X

Artists Manipulate the Way Grass Grows to Create Living Photos

Most people don’t pay any attention to grass and the way it grows, but British artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey have always been fascinated by it and have found an ingenious way to incorporate it into their art. By manipulating the way grass grows, they are able to literally print detailed photographs onto a living wall of grass that develops according to how much light it receives.

The two artists start by covering a large canvas with water paste and rubbing germinated seeds all over it. They then cover the windows of their studio turning into a dark room, and making sure that the only light that reaches the canvas is projected through a slide of a negative photograph. They then let photosynthesis run its course, and in a few weeks time the grass-covered canvas grows into a living print of the photograph. The amount of light shining through different parts of the negative determines which parts of the canvas turn out a vibrant green, and which remain yellow and undeveloped, making the details of the image clearly visible from a distance.

grass-photographs Read More »

Watermelon Plant That Yielded 131 Fruit in a Single Harvest Sets New World Record

Watermelon plants usually yield only 1 to 4 fruit per harvest, but a new variety created by an agricultural technology company in China has recently set a new Guinness Record after yielding no less than 131 massive fruit.

The Chinese seem to be really good at creating super plants. Just weeks after we posted about their impressive “octopus tomato trees” that can yield over 30,000 fruits at a time, we bring you the “watermelon king”, a new breed of watermelon that can set over 100 viable fruits per plant. Created by the Zhengzhou Research Seedling Technology Co., Ltd., the plant has been acknowledged as the most productive watermelon plant in the world after yielding 131 fruit in just 90 days.

Tianlong-1508-watermelon Read More »

Woman Turns Her Brooklyn Home into a Lush Urban Jungle

Fashion Model Summer Rayne Oakes has been living in a 1,200-square-foot converted industrial space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for 11 years, and during in that time she has managed to turn it into a stunning oasis filled with 500 plants, including a living wall, an irrigated vertical garden, a closet garden, edibles and exotic species.

“I think that the only way I’ve really been able to survive in New York is by surrounding myself with plants,” Oakes told Modern Farmer Magazine, which makes sense considering she grew up in a country house on five acres of land in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, surrounded by domestic animals and lots of plants. It was fashion modelling that first brought her to the Big Apple, but that, and everything else she has been involved in since relocating to the big city, has been about raising awareness to the environment.

“It was the modeling at start because at that point in time I wanted to look at how I could bring environmental awareness out to a wider audience,” Summer said in an interview with 6sqft. “I got kind of stuck on the idea that I could do it through fashion. Not that I had ever really been involved or interested in it, and I didn’t even know how to get there other than by meeting people. Putting myself back into my 18-year-old self, it was the idea of wow, I think fashion could be a really cool way to disseminate environmental awareness.”

Summer-Rayne-Oakes-plants4 Read More »

“Octopus Tomato Trees” Can Yield up to 32,000 Tomatoes per Harvest

They might look like something created in a laboratory, but these “octopus tomato trees” are merely hybrids that grow from a single tomato vine but spread on a large trellis. Their crown grows to about 40-50 square meters and they yield tens of thousands of tomatoes every season.

The first time I saw a photo of an octopus tomato tree online, I was convinced it was nothing more than a clever hoax. It looked pretty cool though, so I decided to do a bit of research, just to be sure. At first, I only found a couple of mentions of these impressive plants on some gardening sites, but they didn’t offer much info on them, like how they are grown and where they can be found. Luckily, I stumbled across a travel blog that mentioned these tomato trees as a tourist attraction at Walt Disney World Resort. It even had a few photos of the trees, so I was starting to believe they were actually real. Soon after that, I found a bunch of people selling tomato trees on sites like eBay and Aliexpress, and even a short YouTube clip, so I finally decided they would make a great addition to our collection of amazing things most people don’t even know exist.

octopus-tomato-tree Read More »

Floral Designer Creates Living Jewelry That Grows While You Wear It

Designer Susan McLeary is taking the jewelry world by storm with her incredibly stunning accessories made from living plants. She uses real succulents hand-picked from her family-owned greenhouse to craft intricate headpieces, necklaces, rings, bracelets, and other pieces of  bio-jewelry that literally grow on you.

Each piece from McLeary’s ‘Passionflower’ collection can be worn for two to four weeks before the plants begin to grow off their metal base. When this happens, wearers can simply remove the succulents from their metal base and re-pot them to keep in their homes. The brass jewelry bases can still be worn on their own. If the pieces are worn for special occasions like weddings, the potted succulents become all the more significant.

living-jewelry Read More »

Japanese Company Wants to Sell You These Awesome Levitating Bonsai Trees

Bonsai – the art of growing miniature trees in shallow pots – is pretty cool in itself, but a Japanese company is taking it to the next level with ‘Air Bonsai’an invention that has the miniature trees levitate and rotate about half an inch above their pots.

