We tend to look at flowers as if they have been put on by nature as a show to please us. The birds, butterflies, moths, and insects that nature is actually attracting should correct us.
There is a polarity in our appreciation of flowers. One one hand, nature ‘conservation’ wants to eradicate all ‘alien’ plant life and preserve a snapshot of nature that is meaningless. On the other hand, gardeners like to plant completely ‘alien’ varieties for the biggest, brightest flowers and yields. The gardening mentality has given us Japanese knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed to name but a few of the proscribed species. The conservationists organise plant pogroms to destroy them – but of course, they were brought here by us.
In no way am I excusing the hubris of colonial plant collectors. But the conservationists are little better. Turn to Richard Mabey (‘Weeds’, ‘The Cabaret of Plants’) for a very clear exposition of this.
Meanwhile, let us enjoy these beautiful flowers. I have made a note to myself to paint Himalayan balsam!
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