Our annual undergraduate Tenerife Field Course ends today and later I will say goodbye to the students and my University of Northampton colleagues Janet Jackson and Paul Cox: I’m staying on for another 10 days with Karin to do some additional field work. The apartment complex where we were located had very poor wifi so I’ve not been able to post much, but we’ve moved now and I’ll try to do more in the coming week.
For Spiral Sunday this week here’s a shot of the logo for one of the protected areas that we always visit, and one of my favourite places on Tenerife: the stunning Malpais de Guimar (Guimar Badlands).
As you can see from the image below, the Guimar Badlands is a fascinating area of xerophytic scrub containing plants that are adapted to very low water levels. It’s always the first site that we visit with the students, providing a great contrast to any habitats that they might have encountered in Britain. A perfect introduction to Darwin’s Unrequited Isle.
On Wednesday I took my daughter Ellen up to Birmingham to drop off some bags and check on her flat (she’s been in California for a few weeks). Afterwards we went shopping in the city and I came across these beautiful paperclips made from flat copper wire. They could have been especially designed for me and for Spiral (Easter) Sunday! I couldn’t resist them and bought a bottle of 100.
Spiral Sunday this week features a couple of photographs I’ve been sent recently. The first is from one of my PhD students, Alex Laws, taken on a trip to Cornwall earlier this year. The artist is James Eddy, not a name I was familiar with, but definitely worth checking out, especially as he is a land artist too.
Which leads us to the second picture, sent to me by a Polish colleague, Marcin Zych, of a spiral-shaped piece of land art he found near Olomouc, in the Czech Republic. It reminds me (on a smaller scale) of Robert Smithson’s amazing sculpture Spiral Jetty (of which I was unaware until it was kindly introduced to me by Carrie McLaughlin of the Texas Pollinator Powwow).
Many thanks to Alex and Marcin, and to Carrie too.
The sun was illuminating the coloured glass of a window ornament and I noticed two things: (i) the lovely juxtaposition between the metal spirals of the ornament and the spiral tendrils of Cyphostemma simulans, a member of the vine family (Vitaceae) that I grew from seed many years ago; and (ii) the fact that our front windows really need washing…. No time for that this weekend, though, been too busy working in the garden with Karin! That’s Spiral Sunday, enjoy the weather while you can.
Today Karin and I took a drive up to Birmingham to visit my daughter Ellen, who is studying applied performance and community theatre at Birmingham School of Acting. After picking her up we went for lunch at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Now, I’m a bit of a botanic gardens collector; I love visiting them, and keep a life list of those I’ve visited and a wish list of those I’d like to visit. So I was sure I had been to the Botanical Gardens as a PhD student during a British Ecological Society conference at the University of Birmingham. But when we arrived there I had no recollection of the glasshouses or the layout, it was not familiar at all. Odd how the memory plays tricks, one way or another.
I can recommend a visit, though – the Gardens looked stunning even this early in the season; lots of plants in flower and even a buzzard circling low overhead. It being Spiral Sunday, of course, I was seeing spirals everywhere; in the unfurling fronds of a tree fern (Blechnum gibbum):
On a cast iron garden seat:
In the flowers of a variety of camellia:
In the leaves and flower cones of Banksia grandis:
And in the design of a sun hat in the Gardens shop:
The University of Northampton is custodian of one of the best collections of posters in Britain. The Osborne Robinson Collection now contains over 10,000 items and the university regularly displays them internally and at other venues.
This week’s Spiral Sunday shows a poster currently on display that caught my eye as I was passing. The poster is by Edward McKnight Kauffer for London Underground (or Underground Electric Railways Co. of London, Ltd as it was), and dates from 1922.
A Spiral Sunday for New Year’s Day! This shot was taken at last year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show where I was helping the British Ecological Society win a Silver Medal. This is the water feature in Nick Bailey’s Beauty of Mathematics, one of my favourites from that year, and a garden in which Fibonacci spirals abounded, both in the plants and the hard landscaping.
Looking forward to RHS Chelsea 2017, the BES will be producing another display, and this time hunting for a Gold Medal. I’ll let you know how it progresses. Happy New Year to all of my readers!
A double helping of Spiral Sunday for Christmas Day 2016 – two glass baubles on our Christmas tree with very different spiral forms. In the first, the spiral is integral to the design, it is spiral in form. In the second, molten coloured glass has been trailed in a spiral pattern on the surface to create the pattern. Both very different, but both beautiful in their own way.
Merry Christmas everyone!
What better way to create spiral images for Spiral Sunday than with Spirograph in its many online incarnations, e.g. Inspirograph. Have fun playing!
Two spirals for the price of one in my fifth Spiral Sunday post. This photo was taken during our recent trip to Denmark that I described in “Why do bumblebees follow ferries?“. These South American pots are part of a Pre-Columbian ceramics collection at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen. Well worth a visit if you are in the city – it’s an amazing museum.