Visitors to Bernheim’s Edible Garden never ask, “What is that plant’s scientific name?” They seem pleased if we rattle off a common name. With the advent of Plant ID apps on “smart phones,” it is common to see someone holding their phone up close to a flower so the two can communicate. Our first thought about how to help satisfy the curiosity of our visitors was to create QR codes to be associated with the garden plant.
Eventually, we were asked to provide content for Bernheim’s Edible Garden’s blog. Cole Alexander, the Edible Garden Steward gave us a list suggesting plant names that were new to us. For that reason, we decided to focus on plants that caught our fancy. We wanted to do more than help garden visitors feel satisfied having a name for what was currently in flower.
We wanted to give readers names whereby they could communicate their observations with others, dig deep into the vast amount of information available online, and realize the satisfaction that comes with connecting with nature. The more we worked with the posts, we gained a deeper appreciation of the complex interaction among the various players and what humans can do to make this world a better place.
Several themes came forward as different subjects were discussed. The most common was nature is more complex and far richer than we imagined; every plant and animal have unique requirements, balance competing needs, and timing is everything. What good is it to purchase Lady Bird Beetles for your garden in September unless you are going to use them in your greenhouse?
Knowledge creates questions. And questions create more questions. How does Madame butterfly find the perfect flower that will provide food for her caterpillar offspring, or the predator finds its prey? By chance alone? All by chance is too simple to maintain a long-lasting connection with nature.
We hope to inform and inspire our readers to be more engaged and active observers of our natural world. We want the reader to dig deeper in garden soil for a better understanding and appreciation of how plants, animals and humans can best live together. In addition to blog posts regarding plants you will see tidbits of information regarding other features to help you connect!
Cliff Keller and Tony Jevans