Sunday, November 25, 2018

Plants on Walls

plant wall
Plant wall, outdoors, Mexico City
Sticking potted plants with interesting colors and textures of foliage or flowers into niches in a wall is a recent, stylish form of decoration, often called "green walls."

Sometimes it works, but I see it generally as plant abuse.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Homogenized World--Tropical Plant Distributions

Caribbean beach

I am writing a novel about Paraguay in 1630--because when I saw northern Argentina and Paraguay in the 1980s I was surprised by their natural history and history and have wanted to share their stories.

In trying to bring the 17th century to life, I have to describe what was there and that has been quite an adventure because there has been so much change.

Beginning in the 1500s, conquering and colonizing, European powers carried useful plants all over the world. To describe our world early in that process, I have to figure out what plants are native to the Americas and which were introduced. If it is native to the Americas, it will likely be new to Europeans. If it is from Africa or China, it may not yet be common in South America even if it is abundant there today.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Winter Escape--Honolulu

As the days get colder, I daydream about tropical beaches.

For example, in Hawaii
Waikiki, Honolulu

While I always recommend the Big Island if you are going to Hawaii (for its diversity and its active volcano) I recently did a successful experiment--I had a great botanical time from a single hotel in a easily-reached city. We simply flew to Honolulu last May, stayed in a hotel there, and explored from there.
Diamond Head, Honolulu
View from hotel window

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Winter Escape--Costa Rica

beach, Costa Rica
Beach, Costa Rica
The days are getting short and the wind is chilly. So I daydream about sunny warm places.
For example, Costa Rica.

I had never been in the tropics when I went there in 1972. It was magical. I have been back five times since.  It remains wonderful.