Flourishing genetics

Photo: Martin1009 / Wikipedia Commons

The floral decoration is also based on the character species of genetics: the pea.

An appraisal by Hannah Müller

An extraordinary ball evening calls for extraordinary decoration: this year, the floral decoration is all about the pea. The Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel discovered the genetic inheritance of external characteristics by crossing purple and white pea flowers.

This year, the industrious florists of the Vienna Municipal Gardens have once again translated science into decoration, adorning the tables in the banquet hall with Mendel’s flowers. The expert guests will notice that, strictly speaking, the flowers are vetches and not peas. However, we do not want to count peas now, because both plants belong to the legume family and are thus closely related. However, unlike the pea, vetch is widespread as an ornamental plant and is therefore more suitable for the purpose of the table decoration at the ball. Under the glass lintel, the individual vetch flowers are kept fresh in a vial. By hand, the staff:inside the Vienna Municipal Gardens have decorated the small vials with scrolled gold wire that imitates a pea vine. The dried peas at the bottom are not only in keeping with the motto, but also assure that the glass lintel will not tarnish because of the fresh vetch blossom. So it’s not only an aesthetically pleasing table decoration, but also a cleverly thought-out one that the florists have come up with this year.

The florist Edith Hopf from the Vienna Municipal Gardens has been responsible for the annual floral splendor at the Vienna Ball of Science since the beginning. Each time, she is once again excited to see which scientific theme she and her team will be allowed to creatively implement. “The floral decoration at the Science Ball has nothing to do with a conventional ball decoration! But the great thing is that the professional audience understands the allusions in our table decorations, and many always look forward to seeing our implementation at the ball.” The creative design of the table decorations is even very instructive for them, as the florist tells. “When we get involved with the theme, we always learn something new, too.”

A magnificent floral decoration with educational qualities – something like this is guaranteed to only exist at the smartest ball in Vienna.


Hannah Müller studies law at the University of Vienna, socio-econmics at the Vienna University of Economics and Business and writes for the science magazine alexandria.