There have been three occasions when our team have seen people reduced to tears due to plants. The first was in our New Zealand display. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a very interesting display botanically, but many people wouldn’t note it as their favourite or the most beautiful in the Garden. In fact, most people walk straight through it on their way to the toilet or the glasshouses. There they were though, two people, a couple who were from New Zealand but had been in the UK a while, laughing and crying at the same time. It reminded them of the landscape of home. The second, a large South African man with a big beard in the glasshouses; he said he didn’t realise he was homesick until he saw and smelt the Fynbos plants and seeing them made him both happy and sad. Thirdly, a Brazilian woman who hadn’t been in Brazil for twenty years; the giant waterlily in the glasshouses reminded her of her childhood and made her feel reflective. These are the people we’ve seen, there may have been more.
By Susan Stephens
Summer is officially here! The first day of summer in the UK was on 21st June, the summer solstice, which is when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky and it is also the longest day. Summer solstice has always been linked with plants and flowers as it is a time of fertility, abundance and growth.
There’s something about May. It’s an incredibly uplifting month, particularly when there’s been a longer than usual winter; a very wet march and an icy easterly wind has kept the dregs of winter sloshing around up until the end of April. The sun’s position in the sky meant that the usual spring triggers applied for the likes of primroses, daffodils and tulips, but the temperature and wet weather meant that pollinators were out in dribs and drabs, a day on and a day off. Even my usually optimistic approach wavered and my bottom lip stuck out. But now the temperature is higher, Bristol is bright green again and plants are assertively growing from everywhere. (more…)
Winter has had its grip on us for a what seems like ten months here in Bristol. The temperature has stayed low for the West Country and we’re all looking forward to those early Spring sunshine days and the first warmth on our faces; winter dissolves into the past when that happens. Winter is not without its beauty, but leaving the thermals at home is a marker for warm days ahead. In the Garden plants are keeping to the spring timetable, the light levels prompting early flower. (more…)