Sunday, February 17, 2019

Travel Story--Costa Rica, 2019

Heliconia flower
Native to the rainforest of Costa Rica, heliconia or lobster claw
(genus Heliconia, heliconia family, Heliconiaceae)
I first went to Costa Rica in February 1972; this year I had the opportunity to go back with a Cal Discoveries trip (Preserving Paradise: Parks and Reserves of Costa Rica (link), run within Costa Rica by Holbrook Travel (link)).
I’d been back to some places (1970s, 1986, 2013) but this tour hit many of the places I went in 1972 and had a focus of Costa Rican conservation. 
It was quite an eye-opener.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Now We Are Six! Blog Anniversary.

water hyacinth, Eichornia crassipes
water hyacinth (Eichronia crassipes)
"Now We Are Six!" The title is from the Winnie the Pooh series, a phrase that has been with me since early childhood. Today it applies to this blog. Six years! Three hundred twenty two published posts. I had no idea what I was starting, back in February 2013.

Sometimes I have a hard time coming up with an idea; sometimes I am trying to decide which post to upload first.

I have topics I want to write about but don't have the pictures: seeds and fruits, peanut plants, four o'clocks...in midwinter, it is hard to correct that.

It is great fun, this blog. It keeps me researching to get the information right. I have to keep up with stuff I would have let slide, in particular the changes in plant names. And I find myself buying books on topics I had not previously thought about, eastern North American wildflowers, ground covers, and Colonial-era gardeners, for example. Lately I've been studying Spanish because the stories of many North American plants extend into Latin America and I don't want to understand just part of the story before I retell it. Thus, this is a diverse and entertaining project!
marigold, Tagetes
Aztec ceremonies used marigold (Tagetes)
Here are links to some of the oldest posts if you missed them:

Plant Confusions: Garden Sage and Sagebrush are Different: link
One is related to mints, the other to sunflowers
garden sage, Salvia officialis
garden sage, Salvia officialis (mint family, Lamiaceae)

Plant Story: Not Always Just Plain Vanilla: link

Botany Rules 1: Writing Plant Common Names and English Names:  link

Visiting Northern California: Flowering Agaveslink


                        Agaves are cool!
agaves
agaves
Unrelated Plants: The Strange Case of Nasturtium and Watercress link

Botany Rules 4: Who Makes the Rules?  link
   Is the coconut palm in the plant family Palmae or Arecaceae? (Both are correct!)

coconut palm Cocos nucifera
coconut palm (Cocos nucifera)

Plant Story: Chocolate, Food of the Gods: link

Visiting China: Chinese Landscape Painting and Chinese Landscapes:  link

Huang Shan, Yellow Mountain, China
Huang Shan, Yellow Mountain, China
They painted what they saw.
and, well, 314 more of course.

Snowy Range, southern Wyoming
Snowy Range, southern Wyoming
I have no plans to stop writing. It is a big beautiful world with thousands of plants to appreciate!

My recommendation:

Go!
central Australia
central Australia, from the bus

Observe!
swallowtail butterfly on mint
swallowtail butterfly on mint, Pennsylvania
Enjoy!
Naoshima Island, Japan
Naoshima Island, Japan


Comments and corrections welcome.

Kathy Keeler, A Wandering Botanist

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Considering the Joys of Air Travel

I have not enjoyed flying on commercial airlines lately but that wasn't always the case.
rainbow, San Francisco International Airport
Rainbow, San Francisco International Airport
The first airline flight I took was in 1961, from Cleveland, Ohio to Albany, New York. (On Mohawk Airlines: any of you remember them?) I was thrilled. Not just getting off the ground, but seeing the land from the sky. My science class had taught about river meanders, and there they were, spread out below me! I thought, "if only geography could be taught with airplane trips."