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Written By Ivano Aspesi

“Retrato de Dora Maar” (1941)

"We understand nature by resisting it" Gaston Bachelard   This is the first time we are meeting each other on this blog so, following common etiquette rules we should meet first and with a good handshake we are going to show our intentions, our wisdom, our beliefs and especially our experience in order to share the knowledge that in this specific case talks about my deep fascination with vegetation, an obsession that would take me on a long journey of academic studies, originally based on the desire to understand the baroque and indomitable nature that inhabits the Caribbean region and like the Adam who loses paradise's nostalgia, he searches frantically from the exile.

In order to get to know each others better, I am going to tell you what does it means to feel Caribbean, how that condition influenced the way I perceive the  world and the relation between that and placing a plant on my house sideboard. Being genetically western from the physiognomy to the ways of thinking, my family never imagined that the tropics would take so many decisions in our lives, including the choice of the home where I grew up. Beyond the architectural qualities that the house had, its true center of interest. It was a wonderful garden that took years to understand and that I still discover in my memory even today, the composition of the plants was so varied and colourful that my sister and I could get lost for hours among fruit trees, hummingbirds, coves, orchids, roses and bamboos, it was not easy to get us out of that vegetable universe at lunchtime on Sundays. Observing the coexistence of the fauna and flora that lived there I can only compare it as when we look at a painting by Picasso, for the first time, we do not understand absolutely anything, it is alien to our perception but little by little we discover it, it takes shapes and enters the illumination, beginning to recognize a tilted eye that falls on solemn hands that rest on a brushstroke.

That discovery of our garden in Venezuela made me search for others to understand that they were replicated in most of the green spaces of my country and some others as well . The Caribbean gardens, exuberant, happy and full of colour would mark the lives of so many, but for many, fate extrapolated us from our lands, to meet other horizons, to understand the weather seasons, to find other faces and other traditions, other fauna and other flora. But above the material or intellectual baggage that we bring with us, the tropics will remain as a luminous mark, an iridescent vapor that inhabits the hearts of those who have lived it.

Now that I am in another latitude, so diametrically opposed to my origin, I realized that I continue to ask myself the same questions, that I observe around me with the warmth that the tropics taught me to and that one of the most surprising lessons I have received is to understand the elasticity of the environment, people and plants in terms of their ability to share multiple atmospheres. It is a true treasure to recognize the differences that ultimately bring us closer to others.

Between differences and treasures we wonder which are the tropical plants that orbit between that desire and nostalgia, the subtlety and the indomitable that can exist on this side of the world to create an intimate tropical paradise. So I gave myself the task of finding a series of plant species of this type, at first I thought I was Sisyphus dragging the stone, I felt vividly the words of Albert Camus "there is no punishment more terrible than useless and hopeless work", instead , with a little effort, I found my treasures, the tropical vegetation that allowed me to rest my gaze to dream of unrequited love, the smell of coffee in the morning, the embrace of my parents, the sound of sea, in the garden where I grew up and I have the conviction that everyone absolutely everyone has a right to paradise.

BROMELIA Scientific name: Bromeliaceae

Native to Brazil, in its natural habitat it grows on tree branches, but in western countries it is considered a houseplant.

RED ANTURIO Scientific name: Anthurium

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It blooms most of the year, so it's basically a visual spectacle. It only requires indirect light and wet soil. Do not forget to spray water on its leaves so that they do not lose their shine and condition.

ADAM RIB Scientific name: Monstera deliciosa

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Also called monstera deliciosa, of the araceae family, it is a tropical species from central and southern America.

BAMBOO Scientific name: Bambusoideae

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This tropical plant of oriental origin, the vegetable metal they call it, is very fast growing and there are countless varieties.

CACTUS Scientific name: Cactaceae

The cactus family is native to the American continent, and as such they are used to living in the desert. This is why they can handle extreme temperatures and drought so well. However, to survive they need a light irrigation and be located in a corner bathed in natural light. FERN Scientific name: Tracheophyta

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This lively, effervescent plant is devoid of seeds, so its reproduction takes place by means of spores in the appropriate medium. CAMADOREA Scientific name: Chamaedorea Elegans

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This miniature palm tree comes from Mexico and Guatemala, resists any light condition, although the ideal is to place it in a corner with partial lighting.

SUEGRA'S TONGUE Scientific name: Dracaena trifasciata

This plant is famous for resisting the most extreme conditions. So much so, that in winter it does not need watering.

I would like to close this first meeting with a phrase by Alexander von Humbolt that a great friend wrote to me :

"A man must seek happiness and inner peace in objects they cannot be taken from him"

Thanks to all of you.

Traslation by : Rafael Esquivel

Budapest, 11/05/2020

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