Guest post by Davin Risk
I am asked now and again if “I am a gardener too” and my answer is an invariably unsure, “Well, yes and no, I help.” As Gayla’s partner I am often by her side in gardens and a certain level of gardening knowledge has seeped into my brain via osmosis. I garden, therefore I am… a gardener? What would Descartes do?
My hesitation in claiming the title is common. Over the years many people I’ve met with Gayla, and many more who have come to the You Grow Girl site, have either shied-away from calling themselves gardeners or have simply stated that they are poor ones—the infamous black thumbs club. What I’ve realized though, and seen Gayla champion on many occasions, is that if you get a thrill from seeing any plant grow and you actively want to plant and foster more of that lovely green growth yourself—you can wear the title gardener with pride.
I thought of my own trepidation when Gayla asked me to write a short something about my experience with Dominica’s beyond lush, wild, varied, and rainbow vibrant plant growth. That feeling came up… who am I to write about plants or most especially gardening? But here goes… I love plants. My affection far outstrips my knowledge and so I chose to write about how much I loved the very bane of gardeners everywhere, those climbing, twisting, cover-everything plants that are especially pervasive in vastly sunny and moist Dominica.
In Dominica they struggle year-round to slash and burn back the beautiful twists and turns of plantlife. Flowering vines adorn every pole and telephone wire. A nuisance sure… but gorgeous and wonderful especially to us Northern plant lovers beaming at every bit of warm moving colour so contrary to the cold stillness of our winter.
Those wild dense spaces—bursting with life—do drive the most plant-fond gardener to the brink of sanity. But I think even those Dominicans who complained about the constant encroachment of nature had a passion for that same indomitable green force.
I choose to embrace the beauty in nuisance plants and I think that actually makes me more gardener than not.