Posts Tagged ‘pollination’

Manzanita anthers. © Stephen Buchmann, All rights reserved

Manzanita anthers © Stephen Buchmann, All rights reserved

The Theodore Payne Arts Council invites you to
Buzz Pollinate: Slits, Pores, and Valves!

Contemporary artist
Jessica Rath is fascinated with buzz pollination, a co-adaptation between certain bees and specific angiosperms which require sonication, or vibratory resonance to release pollen from their anthers.

Over evolutionary time, the shape of these anthers has become a closed tube-like vessel with a limited opening pore or slit. These incredible shapes and the vibrations that open them are the subject of Rath’s show in the Theodore Payne Gallery.

Consulting with bee specialist Dr. Anne Leonard from University of Nevada, Reno, and buzz pollination specialist Dr. Stephen Buchmann from University of Arizona, Tucson, Rath has immersed herself in the scientific resonances around this fascinating phenomenon.

Purple Nightshade © Jessica Rath, All rights reserved

Purple Nightshade © Jessica Rath, All rights reserved

Some 5% to 6% of all the world’s angiosperms require buzz pollination, including commercial greenhouse tomatoes and some native manzanitas.

Jessica’s exhibition will include wax sculptures for cast bronze based on bee anthers, a series of watercolors, and a “buzz” sound work alluding to buzz pollination tonal values created in collaboration with experimental music composer Robert Hoehn.

Buzz Pollinate: Slits, Pores, and Valves opens on Saturday, March 29, 2014 and will be on view through June 14, 2014. You are invited to attend the opening reception from 2:00 – 4:30 pm. An artist talk will be begin at 3 PM.

Directions to Theodore Payne Foundation, Sun Valley, CA



Celebrate Pollinator Week early with a visit to Buzz Pollinate: Slits, Pores, and Valves.

Pollinator Week 2014 is scheduled for June 16-22, 2014. Get resources for the classroom or your summer program on the Education page at Pollinator Partnership.

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Join me in welcoming Valerie Littlewood, our featured guest for June!

Valerie has been a commercial illustrator, designer for industry, artist and art lecturer for many years. Most recently, she has been drawing plants and insects, becoming more and more interested in their relationships and their conservation. Currently she is drawing bees and other pollinators and has a traveling show, BUZZ: A Celebration of British Bees and Their Flowers, showcasing 24 of Britain’s bees. Valerie was awarded a bursary from The Society for All Artists in 2012 to help encourage creative people of all abilities to take inspiration from the natural world, from insects, bees and flowers and to understand more about their important relationship to us.

A hands-on artist, Valerie says she loves “everything about making art with brushes, pencils and paint.” Valerie made her living as a general illustrator creating illustrations for anything from packaging and advertising to book illustration. She also created illustrations as a giftware designer. Valerie does less commercial work these days because so much of the work she used to do is now done on the computer. Being a hands-on artist, Valerie says she is “very reluctant to sit at a computer all day.” So she has turned more of her attention to teaching.

Throughout her career, Valerie has always taught art — from degree students to “purely-for-pleasure art holidays.” She feels teaching is a wonderful way to open up possibilities for all kinds of people. Valerie has taught many subjects and has many interests herself. She is a printmaker, a painter, loves ceramics and bookmaking. She used to teach an interior design course teaching creative thinking and fine faux finishes. Her experiences as an artist and teacher have enabled her to be happy painting with a 6″ house brush or a 00 sable brush.

An admirer and advocate of craft skills, Valerie believes artists should hone their skills to be able to say what they want to say in their work.

Reflecting on an almost 40-year career as an artist, designer and educator, Valerie says the natural world has been a recurring theme in her work. While she may teach people how to draw and paint, she says her main preoccupation is to teach them to “see”.

(I teach students) to observe and to consider what is around them through the eyes of an artist. 
The observation and interpretation of the natural world can be the inspiration for so many of the artistic disciplines, from pattern and form to structure and colour informing sculpture, textiles, architecture and more.

