The new Sci-fi movie by James Cameron is a thriller that keeps you tense with anticipation throughout. After sitting through Star Wars and Startrek, I had expected Avatar to be just another war of the worlds in space. The surprise is in the details of the scenery.
A botanist was consulted on the plants, thankfully being responsible for turning the original color blue to the lush green of Pandora. Its habitants have a symbiotic relationship to plants, and clever ways to deal with non-indigenous species. Thanks to the consultant, UCR professor Jodie Holt, the plants even have bonafide Latin names that field botanist Sigourney Weaver relates, if you listen closely.
In 3D, the movie almost gives you a chance to touch the plants. But, unless you are a master gardener, or even an amateur, it’s the plant action that will grab your attention – since action is what this film is all about.
If you need a respite, the wonderful new book by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd, Our Life in Gardens, offers a beautiful journey of their lives and gardening together.
I’ve just started this book and it’s already weaving its magic. When they talked about that first spring when all the bulbs bloomed at once, I remembered my own wonder at my first bulb garden – first the crocus, then the daffodils, and finally the tulips – so many tulips it was my idea of what Holland would be. But that was the only year – the squirrels found the bulbs and stored them in other yards, so we only had a few from that year on.
It’s somehow absolving to hear the authors say that they worked and enjoyed each of their gardens at the time, and that now those gardens are gone – since they are not there to tend them and have moved on to another. A garden is, after all, timely and very personal.
This looks like a good slow read to savor…
Or you could try another grand garden book called Deep in the Green by Anne Raver. Author is a columnist for the NYT and the dust jacket blurb compares her to Pauline Kael on film. I’m loving this one right now.