Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge: Strange Fruit

I’ve been wondering what to post since the WPC Weekly Photo Challenge ended in May. So, I’m hoping for inclusion in another (Cee’s) photo challenge. Over this last month I’ve been fascinated by the blossoming of this particular tree … and thinking about fruits and seeds

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Such a glorious velvet red!

Telling a story is like sowing a seed – you always hope you see it become a beautiful tree, with firm roots and branches that soar up. But it is a peculiar sowing, for you will never know whether your seed sprouts or dies.” Michael Montoure in his book ‘Slices.’

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These odd little balls are fruits/seed cases clamouring to be attractive to birds so they can be dispersed far from the tree. Perhaps someone knows what kind of tree this is?

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A change in colour after rain

Seeds are powerhouses in stories as in life.  They can be magical and send you to sleep like Titania n Midsummer Nights Dream or they can provide opportunity, health and wealth.

Now they’re turning brown.

This month I’ve been retelling the Asian folktale Aina-Kizz and the Black-Bearded Bai. I first told it more than twenty years ago. The trickiest part of the retelling is the pivotal liar’s competition, demanded by the Bai ( a local official) when this woodcutter’s daughter outwits him in public and the judge fines him. The first one to call out “That’s a lie!” loses their bet.

[It’s hard work lying consistently. If the reteller misses some details out, the ending won’t work!]

The Bai began by saying that he found 3 ears of wheat in his pocket, one day before he was born. These he threw nonchalantly out of the window. When he looked out the window the crop was so vast his horsemen took ten days to get to the end of it … (and he brags on about his workers, the crop …  goes on more about his power)

The girl in her turn calmly claimed she found one cotton seed.  The bush that grew from it reached the clouds and she picked and cleaned the full bolls herself. She made made enough money at market to buy 40 camels laden with silks … sent her brother off to trade these in Samarkand … (and goes on more about her family).

Her intelligence triumphs over his brute force.

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All text and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp Copyright © under Australian Law.

 

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Plant Life: WPC

This week’s Photo Challenge ‘Elemental” had me casting my eyes heavenwards … and then down to the window-sill. Elements of fire, earth, water and air are all captured here, as a winter sun pours into the house.

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Simply put,  Planet Earth thrives because of plants. They provide food, oxygen, medicine, and products, as well as creating and preserving the soil.

There’s a potted history in the three flower types this little posy -Violas were herbal medicine used by the Greeks as early as 4th Century B.C. Edible Nasturtiums were found in Mexico and Peru and taken back to Spain by the Conquistadors in the 16th century.  Petunias were also discovered about the same time in Argentina. Scots explorer James Tweedie sent purple ones back to the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens in the 1830s.

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Plant collecting expanded with the British Empire. Edinburgh’s ‘Physic’ gardens and Royal Botanic Gardens flourished from 1653 on.

The British ‘landed gentry’ arranged the education of their off-spring in birth order. Their first son, as heir, was destined for university or would study law,  as might their second son.  Other younger sons would go into the Priesthood, the Military or  (Dear me!) Trade and apprenticeships. By the 1800s, with the expansion of the sciences like Botany in the Age of Enlightenment, a dedicated few became plant explorers, travelling to exotic places, Asia, Australasia,  and the Americas, they brought back rare species for the gardens of the great estates, like Crarae Garden in Argyll, Scotland.  There, you may walk amongst Nepalese, Chinese and Tibetan trees and shrubs sent back by botanist Reginald Farrer.

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Camellia, member of the Tea Family from China.

There’s so much about plants that is taken for granted – more stories to tell … Just grow some, water them, care for them!

For more info about the Golden Age of Botany, see PlantExplorers.com. There you’ll find out about how other intrepid explorers battled the elements to bring back rare specimens … See Joseph Banks (1743-1820) who sailed with Captain Cook … or Scotsman  George Forrest (1873 – 1922) from Falkirk, who discovered over 1200 plants in China, Tibet and Burma and then introduced hundreds of them into western cultivation.

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Superfoods

See also this List of gardener-botanist explorers of the Enlightenment


Sources

DAVIES, Amanda.The History of the Petunia in “Thompson & Morgan” (Blog) Feb 12, 2016. Downloaded 10 August, 2017.

Pansy. Aggie Horticulture, Texas AgriLife Extension Series. Downloaded 10 August 2017

PlantExplorers.com; the Adventure is Growing. Downloaded 10 August, 2017.

PERRY, Leonard. (Dr.) Nasturtium; a favourite old-fashioned flower. in “The Green Mountain Gardener.” University of Vermont Extension, Dept of Plant and Soil Science. Downloaded 10 August, 2017.

‘Reginald Farrer.’Wikiwand. Downloaded 10 August, 2017.

Wallis, Patrick (and) Webb, Cliff. The Education and Training of of Gentry Sons in Early Modern England. ISE, London, (forthcoming). Downloaded 10 August, 2017.

Elemental

All text and photos by Meg.

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This blog of text and images is Copyright © under Australian Law.