Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer Break

Summer is finally here and it just so happens to be perfect for my week off from school. I'm excited to update my etsy shop with some new pieces and cook lots of delicious meals! I'm also going to spend the week watching Alys Fowler videos and collecting flowers and plants from around my neighborhood for pressing and identifying. I recently picked up one of her books, The Edible Garden, so I can begin a tiny one of my very own. The book has tons of useful information and beautiful pictures to go along with it. I may order some seeds today...can't wait to start on it!



Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cones

Today in the lab I came across these old resin castings of different types of cones. I wish I had some of these in my house! So cool! Perhaps I will try to make some, although the cycads may be hard to find.

Cycad cones: young and mature male on the left and young and mature female cross section on the right.
Cycads are cone bearing gymnosperms that look similar to palm trees but aren't related.  They grow very slowly, live extremely long lives (1,000 years!), and are rarely seen in cultivation.  Their most fascinating quality is that they are considered to be living fossils and have changed very little since the Jurassic period. 


Pine cones: male to the left and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year female to the right

Perhaps the most easily recognizable cones from the confer group are those of Pinus. Like the cycads above, the trees produce two cones: male and female. The male cones are composed of pollen, and the female cones carry the seeds.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New Terrarium

Species include: 
-Asplenium bulbiferum "hen and chicken fern"
-Selaginella kraussiana 'Aurea' "Spikemoss"
-Cladonia uncialis "reindeer lichen"
-Claopodium bolanderi 
-Campylium stellatum
-Kindbergia praelonga
-Amanita muscaria "fly agaric" (synthetic)

Gathering all of the supplies


The finished product

Books!

It's been a while since I've updated my reading list. Well the anticipation is finally over....here it is! :) I'm interested in starting a collection of field guides so I can start identifying (attempting to) all of the different plant life in my area. The flowers are rather easy, but I've come to find out that mosses, lichens, and mushrooms are extremely difficult to distinguish. The differences between them are so subtle! With mosses and lichens, a dissecting microscope seems to be the last step in solidifying the identification of a species. For now though, the attempt if enough fun!


This is one of my favorites so far. Moss is just so fascinating. I think I've successfully identified a couple. 


This one wins just for it's aesthetics. Definitely a great coffee table book filled with lots of useful information.   



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Spring in Seattle

The changing of the seasons means everything is growing and starting to bloom. My favorite time of the year. I try to resist the urge to take a picture of every single flower I see, but sometimes they are too unique to pass up. I've been spending lots of time at the Greenhouse, which is filled with lots of amazing plants and...baby praying manti. 

 Cacti and succulents inside the Greenhouse

Just outside the greenhouse are these huge, bright red poppies

Some experiments going on within

Sporophytes spotted outside

...and my very own carnivorous plant terrarium shooting up sporophytes from the moss

Baby Kale

A lovely day of working on some experiments outside of the Greenhouse. 

Photo by Chrissie White