An Offbeat Introduction to Plants

Right now, there exists a spectacular multiplicity of life on this planet. At this moment buffalo are roaming the plains of Africa, seals are hunting fish in the seas surrounding the South Pole, bullet ants are building nests in the wet, hot rainforests of Nicaragua and, perhaps of more immediate interest, you are reading this blog post.

Every day, we bear witness to the abundance of living organisms around us, be they our loved ones, our pets, wild animals, or even the fungus growing on the inside of your wheelie bin. None of this would be possible without the perennial core, the growing heart, the green foundation, the root of all life – plants. Forming the ecological basis of every food chain in every corner of the Earth, plants make this abundance and complexity possible, and their importance for the development of life can be seen most clearly in the history of humanity.

It can’t come as a surprise to you that plants have formed a fundamental basis for our food, alcohol, medicine, scientific endeavour, infrastructure, and culture for thousands of years. To this day, human civilisation around the world is supported by these living beings.

“no assemblage of living things communicates with our senses quite like plants do”

We all utilise plants extensively, in many areas of our life, which is something often overlooked. We communicate with plants, emblazoning them on flags around the globe, from the Yorkshire Rose to the Canadian maple leaf. We give each other live flowers as tokens of love, gratitude, or friendship.

We create a vast and dependable infrastructure out of plants, growing wheat, barley, and rice in spectacular quantities for our food, harvesting trees from purposely planted forests for our building materials, and processing pine pulp to disseminate information on paper. Our health has been maintained by plants since the beginnings of human society, from traditional herbal remedies to modern day ethnopharmacological research.

Our inner lives are enriched by music, played on instruments made from wood, and our creativity is channelled into glorious parks and gardens that instil happiness and calm in generation after generation of passers-by. Good for the soul, good for the body – huge urban planting schemes are sweeping cities around the globe, in an effort to purify the air and reverse the effects of climate change. Scientific progress has benefitted greatly from plant life – from Gregor Mendel’s breeding of pea plants in the 19th century, an important milestone in genetic research, to quantum research into mechanics of photosynthesis.

“What about the sound of a 100-foot-tall lime…creaking in the wind?”

And surely, no assemblage of living things communicates with our senses quite like plants do. Consider the sight of a field of tulips, or the smell of a rose garden. What about the sound of a 100-foot-tall lime, an often-planted street tree, creaking in the wind? Or the taste of coffee in the morning, an apple for lunch, rice with your evening meal.

“Surely you must have enjoyed the pleasant haze after a glass or two of your favourite wine:

Have you ever lay down in a field and felt the brushing of grass against your skin? Surely you must have enjoyed the pleasant haze after a glass or two of your favourite wine, or the warmth of a roaring coal fire? A huge part of your life is directly affected by plants, and we here at Colour Your Garden would like to invite you to discover a beautiful world that we know has changed ours.

 

 

 

 


 

Igor Knowlson

Igor is our resident intellect who writes monthly on his thoughts on plants