Newsy bits

Nineteen institutions, including a large number of botanical gardens, are collaborating in the three-year-long EU Horizon 2020 project, BigPicnic. Scientists, politicians, industry and the public will be brought together to start a conversation about worldwide food security – that sufficient healthy food should always be available to everyone without causing damage to the planet.

Botanic gardens, with help from other partners, will co-create a range of exhibitions and participatory events to generate dialogue and build greater understanding of food security. The collaborative approach aims to give a voice to adults and young people, communicating their views to policy-makers, sharing ideas, encouraging debate on the future of our food and achieving Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).

Co-ordinated by Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), BigPicnic Partners span 12 countries across Europe and one in Uganda. Read more about BigPicnic and ongoing events (from 2018) here.

New Zealand science writer Bob Brockie looks at giant timber bamboo – a plant that flowers only once every 120 years, last blooming in 1845. Once it’s flowered, Phyllostachys bambusoides​, which has edible shoots and tips, dies.

He also mentions a different bamboo in India that when it flowers is known as causing a Bamboo Death Year for local inhabitants. Read more here.

We’ve all seen those beautiful photos of food decorated with real flowers – quite a thing on Instagram apparently. Well, botanist James Wong is over it, especially when the food is decorated with toxic flowers! Read more here.

Can’t make the Chelsea Flower Show in London? Treat yourself to a preview of the May 22-26 event. Cheers!