My favourite Kew Gardens greenhouse is the Princess of Wales Conservatory – where in 1985 Sir David Attenborough buried the time capsule originally thought up by Elaine during a dinner in Barnes with Gaia Books co-founders Joss and David Pearson.
The time capsule contained seeds of extinction-prone plants and a copy of The Gaia Atlas of Planet Management, which I had helped Joss and Norman Myers bring to life.
Our daughters, Gaia and Hania – then aged 6 and 8 – sat on Sir David’s knees, all three wearing hard hats, as he prepared to lower the time capsule into the newly-built Conservatory’s floor.
Yesterday, Gaia, Elaine and I went to see this year’s Orchid Festival – and walked around the time capsule plaque, while I pondered that each and every orchid on display was a time capsule in its own right. Shaped by its evolutionary history in ways that emergent sciences like epigenetics are only just beginning to probe and understand.
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