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 Lost Cultivars Subscription Service « makeshift journal |

Making – Lost Cultivars Subscription Service: ‘Crown Pea’


Behind the scenes of our work currently in Experiments on Plant Hybridization at Dianne Tanzer Gallery in Melbourne www.diannetanzergallery.net.au

Tessa Zettel & Karl Khoe (Makeshift)
Batch no. 1: ‘Crown Pea’ (Group of 24)

Participants are invited to join an amateur horticultural adventure to rediscover lost cultivars of edible and otherwise useful plants. In consultation with botanists and seed libraries, Zettel & Khoe will endeavour – for a length of time determined by the number of subscribers – to locate seeds of a given ‘vanished’ plant for distribution to members. If within that time the desired cultivar remains elusive, another closely related rarity will be substituted in its place.

The Lost Cultivars Subscription Service hereby sets out on its first expedition, in search of the ‘Crown Pea’ (or ‘Rose’ or ‘Mummy’ pea), a curious variety of edible pea that after 300 years of cultivation in Europe, fell out of favour with the shift from hand-picking to industrial agriculture – for which its dense, crown-like crop and ‘fasciated’ stem, the result of a genetic abnormality once studied by Mendel, were no longer desirable traits. The Lost Cultivars Subscription Service looks forward to a time akin to the 1800s, when peas were commonly available in a vast range of such quirky varieties (unscrupulous seed catalogues not infrequently announcing new ones that could be better described as ‘old friends with new names’), that along with their ease of cultivation ensured a succession of fresh produce over an extended season from May to October.


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