Vegetal and Some Other Creatures
Table of contents:
Map of the Garden with its Plants
[Len] I see a dormant edible landscape: hidden nasturtium, Moroccan mint, wild sage, laurel which certainly benefits the snails more than the residents.
Plants that I am discovering, that I would like to cultivate like this delicious large green leaf scalis.
[Se] Figs are not ripe but already delicious – we tested with Kim !
[Va] The second – and last – plant of the garden that I have chosen for wandering is the one that gives its name to my hometown, Figueres, in Catalonia. In the garden of the Malina house, the fig tree is big, stately, almost spectacular as part of the place where it grows. All in all, the fig tree is resilient: I have even seen as epiphytes, growing on a palm tree –Phoenix canariensis-! The wood of the fig tree is not very resistant, it does not burn well, it is little appreciated. In contrast, the latex of this plant has medicinal properties, it solves warts, for example.
And we come to the fruit, in fact to the set of fruits grouped in an infructescence, the fig, technically called syconium. Who has never tasted a fig ?!
Going back to toponymy – and anthroponymy – which has been prolific with the fig tree, in my language, Catalan, ‘figa’ and ‘figuera’ have given rise to numerous place and person names. As I said, among them is the name of my city. On the coat of arms and flag of Figueres, we have two showy leaves of our symbol tree, and a poet from Figueres, Carles Fages de Climent (Figueres, 1902-1968), recommended to the local rulers « Mayors, do plant fig trees in the heart of the city » and, in the same poem, which is a model of integration of botany (and traditional knowledge about biodiversity) and literature, addresses the tree saying “To you, our tree, which name envelops the city itself, which delights shade”.
I conclude, then, by greeting the fig tree in the garden of the Malina house – and with it all the fig trees.
[Ga] Plants uses (Usos de la plantas)
Tree used as an ornamental. Its inflorescence and bract are traditionally used as a tranquilizer and for colds.
Ilex aquifolium (Houx)
Also used as an ornamental.
Aesculus hippocastanum (Horse chestnut)
Its chestnuts are used against hemorrhoids. For such use, you have to carry a chestnut in your pocket. This fact reflects the loss of traditional knowledge, since it is known that it was used, but not the mode of use.
Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)
It is used preserved in alcohol for massages that calm musculoskeletal pain. It is used as a seasoning for meats and to darken the hair, it must be rinsed with an infusion of the plant.
Herbaceous plant that produces a pollen that causes allergies.
Rose petals have traditionally been used for eye problems, generally in infusion or maceration for eye baths or by applying wet compresses to the eyes. Widely used as an ornamental plant.
Climbing plant, used as a dye. The fruits present certain toxicity, although the plant has traditionally been used as medicinal.
Taxus baccata (Yew)
Tree used as an ornamental in landscaping. It grows naturally in mountain areas. Its fruits, reddish in color, are eaten by birds, but toxic to humans!
[Va] In the garden of the Malina house there is, as we have said, quite a variety of plants, especially considering the small space. In addition, there are many plants, with different uses and applications, the result of a secular interaction between people and nature, very relevant in terms of biodiversity management, conservation and resilience (which is not only the conservation and resilience of the plants themselves, but also those of the traditional knowledge of ancestral origin, which are linked to it). There are ornamental plants, some are aromatic and medicinal, others – or the same – are food, some are harmful or toxic, many plants appear in all categories. Indeed, there are many ornamental, medicinal, toxic or other uses at the same time. We know all this thanks to our ancestors who, with trial, error and success, have bequeathed us a hybrid heritage of nature and culture, which we must preserve.
an oxymoron a doomed attempt an attempt to capture presence without extracting without removing the plant being from its environment
Trapping the garden with the growing plants and sliding snails.
Not a question of identification counting present species but catching presences.
Asking plants for a trace, their traces, their ghost on the paper.
Growing together an animated herbarium, a living herbarium.
