Everyday Gardeners

Plant. Grow. Live.

Yes, they really do exist in the wild

You’ve heard of the proverbial kid who, when asked if he knew where milk comes from, said: “Of course. It comes from the store!”

Do you ever wonder where some plants come from? Or, more accurately, where they came from?  Many, though certainly not all, of the plants we commonly grow in landscapes are native to the Old World. When Europeans settled the New World, they brought these plants with them. Maybe that’s why so many Americans go through their lives never having seen the original native types—they’re native to  somewhere else! (And I may be one of the geeky minority that actually spends time wondering about it, but that’s another issue.)

On a recent jaunt up an Italian hillside, I came across this. (If  you’re thinking Better Homes and Gardens pays its editors to travel Europe,  think again! This was just a personal vacation.) Most of you will have no trouble recognizing it. Cylamen, growing wild. It was very common in the area, and quite lovely. Not as big as the florist types you see in shops, but just as colorful. It’s fun to see plants in their native environment, unhybridized, uncivilized. And I think it helps people make the connection between what grows in their gardens and nature. Gardens are just collections of pieces of nature, pulled together in a pleasing way. Tamed, but nature nonetheless. It’s good to remember. It gives you new perspective on what’s growing outside your door.

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