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Showing posts from June, 2014

Children take a 'walk through time' at the Bristol Botanic Garden

It’s 1 pm, the sun is shining and the volunteer guides are starting to gather near the welcome lodge in anticipation of 60 Year 4 children arriving at the Botanic Garden for a tour. It’s my son’s school, Horfield CEVC Primary School, and so I've decided to come along for the tour and get a glimpse into how the Garden is viewed through the eyes of eight and nine year olds.
Anne is one of the volunteer guides at the garden and she and I get chatting while we await the children’s arrival. She was a teacher for 40 years – teaching at GCSE and A levels. She laughs as she tells me she was a bit nervous she would find touring younger children challenging when she started giving these school tours at the Garden. She soon found, however, that though it was different from teaching upper level students, it was also just good fun.
“I’m not responsible for making sure they learn the curriculum, I’m here to entertain them with interesting stories about the plants we have here in the garden – …

The strawberry timebomb: how basic plant biology can help you store your produce

Two days ago I purchased an alarmingly large number of strawberries. I couldn't help myself. Grown in Cheddar, these sweet little ripe morsels are a welcome break from the onslaught of last year’s apples and a plethora of citrus. When you try to eat seasonally and with reduced transportation miles, you appreciate the appearance of new season fruit that much more.
The moment I placed the box on my kitchen counter, however, I felt as though a timer began counting down on a bomb. But rather than finishing off with an explosion, it would be more of a moldy, decayed mess of fruit wasting away. In response, I did as my mother before me did, and I issued relentless alarm calls to my family, “Eat strawberries...strawberries would go well with that...why are you eating that pear? EAT strawberries!” Luckily the troops rallied and I’m happy to report that there was no waste.
This strawberry time bomb is more technically that stage between when a fruit has reached its peak ripeness and whe…