"A plant is a living, growing thing. It partakes of the soil and air and sunshine. It propagates its kind and covers the face of the earth. It has much with which to contend."
Liberty Hyde Bailey

 

It may not tell time using Athanasius Kircher's sunflower clock, but Joshua Avram's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities (and Unnatural Curiosities) has a great fondness for odd plants and the plant hunters who discovered them. The articles in this section include descriptions of annuals, exotic flowers, exotic house plants, and a few rare, weird plants with characteristics that are uniquely their own. Articles on alternative gardening methods such as hydroponic gardening and "square foot" gardening are also featured.

 

Elsewhere on this site, particularly in Joshua Avram's Literary & Pictorial Log of Naturalia & Artificialia, readers can discover accounts of plant explorers like Alexander von Humboldt, Friedrich Welwitsch, and Conrad Gessner; descriptions of odd creatures, insects, and parasites; and reviews of obscure novels and arthouse films.

 

Chess in Cinema

As metaphor, microcosm, or harbinger of future conflict, chess has been put to great use by directors and screenwriters.

 

The History and Benefits of Ergonomics

How more efficient movement and better-designed furniture can reduce injury and increase productivity.

 

The Airbus A380

A brief history of Airbus and the A380, the largest passenger airliner in the world.

 

Exotic Flowers

Orchids, birds of paradise, flamingo lilies: are these exotic flowers or creatures frozen in mid-metamorphosis?

 

The History of Music Boxes

Inspired by snuff boxes and enduring as ring tones, music boxes have survived and adapted across the centuries.

 

What is Square Foot Gardening?

It’s a grid. It’s a bed. It’s a box. It’s square foot gardening.

 

Hydroponic Gardening Guide

Hydroponic gardening presents an interesting paradox: it has existed for millennia, yet it may also be the untested future of global agriculture.

 

Nutrition Facts About Antioxidants

What exactly is an antioxidant and what does it do? This guide to nutrition facts has the details.

 

Fertilizer Facts

The ratio 12-8-10 might sound like the ideal body measurements for today’s boyish Hollywood actresses, but it’s actually a series of percentages explained by the mysterious acronym NPK.

 

Planting Flowering Annuals

Annuals, to paraphrase from Rabelais, “trusting too much in their hopeful time, live but a while, and perish in their prime.”

 

Annual Flowers Guide

If you’re of the generation that’s more familiar with Stankonia than begonia, you probably find the typical annual flowers guide a little boring. Problem solved.

 

Exotic House Plants

Exotic house plants that eat bugs, purify the air, and are covered in polka dots—though not all three at once.

 

Weird Rare Plants

What do a three-foot flower, a 1,500-year-old desert plant, and a subterranean parasite have in common? Nothing, really.