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Join our Worldwide Collage Party or Host Your Own Extraordinary Virtual Event

collage example, collage

In Extraordinary Things to Cut Out and Collage, artist Maria Rivans has sourced over 1,500 interesting images that can be combined to make one-of-a-kind works of art.

The word collage describes both the technique and the resulting work of art in which pieces of paper, photographs, fabric and other ephemera are arranged and stuck down onto a supporting surface. With roots in the early twentieth century Dadaism movement, collaging was popularised by famous artists like Man Ray and Hannah Höch. It has since evolved into a lasting art form that can be found everywhere from teen girls’ bedroom walls to the mood boards that inspire the new collections of illustrious fashion houses.


What do I need to get start a collage?

A collage party is the perfect feel-good activity regardless of whether you are gathered at the same kitchen table or video chatting from afar. The beauty of collage is that you probably already have enough material laying around the house — old magazines, family photos, wrapping paper, newspaper clippings, food packaging.

collage

You can organise a virtual collage party with your friends on video platforms like Zoom or Houseparty. With some good tunes in the background and a cup of tea (or glass of wine!) by your side, it won’t be long before you’re all lost in the bizarre world of collage.

If you’re staying home with young artists, collage is the perfect way to occupy an afternoon. With a bit of help with the scissors, little hands will love choosing their images and getting messy with the glue.

It’s time to get started! For inspiration, check out our author Maria Rivans or incredible Australian artists Madelaine Buttini and Karen Lynch.

Maria Rivans "Juno", collage, artwork, example
Juno by Maria Rivans

Share your work with #ExtraordinaryCollage

On Thursday 2nd of April, Laurence King Publishing are hosting a worldwide virtual collage party and you’re invited.

Simply share your collage masterpiece on Instagram with the #ExtraordinaryCollage for a chance to win a copy of Extraordinary Things to Cut Out and Collage. Maria Rivans will be choosing five winners on April 14th.

collage

This is an extract from Extraordinary Things to Cut Out and Collage by Maria Rivans.

Published in March 2020, by Laurence King Publishing, $29.99, available here.


Posted on March 31, 2020
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#SupportingLocal: bookstores offering delivery and more

Now is a more important time than ever to support your local bookstores. Stock up for your personal library and check out our live list of bookstores offering free delivery services, pick-up options and over-the-phone book recommendations to get you through.

This is a live list, get in touch if you would like to add a service being offered by a local bookstore.

VICTORIA

Aesop’s Attic (Kyneton): Accepting phone orders and offering a drive through pick-up service.

Antipodes Gallery & Bookshop (Sorrento): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free home delivery to local suburbs.

Avenue Bookstore (Richmond, Albert Park and Elsternwick): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free same day delivery to local suburbs for orders over $30 placed before 3pm.

Avoca Hill Bookstore (South Yarra): Free delivery to local suburbs for orders over $20 and next day delivery for in stock items.

Beaumaris Books (Beaumaris): Over-the-phone book recommendations, free gift wrapping and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Benn’s Books (Bentleigh): Accepting phone, Instagram and email orders and offering free delivery to Bentleigh, East Bentleigh, McKinnon, Moorabbin and Murrumbeena.

Blarney Books (Port Fairy): Accepting phone and Facebook orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Book and Paper (Williamstown): Accepting Instagram, Facebook and text orders and offering home delivery to local suburbs.

Brunswick Bound (Brunswick): Accepting phone and online orders and offering free delivery to Brunswick, Brunswick East, Brunswick West, North Carlton, North Fitzroy, Coburg, Moonee Ponds and Essendon.

Brunswick Street Bookstore (Fitzroy): Accepting phone, email and online orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Collins Moonee Ponds: Accepting online orders and offering click and collect services.

Collins Ballarat: Accepting online orders and offering free home delivery within Ballarat.

Coventry Bookstore (South Melbourne): Accepting online orders and offering free delivery for orders over $20 with next day delivery for items that are in stock.

Diabolik Books (Mount Hawthorn): Accepting phone orders for delivery and offering home delivery within a 3km radius of the store.

Dymocks CBD: Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery for orders over $50.

