Nuts about Plants – yes I am!
It’s not always been like that, in fact, I’m a relatively recent addict of the fascinating features of plants.
This all started when my professional career as a plant molecular scientist ended, a good 1 1/2 years ago now.
As a scientist I only worked with three different (and not necessarily the most interesting) plant species: Arabidopsis thaliana, Nicotiana tabacum and Nicotiana benthamiana. It was mainly the lucky opportunity of receiving training as a tour guide in a small botanic garden in London which set me on fire for plants. Not for gardening – I’m happy to have others figure that aspect out for me – but for the general usefulness of plants which I think will very likely never cease to surprise me.
The idea of a blog about plants arose from the disappointing experience that when the garden closed during winter for visitors and subsequently I didn’t prepare/give tours regularly anymore, I forgot a lot of what I had learned about the different plant species in the previous season. With my notes being in the typical chaotic way I found it hard to reread and reactive this information in the next year. So in order to organize my notes and have them accessible (and more or less complete) online instead of being saved in bits and pieces somewhere, I have started this blog. I will try to be as precise as possible when citing my sources of information. But I’d like to make it clear that what I present here is highly selective, not meant to be comprehensive, but interesting (that’s the least it should be anyways ;-)…).
It lies in the nature of a blog to be able for readers to comment on and add their experience and knowledge. Please do so and help me make information that I’m passing on more relevant, comprehensive and correct.
One thing I enjoy immensely about leading visitors around the garden is that usually I myself learn a lot when talking to them. It is my hope that there will be many likewise exchanges of knowledge via this blog.
My aim and ambition is to write one entry per week. Like one of the more experienced tour guides told me when I started giving tours: “If you learn about one plant per week you will cover the 5000 different species in this garden in around 95 years – which given the medicinal knowledge you acquire by doing so should be feasible.”
But, now, let me start my little virtual tour with the words I usually say to introduce myself before a tour:
“Welcome everybody to the garden! It is my pleasure to show you around this wonderful hidden gem of a garden today. Throughout the tour I will point out plants that I think are of particular interest and highlight some of their interesting features.
But before we start I’d like to introduce myself briefly. My name is Christina, and as you have certainly already noticed from my accent, I’m not a native English speaker. I apologize in advance for any mispronounced [here: misspelled] words and unfinished or twisted sentences. I do my best to be as clear as possible. But please feel free to correct me and let me know if you’d like me to speak up or repeat things again. But I’m sure you’ll understand me – so let’s commence our tour now…”