Of green thumbs, bleeding hearts and how the tea Robert Fortune stole from China changed the world.
For all the tea and flowers in China: «Il botanico inglese» will be published in Italy on September 26th.
Blooming again in town: Fortune´s Double Yellow and Weigela florida, discovered in China and brought to Europe by «my» nineteenth century botanist Robert Fortune.
I had a great audience last week in the Citizens´ Hall of Konstanz with Robert Fortune’s journey through the land of flowers and tea.
And I finally managed to obtain a photograph of myself during an author reading …
Due to storm Xavier, I nearly missed my author reading of «The English Botanist» in the North of Germany last week. With luck and the help of my publisher and the bookstore, I nevertheless made it there (and back home) – and after quite an odyssey, I had one of the most wonderful author readings ever. A charming old lady in the audience even had something special for me: the seed pod of one of her camellias.
… in a time lapse of 45 seconds.
Roughly 170 years after Robert Fortune took up the tea’s trail in China, unlocked its secrets and established the tea of Darjeeling with smuggled seedlings, this story now takes the other way round.
In Cornwall, an English gardener has managed to cultivate Camellia sinensis, and the manufactured tea is exported as far as … China.
The peony is one of the oldest flower symbols in Asian culture; together with the plum blossom, it is even the traditional floral symbol of China. The queen of all flowers and the flower of the Emperor. The flower promising riches and honour and allegory for the beauty of woman.
The shapes and colors of the peonies flowering in our gardens at the moment originate from the peonies found in China and brought to Europe by Robert Fortune.
I’ve always been a flower girl.
After five years’ work, scientists of the Kunming Institute of Botany in China have published a first draft of the genome of the tea shrub Camellia sinensis: more than four times the size of the coffee plant genome and much larger than most sequenced plant species.
The results of this and further research aim at learning more about what makes this plant so special – and at decoding the secrets of tea on a genetic basis.
“My” botanist Robert Fortune would be thrilled.