Flower Power! The Chelsea Flower Show

Spring is in the air in London, and that signals the start of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show. Formally called the ‘Great Spring Show’, it is held at the Royal Hospital grounds in Chelsea where it has been blossoming for over a hundred years. The only exception was during World War II when the UK War Office need the land as an anti-aircraft site.  

Gardeners, horticulturists (a grown-up word for experts in gardens and their management) and artists create the most spectacular and innovative gardens during the show. Today the show attracts more than 150,000 visitors every year! The guests always include members of the royal family; in fact, it is said to be one of the outings  (of the many hundreds she has to attend) that the Queen really looks forward too. Many celebrities from actors, to politicians to celebrity chefs also make a beeline for the show.

The 2019 Winner! Credit: rhs.org.uk

The more ‘grassroots’ part of the show includes the sale of plants and often, new varieties are ‘launched’ at the show. One lucky plant is named Plant of the Year – the 2019 winner was the Sedum takesimense ATLANTIS (‘Nonsitnal’). Besides this, there are awards for different categories of gardens as well.

 

The 2019 show had a garden that was co-designed by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. The ‘Back to Nature’ theme was translated with a woodland garden filled with fairy tale childhood wonders like a hollow log to climb through, a den, a small tree house and a knot swing.

The Show always has some surprises and fun elements. For instance, gnomes, a British garden favourite, were banned from the show. The ban was lifted in 1913 when gardener David Domoney made gnomes of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, when they were expecting their first child.

Credit: telegraph.co.uk

Here are some of the more wild and wacky designs over the years:

‘The Irish Sky Garden’ by Diarmuid Gavin was based on the idea of having a restaurant in the sky (2011).

Credit: Alice’s Garden Travel Buzz

Another by Diarmuid Gavin – the 80ft Westland Magical Tower Garden (2012).

Credit: alamy.com

James May’s ‘Paradise in Plasticine’ where he made the entire exhibit in plasticine including an apple tree, fish in a stream, and many different coloured roses (2009).  

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Phillip Johnson’s display with 300,000 crocheted poppies (2016).

Credit: rhs.org.uk

A mini cooper garden including a floral driver! (2012).

Credit: getty images

The Cardiff Council’s rugby player really brought a kick to the show (2008).   

Credit: getty images

Perhaps the most fun, the moving garden of 2016!


Written by: Pereena Lamba. Pereena is a freelance writer, editor and creative consultant. She is also co-author of Totally Mumbai.


Check out this year’s best wildlife photos

Every year the Natural History Museum in London holds a wildlife photography competition. Photographers from all over the world capture animal behavior and the beautiful diversity of life on Earth. The competition has several awards across categories. This year Marsel van Oosten, a Dutch photographer won the top award at the competition. He beat more than 45,000 entries from 95 countries to win the 2018 Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY).

“The golden couple”
Marsel van Oosten/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

His extraordinary image captures two golden snub-nosed monkeys in the temperate forests in the Qin mountains in China. This endangered species is decreasing in numbers primarily because of deforestation. The photographer followed these monkeys for several weeks until he was able to capture this moment. He was able to highlight the contrast between the beautiful golden hair on the male snub-nosed monkey’s back and it’s blue face The judges felt that his image captured the raw beauty of nature and signaled how poor we are becoming as nature continues to lose some.


Younger photographers also took home prizes for their beautiful images. Sixteen-year-old Skye Meaker took the award for Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 with his beautiful portrait of a leopard waking from sleep in Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana. Skye has wanted to be a nature photographer since receiving his first pocket camera at the age of seven.

“Lounging leopard” Skye Meaker/Wildlife Photographer of the Year


10 year old Arshdeep Singh from India won the 10 years and under category for capturing an image of a pair of spotted owls hiding in a pipe on his father’s camera!

“Pipe Owls” by Arshdeep Singh (India). Winner, 10 Years and Under.

The Natural History Museum in London will now exhibit the top 100 wildlife photos. This exhibit will travel to cities in America later in the year.

Are you a budding photographer? If you want to take part in the 2019 Wildlife Photographer of the Year follow this link. Remember to submit your entries between October 22, 2018 to December 13, 2018.


Written By: Biyash Choksey


Yay! It’s another Harry Potter Quiz!


Quiz put together by Armaan Murthy. Armaan loves football, reading anything written by Rick Riordan, and burgers with french fries.


Look what artist Christo made at the Serpentine in London!

Mastaba. Photo Credit: www.dezeen.com

There’s a new piece of art in the water at the Serpentine Lake at Hyde Park in London. Check out this 20 meter high installation, made of oil barrels stacked on top of each other. What does it make you feel? We thought it looks beautiful, cheerful, colourful, and it changes colour with the time of day. It also reflects on the water of the lake. All this adds different dimensions to the installation.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Artist Christo is known for making the impossible possible. When designing his sculptures, Christo really tries to push the boundaries as much as he can. Some of his projects are The Floating Piers in Italy, The Running Fence in California, The Reichstag Berlin and The Gates in New York City.

The Running Fence, California. Photo Credit: christojeanneclaude.net

Kids sometimes see things a little differently to grown ups. So here’s a 13 year old’s perspective:

To me this installation symbolizes friendship. This sculpture in the Serpentine Lake made out of over 7500 oil barrels was one of the big projects that Christo made after the death of his wife, Jeanne Claude.

The shape of the sculpture is derived from a Mesopotamian bench like figure called ‘Mastaba’. These benches were made from bricks, outside mud houses in Mesopotamia, where friends could spend time together. It also depicts the friendship between Christo and Jeanne – Claude.

