Botany - The Science Bringing Beautiful Bounty from the plant, fungi and protista kingdoms

When young one of our staff used to wonder about the point of plants (a BBC Infinite Monkey Cage episode lightheartedly asking this very question is here). Older and perhaps wiser we now know that without plants we are cactus. Actually no, worse - humans and aerobic life on Earth is kaput! This collection celebrates some of the botanical beauty we have around us and the plant-ologist phyla that study them.

There is consistent research too that suggest we are genetically predisposed to love nature and benefit from being close to nature and botany gives us this … in spades (or in pots or forests), even in space!

Also change your garden to be more insect and environmentally friendly with Professor Dave Goulson of Sussex University - watch his youtube channel here and / or read his book “The Garden Jungle: or Gardening to Save the Planet” here.

(see also the “Love the World You’re On” & “Appreciate The Earth” collections and their associated deeper dive into the design inspirations)

A hat tip too to our fungi friends (and algae with research here and here highlighting they can produce lots of useful things) with this quote:

No fungi, no forests, no forests no future” Emeritus Professor Tony Whalley

And lets not forget the comfort of a nice mossy bed – learn more about these amazing ancient plants on Stuff You Should Know

{And yes we know fungi and algae are not strictly under botany but hey its still all part of nature's non-animal wonderful bounty :-)} 

Some Podcasts, books and videos

Space Boffins – Flowers In Spacefeaturing Emma Doughty discussing the first growth of a fruiting vegetable in space and inspiration for the astronaut Scott Kelly announcing “There’s mould on me zinnias” picture.

Emma Doughty’s Gardeners of the Galaxy podcast and her related site

The Unconventional Gardener

Branch out – a fascinating podcast series from the Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney

Listen to Professor Pete Smith talk about the importance of soil and particularly peat bogs in storing carbon on Jim Al-Khalili’s A Life Scientific here and one of his videos here

BBC’s 5 Live Science’s Sally Le Page (from the Naked Scientists) visits a passionate ‘paludiculturist’, Lorna Parker, at the Waterworks Project on the Great Fen of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northhamptonshire Wildlife Trust with the podcast here (about 22min 45 sec in). Read about the project here

Also find out more about the overall Irish & UK peatlands programme here

Cuvette Centrale region in the Congo Basin is the world’s tropical peatland discussed on Deutche Welle’s Living Planet with Sam Baker here and listen to her podcast on the connection between air-conditioning and peatlands here

And we are seeing Siberia’s permafrost thawing and peatlands releasing more methane potentially indicating a critical tipping point may be very near.

And lets not forget mangrove swamps in the tropics  listen to the ABC’s Science Show discuss Mangroves & sea grasses 40-50x more efficient at storing carbon than terrestrial forests