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Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Joins Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens Campaign

Sunday, October 2, 2011

First Lady Michelle Obama visiting Riverside Elementary's Fairchild Challenge school garden in Miami, FL, November 2010 For Immediate Release Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Joins Let's Move! Museums and Gardens Campaign Coral Gables, FL, October 3, 2011-Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has joined the Let's Move! Museums and Gardens campaign, an initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama, aimed at engaging young people in educational programs to help prevent...

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Bring Your Pooch to Howl-O-Ween at Fairchild on October 30th!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

For Immediate Release Bring Your Pooch to Howl-O-Ween at Fairchild on October 30th! Coral Gables, FL, October 10, 2011- Don't miss out on one of the only days of the year that guests can bring their pooch to Fairchild-Sunday, October 30, 2011. At Fairchild's Howl-o-ween event, now in its third year, guests can take advantage of a great opportunity to enjoy special activities just for pups as they parade through Fairchild's lush surroundings all the while showing off...

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Earth Friendly Halloween Decorations Adorn Fairchild

Sunday, October 9, 2011

For Immediate Release Earth Friendly Halloween Decorations Adorn Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Coral Gables, FL, October 10, 2011- Longtime Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden volunteer Bev Murphy is bringing her spooky and playful hand-made Halloween decorations to Fairchild beginning Saturday, October 15 where they'll stay through October 31, 2011. Mrs. Murphy has been creating works of Halloween art for Fairchild for five years and has been making decorative display art for over...

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Musings on what it means to be a native plant

Monday, October 10, 2011

[A similar post was published previously in Tillandisa, the member magazine of the Miami-Dade chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society. The version is available on the Dade FNPS website: http://dade.fnpschapters.org/pastnewsletters/2011/09.php] South Florida is where North America meets the Caribbean and Latin America. This is as true culturally as it is botanically. We have many plant groups where there are members here from both North America and the Caribbean. But North American and...

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They are baaaack! You can have them too!

Friday, October 14, 2011

I've been busily preparing for them for a few weeks now. I was filling my two feeders with white millet seeds, the favorite food of our most colorful bird native to North America. They come down beginning in late September and stay until mid April. Much to my delight, early evening yesterday, I looked through binoculars to my bird feeders in my back yard and saw three Painted Buntings! Two were the incredibly colorful males and the third was a 'greenie' either an immature male or a female. ...

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Notes from abroad

Friday, October 21, 2011

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Hyderabad, India. Traveling always provides a new perspective; my trip it provided some perspective on how we may view native plants here in South Florida. Some of my research is on the genetics of native plants, and some is on the genetics of crop plants. I was visiting ICRISAT, the International Crop Research Institute of the Semi-Arid Tropics. ICRISAT breeds improved pigeonpea, chickpea, peanuts, sorghum, and pearl millet, five important ...

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Petite, Attractive and Delicious: the Persimmon in South Florida

Sunday, October 23, 2011

When we think of gardening in South Florida, the persimmon is probably not what comes to mind. But, perhaps it should be. As long as one pays close attention to variety selection and the source, the persimmon can be a rewarding home garden choice even in a South Florida faced with global climate change. ..

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Traveling in Asia

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Yangon, Myanmar -- For the next six weeks, I will be exploring Asia, beginning with Myanmar and proceeding to India, Bhutan and Nepal, hoping to share new worlds and natural places increasingly under threat. I will visit botanic gardens, preserves and Parks, looking for plants and their indigenous uses and meanings in these cultures. I have been taking lots of notes and photographs, and I hope you enjoy them!...

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Yangon, Myanmar

Monday, October 24, 2011

Yangon, Myanmar-- Smack in the middle of the most holy of Buddhist shrines, the Shwedagon Pagoda (seen below), is a toddy palm, Borassus flabillifer. It is the on the leaves of this palm that the Burmese developed an alphabet and writing. The letters, confusingly small circles, were developed to stay within the narrow segments of the palmate leaves and the writing continues to be plump to this day. Shwedagon itself is to Buddhists as Meccais to Muslims, and the enormous bell-shaped central ...