Dymocks Camberwell: Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Dymocks Tooronga: Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Eltham Bookshop (Eltham): Accepting phone and email orders and offering delivery to local suburbs.

Escape Hatch Books (Kew East): Free delivery to local suburbs.

Fairfield Books (Fairfield): Accepting phone orders and offering both a pick-up from your car service and free delivery to local suburbs.

Farrell’s Bookshop (Mornington): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Happy Valley (Collingwood): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery to Collingwood, Fitzroy, Clifton Hill and Carlton North.

Hares & Hyenas (Fitzroy): Delivery via Books-on-Bikes for those staying in their homes or who cannot afford postage. 

Hill of Content (CBD): Accepting online, phone and email orders and offering free delivery for orders over $50.

Ink Bookshop (Winchcombe): Free delivery in Mansfield and surrounding areas.

Jeffreys Books (Malvern): Accepting phone, email and online orders.

Just Books (Bairnsdale): Free home delivery to customers in Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance and surrounding areas.

Metropolis Bookshop (CBD): Accepting online orders and offering free postage delivery for orders over $50.

My Bookshop by Corrie Perkins (Toorak): Accepting phone orders and offering home delivery within a 20km radius of the store as well as a same-day delivery service if order is placed before 3pm.

Neighbourhood Books (Northcote): Accepting online orders and offering free delivery to Northcote, Thornbury, Preston, Reservoir, Fairfield, Carlton North, Carlton, Fitzroy North, Fitzroy, Collingwood, Princes Hill, Clifton Hill and Brunswick.

New Leaves (Macedon Ranges): Accepting phone orders and offering free delivery to the Macedon Ranges area.

Paperback Bookshop (CBD): Accepting phone and email orders.

Readings (Carlton, Doncaster, Hawthorn, St Kilda and Malvern): Accepting online orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs, which you can find on their map here.

Squishy Minnie (Kyneton): Accepting online orders and offering free delivery within the Macedon Ranges.

The Book Bird (Geelong West): Accepting phone, Instagram and email orders and offering free delivery to Geelong, Geelong West, North Geelong, Newtown, Manifold Heights, Rippleside, Hamlin Heights, Herne Hill, Bell Post Hill, and Bell Park.

The Bookshop at Queenscliff: Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery to the local area.

The Grumpy Swimmer (Elwood): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery to Elwood and local suburbs for orders over $25.

The Leaf Bookshop (Ashburton): Over-the-phone book recommendations, accepting phone orders and offering free delivery within a 5km radius of the store.

The Little Bookroom (Carlton North): Accepting online orders and offering free delivery to Carlton North, Carlton, Fitzroy North, Fitzroy, Princes Hill, Clifton Hill, Brunswick, Northcote and Coburg.

The Sun Bookshop and The Younger Sun (Yarraville): Accepting phone orders and offering free same day delivery to Yarraville, Seddon and Kingsville, and next-day deliveries by car to Spotswood and Newport.

Thesaurus Books (Brighton): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery to Brighton, Brighton East, Hampton and Bentleigh. 

Top Titles Bookstore (Brighton): Accepting phone orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Torquay Books (Torquay): Accepting online orders and offering delivery to local suburbs.

Turn the Page (Cowes): Accepting phone orders and offering local delivery.

Verso Books (Healesville): Free delivery to local suburbs.

NSW

Beachside Bookshop (Avalon): Accepting phone, email and online orders and offering both a carpark pick-up service and free delivery to local suburbs.

Berkelouw Books (Cronulla): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free home delivery to Cronulla, Kurnell, Woolooware, Caringbah, Miranda, Gymea, Kirrawee and Sutherland on the 26th March.

Berkelouw Books (Hornsby): Personalised, curated book lists as well as pick up and home delivery with free shipping for orders over $99.

Berkelouw Books (Leichhardt): Curated book lists here, accepting phone orders and offering $5 delivery for orders over $49 or free delivery for orders over $99 to local suburbs.

Berkelouw Books (Rose Bay): Free home delivery to Rose Bay, Vaucluse, Watsons Bay, Dover Heights, Point Piper and Bellevue Hill.

