Inspiring role models: Saalumarada Thimmakka.

It’s not often that you hear about one person who has single-handedly planted & nurtured a woodland  as service to fellow human beings & wildlife. But Saalumarada Thimmakka is one such woman & still going strong at 105 years old!

Her woodland of native Ficus benghalensis (Banyan) trees in Karnataka, India bestows an invaluable gift for all her fellow villagers to benefit from & a legacy for future generations of all sentient life.

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Saalumarada Thimmakkka – a Foundation has been created in her name to continue the inspirational work she started.

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Environmentalist Saalumarada  Thimmakka rejoicing amidst the woodland she planted & nurtured that stretches for four kilometers both sides of the road from Thimmakka’s village of Hulikal and Kudur, the next.
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The beautiful woodland grove of Banyan trees lovingly grown by Saalumarada Thimmakka.

Further Reading:

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/04/asia/saalumarada-thimmakka-trees-india/

http://thimmakkafoundation.org/about%20thimmakka.html

http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/ficus-benghalensis-banyan

 

Looking fabulous right now: Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ & Buddhas :)

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Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ with glorious shades of bright scarlet this autumn.
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Brilliant scarlet colour!
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Meditating Buddha sculpture at Glenwhan gardens.
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Buddha sculpture at Glenwhan gardens.

Collecting seeds from Polylepis australis – the ‘filo pastry’ tree.

IMG_0619.JPGIt never ceases to amaze me just how smart plants truly are. I marvel at their complexity, their feats of engineering & effortless artistry. Much can be learnt from these noble ancient lifeforms. The above, seemingly simple seed holds such complexity & potentiality for life is staggering.

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Seeds that could germinate & grow each into 3-4 metre Polylepis australis trees.
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Strangely enough, Polylepis australis is a relative of Alchemilla mollis.
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Extraordinary ‘filo’ pastry bark that actually helps the Polylepis australis distorted tree survive harsh winters across the Andes mountains of South America from Ecuador to Argentina.

 

Looking fabulous right now:Cercidiphyllum japonicum

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Dazzling golden autumnal display of Cercidiphyllum japonicum

I wish you could scratch & smell these photos!

Because, not only does this tree bear a spectacular autumnal display of golden heart-shaped leaves but it also gives off the most gorgeous distinctive ‘candy floss’ fragrance as you pass by these Japanese beauties.

I was fortunate enough to be in the presence of several Cercidiphyllum japonicum in the walled garden at Dunskey, all shimmering golden delight on a bright sunny autumnal day.

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Looking fabulous right now: Nerine Bowdenii

IMG_0374.JPGPretty summer dormant perennial bulbs from South Africa.

Nerines grow best when two third of the bulb is above the ground.

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IMG_0377.JPGThe bulbs also like to be planted closely together & that in turn helps to create a vibrant swathe of pink in autumn.

 

 

Pablo Neruda & Araucaria araucana nuts.

img_0272Subject of a poem by Pablo Neruda the Araucaria araucana trees hold their crowns way up high in the sky. So a recent trip with my fellow students to Castle Kennedy Gardens & Monreith provided us the perfect opportunity to sample nuts from these living relics that preceded dinosaurs in their native land of Patagonia.

IMG_0139.JPGOnce you manage to peel off the tough leathery outer armoury & papery inner skin a cream coloured floury textured nut awaits, similar to a pine nut but larger.

IMG_0140.JPGPacked full of goodness it was a staple food for the Native Indians of Chile.  The Pehuenche, People of the araucarias, revered this tree – it was central to their lives & used these beautiful large edible nuts or Piñones to make bread & a nutritious drink amongst other things.

IMG_0143.JPGSampling my first ever Araucaria araucana nut in Castle Kennedy Araucaria araucana Tree Avenue.

P1110920.JPGArucaria forest at Monreith. Photo credit Deák Gergő.

Further Reading/Related Links:

The Pehuenche, People of the araucarias

Auracaria forests

Pablo Neruda Oda a la araucaria araucana

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Fabulous right now: Hedychium spicatum!

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A monocotyledon from the Zingiberaceae family. Lush abundant foliage & showy flowers creates that tropical effect. Also from this family is the common edible ginger, tumeric & cardomom.