Sunday, December 21, 2008

Being a plant person and maybe creating a few along the way

As an undergraduate I studied Biology at East Stroudsburg University. I was clearly not what we called "cell smashers", though through the years I have become more open to being amazed at the cellular level of life. There were also lots of animal folk and I took my fair share of classes in that realm. But plants intrigued me and I was one of a small handful of students that took a course on plant physiology. The ornithology and entomology classes were crowded.

There is a long list of goals I have for my horticulture students to meet. But the one thing I desire the most... they become plant people.

But in this fast paced world, I have a problem. Plants operate on a different time scale and we tend to see them as nearly static, but somehow they change. I have a way to show them this change. It is best video ever made: The Private Life of Plants with David Atttenborough. I may be a bit biased, however, as I write this, it gets a 9.5/10 rating by 200+ viewers at IMDb. The series uses time lapse photography to show plant behavior. It shows what we all know, but can't see. Plants are active.

Here is a four minute segment on some giant water lilies.

But many years had passed from the time I left ESU to the day I was asked to start a horticulture program at the Pathway School. My plant essence was noticed and like a dormant seed emerged in ways I could never have imagined.


8 comments:

Chandramouli S said...

Wow! I was so captivated by the video! It was simply great. It's true that we are impatient with our plants as we're short-lived but they're the slow, patient, and the most beautiful ones! I guess we'll never learn about them completely.

Wayne Stratz said...

Chandramouli-- I am glad you liked the video, hopefully you can see the whole series one day.

Steve Silk said...

That was a great video-I love that time-lapse footage of plants, and I like those kinds of water lilies. I may have to try growing one this coming summer. You've probably seen the great display of them at Longwood; if not,check it out this summer.

Wayne Stratz said...

Yes, I have seen them at Longwood. Best of luck growing them this summer. Go for it... one needs adventures in one's life.

Kati said...

I have never had any trouble in believing that plants are living, sentient beings. Our hierarchical prejudices only derive from our limited human perspective, after all! Our belief in our superiority is most probably completely wrong-headed and most definitely the reason we are so destructive generally as a species.

Wayne Stratz said...

Kati-- I agree. I love to say to those who speak loudly about killing animals for our dinners... and how do you think a carrot feels to be ripped out of the ground. Carrots and cattle deserve to be treated well and be eaten with gratitude.

Dana Warren said...

Sam entered your class as a plant person. he is the guy who does Otts, his personal garden and Longwood for years and years. we are enjoying this blog as a family and wish you the best. our eggplant vine took up the whole backyard this past summer, it was almost another planet out there and we hated ripping the old girl up at frost. regards, Dana

Wayne Stratz said...

Dana--- thanks for pointing out what I didn't. Some students do come in as plant folk and hopefully I strengthen their connection. The students often strengthen mine. You are the first member of the Pathway Community to comment. I was going to send an e-mail out in the new year announcing the blog. How did you hear?

yes, it is a sad thing to rip out plants after a frost or any other time it is necessary.