Better Read than Dead (Newtown): Delivering curated staff picks right to your desktop or phone screen via their Virtual Bookseller which you can access here, and offering free delivery across Australia.

Book Bazaar (Umina Beach): Offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Bookoccino (Avalon): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery within a 10km radius of the store.

BooksPlus (Bathurst): Free delivery within Bathurst.

Collins Booksellers (Orange): Offering free delivery across Orange.

Dymocks (Chatswood): Accepting phone and email orders for delivery.

Gertrude and Alice (Bondi Beach): Accepting phone orders and home delivery around the Bondi and Tamarama area.

Gleebooks (Glebe): Offering free postage delivery to Inner Western suburbs or Australia-wide for orders over $50.

Harry Hartog (all stores): Offering curated book lists here.

Harbour Bookshop (Ulladulla): Accepting phone, email and social media orders and offering $6 delivery across Ulladulla.

Kinokuniya (Sydney CBD): Accepting phone and online orders and offering over-the-phone book recommendations.

Lost in Books (Fairfield): Offering delivery across Australia and digital creative programs.

Megalong Books (Leura): Recommendations over the phone and free home delivery to local residents in the Upper Mountains

Oscar and Friends (Double Bay): Free home delivery in Surry Hills, Redfern, Double Bay and Bellevue Hill.

Potts Point Bookshop (Potts Point): Accepting phone and online orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Reader’s Companion (Armidale): Free delivery to customers in Armidale, Uralla and Guyra district.

The Book Room at Byron (Byron Bay): Free same day book delivery in the Byron shire and Lennox Head.

The Bookshop (Bowral and Kiama): Personally curated bookstacks, accepting phone and email orders, and offering delivery to local suburbs.

The Little Lost Bookshop (Katoomba): Accepting phone, web and email orders and offering free delivery across Katoomba.

The Wandering Bookseller (Katoomba): Accepting email orders and offering free delivery Australia-wide.

Wise Words Bookshop (Moree): Accepting phone or DM orders and both mail order and home delivery.

TAS

Fullers Bookshop (Hobart): $5 delivery across Tasmania.

Petrarch’s Bookshop (Launceston): Delivery to Launceston.

The Devonport Bookshop (Devonport): Accepting phone orders and offering free delivery across the Devonport area.

The Hobart Bookshop (Hobart): Free delivery within the Hobart metropolitan area as well as a pick-up service.

ACT

Dymocks Canberra: Free delivery in the ACT.

Dymocks Belconnen: Free delivery in the ACT and Murrumbateman.

QLD

Avid Reader (West End): Free delivery to local suburbs and free postage delivery across Australia for orders over $50.

Books@Stones (Stones Corner): Free delivery across Australia until April 8th.

Dymocks (Brisbane): Free delivery for orders over $75.

Dymocks (Toowoomba): Free delivery to people over 70 and $2 shipping to local suburbs.

Folio Books (Brisbane CBD): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free postage to Brisbane customers for orders of two books or more.

Mad Hatters Bookshop (Manly): Free delivery to Wynnum, Manly and suburbs within 5km of the store for orders over $30.

Mary Who? (Townsville): Accepting phone orders and offering free delivery to the inner Townsville area for orders over $50.

Riverbend Books (Bulimba): Accepting phone and online orders and offering both a pick-up option and home delivery to postcodes 4170 and 4171.

Sequel Books (Moorooka): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free home delivery to local suburbs.

The Book Tree (Toowoomba): $2 home delivery to customers in the 4350 postcode.

Where the Wild Things Are (West End): Accepting phone orders and offering offering free home delivery to postcodes 4170 and 4171 and free delivery to other areas for orders over $50.

WA

Beaufort Street Books (Mount Lawley): Free delivery within a 5km radius of the store.

Collins (Cottesloe): Accepting online and phone orders and offering free delivery in Western Australia.

Collins (Bunbury): Free home delivery on purchases over $30 to Bunbury, Eaton, Australind and Dalyellup areas and postage to other areas for $6.95.

Crow Books (East Victoria Park): Accepting phone and email orders and offering home delivery to local suburbs.

Dymocks (Busselton): Free home delivery within the South-West, including same-day delivery if in-stock books are ordered before 2:30pm.