Then there is the emotional connection we have with nature, things that we as humans relate to. A fascination with how things live, thrive, survive and reproduce and an affinity with their daily struggle. For example, how could you not admire the ingenuity of a little bee who makes her nest in a snail shell, who diligently collects twigs many times her own size to cover the shell and who chews little pieces of leaves to use as a green camouflage?

To practice art in any of its forms you first have to learn to look. Artists have to be observant. But it is so worth the effort because the added joy of that looking, seeing, and learning, especially in the field of natural sciences, is the understanding it brings. Then what hopefully follows is a greater connection with a world which can sometimes seem increasingly distant as we rely on machines more and more.

Certainly since painting the bees, I have become more aware of the astonishing variety and interdependence of living things, especially some of those small often overlooked creatures. I have become increasingly appreciative of how important they are in our lives.

Bombus hortorum on honeysuckle. © Val Littlewood. All rights reserved

Save the Date!
Pollinator Week
(June 18-24, 2012)

Valerie will discuss her work with Britain’s bees and the plants they pollinate during Pollinator Week. You will have the opportunity to ask Valerie questions during this annual event that brings attention to declining pollinator populations.

One of the topics Valerie will discuss is her book, BUZZ, dedicated to British bees and the plants they visit and pollinate. BUZZ is a self-published title. You can preview Valerie’s book here. Above is an example of the type of pollinator illustrations Valerie creates. Featured is an illustration of Bombus hortorum (Garden Bumble Bee). This species of Bombus has a long tongue it uses to access nectar from the long tubular flowers of the honeysuckle plant. While drinking nectar, pollen is deposited on the bee’s body. When the bee travels to another flower, it brings the pollen with it and deposits the pollen on the stigma of the new flower, thereby completing the transfer of pollen (i.e, pollination).

Unlike their longer-tongued counterparts, short-tongued bees are unable to access the nectar of honeysuckle flowers in the same way. This does not stop them from getting what they want, however. To get their share of the nectar, they bite holes into the base of the tubular flowers and steal the nectar. While this may be a win-win for the nectar robbers, this form of nectar harvesting negatively impacts pollination success because pollen is not transferred in the process.

Even the simple act of pollen transfer is not as simple as one might think!

Ask the Artist with Valerie Littlewood

Watch for more information about our conversation with Valerie during Pollinator Week. Share this information with colleagues, friends, fellow gardeners and the pollination ecology students in your life. Look for events in your state, download planting guides and learn about resources for the home gardener and professional landscaper here.

Gardens for Pollinators with the BeeSmart Pollinator Gardening App

Created by the Pollinator Partnership and Catch.com, this app is a database of almost 1,000 native plants found across the United States. To find pollinator-friendly plants for your garden, simply enter your zip code to view a list of plants for your area. Then sort through your list by selecting specific pollinators, flower colors, soil types, plant types or the type of sunlight your garden receives. To learn more about the BeeSmart Pollinator Gardening app click on the image above.

: Pollinator Week Q&A with Valerie Littlewood

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Pull out your calendar! The botanical garden at UC Berkeley has announced great classes for Spring. Here is what’s new at Classes Near You > Northern California:

University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley

This 34-acre garden was established in 1890 and is now a non-profit research garden and museum. The botanical art classes below are taught by Lee McCaffree and Catherine Watters. View a detailed schedule and register on the Garden’s website.

