The garden is bursting open with the warm spring weather ... this gunnera was just one of the plants powering its way sunward this week. Yet I have been thinking it is time for a slight pause to reflect on the context of the Garden, having been there for a few weeks. It's a little like being an outsider in a huge scheme of things, the University Department, the academics, the curator, the students, the researchers, the gardeners, the volunteers, the friends of the Garden and the visitors - many of whom I have been meeting and talking with over the last two months. Then there is the national and international botanic garden community, liaising, discussing and exchanging information about plants as well as giving and receiving them. (There must be more). And over it all hovers the ghosts of Carl Linnaeus (who designed the double Latin name system for plants), Darwin (evolution of plants) and Hiatt Cowles Baker, who lived at The Holmes - the Botanic Garden surrounds the house. Hiatt Cowles Baker (1863-1934) was a businessman, alpinist, horticulturalist and plant collector and made the first garden at the Holmes in the 1920s. He plant hunted in the Caucasus, Corsica, Pyranees, Crete, Palestine and the Lebanon. Being aware of all this forces me to see myself as just one more of those people who feel the need to be outdoors with plants. How does this information/knowledge affect what I am doing?
Meanwhile three flying ducks flew twice over the garden, softly hooting. Being there.