Posts Tagged ‘poppies’

Passchendaele 100 Poppy Pin

August 22, 2017

john sutherland 22817

One of the Passchendaele dead: 60,083 killed over 103 days. Source RBL website

 

 

I noticed whilst watching the video for the Royal British legion Passchendaele 100 Poppy Pin that one of 60,083 casualties remembered by these pins is Private John Sutherland, Seaforth Highlanders who died on 22 August 1917 – a hundred years agao exactly today.

British brass shell fuses were collected from the battlefield and taken back to England where they were melted down and recreated as Passchendaele 100 Poppy Pins.

The samples of soil were mixed and ground into a fine powder, the earth then added to both the red and green enamels before artisans carefully applied them to the brass poppies. In this way the poppy pins are permanently linked to the battlefields of Passchendaele.

Each pin is engraved with ‘Ypres 1917’ and comes presented in a lacquered wooden box. There is also a Certificate of Authenticity and a unique Royal British Legion Everyman Remembered Certificate detailing a British soldier who lost his life during the 103-day battle.

Sutherland is one such young man shown in the accompanying video.

Worth watching the interesting webapge and video about this project:

http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/community/stories/remembrance/creating-the-passchendaele-100-poppy-pin/

Some of those 60,083 dead remembered by the Passchendaele 100 Poppy project are zoo gardeners, zoo staff and botanic garden staff remembered here:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/lost-gardeners-and-zoo-staff-during-passchendaele-1917-ww1/

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, 22 August 1917 / 2017

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Poppies at the Zoo Wartime Garden

July 14, 2016

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Field poppies in the World War Zoo Gardens, Newquay Zoo July 2016 (Image: Mark Norris)

A busy schools week of education workshops, looking at animal enrichment and nutrition,  so I have been raiding our World War Zoo Wartime Garden for scented herbs or  enrichment scatter feed for monkeys such as edible Nasturtium flowers and leaves, globe artichokes  or colourful Ruby and Yellow Chard.

Mixed in amongst these flowers and leaves were some beautiful Field Poppies.

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo

 

The Wartime Garden in Bloom 2015

August 6, 2015

Our first memorial poppy, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, July 2015

Our first memorial poppy, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, July 2015

August 2015 – our first memorial Poppy finally flowers after two years of seeds!

This is particularly poignant as 2015 is the anniversary of the writing of John MacCrae’s famous WW1 Poppy poem In Flanders Fields.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/05/03/poppies-poem-anniversary-written-3-may-1915/

The Wartime zookeepers’s garden allotment at Newquay Zoo is coming into ‘Bloom’, thankfully around the time that Britain / SW / Newquay in Bloom judges visited the zoo and Newquay itself recently.

It has been a year for poppies – not all of them real, such as the silk poppies from our Red White  and Blue VE day 70th anniversary  …

VE Day colours in our World War Zoo Gardens at Newquay Zoo  - blue and white edible borage flowers with a splash of red from some silk poppies.

VE Day colours in our World War Zoo Gardens at Newquay Zoo – blue and white edible borage flowers with a splash of red from some silk poppies.

Tower Poppies

Tower Poppies – the  famous, unexpectedly popular and very moving ceramic poppies at The Tower Of London in Autumn 2014.

to the famous, unexpectedly popular and very moving ceramic poppies at The Tower Of London in Autumn 2014.

Many of the blooms are on edible or scented plants, such as these Thyme herbs for animal scent enrichment at Newquay Zoo, great for enriching carnivore and big cat enclosures.

Thyme coming into flower, a good and edible bit of scent enrichment for the animals.

 

Fantastically  fiery colour and taste of nasturtium flowers and leaves

Edible white borage flowers

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More dark red ‘Empress of India’ Edible Nasturtiums  and some surprising Garlic seed heads, much loved by bees and macaque monkeys –

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Alongside queues to see our lively trio of lions, garlic flowers bloom and attract plenty of butterflies, bees and other insects.

Alongside queues to see our lively trio of lions, garlic flowers bloom and attract plenty of butterflies, bees and other insects.

It is BIAZA Big Bug Bonanza week this week (3 to 9 August 2015) in UK in zoos,  celebrating insectsand invertebrates; these edible flowers and garden plants are usually alive with insects.

A disappointing (too dry?) year for Broad Beans, whose simple flowers and smell I love. Many of these beans were saved seed from previous years.

However it’s been better for  colourful Swiss or rainbow chard, often mistaken by visitors for young Rhubarb:

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Thyme in flower and colourful Rainbow chard

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Finally another fantastic small crop of Globe Artichokes, again much loved by our Sulawesi Macaque monkeys. This is their fifth year growing. I tried these for the first time myself this year and wasn’t overwhelmed by them but the monkeys love them.

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Back to my first real Poppy – a flower of remembrance –  posted today 6th August 2015 on the 70th anniversary of the first atomic bomb at Hiroshima.

Remembering the many lives lost, changed and saved by this event.

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Poppies poem anniversary written 3 May 1915

May 3, 2015

 

 

Somme poppies, Thiepval area, France taken on my first trenches tour,  1992 (Copyright: Mark Norris)

Somme poppies, Thiepval area, France taken on my first trenches tour, 1992 (Copyright: Mark Norris, WWZG, Newquay Zoo)

 

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row …”

Today is the 100th anniversary of the writing on 3rd May 1915 of the Poppies poem, In Flanders Fields, by Canadian Army doctor John McCrae.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

It was written by McCrae to commemorate his Canadian friend Lieutenant Alexis Helmer who had died the day before on 2 May 1915 during the Second Battle Of Ypres. McCrae had presided over the burial and noticed poppies around the graves.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1592956/HELMER,%20ALEXIS%20HANNUM

The poem was said to have been written in the back of an ambulance the next day 3rd May 1915 but not published anonymously until 8th December 1915 in Punch magazine. McCrae himself died of pneumonia in January 1918.

