Quarantine Herbarium

‘Quarantine Herbarium’ is a participatory botanical photography project led by Gem Toes-Crichton @gemblina, John A. Blythe @johnblythe65 and William Arnold @williamlawrencearnold.

The project seeks to alleviate symptoms of plant blindness* through a hyperlocal focus on flora while salving the monotony of lockdown through engagement with the accessible historical photo method of cyanotype sun-prints!

The lockdown forces a focus on that which is close to home, so it is hoped that the Quarantine Herbarium will form an important record of an unusual interaction with an oft-overlooked part of the natural world.

Weeds are much encouraged but plant specimens must be collected from the participant’s gardens, or the area immediately adjacent to their homes, as per government guidelines on travel and permitted exercise, no ‘plant collecting’ trips are allowed.

*Plant Blindness, a term coined by botanists James Wandersee and Elisabeth Schussler in 1998, refers to a cognitive bias in which we struggle to recognise and appreciate the value of diverse flora over zoological forms, especially prestige species.

I was invited to contribute to the Quarantine Herbarium project. My three submissions to the project are below, including some in progress shots of the process...

Thymus vulgaris (Thyme)

Mentha spicata (Spearmint)

Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm)