Since the launch of #AdventBotany on 1st December 2014 with a post on ivy I’ve had the privelege of working with a huge range of other professional and amateur botanists, horticulturists and historians. I’ve also discovered new and sometimes quite bizarre events linking botany with midwinter. Every year I end up buying a few odds and ends to help me illustrate the blogs or just to learn more about this seasonal subject. This year I’ve bought some powdered orris root (not a root!) to find out what it smells like, a copy of Roy Vickery’s Folk Flora (a Christmas present for my dad), a second hand copy of 75 remarkable fruits for your garden (a wonderful illustrated volume in a rather Art Nouveau style cover) and a jar of Lingonberry jam (from IKEA).
All of these seem like very normal and perhaps rather pedestrian items when compared with a purchase I made in 2016 of an object described as 4-1/2″ tall (batteries included). This specialist equipment was a yodelling pickle (lurid green plastic, battery powered and with a motion detector). In the 2016 blog I explained the history of gherkins on trees, or more accurately introduced the three competing origins for the Christmas pickle:
1) It’s an old German tradition;
2) it arose in the American Civil War;
3) it’s a medieval story about two Spanish boys trapped in a barrel and saved by St Nicholas.
Not only does Archie McPhee manufacture yodelling gherkins, it’s Seattle shop is also home to the Rubber Chicken Museum (yes, really!) and the display os mysteries from “Room 6”. Who needs the X Files.
Index to Advent Botany 2020