  • National Public Gardens Day – Friday, May 11, 2012; 9 AM – 5 PM. National Public Gardens Day is a celebration of America’s public gardens and their important role in promoting environmental stewardship and awareness, plant and water conservation and education. Better Homes and Gardens magazine offers BHG readers a free admission coupon for two to visit participating public gardens on National Public Gardens Day (get coupon at bhg.com). The Garden will host docent-led
    tours at 11 AM and 1 PM leaving from the Garden shop. Free admission with BHG coupon.
  • A Walk Through the Garden of Old Roses – Saturday, May 19, 2012; 10 AM – Noon. Discover the rose’s rich history and listen to ethnobotanical tales with horticulturist, Peter Klement. Cost: $15 nonmembers, $10 members.
  • Makin’ Mead – Saturday, June 2, 2012; 2-4 PM. Turn honey into wine! Recipes, samples and a one-gallon jug of mead to ferment at home. Instructor: Robert MacKimmie of City Bees. Cost: $50 nonmembers, $45 members, $40 students
  • Introduction to Urban Beekeeping – Sunday, June 10, 2012;
    11 AM – 1 PM. Interested in keeping bees but don’t know where to start? Join local urban beekeeper Bryon Waibel of San Francisco’s Her Majesty’s Secret Beekeeper for an informative beekeeping basics workshop. In this introductory beekeeping course topics will include: bees and the law, basic bee biology, choosing and siting a hive, and maintaining a hive. Pre-registration required. Cost: $50 nonmembers, $45 members, $40 students.
  • Honey Tasting – Sunday, June 10, 2012; 1-2 PM. Join Bryon Waibel of San Francisco’s Her Majesty’s Secret Beekeeper for this informal honey-tasting session. Registration required. Cost: $8 nonmembers, $5 members.
  • Naturally Dyed Eggs – Saturday, April 7, 1:00-2:30 PM. Children will discover the joy of natural plant-based dyes in this hands-on class. Registration required. Cost: $12 nonmembers, $8 members. Price includes 6 eggs.
  • Fabulous Flowers: Walk & Workshop – Saturday, May 12, 2012; 10 AM – Noon. Children will learn about flowers, pollinators and make a one-of-a-kind flower-themed gift perfect for Mother’s Day! Registration recommended. Drop-ins welcome. Cost: $12 nonmembers, $8 members.
  • Tree Tales – Sunday, June 17, 2012; 11:00-12:30 PM. Palm trees, Quercus, empress trees, redwoods, maples, monkey-puzzles and more! Children will explore the trees of the world at the Garden. Bring the family for this special tree-themed tour! This adventure will also include story-telling and a special take-home Father’s Day keepsake for dad. Registration recommended. Drop-ins welcome. Nonmember Price: $10, $5 kids. Member price: $7, kids free.

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There is plenty to learn at UC Berkeley’s botanical garden this Fall. Learn how to draw, how to paint and how to compose a botanical drawing in classes taught by Catherine Watters and Lee McCaffree. Learn a bit about Latin, immerse yourself in economic botany and even learn how to make a bike out of bamboo.

The following has been added to Classes Near You > California:

University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley

This 34-acre garden was established in 1890 and is now a non-profit research garden and museum. The botanical art classes below are taught by Lee McCaffree and Catherine Watters. View a detailed schedule and register on the Garden’s website.

