Plant-Blind

marshal sunflowerAlexander Marshal (c.1620 – 1682)
English entomologist, gardener, and botanical artist, noted for the florilegium he compiled

We Need a Cure

Humanity is suffering from an illness the extent of which is not fully known, and the impact of this is being felt across the globe. It renders humankind unable to see the plants in their environment, and leaves us deeming the plant-life everywhere as nothing more than  background for more important things.

Take an image of a lion in the wild in Africa and ask anyone what they see. The answer you will invariably get is “a lion”. If you are lucky, you may get the answer “a wild lion”, or if you are extremely lucky, “a wild lion in Africa”.
Generally you won’t get the answer “The African savannah in the dry season with some amazing acacia scrub and a lion lying on a bed of dry red grass (Themeda triandra) in the shade of a really old sausage tree (Kigelia africana)”.

The picture is not just a picture of a lion. It’s a picture of a whole environment and the biodiversity within it, without which the lion cannot survive.
A human is in exactly the same position as the lion. However, we have forgotten our need for this web of which we are a part.
The inability even to see the vegetation surrounding us has been given a name; plant blindness

The number of garden designers is growing, and yet specialist plant nurseries, with their focused knowledge of the individual plants in their care, are closing.
Plants – living things – often become throwaway items used purely for decoration, with little acknowledgment given to their much deeper importance to the human state.

Plants are vitally important elements in our ecosystem that clothe us, feed us, give us the oxygen that we breathe, and the medicines that cure us.
They are carbon sinks that will allow us to reduce global warming, control the impact of drought, and filter pollution out of the air and the water.
They need to be understood as the complex living organisms, in their myriad of forms, which they truly are.

Plants need to become valued again, recognized, seen.
We need to find a cure for plant blindness, and quickly.


Robbie Blackhall-Miles is a modern day plant hunter’s propagator and gardener. He is interested in ancient families of plants and blogs about these on his website fossilplants.co.uk. He also tweets as @fossilplants.

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gardening-blog/2015/sep/17/we-need-a-cure-for-plant-blindness


https://secretgardening.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/1154/

‘Does it matter that so many of the stories we tell take place in some ecological make-believe, where plants and animals are treated as little more than the living wallpaper of a stage set for human actions or as interchangeable ciphers for conveying life lessons?’


https://secretgardening.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/the-secret-gardener/

“the people who live in cities have lost their connexion with the earth; they hang, as it were, in the air, hover in all directions, and find no place where they can settle”


https://secretgardening.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/to-ungive/

We are blasé, in the sense that Georg Simmel used that word in 1903, meaning “indifferent to the distinction between things”.
As we deplete our ability to denote and figure particular aspects of our places, so our competence for understanding and imagining possible relationships with non-human nature is correspondingly depleted.

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love this post and so much agree.

    • It’s perversely reassuring to hear someone articulate my inchoate feelings about what’s going on around me—I do observe, but I don’t synthesize.
      That has been the satisfaction of having a blog, for me.

      And un-perversely nice to have others share my response—-
      That makes it better.

  2. A great perspective, which is something we are generally missing……context. It breeds respect and curiosity and without it we are not likely to discover solutions to problems.

    One can Google anything, but one can’t Google context.

  3. I watched a fascinating programme the other day about waves – but was struck by the presenter’s claim that ‘we’ generally think of the world as composed of objects, not processes, as he gestured at images of buildings in a city. I thought if he lived in the country, surrounded by the constant changes in the hedgerows and the fields and the comings and goings of migratory birds, he could not say that. Your post is very apt.

    • Yes you are so right, it is all processes…..like so much connective tissue. Nature shown us cause and effect so well that is hard to distinguish in our treatment of our fellow man. It is all the same.

  4. Wonderfull !!!!


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