In an age where we know more corporations by their logos than trees by their leaves, it’s far time that we reconnect with nature!
Are you nature blind? Do you suffer from ‘plant blindness.’ It seems that many people have difficulty perceiving plant life in greater detail than ‘grass,’ ‘flower,’ ‘bush,’ or ‘tree.’ Perhaps it’s because we are hard-wired to focus on fauna in a backdrop of flora. Or, perhaps we’ve become caught up in urbanized society and disconnected from nature, especially plants. Either way, we should definitely make an effort to know more about plants.
In today’s world, it’s too easy to ignore the great detail and diversity in the plant kingdom. Our plant-based foods come pre-packaged and processed. Our building materials come pre-chopped-down and pre-cut. Our plant-based or plant-inspired medicines come in a pill. Our landscape plants come pre-identified and propagated. We aren’t really forced to deduce detail as a consumer. We choose plants for curb appeal, going straight to the garden center for whatever is in color or on ad. Great…but do you know what you bought?
We should definitely stop to consider plants in greater detail. John Muir, the father of our National Park system, found ‘botanizing’ and praising plants to be important. And furthermore, humanity has an inherent desire to connect with nature (see Living Walls and Biophilia). Next time you visit a park or assess your own landscape, consider exactly which plants lay at your feet and which trees tower above you.
Get yourself tree and plant identification guides, edible native plant books, plants for pollinators guides, and ask great questions! Kids are especially great at the latter.
Questions to get you started:
- Are these vines invasive? (Maybe)
- Will these flowers return next year?
- Are these plants native? (Missouri’s Grow Native!)
- Is that the right tree for the right place? (Arbor Day Foundation)
- Will that shrub attract birds, bees, and butterflies? (Bringing Nature Home)
- Can plants communicate with each other? (Yes.)
- Can plants become friends? (Yes.)
- Is that a Northern Red Oak or a Black Oak? (Ask the Missouri Department of Conservation)
- Is that a grass or a sedge?
- What’s a sedge?
- Is it OK for insects to eat my landscaping?
- What is a companion plant?
- Is that Mistletoe in my tree? What is the deal with that? (Many have asked)
- How diverse is the flora in my backyard?
- What plants are good for indoors? (NASA tested, lungs approved)
Get outside, get curious, and get detailed! Nature will reward you with inspiration.