Sunday, June 28, 2009

4. Sound

When I was at university, I bought a tape for a botanist friend of the sounds of plants. Not the sounds of wind blowing gently through leaves but the sounds a plant makes as it lives and grows. It was rather strange with small squeaks and pops and the flowing sounds of water and sugar solutions making their way around the plant. I've no idea if it was real or not, but it was certainly interesting.

Rhubarb in the forcing sheds of the 'rhubarb triangle' makes a sound as it grows.

SomeBeans has memories as a child of hearing the popping of broom. This video illustrates it, sounding as though someone is holding a bowl of rice crispies next to the microphone.

But my favourite sound needs a bit of intervention. I'm ashamed to admit that I'm a Fuchsia popper. I love popping the buds. My father used to grow a lot of fuchsias, so I had plenty to pop. It becomes a bit obsessive - you have to carry on popping the buds until you get the perfect 'pop', then you can stop. For a while. It appears that I'm not the only one. It's probably a good thing that I don't have any suitable fuchsias in the garden.


VP said...

Do you remember all that hoo haa (in the early eighties I think) about those recordings of how a plant screams when it's picked?

HappyMouffetard said...

I think i have a vague recollection VP. I must have very screamy plants, they're probably not too happy at being sucked ot death by greenfly, left to droop without water or being picked. Oh dear.

Bay Area Tendrils said...

Similarly, I would pop morning glories before they opened. Their vines were wild things, growing willy-nilly in Chicago neighborhoods.

chaiselongue said...

They must make sounds ... just quietly so we can't hear! I love your mouthwatering new strawberry blog header.

easygardener said...

I have never heard of Fuchsia popping - I must have led a sheltered life.
Now I'm eyeing up my Fuschia outside the conservatory. Well I never - the buds do pop :-)

Juliet said...

I'm just catching up with your blog after being away, then being too busy to read blogs for a while.

So going back to Pelargoniums for a moment - I do like your species ones - I'm not a fan of their blowsy relatives so hadn't realised there were such pretty dainty ones as well.

I have the same Trollius :-D

I also still have the XTC single somewhere or other, I think!

I do not, however, have any strawberries, so I am very jealous - yours look scrummy.

To me the garden sound of childhood is putting grass between your thumbs and blowing through it - anyone know what I'm talking about?! (In case you don't, I found this)

Joanne said...

Interesting listening to plants. I seem to remember on my last visit to Kew there was a tree with ear phones dangling around it so youcould listen to the noises from the roots I think. perhaps something to do with taking up mosture but I wasn't that impressed.

I remember standing in the garden in th evenings years ago when we had a puppy jess who was frightened to go out on her own at night and listening to many sounds but especially the slugs and snails eating my tender plants. Well at least i am pretty sure it was that.

I have never heard of popping fuschia or morning glory!

Gail said...

Fascinating...I read, but haven't heard, that witchhazels pop when they disperse their seeds. gail

HappyMouffetard said...

Good to hear more plant sounds. I was never very good at making the squeaking grass noise. I'll have to look out for witch hazels and morning glory. And I'm sure I'll be able to hear the munching of leaves by slugs and snails!

Sylvana said...

My husband was weeding in the garden when he heard a *pop* and caught a hosta leaf unfurling.