Wild Flowers and Loki Schmidt

This lady is Loki Schmidt, who was a teacher and a botanist.  

She may be known to some of you, since she was the wife of the German Chancellor 1974-1982, Helmut Schmidt. However, she was also a person in her own right – very gifted and down-to-earth, with a wonderful sense of humour, and I regret that I only found out about her and her work after she died last October.

In 1979 Loki Schmidt established the Foundation for the Protection of Endangered Plants (Stiftung zum Schutze gefährdeter Pflanzen), now known as the Loki Schmidt Foundation. Her goals were to make people aware that certain plants are slowly disappearing, and to catalogue the location of endangered plants nationwide.

One way the foundation achieves its goal is by acquiring land, either by purchasing or leasing it, where particular endangered plants have their natural habitat. In addition, the Flower of the Year campaign, which began in 1980, aims  “to inform people constantly of the ecological value of the plant world, and the necessity for the protection of all endangered species”. (Loki Schmidt)

The Flower of the Year is announced every October, and this year will be the first in which Loki has not played a role, as she died on 21st October 2010. She wrote a book about the Flowers of the Year from 1980 to 2003 , which I read with great pleasure and enjoyment.

Loki Schmidt’s enthusiasm shines through and is infectious!  A shame the book is not also available in English.

This is Gentiana pneumonanthe, the Marsh Gentian (Lungen-Enzian), and was Flower of the Year 1980

This is Lithospermum purpurocaeruleum, Purple Gromwell (Purpurblauer Steinsame), Flower of the Year 1999

And now for Flower of the Year 2012, announced yesterday:

The Dianthus deltoides, Maiden Pink (Heidenelke)

Dianthus deltoides, Maiden Pink (Heidenelke), Flower of the Year 2012

I hope the foundation will be able to continue its valuable work long-term, despite the loss of such a positive and prominent figure at its helm.