December 14, 2010

From Romania

Sorry for the long delay since my last post.

Im currently in Romania--Sibiu to be exact. A few days earlier I was in the capital city of Bucharest where I learned a lot of intriguing stories about the local city trees.

One story is about a tree that now stands between tall facades of concrete, steel, and glass. I could see the beautiful Chestnut tree still hanging on to its patch of soil. The buildings rose on either side only feet away, dwarfing the otherwise majestic tree.

Back in the 1930s, a plant physiologist by the name of Constantin Popescu carefully studied the vascular system in the then young chestnut tree, and was able to successfully graft Tomatoes and various types of Peppers onto this tree. But the grafting was not considered successful until the plants flowered and then produced fruit. He was successful according to what I was told.

He hired a photographer to take pictures of the ripe fruits and I'm curious if I can find some of those photos.

I also managed to acquire a few more old botany field guides from my Great-grandfather Alfred Zeidner. Some of the guides still have plants he pressed between the pages, along with careful notes in the margins.