During my first Chicago spring, we had a botanical illustration course held off-campus at the Garfield Park Conservatory every Thursday. For much of the semester, there was an open snow-coated field between the CTA stop and the entrance that made me feel, opening the glass door of the tropical rainforest room, like the Willy Wonka kids entering the candy room before Gene Wilder sings Pure Imagination.
The trek to UC Berkeley’s Botanical Garden is much more hospitable, up a path occasionally crossed by banana slugs behind the UC football stadium. The gardens are mostly outdoors, with different areas labeled and planted with the flora of a different continent. The above ode to a Peruvian lily is the result of our most recent visit to Berkeley’s South America. It would be great to start visiting more regularly. Can you make a new year’s resolution in February?
And speaking of botanical beauty, I was searching the web for images of pine needles for a new Christmas collection we are putting together and stumbled across these gorgeous microscopic shots from the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s botany website. The one above is a cross section of a pine needle and below, apparently a “vascular bundle” of that needle. Who knew a vascular bundle could be so beautiful?
They can be science/Rorschach tests too. The first image looked like a face to me at first, and then I started seeing two elf feet with green shoes and red socks clicking their heels – must be that Christmas collection on the mind. Anyone else see anything in those cell walls?
Mardi Gras masks?
Yes! Mardi Gras masks!