Saturday, March 04, 2006

Spring Splendor

Wow. I think I'm in heaven... the spring bulb show opened at Smith this morning. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview yesterday, so as to avoid the hoards of people who flock to this thing! I've never seen anything like this... Grampy, I wish you were here to experience this - you would love it! When my lab group entered the greenhouse there was a collective gasp followed by ooohhs and aahhhs. So much work must have gone into growing these flowers and putting together the display. Whoever did it is an artist; the color combinations in the displays are stunning.

On a side note, please let me rave about my plant systematics course for a moment! This course was something I begrudginly added at the last minute for extra credits. Yes, I thought learning about plant names would be boring. Perhaps at another school, but not at Smith! This is my favorite course, and it has been enough to make me reconsider my career path. My prof has been teaching us about the history of botany and plant nomenclature, starting with the ancient greeks and working up to Linnaeus. We studied authors of different herbals that were written in the middle ages, and the characters behind them. Imagine my surprise when Dr. Burke brings us to the rare book room (apparently Smith has the #2 collection of herbals in North America), where he showed us actual copies of these books from their times of publicaton! The earliest one was from the 1484, and one of my favorites was the huge english herbal from 1653, which reflected what was being grown in Elizabethan gardens at the time. I love the history behind these... some of the books had notes added in by later owners, who wrote in the proper scientific names after the publication of Species Plantarum in 1753. Maybe I should become a botanist or curator...

So yesterday, Dr. Burke took our lab to the bulb show. I spent the afternoon basking in the warm colors and fresh scents, and took over one hundred pictures. Here are a few, although they don't come close to reflecting the actual beauty of this display!




Is this not the coolest tulip ever? I think it's called a "Guinea Hen" tulip, the patterned coloration is really neat and unusual.

The little bells on this hyacinth remind me of bloomers...



3 comments:

Heather MacDonald-Bosse said...

Oh my goodness, Jess, those blooms are gorgeous! Kudos to you for the awesome photos, and thanks for keeping us posted on what you are up to at Smith. Sounds like you are having an amazing time. Keep taking advantage of every moment.

(^_^)
Mom

Marie said...

Jess, someday when I buy my boat, we will have to sail over to MacNab's Island, (found in the middle of Halifax Harbour), where I was paid almost $10 /hr in 1983 to hike around, chat with visitors and generally keep an eye on things. Heaven. This island was bought mid-1800s, I believe, by a Scot who cleared it to graze sheep. A number of houses and buildings were erected, and later a Victorian-era public park with the improbable name of "Findlay's Pleasure Grounds". The well-heeled folks from Halifax would sail or be rowed over of a Sunday to picnic, play quoits (similar to lawn darts), and maybe do a bit of gambling. Adjacent to Findlay's was an English Botanical Garden. In the 100-plus years since all this was abandoned, the forest has regrown over most of the island, but has left a clearing around much of the original botanical garden. Of course, it has run completely amok, but as of 1997, one could still find stands of plants that are definitely not part of a typical mixed forest in Nova Scotia! And because they are well-protected from elements, many of them are much bigger than we usually see. Picture gladioli taller than Grampy....

Love ya! Aunt Marie

don Bossé said...

Hey Jess,

Can you make our garden look like that? There is a challenge for you. Great photos. Where did you learn to take pictures?