Pot-bound?

Ink sketch of a geranium in a pot, with a climbing plant growing out of the concrete at its base.

“Go for a walk and write down what you see.”

So I did…

On familiar local roads I passed familiar local sights, but there were plenty of new details. My eyes were drawn briefly to a red geranium in a single plant pot.  The phrase, “pot-bound,” sprang to mind. Then, perching on some steps-with-a-view, I noticed a few bold strands of grass fighting through a matted carpet of cuttings which had squashed the rest. Nearby, some other patches of grass were battling to survive the weight of a car parked on them – they’ll probably make it – grass is great. Then more pots, more secretly nurtured gardens behind walls and along alleys, more hidden treasures, all accentuated by the long, sunny evening shadows – lovely.

“Pot-bound.”

Ooo yes, how awful for a precious little plant to be pot bound; to find its roots circling round and round themselves as they grow with nowhere to go. There is surely a message about freedom here! Yes – wild is best. Wild plants are free to take root where the wind blows; free to streeeetch their roots out as far as they like; free to be themselves; free to fight for survival with other plants; free to get trampled on or eaten; free to take root in poor soil and on exposed cliff-faces. Hmmm. Still, the ones that make it are surely stronger as a result. Who needs a gardener limiting their freedom and controlling them? Wild is best. Wild equals free.

Does it? Really?

Or might the care of a good gardener mean more freedom? Not the type who wants everything in straight lines, neatly trimmed, but the type who wants every plant to flourish as it should, each according to its kind. A gardener like this would need to know the plants very well indeed. A gardener like this would need to care about the plants very deeply. A gardener like this would need to have a lot of space!

And then, rather than fighting for space and resources and relying on random events for their future, the plants in the care of such a gardener could be guaranteed the perfect soil, plenty of room, and enough shade/sun/food/water/protection as they needed. Perhaps they might have to endure the odd pruning here and there, but always with a view to getting stronger and healthier; with a view to flourishing.

I know a Gardener like this. He’s great.

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