People can steer a boat around the sculpture in the lake and spend time together, as the sculpture is displaying the friendship between people, and between us and the elements we interact with – the water, the water fowl, the air, the light and reflections of it.

Write to us at mail@currentkids.in and tell us what you think!


Written by: Nyra Jain. Nyra is a 13 year old who enjoys playing the violin, swimming and baking!

 


The underground phenomenon that is the Mumbai Metro

Those of you in Mumbai will have noticed that our city is going topsy-turvy of late. Dug up roads, diversions, and loads and loads of construction everywhere! What’s going on? The city is literally going underground! Mumbai is getting its very own Metro System – a rapid underground network of trains.

Did you know that:

  • there are over 160 subway systems on Earth?
  • while excavating for the Paris metro, construction workers uncovered cannonballs, catacombs (cemeteries) full of human bones, and the foundations of historic buildings and very deep quarries from ancient Roman times? Eeeek!

Underground trains sound awesome, but isn’t that a lot of work? Yes! Engineers have to dig tunnels underground, and put in a sophisticated network of chutes and connectors. 

Photo Credit: YouTube

But how do they know where to dig? That is really tricky stuff! Engineers and architects study blueprints (maps) of electrical lines, sewage lines and water lines that are underground. They then come up with a plan for where they will make tunnels so that they are least likely to cut through these important conduits. If they cut through these, then the area around them will not have water or electricity! Modern machines can dig tunnels below these obstacles and sometimes even below massive rivers. As you can imagine, waterproofing is a critical part of constructing subway tunnels.  Also very important is a ventilation system to make sure there is circulation of fresh air reaching underground.

How are these trains powered, and who drives them? In the olden days, some subways used steam engines. Now, the trains, tunnel lights and station equipment all run on electricity. There are usually drivers for these trains, however some countries (Denmark) and cities (New York City) are trying to upgrade to automated, driverless trains.

Mapping a subway system is also super interesting.  Initially, maps for the London Underground depicted the different train lines geographically and used a regular city map as a base. The main areas of the city therefore had stations drawn all bunched together which made reading the map quite tricky.

In 1931, a man called Harry Beck was working on making technical drawings. He got the brilliant idea of creating a full system map in colour. He realised that passengers didn’t really care about matching the exact geography to the location of the station – they just wanted to know how to get from one station to another and where to change trains. He used an electrical circuit diagram and devised the concept of an electrical schematic where all the stations were drawn almost equally spaced rather than with geographic accuracy. This was quite an ingenious idea at the time and has now been recognised as a classic.

Photo Credit: Londontopia

Written by: Purnima Thacker, a keen art admirer, nature enthusiast, intellectual property lawyer and mum to a curious 8 year old.


“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” has conjured the impossible

Photo Caption: Broadway, New York

The play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I and II” has been out in London for the past 2 years, but it recently made its debut on Broadway in New York City. It didn’t need to cast any spells to make eager Muggles spend up to $286.50 per act to see the show. Blimey!

What is Broadway? It is a big, broad road that runs through Manhattan, New York. Between 42nd and 53rd streets though, it houses about 40 theatres that show many great plays and musicals. It is the Theatre District in Manhattan.

Back to Harry Potter! This is the most expensive non-musical in Broadway history, costing $68.5 million to produce. There are two acts that last a mind-boggling 5 hours!

What is amazing is that the Broadway production of The Cursed Child” has already been nominated for multiple prestigious awards in America, despite only being out for a couple of months. It is the most nominated play of the Broadway season. The story is written by J.K. Rowling along with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany and the play has been directed by Thorne.

As you might imagine, the play is completely sold out. However for those who cannot hop on a broom to go see it, here is another treat from the Harry Potter franchise. Check out the new game for mobile devices: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. The game has been launched by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. It allows the user to create a avatar of themselves as a new Hogwarts student, receive a letter from Hogwarts, be sorted into a House, attend classes at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, enrage Snape (shiver) and Transfigure themselves under the supervision of Professor McGonagall!

Take a look and let us know what you think!


Written by: Shruti Divecha. Shruti was a graphic and textile designer by profession till her curiosity filled daughter pulled out the writer inside her. She writes stories, GK nuggets and teaches recycled crafts to children.


Usain’s last bolt to the finish line!

Usain Bolt, the fastest human EVER, will hang up his running spikes this weekend. Yes he is retiring!

30 year old Bolt is a naturally gifted sprinter who has shattered and left an unparalleled legacy. No athlete has run with such speed over such a long career. Unbeaten in three Olympics, Bolt is most famous for achieving  the ‘Triple Triple’ at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.  (Yikes! He won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m races at 3 consecutive Olympic Games.)

This past weekend was his last solo competitive race. He was hoping to win the 100 m at the World Championships in London and end his career with his 20th gold. Unfortunately, he lost to Justin Gatlin (USA) and Christian Coleman (USA) and had to settle for the Bronze.

Usain Bolt’s stunning world records:

    1. 100m – 9.58 seconds
      Berlin, 2009
    2. 200m – 19.19 seconds
      Berlin, 2009
    3. 4x100m – 36.84 seconds
      London, 2012

In addition to nine Olympic Games gold medals, Usain won eleven World T&F Championships titles.

Bolt will complete one final race before hanging up his spikes. He will participate in the 4x100m relay race on Saturday, August 12th. After that, Bolt will walk away from the sport forever.

 

 

What do you know about The Lightning Bolt? Take a Trivia Quiz!