Today marks the end of an era at UBC Botanical Garden. David Tarrant, host of the former television series The Canadian Gardener and employee of UBC BG for thirty-seven years, retires today. In addition to being on television for over twenty-five years, David's written a number of books and regular columns in newspapers and magazines. Over the course of his career at UBC, he worked as a horticulturist, the education coordinator and the public relations & programs coordinator. He was an integral part of the strong relationship between the garden staff and the FOGs. I know I'm only echoing the thoughts and well-wishes of many others, David, but I'll miss you too.
When I asked David what he would like for today's BPotD, he predictably remarked, “Something blue.” I don't have many blue flower photographs that I haven't already used, but I did manage to dig up this one from a May 2004 trip to the Devonian Botanic Garden in Edmonton, Alberta. Fitting, in a way, that today's photograph is not from UBC. During his time as host of The Canadian Gardener, David touched many lives across the nation – I've seen the boxes and boxes of letters!
Gentiana clusii, or Clusius' gentian, is a plant of calcareous soils in the alpine areas of southern Europe. It is named in honour of Carolus Clusius, a 16th century botanist and doctor. A closely related species to Gentiana clusii, Gentiana acaulis, differs by preferring silicaceous soils and having slight differences in the appearance of the flowers. In areas of mixed geology where the two species occur near each other, hybridization occurs. This is illustrated in Guilhem Mansion's Comical Gentians, a page on the comprehensive Gentian Research Network.
A photograph of the plant showing it with some gravel to scale can be seen here.