The Secret Life of Plants (1973) is a book by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. The book documents controversial experiments that claim to reveal unusual phenomena regarding plants such as plant sentience, discovered through experimentation. It goes on to discuss philosophies and progressive farming methods based on these findings. The book was heavily criticized by scientists for promoting pseudoscientific claims.
The book was the basis for the 1979 documentary of the same name, directed by Walon Green and featuring a soundtrack by Stevie Wonder, later released as Journey through the Secret Life of Plants. The film made use of time-lapse photography (where plants are seen growing in a few seconds, creepers reach out to other plants and tug on them, mushrooms and flowers open). (wiki)
Episode list 1. Hawaii: A New Eden 2. Madagascar: A World Apart 3. Madeira: Island Ark
Richard Fortey investigates why islands are laboratories of evolution. Examining some of the crucial influences on natural selection that are normally overlooked – like geology, geography, isolation and time – the series reveals that there is much more to evolution than ‘survival of the fittest’.
imdb / 876
As the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew prepare to celebrate their 250th anniversary, Dan Cruickshank unearths some of the surprising stories that shaped the famous gardens. His travels take him from the royal gardens to the corridors of power and the outposts of the Empire as he pieces together Kew’s story, uncovering tales of bravery, high adventure, passion and drama. (docuwiki)
The Botany of Desire is a two-hour program broadcast by PBS based on The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World is a 2001 nonfiction book by journalist Michael Pollan. Pollan presents case studies that mirror four types of human desires that are reflected in the way that we selectively grow, breed, and genetically engineer our plants. The tulip, beauty; marijuana, intoxication; the apple, sweetness; and the potato, control.
The stories range from the true story of Johnny Appleseed to Pollan’s first-hand research with sophisticated marijuana hybrids in Amsterdam to the paradigm-shifting possibilities of genetically engineered potatoes. Pollan also discusses the limitations of monoculture agriculture: specifically, the adoption in Ireland of a single breed of potato (the Lumper) made the Irish vulnerable to a fungus to which it had no resistance, resulting in the Irish Potato Famine. The Peruvians from whom the Irish had gotten the potato grew hundreds of varieties, so their exposure to any given pest was slight.
Michael Pollan on twitter
“attentiveness alone can rival the most powerful magnifying lens.”
Living at the limits of our ordinary perception, mosses are a common but largely unnoticed element of the natural world. “Gathering Moss” is a beautifully written mix of science and personal reflection that invites readers to explore and learn from the elegantly simple lives of mosses.
In this series of linked personal essays, Robin Kimmerer leads general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings. Kimmerer explains the biology of mosses clearly and artfully, while at the same time reflecting on what these fascinating organisms have to teach us.
Drawing on her experiences as a scientist, a mother, and a Native American, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in scientific terms as well as in the framework of indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of living in the world.
“the tiny pool of water held in a spoon-shaped leaf is the perfect resting place for a waterbear, as plump and gelatinous as a candy gummy bear. the moisture in a moss mat is as vital to the moss as it is to the waterbear. but, since mosses are non-vascular, their water content fluctuates with the amount of water in the environment. the moss leaves shrivel and contort as water evaporates, leaving them crisp and dry. the waterbears too, simply shrink when desiccated to as little as one-eight of their size forming barrel- shaped miniatures of themselves called tuns. metabolism is reduced to near zero and the tun can survive in this state for years. the tuns blow around in the dry winds like specks of dust, landing on new clumps of moss and dispersing farther than their short waterbear legs could ever carry them.”
Timeline – Bog Bodies on youtube
4000 Year Old Cold Case – The Body in the Bog
spacetime coordinate: 1980s China
Les filles du botaniste (Chinese: 植物园, Botanic Garden) is a dramatic and delicate story of two star-crossed lovers set against the fantastic lush of Chinese gardens.
based on a true story
The story starts when Min, a botanist who spent her childhood as an orphan, comes to intern at the botanical gardens under her new instructor, Chen. It is there that she meets An, Chen’s daughter, and finds herself falling in love in a time and place where same-sex relationships are an unforgivable crime.
Since it delves into a topic considered taboo in China, the government refused to allow for the film to be shot or even shown in the country (it was ultimately filmed in Vietnam)
Dai Sijie (director) “I felt that the deep love that brought these two young women together was extremely romantic. In my mind, these women weren’t so much ‘lesbian’ – since they didn’t really possess a recognition of knowledge of themselves as such – but rather they just were determined to love each other dearly. That unwavering surety of pure love just tears at the heart. Also, what really got to me was the fact that these were women denied their freedom. They were justified in their love and there should be no reason why they shouldn’t be able to continue in it–so one has to wonder, why do they not have that right? Since I have experienced losing the right to my own expression, I know what it feels like to not be able to be who you are in your own country. I felt close to both of them, because to me it seemed like we were all outsiders.”
The Chinese Botanist’s Daughters Interview with Dai Sijie in Tokyo Wrestling