Nature and the Mind Pirates

(Or ‘Why does this blog exist?’)

The original idea was simply to provide a few bee plants that were robust and able to maintain themselves with minimum attention or interference from me. But it all took on a life and momentum of its own, which has taken me by surprise. Apart from the few bought plant specimens, there has been little expence. Grew quite a few varieties from seed; even splashed out and bought an inexpensive greenhouse with racking that is more realistically described as a garden tent, when I ran out of window sills. Been amazed by what has somehow and simply appeared and grown, inspired by the recollection from long ago of very persistent plants that when allowed to remain turned out to be Digitalis purpurea – oh the magic of discovering what shows up when given the opportunity. And then discovering a strange admiration for the native wildflowers that are more commonly called weeds, especially on learning an appreciation for where they often fit into the the local ecology and life cycles for wildlife. The excitement and anticipation of wondering ‘What are you going to be?’ and ‘How does this benefit wildlife?’

When I was a young mother, I spent most of my time tending my garden. I wasn’t a great gardener and had no money to do anything flamboyant. My focus then was to create a pretty garden – hunting dandelions to transplant would never have crossed my mind. The change in focus now is far more rewarding to me.

Only a few specimens cost more than a few pounds. I am fortunate to have had the time, finance and health to indulge my interest but it has more than repaid me. More than this, each tiny nugget gleaned about a newly identified plant, or how it provides something for wildlife spurs further exploration and discoveries; I suppose this might be something of the excitement that those great Victorian plant hunters could have experienced. And with the bonus that I can often find out about these discoveries because someone else has put in the hard work and made the information about these available, if I put in a fraction of their efforts.

I read an opinion earlier that mentioned about promoting native plants sometimes being a form of virtue signalling and yeh, I can see how that accusation might be a defence for stunning cultivated varieties – meaning cultivars really – that are effectively sterile as far as wildlife is concerned. I even have a few examples of these but they are less interesting than the quiet, introverted blossoms that invite a closer, more deliberate study.

There are about as many ‘styles’ of garden as there are individual gardens and each one fades in and out of popularity with the season so whether a garden can be judged for virtue signalling or claiming status as if it can be compared to upcycling from a charity shop as a contrast to haut couture is pretty feeble and suggests a closed mind. People who find plants interesting, find plants interesting, full stop. Where is the shame in being interested in the wonders of nature? Is it the audacity of having a different focus of interest, or writing about it perhaps, or making it public, or is it some uncomfortable feeling/s these accusers are trying to displace from within themselves by blaming others for their discomfort?

People tend to do things regularly because they gain some necessary reward from the repeated behaviour – wages being the obvious example. But money is only one type of reward and of itself the accumulation of coins and notes ranks low in satisfactions because necessity drives an urgency based on perceptions of security and control of circumstances – the principle reward here is a sense of relief. Alternately, values and interests tend towards self perpetuating rewards – an intangible ‘buzz’ or thrill of satisafaction from each tiny accomplishment or success, with or without a financial reward or external validations.

I’m still not a great gardener but most things try to grow despite me. This project has been the most satisfying thing I’ve done in years. I write about it to record my voyage of discovery so that I can revisit my victories and for other passing ships to maybe enjoy but I am no pirate and do not seek to capture hostages.

When forty winters shall beseige thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty’s field,
Thy youth’s proud livery, so gazed on now,
Will be a tatter’d weed, of small worth held:
Then being ask’d where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days,
To say, within thine own deep-sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserved thy beauty’s use,
If thou couldst answer ‘This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,’
Proving his beauty by succession thine!
This were to be new made when thou art old,
And see thy blood warm when thou feel’st it cold.

Sonnet 2

‘Passing Ships’, Mevagissey, holiday snap 2022


3 responses to “Nature and the Mind Pirates”

  1. I can only make an assumption, based on my own experience, as to why you write your blog or, indeed, why you garden. You do it for the enjoyment it gives you, for pastime, as a contribution to the good of the world – and your own good/wellbeing. There are enough pirates out there, those who seek to capture an audience, to make an impression, to create a persona etc. Now, all those things may come your way but they will come because your own genuine voice attracts people rather than you adopting a fake voice so as to please people. On the simple enjoyment of plants: I go regularly with a few friends to search out native orchids, wildflowers, insects etc etc. We sat around a little beauty of an orchid one day and one of the company commented, “Aren’t we so very lucky that at our age (60s – 70s) we can feel so happy just looking at a flower!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good Morning Paddy, firstly, thank you for taking the time to write such a lovely, thoughtful and moving comment. Being able to share the enjoyment of appreciation for these precious survivors sounds like a lovely bonus. You have probably already worked out that I’m close on your heels for age but I would like nothing better than to spend the rest of my life growing wildlife garden or hedges or any other space for that. This late discovery puzzles me; it must have always been there, dormant, waiting for the right conditions, like a seed. Gardens and nature seem to have a tendancy towards promoting a philosophical attitude and can cut straight through a great deal of the cultural bullshite of the wider society, if we allow it. I am going to allow that to drive me forward.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, the gardening will keep us sane, though I’m not sure it is succeeding with me!


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