Dymocks (Morley): Accepting phone and email orders and home delivery at a reduced price of $2 for Booklover members or $5 for non-members in the suburbs of Bassendean, Bayswater, Inglewood, Kiara, Mirrabooka, Morley, Nollamara, Noranda, Tuart Hill and Yokine.

Dymocks (Karrinyup): Accepting phone and email orders and home delivery at a reduced price of $2 for Booklover members or $5 for non-members in the suburbs of Karrinyup, Trigg, Innaloo, Gwelup, Scarborough, North Beach and Karine.

Dymocks (Joondalup): Accepting phone orders and offering free local delivery.

My Little Bookshop (Halls Head): Free delivery from Perth metro area to Bunbury.

Paperbird Books (Fremantle): Free delivery to Fremantle and surrounding suburbs.

Planet Books (Mount Lawley and Northside): Accepting online, phone and email orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

SA

Imprints Booksellers (Adelaide): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free postage across SA and free home delivery around Adelaide.

Matilda Bookshop (Adelaide): Accepting phone orders and offering free postage across SA and free home delivery to local suburbs.

Mostly Books (Torrens Park): Free delivery south of Adelaide, to the suburbs of Mitcham and surrounding suburbs.

The Raven’s Parlour (Tanunda): Delivery to local residents in quarantine or self-isolation.

NT

Red Kangaroo Books (Alice Springs): Accepting phone and email orders and delivering across Alice Springs.

Books are everywhere.

Plenty of bookstores that support us not listed here will be delivering online, and you can also purchase books from Booktopia and other online retailers.

The Australian Booksellers Association’s Love Your Bookshop Day is also sharing a range of ways in which you can continue to support your local bookstore, including purchasing vouchers, signing up to their e-newsletter list and pre-ordering titles. #loveyourbookshopeveryday


Posted on March 25, 2020
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The beginner’s guide to brewing medicinal plants

‘Often the easiest approach is the most potent.’

Learn the difference between teas, infusions, decoctions and sun brews with master herbalist Erin Lovell Verinder’s guide to brewing medicinal plants. Find this extract in her new book, Plants for the People, alongside her accompanying recipes for brews to aid immunity, digestion, vitality, and sleep.

Photography by Georgia Blackie

Teas, infusions, decoctions and sun brews have been in use for as long as plants and people have been kin, and are four of the most accessible ways to work with plants, dried or fresh.

Essentially, infusions, decoctions and sun brews follow the principles of tea, but they are amplified in the medicinal sense. Medicinal teas are made by steeping the plant material in boiling water for a quick 10–20 minutes. Follow with a simple strain and sip mindfully.

An infusion involves longer steeping in boiling water, for a gentle extraction and activation of the plant material. It is best used for the softer aerial parts of a plant – think flowers, leaves, buds and berries. Bear in mind that there are some plants that prefer a cold-water infusion as their delicate properties are sensitive to heat. Infusions extract the volatile oils, vitamins and precious enzymes of medicinal plants, so be sure to cover the infusing concoction to trap all of these beneficial elements. Infusions can be 20–30 minute brews or left for 4–12 hours to deepen the medicinal impact.

A decoction is used more for the woody parts of plants – think roots, rhizomes, seeds, twigs, bark – which require more time and amplified heat to liberate the medicinal constituents. A decoction calls for a slow, covered boil, around 20–40 minutes.

A sun brew is simply an infusion made by combining dried or fresh herbs with filtered water, sealing and popping out in the sun to brew for a day.

A golden principle of medicinal teas, infusions, decoctions and sun brews is that they are best used straight away. As water is their base, there is no preservative present and we want to avoid any mould formation. However, infusions can be kept for up to 24 hours; sun brews and decoctions can be refrigerated and will stay active for around 48 hours.

A Guide to Brewing Medicinal Plants

Herbal Teas

Pour boiling water over the dried or fresh herbs and steep for 10-20 minutes. Strain out the plant material with a fine-mesh sleeve, and enjoy.

Infusions

Add the plant material to a heatproof mason jar, fill with boiling water and infuse for 3-4 hours minimum, or leave overnight to deepen the strength. Simply strain out the herbs with a fine-mesh sleeve and sip throughout the day. Infusions make a perfect iced tea; however, if you desire a little warmth, you can gently heat on the stove.

