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Garden of Adam

I lived in several neighbourhoods and remember, among other things, the proliferation of garden centres. In the last decade, some of them looked like fashion stores. Fashion, after all, is a mind-absorbing occupation. What is gardening, anyway?

Modified plants at a garden centre.
Modified plants at a garden centre.

I think it’s a bit of everything for most of us and something different for each of us. That’s my guess, looking around. Whether to please our senses, relax our minds, provide shade, a habitat for birds or pollinators, and supplement our menu, we do things in the privacy of our gardens. What intrigues me is the scale of our interests, wants, and desires reflected in our gardening choices and the scope of possible consequences.

Winter at tree nursery in Ontario
Spring at tree nursery in Ontario
Winter scene at tree nurcery in Ontario

With people from around the world forming our new communities, the range of choices regarding plant life around homes is clearly visible. What's harder to see is people's mindsets regarding living habitats.

Creating new relationships in plant communities might take longer than humans, where rational reasoning could simplify the process. Activating hidden genetic codes, identifying the benefit of symbiotic relationships, and accommodating different microbial life forms and soil take time. Inevitably, there could be things out of control and run away consequences. However, what is apparent is the range of values and expectations we attach to living environments in our world.

Niagara Escarpment land allocated for greenhouse development.
Greenhouses in southern Ontario.

There is only a narrow sliver of land suitable for agriculture in Ontario. I knew people working with the land who sincerely cared about the soil as a living thing. As such, it could be cultivated in the way it effectively stores carbon. It could be done in a way that deteriorates soil conditions while emitting carbon. I scratch my head, puzzled, seeing square kilometers of concrete purred over the best fertile lands for the greenhouse's hydroponic or cannabis cultivation. Or driving for hours along rows of warehouses where I had seen farmlands. We have plenty of exposed bedrock in southern Ontario, and less concrete is needed to do it right there, with similar proximity to GTA.

Winter scene at a golf course in rural Ontario.

We can individually choose the terms of interactions with the living world in our gardens' privacy or our golf country club member's engagements. One way or another, the trajectories of processes we initiate within indicate a future collision point. This future might come sooner than we hoped for.

I think about it while passing a golf course and stepping into a patch of nearby woods, where even the plant life projects the state of our runaway collective confusion.

Niagara Escarpment Winterland #2.

Indeed, the world around me is changing for no reason at all.

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