But then the unexpected happened: the new neighbours (it was growing on their ground) removed it.
It hurt. It makes me sad when people destroy things of beauty. Especially when these things are living beings, like plants are. Some people tend to forget that.
And what made me even more sad than the view or the flowers or the berries, were the couple of blackbirds who kept coming back for two days. They had a nest with eggs in there, just above my head when I was sitting on my favourite spot in the garden. This was their home.
Over the years, I have talked with many other wild plant lovers who went through a similar situation. They came back from travel, and a friendly neighbour wanted to be helpful and had cleaned up (read: removed all the weeds from their garden). Their landlord came by with herbicides. Their rooftop garden, with more than 40 medicinal plants was referred to as junk and had to be removed. The tree nearby they harvested from, was cut down. We've all been there, I guess.
So what do you do in a situation like that?
Let's take a look at the options:
- Revenge. Great tactic if you want to gain credibility as the bad witch of the village. Your landlord sprayed pesticides on your blackberries? Save those blackberries to make him some pie. In the same category: secretly introducing as much wild plant seeds as possible in their yard, using their garden as a compost heap, or worse (the human mind can become very creative when it comes to taking revenge). Though this may be tempting when you are in the middle of an emotional roller coaster because someone damaged your beloved plants, I do not think of this as a way to make things better on the long term. Or in the short term.
- Ignore. Just weep for three days and then go on with your live. But is this really what you want to do? Do you want to be ignorant? Especially in the case of pesticides, is closing your eyes an option you believe in?
- Investigate. Find out what is really going on before jumping to conclusions. That tree they cut, maybe it was ill and was threatening other trees' health. This herbicide they used, maybe it was just plain vinegar. Maybe that ribes bush, that was beautiful on your side, was ugly on their side because they broke down an old wall that prevented the lower leaves from getting enough sunlight. Maybe they are simply disinformed - you have no idea how many people actually believe it is illegal to have dandelions in the garden. Try to find out and understand what is going on.
- Inform. In my humble opinion, this may be the best option. Simply tell them that these plants are your food and medicine, and how they help you. Tell them that though they are only 'weeds' to some, they mean the world to you. Some people simply never thought of plants this way. And more than just telling them, make them a treat. Select your best wild food recipe, make it and give it to them as a gift. Make sure it's the best tasting, best looking and smelling wild dish you've made to far. You never know what may happen.