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Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar-- An enormous conifer, Araucaria columnaris, towers over the Burmese National Botanic Garden at a refreshingly cool altitude of 3,500 feet. Once a hill station to which the British retreated from Mandalay's heat, the garden was begun in 1915. It took us nearly 3 hours to reach it from the steamy plains of Mandalay, following enormous trucks around hairpin curves of theBurma Road on their way toChina, only 350 miles away. Once at the little town of Pyin Oo Lwin, we ...

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Inle Lake, Myanmar

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Inle Lake, Myanmar-- The lotus in both Burma and India is a sacred flower, associated with purity. In Burma, the fragrant lotus legend is that Buddha was offered a set of monk's robes by a Brahma who had found them in a lotus blossom. Nearly a century ago in a fishing village in Inle Lake, a woman experimented with the fibers she gently pulled from a lotus stem, forming them into thread and weaving thread into lotus items, such as scarves and robes. Cloth woven from lotus thread. There is ...

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Floating Tomato Islands

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Inle Lake, Myanmar―This vast lake, which is 14 miles long in the center ofMyanmar, is home to 80,000 people, half of whom live in the lake itself. They fish, farm and go to school, living in stilt houses and getting around by canoe. Tomatoes are their main crop. To grow them, they scoop up mud from the lake bottom and mix it with seaweed to create floating islands. Then they insert long slender poles into the islands and train the tomatoes to grow between them. Floating tomato islands. ...

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The Toddy Palm

Friday, October 28, 2011

Borassus flabellifer is called the toddy palm. Toddy, or a potent wine, is made from the inflorescences of the palm. Climbers ascend bamboo ladders that are attached to the tall trunks, cut a section of inflorescence, and attach bowls to catch the draining juice. The palms are harvested of toddy from the age of 25 to 45, after which they can "retire." The toddy is OK for women and children in the morning, but by afternoon if has become a potent drink of 5 to 7 percent alcohol. A sugary ...

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Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega Attends International Workshop to Establish the National Botanic Garden of Haiti

Friday, October 28, 2011

Between October 23 and 25, an international workshop to establish a national botanic garden in Haiti took place at Port-au-Prince. Botanists, environmental biologists, and landscape architects from several botanical gardens/universities from Canada, Dominican Republic, France, Haiti, United Kingdom, and USA participated in this meeting. Our Javier Francisco-Ortega delivered a talk on "Developing Patnerships between Universities and Botanic Gardens". During this meeting letters on intent ...

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The Burmese National Botanic Garden

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar-- An enormous conifer, Araucaria columnaris, towers over the Burmese National Botanic Garden at a refreshingly cool altitude of 3,500 feet. Once a hill station to which the British retreated from Mandalay's heat, the garden was begun in 1915. It took us nearly 3 hours to reach it from the steamy plains of Mandalay, following enormous trucks around hairpin curves of the Burma Road on their way to China, only 350 miles away. Once at the little town of Pyin Oo Lwin, we...

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Bandhavgarh, India

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bandhavgarh,India-- We have one more chance to see a tiger this afternoon. So far we have come up dry--although we have seen an abundance of wildlife in Bandhargarh National Park. We head out at 5:45 a.m. The que for the park must wait for all papers to be authenticated before we can enter. In this part of the park there are specific routes that the guides must follow and they must carry papers attesting to their assigned routes. Half way through the morning's outing, we have to stop and ...

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Tiger!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bandhavgarh National Park,India-- On our last safari, we were lucky enough to find a tiger. A gorgeous female, weighing about 400 pounds and measuring about 6 feet in length, was on a late afternoon hunt when we saw her. She had left her two cubs hidden in a cave. She emerged from the jungle and crossed a dry creek some 60 feet from us, a mere 20 yards! Elegantly striped, she walked steadily and purposefully, giving no indication that she resented our presence, but her ears turned back to ...

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