I’m most enamored by plants in their natural environment. Green houses are great, nursery yards are lovely, manicured lawns are a site to behold, but I am most captivated by the plants in the ditch, on the roadside, in the woods or blowing in a meadow. If we observe them in their space, they have habits and tendencies and dare I say opinions about what is best for them.
To me, watching plants thriving in their space is like viewing a window into another time. A window into what the world looked like to those who first walked on it, a window to observe Mother Nature’s intention. Nature is very intentional, plants each hold a role, and when you witness this you begin understanding creation in a whole new way.
At least a decade ago a friend gave me a garden plaque that reads “bloom where you are planted”. Famous quote, one I’ve repeated to encourage others at least a dozen times. The thing about that quote though is that it didn’t come from observation. Though it may be true in a cultivated land, in a greenhouse, or in a professionally landscaped space, it isn’t necessarily true in nature.
Plants don’t just bloom where they are planted. They bloom when conditions for them to do so are ideal. They don’t just belong wherever we put them, and they don’t thrive on their own if they are not where they were intended to be.
Like plants we too are finite living things, spreading our seeds, living near our families, standing above our young, making ourselves as attractive as possible to bring pollinators, living to complete our cycle, leave our best behind, and someday wilt, and eventually go back to where we came from.
So if we see that a plant can only carry out its intended purpose when conditions for it do so are optimal, then what does that say about us?
In the coming weeks and months I am going to get to know and share about the plants whose intention is to grow and thrive right around me, without any effort of mine or any other human. Since I am an herbalist, I will be looking specifically at plants that have medicinal use. I can’t promise greenhouse perfect pictures but I can promise that whatever the plant I am discussing needs to thrive, it already has.
P.S. I totally and completely recognize that there are plants that literally thrive in the dry crack of a paved parking lot. I know, I promise, I love those plants, and you know what? Those conditions may just happen to be ideal for them. Nature is very sneaky and she will continue to make green for us as long as we give her space, even if the only space she can find is a crack in a parking lot.