Beyond the oxymoron, with the least human intervention as possible, gathering vegetal presence, creating a sort of surfaces of presence for the vegetal beings.
What will you see on the images?
The garden through vegetal movements and dynamics, stems, branches, leaves exposed on the surface.
This mapping invites to think the garden from the outer surface of the plant to the inner surface of the paper, thinking by surface, thinking from-with the surface, from the exposure of the plant to its milieu of life, to the exposures which will reveal their presence.
First Attempt / Protocole 01
Thinking from the surface, only the surface
Beings exposed to the environments.
Beings exposed to our environments
from breathing to breathing
sharing the world.
We, the others for the plants, we other plants (Michael Marder)
[Na] The plants in the garden (inventory, an attempt)
Singled Out: the Yew
[Va] In the garden of the Malina house, the yew has a situation of resistance, totally suitable for the Roots & Seeds project. In fact, the yews of the house are not, as they often are in nature and in other gardens, majestic trees, but sprouts, probably from some previous large tree. However, they do not lose their visibility, presence and relevance.I would like to point out a botanical aspect of this plant, which shows that even scientific terminology is sometimes inaccurate, alas! Yew has male and female individuals, as is common in animals, but not so much in plants. The females fructify and, in this case, do not make a cone like many of the yew’s close relatives (gymnosperms), but a seed (Roots & Seeds) surrounded by a fleshy, juicy red structure (the aril). Gymnosperms have not the seed closed inside a fruit (as is the case with a peach –Prunus persica-, for example) and therefore (which is already indicated in the word ‘gymnosperm’, which means bare seed ), do not have proper fruit, but fructification. However, the scientific name ot the yew includes the epithet baccata, which means ‘with berry’, and berry is a type of fruit (such as grape –Vitis vinifera– or tomato –Solanum lycopersicum-). This shows us that science is not as accurate, precise, and rational as it may seem. This is a small flaw, an anecdote, but I found it interesting to point it out.
Finally, I want to highlight the relationship between yew and people.
Human societies that have been in contact with yew have come to know it deeply. They have observed that it is a highly toxic plant, but that birds eat its fructification and then defecate it – and scatter its seeds. With this, humans have discovered the food potential of yew arils, while respecting the seeds, which are as toxic as the leaves. Yew wood has also been used. And relatively recently, anti-cancer potential has been found in the bark. In addition, it has generated toponyms in different languages (the Font del Teix in Catalan or the literary Château d’If in French, for example).
In short, the encounter between yews and people has generated an important corpus of knowledge.
The wind composing sounds
through the shapes of leaves
through the movements of grasses
tiny garden on a decomposing leaf
The Sounds of the garden
of the leaves
having a distinct
The Smell of the Garden
Contribution material from
[Bo] Karine Bonneval
[Bu] Annick Bureaud
[Ca] Lucie Campagnolo
[Ch] Quentin Chevrier
[Ci] Laura Cinti
[Qu] Kim Doan Quoc
[Fi] Eva Figueras Ferrer
[Ga] Teresa Garnatje Roca
[Ge] Lauranne Germond
[Ko] Tatiana Kourochkina
[Len] Loïc Le Noan
[Ma] Kristina Maurer
[Mi] Marit Mihklepp
[Na] Sophie Nadot
[Pr] Cyrille Prestianni
[Re] Mar Redondo Arolas
[Ro] Meredith Root-Bernstein
[Bu] Marc-André Selosse
[Ser] Perrine Serre
[So] Jean-Luc Soret
[To] Anaïs Tondeur
[Va] Joan Vallès Xirau
Roots & Seeds XXI. Biodiversity Crisis and Plant Resistance is an international cooperation project between Ars Electronica (AT), Leonardo/Olats (FR), University of Barcelona (ES) and Quo Artis (ES) as lead partner. It is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. Leonardo/Olats has the support of the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation.
Project developed with the support of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
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