  • Sick Plant Clinic – First Saturday of Each Month, 9 AM – 12 PM. Free. No reservations required.
  • Monthly Butterfly Walks – Fourth Tuesday of each month (March – October); 3 – 4 PM. Garden volunteer, docent, and caterpillar lady, Sally Levinson, will lead walks through the garden in search of butterflies. Space is limited. Children welcome. Free with admission.
  • Garden Strollers – Second Wednesday of Each Month,
    11 AM – 11:45 PM. A 45-minute tour of the garden for adults with young children (3 and under). Tour will end on the lawn for play and snacks (bring your own). Children must be in a stroller or carrier during the tour. FREE with garden admission. Meet in front of the Garden Ship. For more information, call (510) 642-7082 or email garden@berkeley.edu.
  • Botanical Latin: It’s a dead language but it’s still aliiiiive – Tuesday, September 13, 2011; 10:30 AM – 2:00 PM. Back by popular demand! During this brief introduction to Latin, you will learn the names for plants and the way the names are constructed. You’ll also learn Latin and Greek word roots for plant names and botanical terms, and use some simple rules of thumb to pronounce plant names with confidence. Al Luongo originally developed this course for the New York Botanical Garden. Refreshments and a full copy of course notes included. Pre-registration required; $30, $25 members.
  • Botanical Art: Painting Apples, Pears, Quince – Friday, September 16, 2011; 10 AM – 4 PM. These beautiful fruits are wonderful botanical art subjects! Celebrated botanical artist Catherine Watters will teach you how to compose your painting and capture their elegant shapes and rich colors. Students will be instructed on the use of shadows, highlights and the mixing of colors. All levels are welcome and students may use graphite, colored pencils or watercolor. Pre-registration required; $80, $75 members.
  • Native Bees with Dr. Gordon Frankie – Sunday, October 2, 2011;
    11 AM – 1 PM. Dr. Frankie is a UC Berkeley professor, research entomologist and a native bee expert. His specialty is the behavioral ecology of solitary bees in wild lands and urban environments of California and Costa Rica. Dr. Frankie will discuss some of the more common species of native bees, as well as, the plants and gardening practices, that will encourage them to take up residence in your garden. He will talk about current projects and share stories from the field. Pre-registration required; $25, $20 members.
  • Foods of the Americas Exhibit Docent-led Tours – October 6 – 20, 2011, 9:30 AM & 11:30 AM. Pre-pre-registration required by September 15. Feast your eyes on the vibrant textures and colors of the fall harvest in our Foods of the Americas exhibit. Visit our marketplace filled with produce from ancient Indian cultures, from the well-known corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and chocolate to the less familiar amaranth, quinoa and oca. See them growing in our Crops of the World Garden, Tropical House, and the Mexico/ Central American and South American collections. Free with Garden admission. Schools may schedule a special 75 minute program for their classes.
  • Bamboo Workshop with Stalk Bicycles – Saturday, October 8, 2011;
    11:00 AM – 1:30 PM. Stalk Bicycles of Oakland will be on-site to show you how they hand-craft custom bicycle frames from bamboo and other sustainable materials. They will demonstrate how bamboo is a sustainable, versatile and sculptural material – perfect for bike construction and many other design projects. Join us as we learn about bamboo, sustainable manufacturing, bamboo construction, and see their one-of-a-kind, custom artisanal bikes. $15, $10 members; registration required.
  • Film Screening: Queen of the Sun – Wednesday, October 12, 2011;
    6:00 – 8:00 PM. Queen Of The Sun: What Are The Bees Telling Us? is a profound, alternative look at the global bee crisis from Taggart Siegel, director of The Real Dirt On Farmer John. Taking us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive, this engaging and ultimately uplifting film weaves an unusual and dramatic story of the heartfelt struggles of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers from around the world including Michael Pollan, Gunther Hauk and Vandana Shiva. Together they reveal both the problems and the solutions in renewing a culture in balance with nature. Pre-registration required; $12, $10 members.
  • Foods of the Americas Family Day! – Sunday, October 16, 2011;
    10:00 AM & 1:00 PM. Spanish and English Docent Led Tours of the Exhibit; 2 PM Native Food Tastings & Crafts. Free with Garden Admission.
  • Fall Bird Walk – Saturday, October 29, 2011; 9:00 – 10:30 AM. Observe resident, migrant and vagrant birds in the Garden’s many bird-friendly microhabitats with birding expert Phila Rogers and Associate Director of Collections & Horticulture Chris Carmichael. Pre-registration required; $20, $17 members.
  • Botanical Art: Autumn Leaves with Lee McCaffree – Sunday, November 13, 2011; 10 AM – 4 PM. Fall foliage offers a brilliant color palette to catch our eye, but a graphite drawing or green leaf can be just as fascinating. Expert Lee McCaffree will instruct students on the structure of leaves as students to draw and paint them. The class will consider many types of leaves from the Garden before drawing them and closely examine structure and detail. Students may use pencils or watercolor to create an original work using the colors and/or patterns of fall leaves. All levels are welcome. Pre-registration required; $80, $75 members
  • California Natives: Plants and People Tour for Kids – Saturday, November 19, 2011; 1:00 – 2:30 PM. How could people get everything they need from the natural environment without stores? Learn about the plants used by California Indians for food, shelter, clothing, tools, medicine, games, and music. Explore the varied customs and skills of California’s earliest inhabitants. Create your very own take-home project inspired by early Californian crafts. Pre-registration recommended; $15 for each adult and child, $12 members; $5 each additional person.

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