Sunday, March 25, 2012

But They Could Be Wild (and that counts for something too)

Tulipa turkestanica, a bouquet all on its own, Brooklyn

There's something about the wild ones, even if they aren't in fact growing in the wild that captures the attention. The tulips above aren't from around here, but as far as I know, they aren't a named cultivar or a hybrid either. They are a straight species, a wildflower, not unlike the bloodroot I saw blooming yesterday at the community garden, just from a different part of the world. They can be found growing in their native mountain ranges (Turkestan, Iran) or in cultivated gardens, and in this photographed case, a stalled construction site in New York City. As a vegetable gardener, it would be hypocritical of me to pretend any kind of strong preference for a "pure" species or for wildflowers. Most things I grow in the vegetable garden have been changed and altered by human selection and breeding over time, and indeed without that human intervention and agriculture's development over the centuries, the world as I know it and the city and civilization I live in just wouldn't exist. Still how can I resist the thrill of seeing these things, those species that have managed to make it to this day on their own terms and in their own lovely way, so to speak, despite all the years that we humans have cultivated and changed plants for our own pleasure and gain?

Of course the tulips above didn't have any say in where they were going to be living out their lives. They were ordered, shipped and planted purposefully. But almost the same thing is true of that bloodroot (Sanguinara canadensis) below too. While this species is a native wildflower, it didn't come up where it is on its own. It was also planted purposefully.)  So these are both wildflowers from different parts of the world that aren't in this particular case wild in any meaningful sense of the word wild, but that didn't make them any less lovely to see in their moment of bloom yesterday.

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