Friday, August 12, 2011

Labels, Weddings And, Of Course, Ethnobotany

Hi all - starting Monday, I'll be heading back to Ohio for a couple weeks for my sister's wedding, which is very exciting.  Even more so because the gentleman she is marrying is one of my best friends, and I am also honored to be the DJ of the reception.  You're probably thinking, "an ethnobotanist-DJ...a strange but potentially explosive combination."  I know right?  There may be several ethnobotanists in the world and countless DJs, but I just may be the very first and only ethnobotanist-DJ in the entire history of the universe.  I'll give you some time to push up your jaw, which has no doubt dropped significantly after the previous statement.  Ok?  Good.  Obviously, I have made sure that only ethnobotanically interesting flowers will be used in the ceremony/reception, all of which will of course have appropriate labels (yes, even the bride's bouquet will contain a large-sized ethnobotanical label) and if anyone thinks they are going to sneak in with a flower in their hair unlabeled, they are mistaken, as I will have a labeling machine on-site to take care of that.  In addition, I have remixed each song in my set to include some botanical reference, as you can probably guess ethnobotany is not a major theme in love songs or dance music.....yet.

In other news, I thought I'd leave you with a few updates on some exciting progress here at the Gardens to tide you over until I return:

We have ordered 50 more labels (20 of which are the large ethnobotanical labels) for the grounds, so there will soon be lots more for guests and visitors to learn as they enjoy the gardens.

We are also just about ready to order small records labels (aluminum labels that include the accession number + qualifier, scientific name, and source) for each of the plants on the grounds as well.  These labels are like dog tags for plants, which serve to identify them as a specific individual or mass of individuals planted together, and they are more hidden from public view than display labels.  This is because these tags help staff at gardens keep track of their plants and the accession number + qualifier provides the key to unlocking all the information associated with that specific planting in our database, which is a use more internal than public.  So that you can get an idea of what I'm talking about, here is an example of a slightly more detailed records label used at The Holden Arboretum, where I previously worked in the Plant Records office:

Plans are also underway for gradually making the gardens in our center courtyard area native-themed, so I've been researching ethnobotanically interesting native plants that would do well in these areas.  I have found a number of plants that would be great to have, but the challenge is proving to be tracking them down.  If you visit this winter, hopefully you'll be seeing some of the first fruits of that labor.

To make up for the lack of exciting pictures in this post, perhaps I'll include a picture of the ethnobotanist-DJ in action in the first post I make after returning...

Until then!

Rick Hederstrom
Associate Director

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