Decoctions

Simply add your hardy herbs to a saucepan with water, and bring to a boil. Allow the concoction to simmer for at least 20-30 minutes, then strain and enjoy!

Sun Brews

Spoon the herbal blend of your choice into a glass jar, generally filling around half the jar with fresh plant material or a quarter of the jar with dried plants. Fill to the brim with cool water, pop on a muslin top or lid to keep the bugs away, and leave out in a sunny spot to imbue the brew with warmth.

Plants for the People is available now. Text by Erin Lovell Verinder, photography by Georgia Blackie and cover design by Alissa Dinallo.

AU$39.99 / NZ$45.00


Posted on March 17, 2020
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A Q&A with plant whisperer Erin Lovell Verinder

Photography by Georgia Blackie

‘Plant medicine is your birth right.’ This is the mantra of Erin Lovell Verinder, a fully qualified and much-loved Western herbalist, nutritionist, energetic healer, mentor and educator. Her first book, Plants for the People, draws on ancient wisdom with a modern approach to medicine. Inviting you to return to the roots, this is the ultimate beginner’s guide to using plants to restore wellbeing. We chatted to Erin about her journey to discovering the healing realms of the plant world and inspiring others to do the same.

Where did your passion for naturopathy, healing and the plant world begin? 

I have felt a deep sense of belonging amongst nature for as long as I can recall. When I think of my childhood, I think of the height of the Eucalyptus trees in the park nearby and the fragrant smells of summer. The plants made an early impression on me.

I was enamoured with all things esoteric and mystical and began studying energetic healing (crystals, reiki, kinesiology, colour therapy, sound healing, breath work) at 16 years old I was not your typical teenager, that’s for sure! Training in the healing realms for many years taught me so much about the spiritual, mental and emotional bodies, and I really yearned to know more about the physical body. This is when I began training in Naturopathic medicine – forking off into deeper studies in Western Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Medicine, graduating with my bachelor’s degree as a Herbalist and Nutritionist. I loved learning about how plants hold an embodied power with a deep affinity for our bodies, and how ultimately nature’s way is the greatest healer.

Tell us a bit about your naturopathic philosophy. For you, what does it mean to be a true naturalist?

To me, being a true naturalist means walking the plant path – there are many ways to do this! I walk this path dedicating my life to working with plant medicine, by choosing to live amongst wild nature and by doing my very best to be a woman in tune with nature in all of her glorious facets.

I guide people to shift their health stories and thrive with the assistance of plant medicine as a gateway to radically awesome health. I have been working within the field of healing for 21 years now, with a strong focus on my clinical practice with clients, bridging the gaps between naturopathic and nutritional medicine, grass roots herbalism, and intuition. Much of my mission is to assist and educate people on the generous healing nature can offer us all, in combination with honouring and listening in to our bodies and beings. This is my holistic approach to health and healing and my naturopathic philosophy.

Photography by Georgia Blackie
Photography by Georgia Blackie

What does a typical day for you look like at home in the Byron hinterland?

I rise with the sun, mornings are slow and soft, and include breakfast at home with my husband around the kitchen table. There is always a meditation, pottering in my herb garden, a beach swim or a bush walk (communion with nature). We work from home, which affords us a lot of freedom and comfort. My days are full of mentoring, clinic, writing, or creating in some way. I make a commitment to take breaks, with a pot of herbal tea under my big pecan tree often. All work is switched off by 5pm, and as the sun sets and the yin of the night ushers in, there is always a nourishing home cooked meal, a sleepy time tea, conversation, candlelight, books, calm music and then in bed by 9pm.

What about a day in the clinic?

