Imagination Week and so long to Twinkles.

Imagination Week. This should be fun!

Twinkles-Spring Thaw
Got to go - Melting! See you next winter.

What are those fuzzy lines between imagination, memory, and dreams?  Is that the core of imagination?  Hard to say… any ideas? Comment to The Botanicals and let us know your thoughts. We think imagination is all that plus freedom of your “inner self” to let “it” out . What’s”It” ? “It” is whatever form suits you – drawing, music, words, dance, acting, cooking, singing, etc. it’s all good.

The first order of business this week is that Twinkle, Goddess of the Shimmering Snow, wants to say Goodbye until next year. It is getting way to warm for her and she is  heading  North to stay cool and not melt away.   As you may remember, she comes in with the winter winds but that means she must leave when the spring temps arrive.  She left many charts and reports on the “dirty snow” from pollutions. She is worried.  Her message as she heads out-of-town:
1) Please, conserve your “ things needs” – you may just want instead of need it . It all ups to used fuel/energy to make the items, deliver to items, and then to possibly trash the items. 2) Please, conserve on your gas and get some exercise. Don’t drive if you can walk or bike ride!
3) Please pay attention and – Recycle your stuff… Reuse what you can…. Reduce your carbon footprint.

Beauty in Sustainable Architecture – more specifically, home dwellings

Yum: Reading Home-Design Book and House Plans

This turned into a little bigger of a subject matter than Yum bargained for: Here are some interesting excerpts for an array of sites…. She went from the small site to the broad stroke of HGTV. First she asked herself and of others – “What does living green mean to you?”

One of her favorite inserts came from Pure Green, and it’s photographer and friend, Erin Monett. puregreendesign.blogspot.
“Living green boils down to respect.  Respect for one’s health and quality of life, and respect for all the earth and creation. I believe we’ve only been given one planet. As far as I’m concerned we have (and continue to) mess it up. It’s our moral obligation to take ownership and make that wrong, right again. Everyone can learn to live a little greener! Make educated decisions about what you are feeding your children, pouring down your drain, and financially supporting in your purchases    BTW- thanks to Céline MacKay, Editor in Chief and founder of Pure Green Magazine!

Then Yum asks herself a bigger questions of what is ” Sustainable architecture” – since your home is indeed architecture of some kind or another. In it’s most simple form Yum says- it simply means that your architecture (home) strives  to be as small a negative impact of the environment as possible. That is done first with design and the materials of your home to enhance it’s efficiency, then what energy that you will consume as the resident of that home, and again, how can you maximize the efficiency. How can your home and your own footprint be as  small as possible on the world?

Further poking around Yum found and liked this:  (HGTV) The 8 categories and the total possible points for each are as follows:

What Makes a Home Green?
  1. Innovation and Design Process. 9 possible points are given for using special design methods, unique regional credits, measures not currently addressed in the Rating System, and exemplary performance levels.
    2. Location and Linkages. 10 possible points are given for placing homes in socially and environmentally responsible ways in relation to the larger community.
    3. Sustainable Sites. 21 possible points are given for using the entire property so as to minimize the project’s impact on the site.
    4. Water Efficiency. 15 possible points are given for indoor and outdoor water conservation practices built in to the home.
    5. Energy and Atmosphere. 38 possible points are given for improving energy efficiency, particularly in the building envelope and heating and cooling design.
    6. Materials and Resources. 14 possible points are given for selecting environmentally preferable materials, efficiently using materials, and minimizing waste during construction.
    7. Indoor Environmental Quality. 20 possible points are given for improving indoor air quality by reducing possible air pollution. 
8. Awareness and Education. 3 possible points are given for educating the homeowner, tenant, and building manager (for larger multifamily buildings) about the operations and maintenance of their home’s green features.

How this for truly a GREEN DWELLING! Super efficient small dwelling  http://www.minibpassivehouse.com/ Follow link to see a lovely drawing of the home.

