Local Heart, Global Soul

October 23, 2014

From A Doodle On A Paper Napkin… And The Bubble Doesn’t Burst!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Imagine sitting in a pub and sketching out an idea on a paper napkin… you are with friends and you expand on your doodle and talk about the idea, and slowly it dawns on you that maybe this is a plan that could be put into action.

The year of the napkin doodle was 1995 and Tim Schmit’s idea was to showcase the world’s most important plants, but to do it in an ecologically friendly and sustainably  manner.

A massive space would be needed, but there was a working china clay quarry nearby that was nearing the end of it’s economic life  and so when the possibility of the location and the idea came together the “Eden Project” was born.

The climate in the UK, even in the southern area of Devon would clearly not be suitable for many of the world’s plants,  so the problem arose:  What sort of building are you going to put them in?

Inspiration came from the design of  the London terminus of the Eurostar train service:  Waterloo International railway station had been rebuilt in 1994, but getting a similar,  seriously large structure into the confines of the lumpy terrain of an old quarry  was another matter, so the building evolved into one that looked like a giant bubble, and then a series of bubbles because this was a form that could accommodate the difficulties that the terrain posed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The base of the quarry sits 15 meters below the water table, so a special drainage system had to be devised.

The “bubbles” now called “Biomes” would require 230 miles of scaffolding, earning them an entry into the Guinness Book of Records.

The abseilers who help install the massive panels in the domes earn themselves the nickname of “sky monkeys” and then the plants start to arrive.

The are over one thousand plants in the Rainforest dome alone, grown from seed in the projects nursery, from  botanic gardens, research stations and supporters.

The doors open for the first time on the 17 March 2001… the Eden Project has gone from a doodle on a pub paper napkin to reality.

There is a large car park outside the quarry, people are encouraged to take the eco-friendly option and walk down into the quarry. The parking area for campers and buses however is further along and since I’m on crutches there is a staff member driving a little golf cart like vehicle to take us down to the main entrance point. From the main entrance building there is a second, far larger land train to take car and bus passengers to the bottom of the quarry if they choose not to walk down. I have to ration my walking time so we take this one too… We, like millions of visitors before us have arrived at the Eden Project!…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

 

February 19, 2014

Living Almost Literally On Pure Air…

Filed under: Commercial Grower Visit,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are about to leave the Dutch commercial grower that we were visiting, but first our guide is showing us something else that was totally new to Family Kiwidutch.  Our visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine”  is however very knowledgeable  because she grows some of these herself: “air plants” or by their proper names: “Epiphytes”

Wikipedia tells me:

An epiphyte is a plant that grows non-parasitically upon another plant (such as a tree), and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, and sometimes from debris accumulating around it instead of the structure it is fastened to.

An epiphytic bromeliad: The term epiphytic derives from the Greek epi- (meaning ‘upon’) and phyton (meaning ‘plant’). Epiphytic plants are sometimes called “air plants” because they do not root in soil.

However, there are many aquatic species of algae, including seaweeds, that are epiphytes on other aquatic plants (seaweeds or aquatic angiosperms).

The best-known epiphytic plants include mosses, orchids, and bromeliads such as Spanish moss (of the genus Tillandsia), but epiphytes may be found in every major group of the plant kingdom. 89% of epiphyte species (about 24,000) are flowering plants.

Epiphytic plants use photosynthesis for energy and (where non-aquatic) obtain moisture from the air or from dampness (rain and cloud moisture) on the surface of their hosts. Roots may develop primarily for attachment, and specialized structures (for example, cups and scales) may be used to collect or hold moisture.

This is one of the longest photographic posts I have ever made… but I found all of the photos fascinating and wanted them all in one post. Some of these little plants are tiny, in fact they looked at first like mould on the wall, most of them too are very very slow growing, one of the longer specimens we are shows is over 40 years old. Air plants need very clean air in which to grow, and since they collect nutrients via minuscule amounts of moisture rather than by being parasitic on a “host” plant, they are often difficult to grow. One thing is for certain, these amazing plants must be having an increasing struggle for survival, as mankind pollutes the world’s air more and more.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphyte

November 20, 2012

Mother Nature’s Tattoos…

Filed under: ART,PHOTOGRAPHY,Rasa Sentosa,SINGAPORE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If you have been following my blog for any length of time at all you will know that I like to take photographs of very ordinary things, extraordinary things (when the opportunity presents itself) and everything in between.

I’m a detail fanatic, possibly to the point of perversion on occasion (Yes, I did draw a portrait built up entirely of minuscule dots from a 1 millimetre fine-liner black pen once many moons ago) and I’ve been known to embroider on 120 count  (that’s the number of threads to the inch) silk gauze too.

Small is often very beautiful… so it’s no surprise that I’m the idiot photographer who, when there are stunning views to be had within Singapore’s Rasa Sentosa hotel, is the one who’s pointing my camera lens towards the floor.

There’s a good reason for this… (well in my little tiny mind there is at least LOL)… the paving stones in the floor have fossilised plants in them and I find them stunning, intricate and beautiful.

These little plants may have had the misfortune to get trapped in layers of mud instead of falling from their trees and contributing to natures compost but their mud pack served to keep them preserved for millions of years, or at least if the organic contents is long gone, the detailed outline of what they once were remains.

Whilst some resemble what the Amazon river must look like from space, I think others look like Mother’s Nature’s tattoo’s … this is rock formation  ‘body-art”,  the detailed artwork that adorns the greater body of nature for millennia and in the kind of tiny detail that human tattoo artists can only dream about achieving.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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