The days in my clinic are full and seem to zoom by. I follow my daily rhythms and set my hours with clients and mentoring around this. For me, being in practice for many years has given me a lot of opportunity to refine what works best for me as a clinician and space holder. As much as it is key to activate your intuition when working with people’s health, it is a very heady job that demands a lot of mental focus! I need it to feel paced, with little breaks, nourishing snacks and meals in between, and plenty of time with each client or student to fully be present for them. I keep my mornings chill, and although I sometimes work until late in the evening with clients, I am sure to switch off and give myself space to decompress. For this reason, I keep a lot of supportive foundations in place for myself to be able to do my work with clarity and confidence. It is an incredibly rewarding job to witness people get better and improve their health outcomes with natural interventions and plant medicine support. Truly it never ceases to amaze me that this is the work I get to do and offer.

Plants for the People is the perfect guide for plant medicine aficionados and those who have just started out on their plant path. What would your main piece of advice be for the beginners about to delve into your book?

To start with what resonates, which plant/s jump out to you in the Materia Medica section? Which recipes sound good to you? Start with what you are drawn to the most; the plants and recipes that stand out to you are usually what you may be needing the most.

Photography by Georgia Blackie

Do you have a favourite recipe from the book?

It is very hard to choose one. I do really love the Elderberry elixir recipe, which is super delicious and a great staple to keep in the fridge to support immunity.

What’s next for you?

This year is big, bold and bountiful for me! I will be promoting the book in three counties, travelling, continuing to work with clients and mentoring in my clinic, building my digital offerings and writing more.

Plants for the People is available now. Text by Erin Lovell Verinder, photography by Georgia Blackie and cover design by Alissa Dinallo.

AU$39.99 / NZ$45.00


Posted on March 11, 2020
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Jonathan Drori takes us Around the World in 80 Trees

Trees are one of humanity’s most constant and most varied companions. From India’s sacred banyan tree to the fragrant cedar of Lebanon, they offer us sanctuary and inspiration – not to mention the raw materials for everything from aspirin to maple syrup.

Jonathan Drori’s bestselling book, Around the World in 80 Trees, is now available in paperback. In this extract, we take a closer look at something local, the Jarrah, and then journey to Iran to hear about the origins of the pomegranate.


Jarrah

Eucalyptus marginata, Western Australia

Jarrah

Jarrah: a name that sounds quintessentially Australian. The word comes from the Nyungar language of the continent’s far southwest. In pre-colonial times, there were millions of acres of jarrah forest on the leached soils of what is now called the Darling Plateau. It is a majestic tree, easily 40 metres (130 feet) high and its trunk 2 metres (6 feet) across, with rough, very dark-brown bark. Gloriously fragrant flowers, miniature white starbursts, festoon the tree in clusters of ten or so, attracting bees, which make a distinctively malty, caramel-flavoured honey from its nectar. Jarrah is the linchpin of an important and complex forest ecosystem, home to unspeakably cute marsupials with names to delight any Scrabble player: the numbat, the potoroo, the quoll and the quenda.

Jarrah trees are long-lived – at least 500 years and up to a millennium or more – if they get the chance. British colonists quickly saw the value in the rich red jarrah wood, which was immensely strong and resistant to rot, insects, wind and water. It was eagerly taken up for shipbuilding and harbour pilings. When convicts arrived en masse from 1850, the fl ood of cheap labour meant that jarrah could be exported across the British Empire to feed its insatiable appetite for railway sleepers and other durable infrastructure such as telegraph poles, wharves and even tea sheds. A network of steam-powered sawmills and railways sprang up to extract the timber.

Jarrah

On the other side of the world, Londoners were trying to work out
what to use to pave their roads, which by the 1880s were hectic with horsedrawn traffic. Stone blocks and cobblestones were deployed on substantial sections of main roads, but they were expensive and caused horses to slip and skitter in the city’s frequent rain. Tarmac, known then as macadam, would still need another few decades of development before it was robust enough. Then there was wood. Softwood deal and pine paving from the Baltic had advantages over stone: it was much quieter, more easily swept and kinder to horses’ hooves. But those woods wore and rotted quickly, and would soak up the swill of equine urine and ordure and, under pressure from a heavy wheel, squirt it out at passers-by. Unsurprisingly, then, when jarrah wood was exhibited in 1886 at the Indian and Colonial Exhibition in London and advertised as a durable paving material, there was immediate interest. It turned out to be extraordinarily hardwearing, losing only 3 millimetres (1∕8 inch) a year on busy roads. Lasting decades and blessedly non-porous, it was popular with man and beast alike. By 1897, despite the huge shipping costs and distance, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) of London’s busiest and swankiest streets had been clad in Australian jarrah wood – millions and millions of blocks, mostly laid over concrete. Back in Australia, the huge demand spawned many competing and unregulated jarrah-wood companies. Competitors repeatedly dropped their prices to gain orders, to the point that in 1900 Australian jarrah was being sold in England for less than vastly inferior woods brought from nearby Sweden. It was a lucrative but ludicrously unsustainable business; the forests could never withstand such rapacious exploitation. Despite the rapid forest loss, it wasn’t until the end of World War I that laws were introduced to manage more sensibly the trees that remained. And while asphalt replaced wooden paving blocks soon afterwards, the demand for jarrah timber for construction work never went away.

