Pedagogy of the Plants

Archive for the ‘Succulents’ Category

Reclamation

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Taraxacum officinale

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Kalanchoe daigremontiana

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Portulaca oleracea

 

Succulents and dandelions reclaim sandy soil from a tired, cracking tennis court. In the words of author Richard Powers, “There’s always as much belowground as above.”

South African Aloe

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Aloe mutabilis

Written by Cameron Brooks

June 16, 2018 at 4:29 pm

Bolivian Bromeliad

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Deuterocohnia brevifolia

Written by Cameron Brooks

June 16, 2018 at 4:18 pm

Displaced Pairing

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The small dendritic heap’s former home was a sandy path winding through pirate, French Huguenot, and Confederate soldier graves in the Oak Grove Cemetery.

In our classroom, kids can’t resist the urge to touch and squeeze succulent leaves.  Now and then I’ll get a worried glance from a curious student who accidentally bumped leaf from stem, but the experience becomes favorably memorable when they discover a displaced life slowly taking root from a harmless accident.

Click here for more posts featuring Spanish moss and other peculiar epiphytes.

Written by Cameron Brooks

June 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Mica, Moss, Tiny Ghosts, and Ground Lava

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The second batch of terrariums is small but curious.  Bottom-up, the layers include stones from the South Fork River near Watson Mill State Park, activated charcoal (to absorb toxins, filter air and water, and stem the growth of mold/mildew), Pacific Northwest sphagnum moss, soil from the backyard, and Hawaiian black sand. The moss was harvested from rock outcrops near Watson Mill.

According to gastateparks.org, “Watson Mill State Park contains the longest covered bridge in the state, spanning 229 feet across the South Fork River. Built in 1885 by Washington (W.W.) King, son of freed slave and famous covered-bridge builder Horace King, the bridge is supported by a town lattice truss system held firmly together with wooden pins.  At one time, Georgia had more than 200 covered bridges; today, less than 20 remain.”

Students love touching the resident succulents in the window, so there’s never a shortage of ghost and jade bits sprouting desperate stolons seeking water.

The shard of mica was pulled from a red clay hillside in Winterville.

Written by Cameron Brooks

February 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Stonecrop Hijacks Millenium Falcon!

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Trailing Ice Plant Flower, Delosperma cooperi

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Written by Cameron Brooks

July 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Baseball and Succulents

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My grandfather was the greatest baseball fan ever, and played minor league ball in Detroit during the Depression.  U.S. Rubber offered him a job because they wanted him to play for their company team.  The male cousins were expected to become professional golfers or baseball players.  He signed me up for private golf lessons in High Point, North Carolina, and I played little league for Tangi Finance in Ponchatoula, Louisiana.   More paternal tales and a DIY succulent planter…

Written by Cameron Brooks

May 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Aloe vera

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Our classroom aloe introduces medicinal plants.  “The Medicine Plant,” as they call it, saves many a trip to the clinic for minor scrapes. The cool, curious gel from a plant in the window cures instantly. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cameron Brooks

January 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Dune Marsh-Elder, Iva imbricada

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Written by Cameron Brooks

December 29, 2010 at 1:03 am

Agave, Agave americana

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Written by Cameron Brooks

December 22, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Chilean Cactus, Eulychnia acida

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Disputes between locals and mining companies are ubiquitous throughout Chile.  I took these photos in Cochiguaz fifteen days before the Copiapó mining accident.

Written by Cameron Brooks

July 23, 2010 at 2:48 am

Carrion Plant, Stapelia gigantea

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While writing on the porch last October, I sensed movement behind me.  The twisted tip of a large, light yellow carrion flower pod began to unravel.  I watched as four slits widened a few centimeters at a time.  Over the course of forty-five minutes, it splayed wide open in a ten inch base jump from the shelf.

Within minutes, a large black fly arrived to sample the thick white chunks in the center of a flower that smelled like three-day-old roadkill in late July.

The squatting stink bug delivers the stink eye.

Ghost Plant, Graptopetalum paraguayense

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These are the only ghost plant flowers I’ve ever seen.  The plant sits next to a sunny window in the lobby/reception room of the Elqui Domos, in Elqui Valley, Chile.

This planter brings to mind a quote I scribbled in a journal years ago:

The belief that violence is a reasonable and often necessary route to achieving our aims goes unquestioned in most societies. Violence is thought to be the nature of things. It’s what works. It seems inevitable-the last and often, the first resort in conflicts. This Myth of Redemptive Violence is the real myth of the modern world. It, and not Judaism or Christianity or Islam, is the dominant religion in our society.

by Walter Wink

The Myth of Redemptive Violence is a Babylonian creation story.  The “Enuma Elish” (circa 1250 BCE), is a story about two parent gods who give birth to all other gods. The children kill the father because they discover their parents’ plans to kill them all because they make too much noise. Enraged, the battle ensues between the gods and their mother. The youngest of the gods winds-up killing her.

One July, I bought this plant from a woman at a flea market outside of town my students call “La Pulga.”  The specter floated above the stoop in a hanging basket for about a year. Once I swung the door too wide, and knocked it seven feet to the ground.  After a considerable soil hemorrhage left a small hollow under the plant, I noticed an illusive wren flitting back and forth with twigs and other oddments.  The plant thrived while baby birds hatched beneath.

I met a curious mantis climbing the funbox at a local skate spot after a nose manual, then found this little guy on the porch when I got home.

Buenos dias.