Cornell Chronicle: Botanic Gardens’ Wildflower Explorations goes online. “The Cornell Botanic Gardens’ hands-on wildflower discovery program now is available online, making the ephemeral flowers of spring available from home or by virtual class instruction. During a typical spring, most Ithaca area third-graders participate in Wildflower Explorations, which includes in-classroom preparation and an instructional visit to the Mundy Wildflower Garden. It is one of the Kids Discover the Trail experience-based programs, where children visit eight cultural and historic sites in Tompkins County during their school years. With schools closed for COVID-19 containment, Cornell Botanic Gardens adapted the program for virtual learning and fun.”
Smithsonian Magazine: Shuttered Museums Use Social Media to Share Bouquets of Floral Artwork. “Last week, museums started showing love to one another by posting photos of floral artwork labeled with the hashtag #MuseumBouquet, reports Noor Brara for artnet News. The New-York Historical Society and the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden kicked off the trend by sending digital bouquets to other art institutions. The former shared its first petaled missive—a cluster of apple blossoms painted by American artist Martin Johnson Heade—with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, while the latter sent Tate Britain ‘a little cheer’ in the form of an Andy Warhol bouquet.”
WRAL: Beauty in grief: Durham woman creates 100 days of art from her mother’s funeral flowers. “When Janet Willis’ mom passed away from small cell lung cancer in her 70s, Willis said she felt like she lost more than a mother; she lost a piece of herself. The loss launched her on a 100 day journey, creating art with the dried flower petals saved from her mother’s funeral and sharing her grief experience with her followers.” If the grief wasn’t so overt, you could call her illustrations whimsical. Instead they’re almost unbearably tender. Reminds me a little of Leo Lionni. She’s created an Instagram to share her work.
Xinhua: China launches online database on camellia varieties. “The database has more than 45,000 names and 33,000 pictures of camellia varieties including ornamental, tea and oil species. Users can search the name of camellia varieties in different languages including English, Chinese and Japanese.” Unfortunately the story does not have a link to the database, which is here: http://camellia.iflora.cn/ .
House Beautiful: Chelsea Flower Show 2019: RHS and Google launch new online exhibition. “You may not have managed to get your hands on a ticket to the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year, but Google’s digital exhibition gives everyone the chance to learn about its history. Showcasing a unique collection of paintings, illustrations, images and original posters, the exhibit delves deep into the changing face of the world’s greatest flower show, starting at the very beginning.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: New Carnegie Museum app shows threat to wildflower diversity in the woods. “Hikers and hunters have already seen changes in the woodlands of Appalachia in recent years, as deer overpopulation literally nibbles away at the many plant species that live under the trees. A collaboration of science and new media experts has introduced a new tool for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to educate people about the state of nature and inspire them as well. The tool is an app for smartphones and tablets, called AR Perpetual Garden, that gives even armchair nature lovers a way to compare two scenarios: the woodlands blooming with native wildflowers and the same scene stripped of botanical diversity because of too many deer.”
Smithsonian Insider: See thousands of orchids in incredible detail in the Smithsonian’s newly digitized collection. “More than 8,000 living specimens in the Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection have been digitized and are now available to see and study from anywhere in the world. The Smithsonian’s Mass Digitization Program, in association with the National Collections Program, started photographing the plants in December 2017 and recently put the complete collection online.”
ABC News (Australia): Preserving the Earth and a tulip farming legacy with social media. “This 21st century farmer is using the internet like a farmer’s favourite tool, tapping into a wealth of information on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. ‘Through social media now you can connect with farmers all over the world, everyone is so helpful and you get pushed along by these other people, embracing what is really new … just by engaging you end up getting lots of feedback and lots of interest in what you’re doing,’ [Dave Roberts-Thomson] said.”
Virginia Commonwealth University has digitized a collection of wildflower photos from the 1960s and early 1970s. “From 1968 to 1971, noted environmentalist Newton Ancarrow documented and photographed more than 400 species of wildflowers along the banks of the James River in Richmond. VCU Libraries, in conjunction with the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and the VCU Rice Rivers Center, has posted Ancarrow’s wildflower photography online.”
Microsoft is working on “Shazam for Flowers”. “Has this ever happened to you? You’re out walking with your daughter. She finds a beautiful flower, quizzes you on it, but you’re stumped — you have no idea what it is. Instead of having to admit you don’t know, what if you could quickly identify the flower or any other plant wherever you happen to be? But how? At least 250,000 species of flowers exist and even experienced botanists have trouble identifying them all. Now there’s a way thanks to the rising power and sophistication of image recognition and the ease of taking pictures with your smartphone.”