Next: A home in Michigan that the front glass is put in to reflect the water it is on so it “blends” instead of sticking out from its surroundings. “Because modeling sustainable building practices was a key goal of the project, Baker was averse to demolishing the existing cottage on the property. Instead, builder Luke Gingerich and his crew at Golden Rule Construction removed the pitched roof from the cottage, stripped it to the studs, and used the framing and foundation in the new house.

The old cottage now makes up most of the private quarters, including a small o…ffice, laundry room and master suite downstairs, plus a den, a bathroom and two small bedrooms upstairs. It connects to the new pavilion in a modular, very modern floor plan that doubles the size to 3,000 square feet.” Read the whole story and see a photo of the home.

Do you love to look at house/home photos. Yum does, I do and if you do too- a whole array of amazing Sustainable Homes around the world. Lush photos, a brief description of the homes. Brought to you by  http://www.besthousedesign.com/category/houses-design/green-house/. FAB!!!!!!

Last but certainly not least. So – what makes a home a Sustainable Home?   According to  http://sustainablehouseandhome.com/what-makes-a-sustainable-home/ which is a site is dedicated to those principles that we believe will have the greatest impact to limit our footprints on this blue and green planet we co-inhabit.

“This is a simple answer in terms of coming from a knowledge of these things.  However, when trying to come up with a concrete and succinct answer, it is sometimes a bit more difficult.  The simplest answer is to say that what makes a house a sustainable home is that it is not only built from materials that are harvested or manufactured in a way that is supportive of the larger global environment, but that is in constant balance and harmony with the environment that it is a part of as well.  In other words, it is constructed of materials that support a more ‘green friendly’ – we’ll get to that as well – approach and is also surrounded, supported and maintained in this fashion as well.”

Sounds good to Yum – she is ready to go and start designing her Sustainable Home!

Yum has had a great time this week – she learned a ton and hope you did too. Happy Beauty to one and all!

Tomorrow- Fun Fact Friday…

Botanical Beauties – Meet The Blossoms honoring Japan

In honor of Japan. Meet The Blossoms (Sakura and Tanka) – the newest creatures to join the Botanical Beauty and Beasties. Their core is from Cherry Blossoms, but they are created from blossoms of all kinds.

Given the state of disrepair and tragedy in Japan The Botanicals believed it would be nice to have a breath of beauty. Hence, this weeks theme of Beauty and why The Blossoms came to stay. Sakura and Tanka are all about beauty, strength, and unity with, and for, one another. They hope that the possibility of closing your eyes and resting is possible, even when mass chaos surrounds you, and that hopefully there is a bit of beauty in your minds eye at that time of respite.

cherry blossom is the flower of the cherry trees known as sakura (桜 or 櫻; さくら). Cherry blossoms are indigenous to many East Asian states including Japan, Korea, and China. Japan has a wide variety of cherry blossoms (sakura.) Cherry blossoms are celebrated for their beauty.

Why the name Tanka and what does it mean?  Tanka (短歌)  is a short poem and part of a larger Group called Waka, which literally means Japanese poem. The term waka originally encompassed a number of differing forms – Tanka being one of the five. Of the five only Tanka survived and so the term aka eventually came to refer only to tanka.

Beauty ON us… Are you an Eco-Fashionista?

Save the Earth with Good style! You walk around – why not look good and so promote Sustainable Beauty!

Fashion and Green – it can be tricky but doesn’t need to be…With a little effort there are LOTS of choices in Green fashion today – Green (as in Eco) is the new black  for fashion! Join in the trend – it’s actually pretty easy!

