Sometimes I wish I was a gardener. Admittedly, it’s a fleeting wish, but occasionally it does flit across my mind. I love the look of a lovingly tended garden, whether wild, wacky, or manicured, but I don’t love being the one making it like that. Actually, I do have a wild garden, but it’s wild by default, not by design. The bonus of having a wild garden is that apparently it will attract piwakawaka (Maori for ‘fantail’ bird) into it.
I love how a justification for any action or non-action can be found if we look hard enough.
I inherited some roses already growing in the garden, when I bought my flat. I use the word ‘garden’ loosely, because, as mentioned before, it’s a wild and randomly tended one. However, those roses fascinate me. Each year I cut them back to mere shadows of their former selves, and each Spring they grow again. It’s magic. Sadly, the convolvulus (aka bindweed) also grows back after each attack I make on it. It’s around that point that I begin to think “fk this gardening lark”.
If the garden looks like trolls might live there, my lawns are mowed and the edges trimmed religiously. Go figure. I’ve given up trying to work myself out – and am happier for it – so don’t expect anyone else to. I don’t believe it makes me totally shallow, but I’ve certainly curtailed the amount of stuff I care about. We’ve all only got so many fks (there’s that word again) to give, and I’m safeguarding the few I’ve got left.
Plants really are amazing. They have an intelligence which could rival that of many people on Twitter. Which is not to say that they have ‘feelings’ – at least not in the way we humans and our other fellow animal beings know of feelings. As a Vegan, I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve heard “What about plants? Don’t they have feelings, too?” in a trick question kind of way.
And no, plants don’t feel pain, either, again not in the way we humans think of feeling pain. They have no neural pathways, no central nervous system, and no pain receptors. It would be a big evolutionary fail if they had all these things, yet had no ability to move away from the source of pain. However, they do have intelligence programmed into their DNA.
Intelligence is not necessarily the sort of consciousness and ability to analyse experiences and feelings as humans know it, but plants do know how to bicker and fight, just like humans. Don’t let their gentle appearance fool you, just because they seem static. There’s war going on amongst these seemingly gentle beings. They are constantly competing for light, space and nutrients, and will silently (to our ears) compete with other plants to the death for these if necessary. Their secret ‘badness’ doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of their surface appearance, though. It just lends a bit of mystery to them, and admiration of their arcanery.
They have also been recorded making a sound like a scream, apparently. I say “apparently” because I personally have never heard it. I also say “like a scream” because we can only liken the noise to our own human experience. But we’re not plants – and I will refrain from making comparisons to vegetables in conjunction with anyone’s names – so we don’t actually know what that sound means, unlike we do with our fellow animal beings whom we know experience everything we human-animals do. But it appears to be a reaction to a threat or distress, and for all we know might be their version of a warning siren. Plants can also take evasive action, and respond to love. How those work I don’t know, either, but in spite of their enigmatic, unfathomable (to me), and sometime dangerous, lives, they are still very soothing to be around.
Sometime in the first quarter of next year (probably) I’ll be moving into a wonderfully bushy environment. No, I’m not ‘going bush’ – that’s not a phrase you would join up with my name – but where I’ll be living is deliberately garden-free, lawn-free, and surrounded by bush. Believe it or not, that still doesn’t make it as unkempt as my current garden. The house and property also has others around it, but happily they do nothing to detract from a view to die for.
This upcoming move has been a recent and unexpected development, which I’ll be writing more about as and when it happens 🙂
Header pic by Anton Darius (@thesollers) | Unsplash Photo Community