Gardeners have a passion for plants. I would argue though that that passion could be fuelled even further (if that were possible) if they gave just a little thought to the history and usage of the plants upon which they bestow such tender loving care. It is one of the most fascinating and exciting aspects of plants' lives.
In the Western World especially the majority of people, most of whom live in urban areas, seem to have become divorced from nature. Plants are not just taken for granted but they are ignored. Most people seem to be oblivious to the fact that without them we and the rest of the animal kingdom cannot survive - and that plants are woven into the fabric of virtually every aspect of our lives.
Forgive me for this outburst - especially as I have not long joined. But gardeners are in one of the best positions to help turn this situation round, enthuse people and remind them of what they have forgotten.
I hope this topic will provoke reaction - even if it is negative - as it is vital that the eyes of all the generations are opened as quickly as possible. Without man's appreciation of the massive role that plants play in not only man's life but that of the planet we shall lose familiar plant species even faster than any impact on them from climatic changes.
History and usage of garden plants
Jemi, everything you stated is true; without plants, our planet will be no more. Everything in nature is linked, plant and animal kingdom both.
Jemi, I too agree with everything you are saying. I live in the suburbs of Chicago and work in downtown Chicago. Fortunately, I believe Chicago is an exception. I have noticed a strong surge in gardening interest during the past several years. In fact, the City of Chicago is full of trees and gardens. Our downtown streets are lined with planters and flower beds. I can safely say that in this neck of the woods plants are not being taken for granted. I wish that were true of all urban areas. Many of my own gardening ideas and plant choices come from watching what Chicago is doing. The attached link says it better.
I feel privileged to live in the open country side, able to enjoy the changing seasons, the flora and fauna
changing in harmony, synchronized by mother nature herself. The plants and animals are the very life blood of this jewel in the cosmos we call our earth, but know that it's only on loan and can evict us at any time.
People who care may well, one day be the saviours of our home.
Figaro, I read your link on Chicago & all that they are doing; it sounds wonderful. I really like the notion of 'Rooftop Gardens'! I recently read in our city newspaper how they are creating 'lofts' in some of our older buildings downtown, trying to revitalize that area. We have also been re-arranging our streets by the bay, putting in more parks & green areas for people to walk. And at least when we get some new big store out here, they plant trees & landscape areas--- I hate big, hot parking lots with no green... they are so hot! I printed out a copy of your Chicago story & am sending it to our City Council--- hopefully Someone will read it , and help motivate them in their ideas! Happy gardening... =)
Community Gardens in municipal 'grassplots' are booming here now thanks to the support from the City and the Calgary Horticultural Society. I am really pleased that the CHS is also creating a demonstration garden behind the office where new gardener's can come and get their hands dirty and learn.
If you have any contacts within the CHS, could you find out if they have any dates pertaining to the first meeting or formation of the society? It seems it started in 1906 or 1907, but I haven't been able to find any firm dates to work from.
We just celebrated our 100th anniversary last year Terry (founded in 1908). The society can be contacted at email@example.com. The staff will have lots of dates for sure.
Another garden we are very proud of is the the Dorothy Harvie Gardens at the Calgary Zoo. Contact is JaneR@calgaryzoo.ab.ca.
Finally the Reader Rock Garden. Here is the website, the City should be able to narrow down the dates I would think http://www.calgary.ca/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_0_104_0_0_35/http%3B/content.calgary.ca/CCA/City+Hall/Business+Units/Parks/Special+Spaces/Reader+Rock+Garden/Reader+Rock+Garden.htm
With respect to garden history, I would encourage EVERY gardener to document what you are growing. In the past several years, I have been priviledged to work at two historic gardens. I am very appreciative and truly fascinated by any reference to what was grown in the past. Surely these things were not originally recorded with the intent of preserving history but they have captured my interest and imagination. The recent resurgence in heirloom plants suggests that I am not alone.