September 18, 2020

The allure for growing plants and gardens

It is said that we are the product of love repeating across ten thousand generations. In such a context, when you hold a seed in your hand therein containing the generic code of a million generations, culminating in the act of cross-pollination and co-evolution with other insects, flora, birds and animals.


You decide to plant the seed. A conscious act “to light the blue touch paper”. Moisture from the soil is drawn in and imbibes with the inert DNA structures and enzyme molecules. Nutrients are drawn in to enable the DNA to replicate the structures of its forebears. Fungi bond to roots to enhance the process. Once a shoot emerges from the soil it forms new structures such as the lens of light-harvesting molecules to channel high energy photons of light which just eight minutes earlier were 6000 degrees centigrade on the surface of the sun. Now span 93 million miles to react with plant chlorophyll. So a kind of chemical garden comes into play. Immersed in an ocean of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, carbon molecules are seemingly transmuted from invisible gas to solid structures such as trees, flowers and the food we eat.


The act of gardening for many is to coax something into life, nurture it, admire a plant’s beauty, its form, taste and smell. There is also the opportunity to reflect upon Its interaction with the environment, the sun, weather, seasons and other organisms. It’s Co-evolution with insects and symbiosis in real-time with soil bacteria and fungi to liberate nutrients from the soil and nitrogen from the atmosphere... to that of ancient collaborations which subsumed photosynthetic bacteria into the plant’s own chloroplast cells to become as one many millions of years in the past.


To be a gardener, and be a part of such things which play out in their own time of weeks, months and years. Of such interconnectedness on the intimate and planetary scale. The reliance upon the sun, the rain and contrary actions of insects and weather. Such things instil a perspective of what we are about. The things we worry for. Plans made and outcomes hoped for. Gardening takes us into another dimension. Whether it be a window box, a plant pot, small square of garden, allotment or on the farm scale. It is a connection with our own DNA and emotional evolution.

Sticking your fingers into the soil or feeling the texture of the bark on a tree with roots going Into the earth... grounds us and gives us cause for a moment of peace and reflection upon what is important, what we can change and what is beyond our influence and is unfolding as it should. Yes, we can all be gardeners in our own way, just remember to accept the failures with good grace and enjoy the successes and commit them to memory to carry us forward in this life. 


Author - Mark Hunt