People keep gardens and grow stuff all over the world, since time immemorial. Cavemen did it. I did it, as a child. I grew tomato plants who shooted up and then withered and died in 10 days. It was heart-breaking. I had planted a grapefruit seed which had grown into a beautiful plant, and kept countless glass jars of that lovely leafy plant which has thick frilled leaves with dark red hearts and green edges. The people I lived with in Britain, twenty years ago, were constantly going on at their garden, and they spent much of their leisure time on sunny weekends driving round visiting beautiful private gardens which would be opened to the public for a Sunday afternoon or something. One of my former colleagues in Iran was such an avid gardener (specializing in cacti) that not content with sitting in a little green shrubbery created around his desk and computer, he had set up a little side business which he worked at in his spare times: gathering plants cheaply from outlaying ares of Tehran, and driving round selling them to fancy plant shops and customers.
However, if you lived in Halifax right now, walked along the streets and read some posters, listened to the radio, sat in on some local committee or something, you’d think that gardening, and especially something called “community gardening” was something invented by Haligonians to single-handedly ward off global starvation and hunger. Never mind that innumerable huge supermarkets are bursting with produce from every corner of the globe (Indian kerala? check. Bok Choy? check). It’s ALL about gardening these days. Local plant shops resemble the proverbial bread-makers back home. Garden! Garden! That, Gentle Reader, is an imperative. Gardening is no longer a hobby some people may pursuit, and others may not. It has been ascribed moral worth. Good people garden. Good people plant. Bad people… consume? Don’t garden? Garden poorly? Don’t plant native strains? Destroy the environment? Something like that, anyway.
Anyway, this blog post was meant to be a rant against faddishness: when something normal and ordinary and non-costly which ordinary people have been doing for thousands of years around the globe suddenly becomes something fancy, worthy, middle-class, special, wonderful, expensive, a major topic of conversation, an emotional substitute for children. A fad. Dogs, any one?