Yum researching resources for Eco Fashion Beauty

Yum has done some research – she found a very nice link from Eco Chick. Here’s the link Online Resources for Ecofashion, Beauty and Green Goodness … and then there are some easy finds- Levis Jeans has an organic line and waterless (!), Whole Foods has some great clothing and Premium Body Care… Many brands are adding “green fashion and beauty” to their collections. As M.S. would say – “It’s a good thing.” Wondering about waterless – check out http://airdye.com/Synthetic textile-dyeing consumes 2.4 trillion gallons of water a year, enough to fill 3,700,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. AirDye reduces water use up to 95 percent.** “

Sticking to our Boston base from yesterday – check this out!  A “Boston-based IVEE is a fashion forward sportswear company dedicated to creating luxuriously comfortable sportswear embodying simple glamour and natural elegance.” Items look very nice on line…I am anxious to try some out! http://www.iveestyle.com/ Here is a way to carry all your cool green stuff around – check out Green Style On The Go®  at www.sakysacks.com. Very Cute! Very Pretty!

Are You Up on Eco-Chic Green Fashion Lingo? Learn the green fashion terms.

100% Organic Cotton: To be considered 100 percent organic, cotton must be “certified by a third party (such as the USDA), following strict guidelines for growing the fiber, using no disallowed synthetic chemicals.

Bamboo: A textile made from the pulp of the fast growing bamboo plant that’s soft, highly water absorbent, and anti-bacterial.

Fair Trade: Fair trade companies look at more than just the bottom line. They look at development as a whole and create more of a partnership with suppliers, which makes for a fairer exchange system where workers get paid fair wages and work under good conditions.

Hemp: A strong fabric sewn from the fibers of the fast growing cannabis plant (a variety that contains virtually no THC, the active ingredient in marijuana).

Recycled/Upcycled: Material that’s been reprocessed at the end of its life into something new and useful.

Sustainable: Describes a product created by a process that can continue indefinitely without causing environmental destruction or usurping resources.

All sorts of fun fashion green info here!

http://www.squidoo.com/eco-chic#module11609300

Beauty in Gardens:Boston Common and Boston Public Garden

This week is all about Beauty.

Yum will be the spokeswoman of the week. She feels with all that has gone in the world in the past few weeks we all need a break and breath of fresh air- hence the theme of Beauty this week!

Yums Story/Job: Yum is a magic fairy. She flies over the land and sea and keeps all in love and peace. She has extraordinary sight, so she sees all, knows all, and helps all.
 (Mixed floral)

The focus of today will be natural beauty – enhanced by humans for our joy of beauty – served up by Public Gardens! Since Yums home turf before she moved to Botaniumus was New England – and the Boston area in particular she want to chat about Boston famous Commons and gardens.

Boston Common was America’s first park, the Boston Public Garden its first public botanical garden.  The commons have seen the likes of George Washington & John Adams in 1768. In WWI victory gardens sprouted up in an WWII  The Commons gave it’s all in giving up most of its iron fencing for scrape metal. It was in the Commons that Charles Lindbergh promoted commercial aviation!

Peaking out
Yum and Charles Lindbergh (Photo from top-10-list.org)

In the 19th Century Bostonians added trees, fountains and statuary. The Common became the park-like greenspace we know today. The park includes ballfields, a totlot and the Frog Pond, which provides skating in winter and a spray pool for children in the summer…. The Public Garden was created in 1837, Boston Common in 1634. What a difference two centuries made. From its inception, the Public Garden was decorative and flowery, the Common pastoral and practical. The Common’s walkways were for crosstown travel, the Public Garden’s paths for meandering. The Common was America’s first park, the Public Garden its first public botanical garden.

This style of park, featuring the gardener’s art, was ushered in by Victorians who had new techniques readily available to collect, hybridize and propagate plants. They had access to showy annuals. Greenhouse-grown plants could assure that displays would be seen at their peak. With such abilities, they bedded-out the Garden in intricate floral patterns of blazing color and planted exotic imported trees. These features are clear in the design by George Meacham, who won the public design competition for the Garden. The prize was $100. … We (Boston Gov) maintain the Victorian traditions for the most part, and we feature the Garden as one of Boston’s great attractions…The plants used in bedding-out the Public Garden are grown in the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s greenhouses. Over 80 species of plants are cultivated there for future plantings in the Garden –

All information is from http://www.cityofboston.gov/Parks/emerald/public_garden.asp

I bet you can't regulate your body temp by your nose – a Toucan can!