I visited  the very muddy flooded Essex Farm casualty clearing station where McCrae worked  and took my picture of Thiepval Somme poppies the same wet, overcast day in 1992. You can see pictures on Alan Jennings’ WW1 Battlefields Blog

Tower Poppies

Tower Poppies, London WW1 Centenary, November 2014 (Image: Mark Norris, WWZG collection)

The poem’s final verse (below) caused some unease and discussion when it was read recently at a local Roll of Honour rededication ceremony. However I think it sits well with the WW1 centenary ethos of keeping ‘faith’ with the memory of all “the Dead”  of all nations, in remembering the fallen WW1 casualties and their generation.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

You can read more about John McCrae and Alexis Helmer who inspired the Poppies poem at :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Flanders_Fields

http://www.greatwar.co.uk/poems/john-mccrae-in-flanders-fields.htm

The recent Gallipoli anniversary in April 2015 also saw CWGC commemoration of the early death from disease on active service  of poet Rupert Brooke and his sonnet The Soldier : “If I Should Die …”

Wild Memorial Flowers

The Poppy went on to become a powerful symbol of remembrance, symbolic of blood yet at odds with the beautiful spread of wildflowers on disturbed farmland torn up and disfigured by the trenches. The Tower Poppies display in Autumn 2014  showed that its symbolic power en masse has not faded with the years but grown with the centenary and with fresh memories of recent conflict.

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Tower Poppies, Autumn 2014. (Image: Mark Norris, WWZG)

 

In France, according to RBGE archivist Leonie Paterson, the equivalent remembrance flower is the Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) or “Les Bleuets”, based on the sky blue uniform adopted during WW1 by the French troops. Leonie has been studying many of the flowers dedicated to RBGE staff killed in WW1 on her fascinating blog posts. A WW1 centenary wildflower and poppy lawn were sown at RBGE Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh in 2014.

I have planted some Cornflowers, a source of edible petals for some of our animals, in our World War Zoo Gardens allotment plot at Newquay Zoo.

Many BIAZA zoos in the UK including Newquay Zoo have planted wildflower areas in 2015 as part of the BIAZA Grab That Gap  wildflower initiative with Flora Locale to encourage wildlife and survey them as part of  a BIAZA Bioblitz this summer.

French prisoners of war in a German postcard, wearing the old early French WW1 uniform (almost bright Waterloo colours) before it became sky blue, like the cornflower - "les bleuets"  (Image Source: Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens collection)

French prisoners of war in a German postcard, wearing the old early French WW1 uniform (almost bright Waterloo colours) before it became sky blue, like the cornflower – “les bleuets” (Image Source: Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens collection)

Remember John McCrae, Alexis Helmer and the many other casualties of all nations, whenever you next see a wild poppy blowing in the wind, wherever it is, in a zoo or in a field or garden  …

Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo.

Tower Poppies 2014 pictures

November 2, 2014

Tower Hill Poppies Oct 2014

Tower Hill Poppies Oct 2014

In case you do not get to see the WW1 centenary ceramic poppies project in the moat of the Tower of London, one poppy for each of the 888,246 British and Commonwealth troops who died in WW1, here are my recent photographs.

All the poppies have now been sold, raising millions for veterans’ charities.

I visited the Tower Poppies on the day of my well-attended talk on the World War Zoo Gardens project, wartime zoos and botanic gardens at Kew Gardens and thankfully didn’t have  the much reported difficulties of reaching  Tower Hill, so popular has visiting this centenary installation become before it finishes on 11 November 2014.

This is one of many commemorative events happening worldwide as part of www.1914.org which includes the Kew Gardens wartime tours  throughout November 2014 and London Zoo ZSL’s poster style exhibition about the Zoo at War which runs for another month or two.

Tower Poppies

Tower Poppies

You can read more about the HRP Tower of London poppy  installation “Blood Swept Land and Seas of Red” by ceramic artist Paul Cummins at https://poppies.hrp.org.uk/

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Amongst these 888,246 poppies are ones which mark or commemorate the WW1 deaths of 12 ZSL London Zoo Keepers, 19 Belle Vue Zoo Manchester keepers and 37 Kew Gardens staff, along with many others from gardens staff in Britain, members of the Linnean Society and British Ecological Society that we have been documenting in our blog research since 2009:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/remembering-ww1-in-zoos-and-gardens/

Members of zoo families were also killed in WW1,such as two Jennison sons at Belle Vue Zoo Manchester, several brothers of Chester Zoo’s George Mottershead (badly wounded on the Somme) and a brother of Herbert Whitley, founder of Paignton Zoo (Newquay’s sister zoo).

I will be talking at the BGEN conference next week at Paignton Zoo about how to link these wartime links and history commemorations to sustainable development education, telling some of these WW1 personal stories: http://bgen.org.uk/resources/free/using-the-garden-ghosts-of-your-wartime-or-historic-past/ 

There are RBL poppies on sale in the Newquay Zoo shop in case you are visiting us and we will stop to observe the 11 a.m. 2 minutes silence on the 9th and 11th November 2014 this year.

We will remember them, zoo keepers and gardeners of all nations who served or suffered in WW1.

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