very rare indeed (link to previous post). The result was a bubble...

tulips

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Tulips and the Tulip Bubble Part 1

Tulips are blooming.

red and white tulips

They're a riot of color that make people smile.

Yet economists make a Bad Example of tulips. Tulips created the earliest well-recorded bubble, defined by dictionary.com as "A period of wild speculation in which the price of a commodity or stock or an entire market is inflated far beyond its real value." Bubbles “burst” when a general awareness of the folly emerges and the price drops. 
 
The story gets a lot of attention because it seems so bizarre. How could someone spend thousands of dollars on a single tulip bulb? People did. At the peak of the tulip bubble, a bulb was traded for a house on the canal in Amsterdam, one of the most expensive locations in the world at the time. That's millions of dollars at today's prices.