FUN FACTS FRIDAY!

Since Mimi is a parrot – our fact this week is about Toco Toucan! Yes, I know a Toucan not a parrot – but hey they look sort of alike!

“A toucan is not a parrot. Toucans, or ramphastids are a family of birds in the order piciformes. Woodpeckers, and barbets are also in the order piciformes. Parrot actually refers to an entire order of birds, the psitticiformes, and since toucans are piciformes rather than psitticiformes they are not a parrot.” from Answers.com

http://www.animalfactguide.com/animalfacts/toco-toucan/

Photo from Animal Fact Guide

Toco Toucan

Ramphastos toco

Measuring 63.5 cm (25 in.) in length, the toco toucan is the largest of all toucans. Its black body and white throat are overshadowed by its most recognizable trait: a large colorful beak.

The bright orange beak is about 19 cm (8 in.) long – one third of the bird’s total length. But despite its substantial size, the beak weighs less than you may think. Composed of the protein keratin, the structure of beak incorporates many air pockets allowing for a very low mass.

Furthermore, recent research has concluded that toucans regulate body temperature by adjusting the flow of blood to their beak. More blood flow means more heat is released. When toucans sleep, they tuck their beak under their feathers to keep them warm.

Toco toucans also use their beaks to pluck and peel fruit, their main source of food. In addition, the beak houses a flat tongue of the same length, which helps the toucan catch insects, frogs, and reptiles. Toco toucans also occasionally eat the eggs of other birds.

Although they spend much of their time in trees, they are not very good at flying. Toucans mainly travel among trees by hopping. When they do take flight, they flap their wings vigorously and glide, traveling only short distances.

Toucans nest in the hollows of trees. They often move into cavities created and abandoned by woodpeckers. Several toucans live together in a single hollow.

It is in these hollows that they lay their eggs, generally two to four a year. Both parents incubate the eggs for 16-20 days. Once the chicks hatch, both parents continue to care for the young. Baby toucans are not born with an excessively large beak; the beak grows as the birds develop.

Native to South America, toco toucans inhabit a range of habitats including tropical forests, savannas, and shrubland.

Conservation Status

Because toco toucans can live in a variety of habitats, they are not as susceptible to rainforest destruction as other species. Their population has not been determined, but it is thought to be large due to the frequency of sightings within their range. As such, the toco toucan is listed by theIUCN as being of least concern, and there are no specific efforts to protect the species.

What You Can Do to Help

Although toco toucans are not considered threatened, you can still help protect their habitat. Avoid buying products made from rainforest wood and help raise funds to help protect the rainforests of South America.

Native to South America, toco toucans inhabit a range of habitats including tropical forests, savannas, and shrubland.

A Bird in Ireland?

So the new Wildlife in our case was bird or bird like.  If we play with the word “bird” – it means Attractive Female. I would say that BOTH girls fit that discretion. Mimi in a more traditional sense and Maddie is a little more of a funk/individualistic look!

Just for fun, and since we are playing with words…. Vaboom (remember she is the New Word Tracker) looked up and thought about the word Bird!

Here are some definitions she found.

–noun

1.any warm-blooded vertebrate of the class Aves, having a body covered with feathers, forelimbs modified into wings, scaly legs, a beak, and no teeth, and bearing young in a hard-shelled egg.
2. a fowl or game bird.
3. Slang . a person, especially one having some peculiarity: He’s a queer bird.
5. Informal . an aircraft, spacecraft, or guided missile.
6. Cookery . a thin piece of meat, poultry, or fish rolled around a stuffing and braised: veal birds.
7. Chiefly British Slang . a girl or young woman.
8. an obscene gesture of contempt made by raising the middle finger.

Oh – and by the way – Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Bettcha did not know that there is a whole site for Irish Birding! http://www.irishbirding.com/birds/web. Our girls are not from Ireland but still fun!

The Key West Girls come to town!