Aside from a few spectacular protected areas, most of the jarrah forests are gone now, felled for timber or to make way for agriculture and mining. What is left is at risk from global warming and the cascade of complex changes that come with it. The fungus-like organism Phytophthora cinnamomi is causing deadly dieback, and in summer there are increasingly frequent droughts and heatwaves. The original unbridled exploitation of jarrah and the depletion of its fragile ecosystem coincided with the demise of Nyungar culture. The remaining jarrah is again in danger, this time from climate change, to which we all contribute and by which all cultures are threatened.

Jarrah

Pomegranate

Punica granatum, Iran

Pomegranates feature frequently in writings from ancient Egypt and classical Greece, in the Old Testament and Babylonian Talmud, and in the Qur’an. Their abundance of seeds and juice consistently link the fruit to fertility. The ancestors of the cultivated pomegranate grew several thousand years ago in arid, hilly regions between Iran and northern India, and today’s cultivars still prefer hot days and cool nights. Small, many-branched trees of 5–12 metres (16–40 feet), with shiny leaves of deep green, they are long-lived, perhaps to 200 years. Pomegranate flowers are a sight to behold. Distinctive calyxes, protective layers around the base of each flower, form sturdy funnels from which crumpled petals burst exuberantly in lurid shades of scarlet and crimson.

Pomegranate flowers

Pomegranate fruit range in colour from yellow with a blush of pink to burnished rose or even maroon. They have a tough, leathery skin, ensuring the fruit last well after picking; historically, they were a refreshment taken on long journeys. Inside, held within a spongy cream membrane, are hundreds of seeds, each within a juicy sarcotesta (a swollen seed coat), ranging from translucent pink to deep purple. The turgid grains interlock satisfyingly with one another – a triumph of efficient packing – and the juice within each one is delectably sweet, tart and mildly astringent. These are ample compensations for the dry woodiness of the seeds and the dilemma, for some, of whether to spit or swallow.

While fresh pomegranate fruit, juice and cordials are widely available from the western Mediterranean to south Asia, the Iranians have truly embraced pomegranate culture. Specialist stalls stock juice from different cultivars. Mounds of seeds – fresh, dried or frozen – are ready to be sprinkled on top of juice or ice cream, sometimes with a pinch of thyme. In autumn, fresh juice is boiled until it thickens into dark-brown molasses, a key ingredient of khoresht fesenjan, a chicken and walnut stew. And of course, Tehran has the requisite annual pomegranate festival.

Pomegranates have a reputation for health benefits. Traditional uses for diarrhoea, dysentery and intestinal parasites are long established, and the fruit contains antioxidants that are likely to be beneficial; some gung-ho anti-cancer and anti-ageing claims, however, require better evidence. But perhaps we shouldn’t dismiss the psychological benefits of a fruit whose consumption requires our undivided attention.

Pomegranate fruit

Jonathan Drori is a Trustee of The Woodland Trust and The Eden Project, an Ambassador for the WWF and was for nine years a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society and the Zoological Society of London, and a Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. In 2006 he was made CBE. You can read his full biography here or listen to his TED talks here.

Jonathan Drori

This is an extract from Around the World in 80 Trees. Text by Jonathan Drori and illustrations by Lucille Clerc.

Around the World in 80 Trees paperback edition, published March 2020, by Laurence King Publishing, $24.99, available here.


Posted on March 3, 2020