Considering how mindblowing the effect is, it’s easy to mistake Air Bonsai for an optical illusion, but it is in fact quite real. Hoshinchu, the company developing the product, apparently wanted to incorporate elements of our galaxy into the idea of miniature plants. So their creation consists of two main components – ‘little star’ and ‘energy base’.

The little star is a levitating moss ball that you can transplant any bonsai plant into. It also has a rotating mechanism that runs on an AC adaptor. The energy base is made of Imari, a traditional Japanese porcelain art. It conducts magnetic energy that makes the plant float. The system is similar to the one used in OM/ONE speakers. “Each Air Bonsai is unique,” the page states, “ranging from elegant flowering plants, bold ‘matsu’ (pines), to delightful mosses.”

Air-Bonsai Read More »

Bad with Plants? This High-Tech Flower Pot Can Keep Any Plant Alive

If you’ve always wanted to grow plants but aren’t blessed with a green thumb, the ‘Parrot Pot’ is just the thing for you. It’s a smart pot that pretty much grows plants itself, keeping them alive no matter how badly you mess up.

Priced at $99, the Parrot Pot has sensors that measure light, moisture, temperature, and the level of fertilizer, ensuring that the plant always gets what it needs. If it finds that more light, water, or fertilizer is required, it sends the user alerts through a smartphone app called Flower Power. What’s more, it can actually water your plants for you using a pre-filled water tanks. 

parrot-flower-pot

Read More »

These “Walking Trees” in Ecuador Can Allegedly Move Up to 20 Meters per Year

The Socratea exorrhiza is perhaps the world’s only mobile tree. They say its complicated system of roots also serves as legs, helping the tree constantly move towards sunlight as the seasons change. Walking trees can apparently move up to 2-3 cm per day, or 20 meters per year. That may not sound like much, but it’s pretty much a marathon by tree-standards.

Rainforest guides in Latin American countries like Ecuador have been telling tourists about the amazing walking trees for decades now. The most common version of the story is that the tree slowly ‘walks’ in search of the sun by growing new roots towards the light and allowing its old roots to die. The unusual roots, split from the trunk a few feet above the ground, add to the illusion of the tree having legs.

“As the soil erodes, the tree grows new, long roots that find new and more solid ground, sometimes up to 20m,” explained Peter Vrsansky, a palaeobiologist from the Slovak Academy of Sciences who lived for a few months in the Unesco Sumaco Biosphere Reserve, about a day’s journey from Ecuador’s capital Quito.

walking-trees-Ecuador Read More »

Nemo’s Garden – Italy’s Revolutionary Underwater Fruit and Vegetable Farm

In a bid to explore alternative methods of growing produce, an Italian company has created the world’s first underwater farm. The futuristic station – aptly named Nemo’s Garden – consists of five transparent biospheres anchored to the bottom of the sea off the coast of Savona, Italy. They’re being used to grow strawberries, basil, beans, garlic, and lettuce.

“The main target of this project is to create alternative sources of plant production in areas where environmental conditions make it difficult to grow crops through conventional farming, including lack of fresh water, fertile soils, and extreme temperature changes,” said project spokesperson Luca Gamberini. “We are trying to find an alternative and economically viable technology enabling efficient production.”

Nemo-Garden-project Read More »

This Ukrainian 220-Year-Old Apple Tree Has a Very Unique Way of Staying Alive

The city of Krolevets, in Ukraine’s Sumy region, is home to the world’s most unique apple garden, consisting of only one tree. Spanning 10 acres, the 220-year-old tree – known as ‘apple tree colony’ – has dozens of individually rooted trunks that constantly spring to life, making it seemingly impossible to die.

The tree seems to have worked out a brilliant survival strategy, and it looks prepared to survive for centuries to come. It started off as a regular tree, but as it aged, its branches bent so low to the ground that they started to take root as well. Every time one of the ingrown trunks dies, its branches immediately bend to the ground and take root. It had only nine trunks in 1970, but that number had doubled by 2008.

Krolevets-apple-tree8 Read More »

Artist Creates Colorful Collages with Flowers and Plants

Seattle-based Bridget Beth Collins mixes her love of nature with her interest in art to create stunning collages out of colorful flower petals, leaves, twigs and whatever plant materials she can get her hands on.

