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Sausage-like fruits hanging from the sausage tree at the UH Manoa campus/arboretum.

Sausage tree.

Towering tropical trees, from ulu (breadfruit) to rainbow shower, amaze me every time I visit the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus here in Honolulu. “It’s like a botanical garden,” I was just saying yesterday. Today, the local newspaper announced that the campus has just received international accreditation as an arboretum: one of only 135 in the world!

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Giant poplar tree in a graveyard in Berlin, Friedrichshain from Monumentaltrees.com.

Do you like big, old trees? Well, you can find 22,446 big and old trees (with more posted every day) on the amazing international Monumental Trees website. My colleague, the writer and literary translator Isabel Cole, posted some great Berlin trees from the site today, and I knew I had to share this resource with you. monumentaltrees.com

Above: a giant black poplar in a graveyard in Berlin-Friedrichshain at Landsberger Allee and Friedenstraße. This graveyard used to be my backyard.

Have fun combing the website for big trees in your area, or making a virtual world tour of momentous trees. Do post the link below if you find any special specimens.

New year, new plants

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Please welcome two new guests. Starting from the left to the right: a Mickey Mouse cactus and a rubber plant, courtesy of the San Francisco Flower Mart. I’ve been on a hunt for new houseplants and had a field day making my selections.

The disc-like shape of the Mickey Mouse cactus was comical and unexpected at first sight. After chatting with the shopkeeper, I learned that the cactus will grow ears. The number of ears is a mystery but a Google image search yields humorous and unpredictable results (Mutant Mickeys!). I also learned that each ear can propagate when cut from the main cactus pad so I’m wondering how many Mickeys can be made by the end of the year. As far as the rubber plant goes, the maintenance is a bit different from some of my other houseplants. In addition to watering the plant, it is common to wipe down its leaves as they are thick and rubbery and have a tendency to collect dust and residue from the elements. In a way, this plant feels a bit like furniture.

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Nice to Meet You

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — We are pleased to provide urban plant reporting from San Francisco. As residents of this city for more than eight years, we have witnessed urban plants – large and small. We look forward to sharing more plant sightings from our foggy city.

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The manicured bushes of Noe Valley.

Megan likes plants a lot, especially ones she can eat. She keeps a modest balcony garden in her Mission apartment. Its current resident is curly parsley.

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Pasta soon?

Phoebe likes plants in surprising or comical situations. As a woodworker, she also keeps an eye out for fallen city trees.

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Looks like a lot of cutting boards.

Stay tuned for more!

– Megan & Phoebe

 

Huge rectangular shrub with basketball hoop embedded in it.

If you like oddities in urban space, plant-related or otherwise, @jesmcdowell‘s photos are for you. One of the funniest folks I know on Instagram, whom I’ve been following for almost four years now.

This is but one of Jes’s kooky finds. If anyone has an idea how this basketball hoop plant was grown/constructed, I could really use some theories.

Galerie im Körnerpark with installation of plant-like pipes and tubes.

For a few more days, deep in Berlin’s Neukölln district, you can find an entire exhibition full of art about urban gardens and plants. And the gallery is in an urban oasis, a sunken garden with fountains, lawns and flowers.

Do stop by Körnerpark if you are in town and see Urban Plant Research exhibiting alongside other botanically-inclined artists. The closing reception at 5pm on Sunday, October 11, will include a tour guided by the curator and several of the artists. We sadly cannot be there in person and hope you will represent us if you are in Berlin!

Image from Galerie im Körnerpark’s Facebook page, © Nihad Nino Pusija, 2015.

A bush resembling a reclining person. Photo by Florian Bong-Kil Grosse.

“When I think about my first impressions of Korea, I see before all else overpopulated, hectic, noisy cities, modest, traditional architecture side by side with the ubiquitous functional yet disconsolate prefabricated housing blocks; I see Buddhist pagodas hemmed in by 8 lane traffic arteries…” writes Florian Bong-Kil Grosse about his new book of photography, Hanguk. This thoughtful, plant-appreciating Berlin artist shared some photos on this blog last year, and now we’d like to share his new publication and other recent work.

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