Mimi- the parrot. Mimi has taken the shape of a Parrot to bring to awareness the birds of the tropics and how endangered many species are. 85 of the 340 living species of parrots in the wild are endangered… Mimi was inspired by Nancy Forrester and The MANA project (www.mamaproject.org). Mimi is created from all Key West flowers in Nancy’s Secret Garden. She is flamboyant and beautiful wanting to be noticed!  If she is able to help save the parrots she will be a happy bird herself!

Madelyn: (Maddie for Short) comes up from Key West- she is a Beach girl and it is fitting her role is “Beach Conservation.” She roams the beaches, keeping her eyes on erosion, pollution, marine life and beach fun! She keeps her trusty water bottle with her at all times so she stays “hydrated” and ready to go. Beach Conservation also means trying to keep the very fragile Dunes healthy. Dunes act as dikes and reservoirs to replenish the beach. It’s all-important stuff and Maddie wants you to know about it.

Maddie is from plants at The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden. “The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden is the only “frost-free” botanical garden in the continental United States. A tropical environment with ample rain allows most trees to retain their leaves in the dry season (December through late May). It is home to many endangered and threatened flora and fauna. Tropical forests of the world hold at least half of all the variety of life on Earth. Moreover, the species found with the Caribbean are among the richest in plant and animal life on the planet.” http://www.keywestbotanicalgarden.org

Getting ready for the Key West visitors- can't wait to see them!

Izabella is getting The Knowledge Café  ready for another party- this time Key West style. The party will be as the sun sets (alah Key West style)  – followed by cheers and dancing (Flex promises to come back to dance!) The beverages will be of the naturally sunny citrus sort. Izabella would have liked to have the party outside- but alas, still not warm enough, especially for those Southern Key West visitors.

BUSY BUSY BUSY. CLeaning the Knowledge Cafe-Green cleaning of course.  Notice her leaves on her feet- they clean and dust as she moves, her feather duster in one hand and her recycle bag with her other “tools” in her other. She has her cleaning cap on is ready to go! For a green guide to cleaning check out http://on.natgeo.com/hPS6Ak.

It is National Wildlife Week!

“Held annually since 1938, National Wildlife Week is NWF’s longest-running education program. National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is featuring 9 species of wildlife.” http://www.nwf.org/en/Wildlife/Activities/National-Wildlife-Week.aspx

Hold on and grip your chair—Botanical Beauties and Beasties has exciting news!  In honor of National Wildlife Week, The Key West Girls are coming to town! They will be arriving on Whimsy Wednesday so be sure to check in and meet them. Here’s a sneak peek. Ahhhyeah… Aww… So Pretty!  Thanks to NWF for declaring it National Wildlife Week. Yahoo!

It’s gonna be a fun week. Spring is trying to pop out, new Beauties (or maybe Beasties) come to visit- maybe stay, as always some eco knowledge and a few fun facts. The creatures are bursting with excitement.

Tweet the news – the Key West girls are on their way! @twitter.com/BotanicalB_B

écologiste

Did you noticed the French theme the last week? Vaboom is pleased to have a new international friend. It is such a nice way to learn words, culture and views of life. Environmental words are the most exciting to her. She giggles for all she knows now is “Jacques Cousteau.”  She looked up “Environmental” to see what the French would be and she found  “du milieu; de l’environnement, écologiste.”  She likes the sound of  “écologiste” – so that will be her word of the week, and our topic in general this week.  Her New French Friend will be visiting Botaniums soon, and you too will get to meet him!

In admiration of Ecoology Week it was voted that Wessie (Wes) would be the spokesman for this topic this week.

Wessie (Wes)As you may remember –“ Wes soars high above the lands and sea to keep an eye both the Botaniumus citizens as well as the “others” i.e. the WoMes (us humans.) Wes’s job is Liaison of Botaniums and WoMes.To keep the “green lifestyle” active for both sides and incorporate great ideas from one to the other.

(Wisteria and Lilacs)