Gardening in Brazil

Gardening in Brazil
    The build up to the World Cup is already underway and many of us are getting ready for a fabulous footballing spectacle.

People up and down the country will be cheering on Roy Hodgson's team of young underdogs as they face Italy in the humid heat of Manaus. 

The average temperature over there is 26 degrees celsius during June – but it's the humidity that will take its toll on the players, with relative levels tending to range between 63 per cent and 95 per cent.

It won't be the first time the England team has found itself in a sticky situation, though, and with a bit of luck they'll be able to make up for the defeat to Italy in the 2012 European Championship.

The World Cup always provides an opportunity to explore the customs of the host nation and we thought we'd explore gardening in Brazil.

Bookmaker Paddy Power recently courted controversy with a stunt which appeared to involve a bit of overenthusiastic pruning in the Amazon rainforest.

It turned out the picture they released that appeared to show a 'Come on England' message created by cutting down trees in the Amazon basin was a fake – but it provoked some angry protests before the bookie revealed it was a computer-generated prank.

Gardening isn't a particularly big hobby in Brazil – certainly not when compared with England. One of the main problems is the lack of space, which means many people don't have the opportunity to create large-scale projects.

Indeed, many 'gardens' just consist of a few flowerpots placed wherever space is available.

Necessity is the mother of invention, however, and vertical gardening is taking off in the country. Last year, the BBC reported that the Ninety Degree Movement is looking to transform the city of Sao Paulo into a green corridor using the technique. It seems England footballers aren't the only ones with lofty ambitions in Brazil.

The most famous Brazilian gardener was Roberto Burle Marx, who introduced modernist landscape architecture into the country.

Mr Burle Marx designed the Copacabana beach promenade, which combines native trees and palms with Portuguese mosaics to form a large, constantly varying abstract 'painting'.

He used many native species in his designs and was influenced by Brazilian folk art, as well as movements such as cubism and abstractionism.

The gardener was so well-loved he became a national hero in the country after working on projects up and down Brazil.

He was also a keen conservationist, campaigning for the protection of Brazil's rainforests, and has given his name to more than 50 plants. This might seem like a surprising amount, but given the abundance of flora in Brazil, it's not that remarkable.

A huge variety of plant species is found in the country – of the 315,000 or so known to exist, around 55,000 are native to Brazil. If you're a Brazilian gardener, and lucky enough to have a lot of space where you can indulge your passion, you're certainly spoilt for choice.

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