Articles & Photos

A Victorian-era menagerie still grows today, at an historic country estate in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. With its century-old living sculptures, Green Animals Garden is the oldest topiary garden in the United States. 
 A selection of historic botanical prints is on display at Lotusland in Santa Barbara, at a new exhibit (August 25-November 2) titled "The Plant Hunters: Botanical Illustrations from the 16th to 19th Centuries." 
A silhouette of springtime tulips to enjoy in winter, an airplant perch, and a glass tube vase—a little vintage, a little rustic, these three wooden plaque projects would be at home in a Victorian sun room or a woodland lodge. 
Botanic motifs flourished in Victorian design, and typography was no exception. Ornate filigree details and calligraphic embellishments were often designed as stylized flowers, leaves, and even trees, around the alphabet characters. We look at the story behind several typefaces inspired by the natural world.
Related Topics: Ideas | art + botany | Design | typography | Victorian
A curmudgeonly traveler, Marianne North went around the world—twice! alone!—during the Victorian era, armed with a parasol and an easel, determined to paint as many of the world's plants as possible.  The result, some 800 paintings of flora, many of which were unknown to European audiences, are on display at Kew Gardens, and her travel writings have been gathered in a new book, Abundant Beauty. We take a look at the life of this remarkable woman.
The leaves reach nine feet (almost three meters); its nocturnal blossoms are white with the first moon, and pink with the second, with a sweet aroma that will fill the night. Victoria water lilies (Victoria amazonica) are the largest in the world, and have been marveled at since first discovered in 1801.
A physician by trade, botanic enthusiast, and accidental inventor, Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward devised the first terrarium in 1829, and thereby launched a new age of horticultural possibilities—where ferns and mosses would grow indoors, and tropical exotics would travel the world. 
Published in 1847, Les Fleurs Animées imagines a world where the flowers reclaim the meanings bestowed upon them by a covetous Victorian audience, and become actresses in their own drama. In J.J. Grandville's engraved illustrations, an exotic Lady Tulip bewitches, while fair young Forget-Me-Not mourns her loneliness.
Since 1890, Harvard's glass flowers have fascinated both academics and the general public. Made in Dresden, Germany, these full-size specimens are meticulously detailed, existing as both scientifically accurate models and unusual pieces of art.
Related Topics: Ideas | Anna Laurent | art | art + botany | Victorian
Roses are the most popular flower for Valentine's Day, but did you know that different hues and varieties of roses have different meanings? If you're wondering how to best convey your passionate love, your chaste yearning, or alternatively, your disappointment in your relationship, there's a rose for you.
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