PHENOLOGY the study of organisms as affected by climate

Every week, groups of volunteers traverse the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) in search of yellow labelled plants. Always adapting to the day’s weather, they carry clipboards, marking sheets and pens. For each of these plants, they will record a range of details including flowering stage, leaf buds and seed capsules of specific plant genera such as Rhododendron. This data along with other information is then compiled to track annual changes in the local Edinburgh climate.

Without these volunteers, it would be very difficult to collect this important data. I have created this design, in partnership with the RBGE, to highlight the dedication of their volunteers who collect the botanical information on the plant accessions within the Garden every week of the year, regardless of the weather.

The dark brown grid structure of the pattern, created using undyed Shetland wool, represents the marking sheets that the volunteers use to collect data. The motifs that highlight their work are shown as a row of trees and as a row of flowering plants. The additional data collected by the RBGE is represented by motifs of an umbrella and Celsius degree symbols to show rain and temperature; and the seasonal changes between winter and summer as represented by a snow flake and a shining sun.

The design comes in two background colourways: a variegated red-orange-pink background colour machine knit using a naturally dyed Finnish yarn with a complimentary pink organic dry waxed cotton; and a red-white background knit with a Shetland wool that I dyed with madder roots, with a red organic cotton. These colours have been chosen to represent the increasing temperature of the Earth’s climate that are being determined on a global basis by scientific data such as that collected locally by the RBGE volunteers.

The Phenology design will be launched on Saturday 23rd March 2024 at the Scottish Wool Producers Showcase in Perth. Ten percent of all sales will be donated to the RBGE to help them continue their vital work. The design will be available in Medium and Large project bag sizes.


Please note that all photographs are reproduced by kind permission of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

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