By JOYCE ARLEEN CORSON
Several years ago good friend, former teacher and motivational speaker, Vernon Zurcher, 1929-1997, prepared and presented a slide presentation “Plants are like People.” I have remembered many of his illustrations and think of them often when I am in my garden. After I became an Indiana Naturalist Master, I realized it’s all about chemistry, and the necessities’ of plants and people for life on earth. Some needs are an exchange and some needs are the same. Both need nutrition, water and rest for growth and development. People and other living things provide the carbon dioxide, as a by product which plants need to grow. The plants reward people with the oxygen they release when making their own food.
Plants are invasive and take advantage of a vacant comfortable situation. Other plants without preferred personalities grow near or within a plant that has similar style leaves. Oxalis for example has small clover like leaves. It grows very readily in and around herbs such as oregano and marjoram, which also have small rounded leaves, before it develops small yellow flowers, a give away, drops seeds and has robbed the herbs of needed nitrogen. This camouflage tactic is common and used well to invade a space. I find often when I clear a space for a new project, soon it is invaded by other items not related to the cause of my first intentions.
People and plants respond to attention. Grooming, trimming, adding nutrients, vitamins and extra water are prized amenities that both employ.
There are plain plants with leaves edges smooth in nature. Others have leaves of serrated or scalloped edges. Some people have straight hair and then there are those who have hair naturally curled. Each will adapt to their charac- teristics know for their lifetime. The leaf as the dress of a human, tells some needs. Thick leaves like African violet, dracaena and Aspidistra can survive in a north window without a lot of sunlight. Some leaves showing white like more sunlight, spider plant for example. Regardless of heritage plants and people are known to adapt and thrive in many situations. However sunlight is known to have direct effect on the blossoming of both human and plants. Coral Caper violet has buds as a source of beauty. This adds an extension of enjoyment.
One plant to never have a flower like herb tarragon, is known for a cloque of flavor. This is true for people known for vivacious personalities without needing a showy explanation, the cloque speaks for itself.
I find the laws of ecology a necessity to be remembered in my life. All things are connected. Everything goes somewhere. There’s no such thing as a free lunch and Nature bats last.
We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.” —John Lennon (1940-1980)