Monday, April 12, 2010

The Resilience and Ingenuity of Plants.

I spoke the other day of how my garden as a whole amazes me. Its growth spurts and seasonal changes are beautiful and exciting..... but what about each plant on its own? Amongst the 'garden' is a series of challenges, victories, and failures: each plant is fighting for its own survival, and depending on the care i provide, the weather, and potential predators, each plant will fail or succeed in its own right.

Take this little Serrano pepper, for example. Poor thing was purchased the morning after a cold snap. Leaves wilty, soil soggy from garden staff attempting to revive it. Then i brought it home, gave it some tasty kelp, buds and blooms, compost and more water. Then what happens to this poor little plant already down on its luck?

Snail Attack!

I hate the snails! i scatter sluggo weekly, it seems. They still menace my little plant babies. But look at this little pepper. Despite being frozen, nibbled on, and placed in not the sunniest of locations, it's springing back! Its stem may be nearly severred, but it's little face is still searching for the sun.
I worked at a nursery last spring and was fortunate to bring home many 'wounded soldiers' from the veggie house - some of those plants that were stressed early on grew up to become the strongest plants in the garden. So much so that i've considered 'wounding' plants on purpose (pinching off new growth to encourage a little more thought on becoming sturdy as a whole and not leaping and bounding to produce fruit right away).

So that's the resilience, what about ingenuity?
My friend, Foy was blogging about wild onions the other day. My garden is full of them. The area behind my house is known as 'Onion Creek' for a reason. I had foolishly harvested most of the onions when i first moved here, only to dislike the very gamey taste of them and toss them all in the compost. They're finally making a come back, and you can see why:

It just amazes me how this plant has developed a way of 'migrating' through evolution. The plant's bulb may be stuck in the soil - but low and behold it blooms, the blooms turn into bulbs that send out more shoots, bloom, and bulb and voila - said stuck onion has no not only reproduced, it has travelled nearly a foot to a more desireable location.

So please, don't miss a tree in a forest, and don't overlook each little plant in your garden - it's the individuals that make the beautiful/productive/satisfying whole. Give them love (or abuse!), but most of all appreciation.

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