Tchaikovsky’s tribute to economic botany

In Christmas’s past we’ve explored almonds and marzipan, sugar and glace fruits, frankincense and myrrh, Christmas trees and the rather gothic interpretations of Santa and his flying reindeer. For this Christmas Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet, a rare celebration of economic botany, provides the botany of Christmas.

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Lilac time

Lilacs are one of my favourite flowers. The wonderfully fragrant flowers borne at the ends of branches contrast perfectly with the glossy, dark-green heart-shaped leaves. While widely available lilacs are often considered rather old-fashioned – associated more with older gardens than modern, at least in Australia.

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Controlled patience – beauty & truth

In Adelaide, the Botanic Gardens are part of our lives. We’re introduced to the beautiful gardens in prams, brought in as toddlers to explore, join pre-school visits and school excursions, court in the Gardens, marry in the Gardens, introduce our own children to the Gardens and celebrate anniversaries and milestones here. As we age, perhaps we explore the Gardens more deeply to reveal other sides of its character, introduce our grandchildren, and eventually our children or friends bring us here. The Gardens are as much a gallery of memories as a gallery of plants.

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… you start liking flowers

As a botanist working in a botanic garden I’m fortunate to have access to flowers year round with, as an example close to my office, the outrageous displays of aloes in Adelaide Botanic Garden beginning in mid-winter. Nevertheless Spring’s a time for celebration, not simply for the promise of warmer weather, but for the abundance of Spring flowers.

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