Stillwater News Press

Garden

July 5, 2014

In the Garden 07-06-14

Plants bring joy, but can’t talk

This week I enjoyed seeing a boy in his swim trunks reveling in the rain as only children do. What joy! Summer brings plans for vacations, water fun, corn-on-the-cob and fireworks as Americans celebrated our declaration of independence from England’s rule. Gardeners seek out red, white and blue flowers to display their patriotism to this great country we live in.

Independence is promoted and encouraged by western society (perhaps eastern cultures also — I’ve only lived in the west). Anyway, independence from oppressive rule is to Americans (including myself) an inalienable right. Yet, independence for independence’s sake is sometimes overrated. Even today England is a great ally to us and us to them.

Interdependence is an immutable law of nature. It is a relationship that is entered into willingly, developed through trust, and appreciated by both parties. Abrupt changes to an established relationship may be difficult to adjust to.

Plants, as far as we know, do not think but gardeners may bring them into relationship with other things. For instance, a Hosta is dependent on shade from an oak tree or shelter from the sun by your home. It is dependent on water and the sun, though the times and amount of each may vary from day to day, month to month. If any of these three elements are removed, that Hosta might die.

I have heard of trees breaking or being removed by neighbors only to have shade loving plants suffer as they try to adapt to sudden, bright sun. The reverse is also true. A perennial that wants full sun will stretch and stretch trying to obtain enough light to perform its best. The elongated growth becomes weakened often succumbing to disease or insects.

Gardeners sometimes have personal relationships with their plants. Novices and veterans alike may relate specific information regarding success or trials with their favorite tree or shrub. My father, Richard, had an Adenium obesum (Desert Rose) that is dependent on him for survival. He counted each bloom, each season and reaped satisfaction from his success with that finicky succulent. I don’t think I would call that an interdependent relationship though.

Remember, “No man is an island.” Plants bring joy, but plants don’t converse. People need people and plants need plants. Find someone to share your garden with no matter how large or small. That person may need to inhale sweet honeysuckle fragrance or pick their own ripe tomato. Blessing lies behind the door for he that opens his heart to another. Happy Birthday Mom.

LeeAnn Barton has worked with nurseries for more than 20 years. She digs in the dirt in Stillwater. Direct questions to her by emailing leeannbarton@sbcglobal.net

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