Happy 200th birthday!

This year Geneva Botanic Garden celebrates its 200th birthday. I ate some of the cake because the BGCI congress was timed especially to join in celebrating this wonderful milestone. That’s the cake that looks like a small fire.   The gardens has decided to tell the story of these 200 years in such a neat…

Gardening with Nature

I was invited by Richard V. Piacentini of the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA to present in a session at BGCI today called “When Less Bad is Not Good Enough Anymore: Lessons and Leading for a Regenerative World”. Richard has been awarded numerous environmental awards and is an honour to be…

Somewhere in the French Alps

You know when someone drives you somewhere and you realise you chatted to them rather than looking where you were going?  So today I went into the French Alps on a field trip.  Luckily my phone records where photos are taken so it seems I went to the base of Aiguille de Loriaz in the Vallorcine…

Research on Show

Today I presented at the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) congress in Geneva in the session How can botanic gardens use their scientific expertise to help solve the “big issues”? I used our approach to water sensitive design at Auckland Botanic Gardens and how this demonstrates the role of botanic gardens translating research into practice in…

Like us…but with a gondola

European BG’s are not like Auckland Botanic Garden.  They are at least a century old and are set out in a traditional style.  So when I visited the International Garden Festival (IGA) here in Berlin I thought – this is just like us!  It’s promoted as a source of ideas and inspiration, a place of…

Using plants to sort the world out

The World Green Infrastructure Congress in Berlin has come to an end.   I am sure you’d all love my 4 page conference report but I want to share a few highlights here instead! The climate’s changing.  Many talks had a reference to massive weather changes and natural disasters.  This week in Austria the night-time…

Mosses to mini-mountains

A short train ride from the centre of Berlin is the 43ha Berlin BG.  It’s main draw card is the beautiful Victorian style greenhouses.  But it has more to offer including an expansive arboretum park, meadows, alpine garden (with its own mini-mountains), and a water plant collection.  My favourite is the moss garden!   The…

The roofs are alive

“Vegetation makes it possible” …is the tag line of the World Green Infrastructure Network  I am now in Berlin for the WGI network’s annual meeting where the focus is on green or living roofs, as well as the role of plants in urban climate, rainwater management and sustainability.   This is BIG. Actually its the largest…

Bad (see note below) visitor

I can’t pretend that the sweltering summer temperatures didn’t affect my visit to the Bad Schandau (Germany) Botanic Gardens. Bad means spa in German, the healing waters of this place are the reason it’s here. The garden is a (small garden, but a large rock-garden) rock-garden sweeping up a steep hillside in a valley above a…

Glassy

Ending up in an unknown, not on your itinerary Czech city,  Liberec, the train from Poland  only came here, not Prague) was fortunate as they have a really cool Botanic Garden.  Its central feature is a group pavilions, or glasshouses, which represent different plant biomes or themes e.g. Australia, the tropics, Asia, primitive plants etc….

A castle in the forest

Ksiaz Castle (Zamek Ksiaz in Polish) is set in the Sudetan mountain beech forest. The dominant trees I saw were Quercus robur & Fagus sylvatica. Apparently there are yew trees too but I didn’t find them.  The outlook from the castle windows for 360 degrees is forest which must have been very nice for the…

She wanted flowers all year round!

In Poland you can stay in a castle – so we are! It’s got a pretty gritty WWII history just like every part of Poland (it was being prepared for Hitler to live in after he won, thankfully he didn’t). The Ksiaz (pronounced ‘Shoungsh’, not kidding) castle is 700 years old but as with all…