nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘plants

lupins lean

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Yesterday our drive in western New Brunswick was dominated by two things: the wind and the roadside wildflowers.

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Buttercups, bunchberry, bluets and lupins fill the ditches with bloom. The lupins  (Lupinus sp.) dominate – mostly purple and blue, but occasionally white, pink or even yellow. The wind was blowing so hard, you could use the flower heads and leaves to measure wind direction!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

June 12, 2017 at 8:42 am

planting trees at our cabin

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Last weekend, we planted about 30 Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings at our cabin property. There are lots of trees there already, but we are thinking ahead.

We bought our seedlings at the Irving Tree Nursery in Sussex, $.50 each. We planted them with the help of a metal dibble stick made especially for planting young trees.

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Here is a photo of our cabin, taken from far away, on the other side of the lake in early spring. Lots of tree there already, you say? You can never have too many trees!

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We still have more trees to plant, including some Red Pine and Eastern White Cedar. Great time spent outside where the black flies are never very bad!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

May 22, 2017 at 1:15 pm

a muse takes over – creating alien plant species

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When I was in university, we spent lots of time in botany courses discovering the concept of ‘form follows function’. This means that plants have adapted to their surroundings so almost every physical feature reflects the requirements of landscape and habitat. Good examples:

  • thorns discourage predators
  • tubular flowers to enable pollination by insects with long mouth parts
  • hairs on leaves help conserve moisture by blocking air flow

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This concept is foremost in my mind as I try to populate my fictional planet Meniscus with plants. Plants are important to my story because my characters have to forage for their food (the main character, Odymn, is particularly good at finding food in the forest). My alien plants have to serve the purposes of the story. They also have to be credible and follow biological logic. Form must follow function.

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parkour-through-the-woods

This drawing of Odymn practicing her parkour in the woods shows two plant species on Meniscus — a banyan-like tree and ‘slag-fern’. This banyan is great for climbing and jumping!!!

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Some sci-fi readers prefer authors not to invent new species, but to use our familiar species. I decided to create new species because my story is about what humans have lost when they were brought to an alien planet.  I plan to help my readers by including a glossary of alien plants in the back of each book.

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Although they are alien, most of my plants are reminiscent of our species here on Earth. A good example would be ‘arbel’ a small woodland plant used to treat ailments on planet Meniscus. One of the chemical components of ‘arbel’ is ASA (acetylsalicylic acid or aspirin), making it similar to tea berry (Gaultheria procumbens), a plant common in our woods. I imagine ‘arbel’ to look like our woodland species trout lily (Erythronium americanum). Like trout lily, ‘arbel’ has edible corms.  Also like trout lily, ‘arbel’ has thick leaves to conserve water on a planet where surface water is rare.

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'Trout Lilies'

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Another of my alien plant species is a carnivorous club-moss, a dangerous inhabitant of the Themble Woods. Sheets of this moss crawl across the woodland floor, engulfing their prey.  I want to include carnivorous plants on Meniscus because our own carnivorous plants, such as the sundew (Drosera sp.), are so intriguing.  My carnivorous ‘club-moss’ has glands to absorb nutrients from its prey and touch-responsive tendrils to help it crawl through the forest. For a while I thought I would use carnivorous vines but I have seen too many movies where vines take over the earth!

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Odymn falls asleep in the woods and is overtaken by a carpet of carnivorous club-mosses.

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An earlier drawing showing vines attacking Odymn.

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Following is a list of the plants I have planted on Meniscus.  Beverages to keep the folks on Meniscus awake are brewed from the leaves and berries of ‘thief-bush’!

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plant description
arbel nodding woodland flower; corms edible
glasswort transparent, low-growing plant, adapted to the edges of the Churn
grammid tree with orange leaves and edible seed pods; smells like cinnamon
ransindyne plant grown for its edible root
slag-fern fern-like plant with leathery leaves
spenel small plant with edible berries
thief-bush bush with thick leaves and blue berries; used to make beverages
tussilago plant similar to colts-foot, used to sooth a cough
walking-vine vigorous vine native to the edges of the Darn’el desert
yarnel tree with edible fruit like pomegranate

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This writing has given me new appreciation for the interesting and complex plants we have on our own planet!

Next post I will show you some of the animals on Meniscus!

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims  

raspberries in winter

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On December 11, 2016 (from 10 AM to 4 PM), I will be at the Delta Hotel (Fredericton, New Brunswick) at Sandra’s Christmas Market Fredericton to sell my paintings and books. If you are in the Fredericton area, please pay me a visit!

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I have a new painting for sale at the event. December 8, 2016  ‘raspberries’ is painted in acrylics, 7″ x 5″, gallery edges, unframed. It reminds me of picking raspberries on a summer day.

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raspberries

December 8, 2016 ‘raspberries’ Jane Tims (acrylic) 7″ x 5″ $25

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mended by raspberries

for Mary

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drove all the way to Flume Ridge

to pick those berries, large as thimbles

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red as blood after we’d pricked

our fingers on needled vines

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crossed the covered bridge to nowhere

the through road blocked, the way broken

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the covered bridge at our backs

the roar of the flume in our ears

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the tipple of honey bees

lightheaded in the berry canes

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This poem appears in my book, within easy reach, Chapel Street Editions, 2016.

Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

December 9, 2016 at 9:25 am

pick faster

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October 21, 2016 ‘blueberries’, Jane Tims

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pick faster

for Dad

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blue ripens as morning, deft fingers

noisy pails, hail on metal gutters

this bush spent, unsatisfactory

berries over there fatter

bluer

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I am certain I see, beside mine

my father’s hands, callused

and quick

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berries roll between

thumb and fingers

I try to meet

his expectation

pick faster

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Published in: ‘within easy reach’, Chapel Street Editions, 2016

Copyright Jane Tims 2016

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October 21, 2016 ‘sweet hurts’ Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 9, 2016 at 8:35 am

so many kinds of apples

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October 24, 2016 ‘yellow transparent’ Jane Tims

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orchard outing

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wooden bushel baskets

of laughter, delirious tumble down

the avenue of trees, shadows ripple

among the dapples, Cortlands tied

with scarlet ribbons

burdened

boughs

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my son grown tall

on his father’s shoulders

stretches to pick the McIntosh

with the reddest shine

small hand

barely able

to grip the apple

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Published: ‘within easy reach’, Chapel Street Editions, 2016

Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

November 7, 2016 at 7:49 am

next reading of ‘within easy reach’

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My fifth reading this month of my book ‘within easy reach’ will take place at 7PM on Wednesday evening (October 26, 2016) at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 1224 Highway 101 in Nasonworth, New Brunswick.  This will be the first of the Authors Coffee Hour series being held by our church in the coming months.

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There will be refreshments including apple squares prepared from local ingredients by Real Food Connections in Fredericton. A local musician will be providing music. And $10 from every book sold will be donated to the Fredericton Food Bank.

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If you are in the Fredericton area, please join me at this event! I will be reading poems to help sustain us through the long months ahead – about picking berries, making jelly and spending time in the apple orchard. My poems will also take you to the woodlands and coastal areas of New Brunswick, to sample foods you may never have tasted! And my poems will encourage you to ‘eat local’!

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Hope to see you there!!!!!

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

 

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