Friday, June 29, 2007

Public Gardens to Cure Plant Blindness!

Here is an online link to this week's Top 5 Home & Garden Events listing on page 33 of yesterday's (June 28) print edition.

Our latest article in the Washington Examiner is out today. It is on the public gardens exhibit at the USBG. Having spent the last two days at the APGA meeting and this past Monday touring this outdoor exhibit put on by 12 public gardens from across the country, the timing was ripe and I was glad to be able to snag a few extra copies to share with some fellow APGA attendees today. Read the article online here (June 29 edition - page 61), or grab the print version at the red street boxes around town today - the article is on R13 (Real Estate section - page 13).

At one of today's APGA conference talks there was a brief mention of Plant Blindness, which I'd heard tale of before and wish they'd go into more deeply. What is it? The affliction of many in the general public that makes them see right past anything green. Like many diseases, it is genetic. Hard-wired into us humans. We see color. We see movement. We filter out the background (i.e. plants). Just a matter of survival you know.

What I found really interesting this time was the speaker talked briefly about a real cultural bias against flora over fauna. That animal life is given far more weight than plant life. We are animal so of course that is how we view it and our innate prejudice is formed. That made me sit up and my ears prick forward. I had been feeling this undercurrent for years, but never heard it expressed so well. When I talk to naturalists and environmentalists, there is most definitely an animals-first, built-in institutional morality that I find slightly repugnant and off-putting. Hey, I love animals too - some of my best friends are of the mammal persuasion! But are we really honoring Mother Earth when we outright give preference to one category over the other? I think I may need to start a PETA equivalent for our green friends!

Saturday 6/30 from 10am-4pm is the first ever Going Green Fest at the new downtown Rockville, MD library -- easily accessible by metro and bus. I'll be there with a table along with 30+ other green vendors. Come by for lots of info on being green, freebies, and fun stuff. The event itself is free. Here is a link to more info. Please help spread the word as this is low/no budget affair and we hope for a good turnout so it can be an annual event.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

In my town, there are a few buildings that do a really nice job of making sure there's greenery around. I find my eyes are drawn to it. After looking at so much concrete, the softness of the plants is a relief. Like you're eyes are thirsty for something without a hard edge. Though I kind of wish they'd ease up on the ornamental cabbage. It's pretty, but enough already.

jb

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Plant blindness. I'd never heard that term used before, but I know exactly what you mean.

Once bitten by the gardening bug, I think that one develops some kind of plant supersight... you know, where you see more plant and yard than road and house. In fact, you may regularly miss the road you were supposed to turn on because you were busy eying the huge red climbing rose on the house two doors away (and trying to figure out if it was 'Blaze' or 'Don Juan'...)

WashingtonGardener said...

JB - A bit of green in a concrete jungle will always catch your eye. The "blindness" comes in settings like a zoo, suburban yards, or park where people look right past the plantings and notice the one butterfly flitting by.
A good example of blindness would be the 5 towering oak trees I have in my yard -- when I mention them to people who have been to my yard a number of times, they look bewildered and ask "What oak trees?" I'm like the ones that block out the sky from half my property! But I totally get why people see right past them.
I'm going to do more reading up on these 'plant blindness' theories and ways to use landscaping to train the eye to SEE the individuals plants.

WashingtonGardener said...

Blackwampgirl - Yes, being a garden addict does have its side-effect and dangers -- super-plant-sight to the exclusion of noticing the road turn-off is one of them.
Also on the list may be weed-vision. I can't be the only one who notices every #@#*#% weed in public space plantings. I have to suppress myself from jumping in after them. Got enough weeds at home to pull - thank you!
Then there is mulch-a-mania. I'm always annoyed at poor mulch choices I see wherever I go. From piling it WAY too deep around tree trunks to just atrocious color and material choices.
Do others see these things or are they blissfully blind?