Collins, gathers materials for her collages from the areas surrounding her home in Ravenna, in Seattle. She then arranges the pieces into intricate shapes, using the natural colors to create a sense of depth. Through her intrinsic understanding or color and texture, she is able to transform flower petals into feathered birds, berries into sea creatures, and leaves into human faces.

Bridget-Beth-Collins

Read More »

French Botanist’s Paris Home Is a Regular Urban Jungle

French Botanist Patrick Blanc, is known as a master of vertical gardens. During his long career, he has designed hundreds of lush “green walls” that cover both the inside and outside of buildings all around the globe, but none are as impressive as the small urban jungle he calls home, on the outskirts of Paris

61-year-old Blanc makes vertical gardens by attaching metal frames to walls, covering them with PVC and rot-proof felts, and then setting up an irrigation system that dampens the felt and keeps the plants well hydrated. Since 1988, he has created hundreds of these botanical tapestries in public and private spaces around the world – including the Marithé & François Girbaud boutique in Manhattan, the Siam Paragon shopping center in Bangkok and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan.

Expanding on his unique method, Blanc worked on his dream home in the outskirts of Paris, in collaboration with architect Gilles Ebersolt. But while most of his professional projects present nature through a formally elegant design, the plants in his home are a tangle of leaves with a mold-smudged ceiling. From the outside, the house doesn’t look too impressive. But once you step inside, it’s like entering a whole new world.

Patrick-Blanc-House

Read More »

Being Stung by the Gympie Gympie Tree Is the Worst Kind of Pain You Can Imagine

‘Gympie-Gympie’ is hardly the name you’d expect for a stinging-tree. It looks quite harmless too, but in reality, the Gympie-Gympie is one of the most venomous plants in the world. Commonly found in the rainforest areas of north-eastern Australia, the Moluccas and Indonesia, it is known to grow up to one to two meters in height.

In fact, the Gympie-Gympie sting is so dangerous that it has been known to kill dogs, horses and humans alike. If you’re lucky enough to survive, you  only feel excruciating pain that can last several months and reoccur for years. Even a dry specimen can inflict pain, almost a hundred years after being picked!

With the exception of its roots, every single part of the deadly tree – its heart shaped leaves, its stem and its pink/purple fruit – is covered with tiny stinging hairs shaped like hypodermic needles. You only need to lightly touch the plant to get stung, after which the hair penetrates the body and releases a painful toxin called moroidin. Sometimes, merely being in the presence of the plant and breathing the hair that it sheds into the air can cause itching, rashes, sneezing and terrible nosebleeds.

gympie-gympie Read More »

The TomTato – A Plant That Grows Tomatoes above Ground and Potatoes Below

An extraordinary plant that produces both tomatoes and potatoes has been developed in the UK. Just one of these bad boys can grow more than 500 sweet cherry tomatoes above the ground, and a decent crop of white potatoes below. Aptly named ‘TomTato’, the plant is actually 100 percent natural, and not genetically modified as one would expect.

TomTato, a.k.a ‘veg plot in a pot’, was developed through high-tech grafting by Thompson and Morgan, a horticultural firm based in the town of Ipswich, in Suffolk, England. Although similar plants have been created in the UK before, this is the first time someone has managed to produce a commercially viable version.

According to Guy Barter of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), taste was a real problem with past varieties, but the TomTato seems to have hit the jackpot.

tomtato-plant3 Read More »

Eating This Wild Herb Can Allegedly Stave Off Hunger and Thirst for Several Days

A centuries-old slimming remedy is all set to make a comeback after evidence of its use was discovered in old manuscripts during an archaeological dig. The heath pea is a long-forgotten fern-like wild Scottish plant with purple flowers that can apparently suppress hunger and thirst for weeks. Entrepreneurs are now interested in re-introducing the wonder-herb to the world as a dietary supplement that could produce drastic weight loss results.

According to botanical records, the heath pea, also known as bitter vetch, was a vital ingredient of the Highland diet up until the 18th century, when food was scarce. The pea-sized tubers of the plant were stripped off the roots, dried and ingested. Just a couple of tubers were sufficient to provide a boost of energy, and prevent thirst and hunger for days, even weeks. Entire communities are said to have lived off these tubers when crops were poor.

17th century literature also indicates that the plant helped people perform strenuous activities like working in fields. Monks used it to treat patients as early as the 14th century, and it is rumored to have made an appearance in the court of King Charles (he apparently gave it to his lovers who had a propensity for plumpness). The roots were also believed to be eaten by Julius Caesar’s soldiers in preparation for the battle of Dyrrhachium in 48 BC.

heath-pea Read More »