Dr. Lomino in China: March 1
MARCH 1: Plant Nursery
To continue the teaching theme for Spring, the children visit a nursery today to purchase plants for their Forest garden plots. This store is somehow connected to a research facility next door, so of course I am intrigued and anxious to get acquainted with more tropical species. Bonsai trees first grab my attention. Many with beautifully shaped and twisted trunks, they are arranged in ceramic vases with blue stones to mimic tiny ponds, other small plants, stones and often miniature buildings, animals and people. I wish I could carry one back with me on the plane! And oh the orchids—yellow, white, purple and deep crimson—lavishly display in large groupings, many over five feet tall. The children spend most of their time admiring the cacti and succulent displays. The teachers allow them to pick the plants they like. It will be interesting to see how many of the cacti survive in the humid forest! But that is after all, what learning is all about!
Just as we are about to leave I notice hanging plants with a most unusual flower. They look exactly like water pitchers and when I look inside, each are filled with water. My first thought is that someone has filled them, but upon further study I can see that each flower is attached to the leaf with extended midline veins. They are absolutely amazing. I discover that the name of this unique plant is Asian Red Pitcher Plant. Very appropriate!
After leaving the nursery, we head to the forest where I continue teacher training in the afternoon. Today’s journaling activity is a tree study. I ask each teacher to pick out a tree that will be the object of their observation and reflection. They are to study the tree carefully, using as many of their senses as possible, then draw and write what they observe. We take about thirty minutes to complete the assignment, then share our findings with the group. As always, I am thrilled and impressed with the responses. My goal for this training is to help develop inspiration from nature and a stronger connection between people and the land. I am excited to see the teachers responding positively to my efforts.
Today’s Insight: Sometimes I forget that this is a subtropical location—especially since the weather has been so cool thus far. Seeing the plants today was a good reminder and also sparked my curiosity about South China’s landscape and biodiversity. I really want to learn about the native species here and also which are endangered. My mission to help people become compassionate stewards of this earth needs to be an informed mission—everywhere I have a chance to go!