Opportunism: not such a nasty word

A blackcurrant bush grows through the cracks under our picnic table

Any biologist will tell you that without opportunism, few plant species would survive. Their entire reproductive strategy seems to be built on the chance that a wandering seed, among many that are lost, might find a suitable place to germinate and grow. Whether the distribution is by wind, by animal, or by bird, eventually the dormant seed must be moisturised, warmed, sprouted and protected as it develops into a new offspring.

So my heart swelled a little, when I noticed the weed emerging through the interstices of paving slabs, and I left it alone until it was big enough to identify. I know now that the weed is likely the progeny of one of our four cultivated blackcurrant bushes, their fruit consumed by one of the garden birds which often wait patiently under the table for their next turn at the feeding station, voiding a blackcurrant seed in the interim.

Today I plan to shift the table, lift the paving slabs, dig out the blackcurrant seedling, and transplant it into a decorative pot. The leaves are a lovely reminder of the rampant and profligate energy of nature, and I’m confident that the growing bush will do well north of the border.

I can be opportunistic too, rescuing a free specimen and nurturing it at will. Every time I look at the plant I’ve salvaged, I shall experience a little thrill of joy. But for now, the joy is in the realisation that vitality is a precious gift.

Not only, but also! There were two plants! All ready for the big move across the border.

This blog is listed with Blogarama.com under the Life category.

2 responses to “Opportunism: not such a nasty word”

  1. Larry, I enjoyed reading today’s Joy. The blackcurrant growing between pavers reminded me of that line from Jurassic Park, “Life will find a way.” It’s 8:07 AM here in Lancaster, PA. By my reckoning it must be 2:07 PM in Sparty Lea. Were you able to successfully pot the blackcurrant seedling growing between the pavers?

    Today’s Joy stirred my memories of gardening in bygone years. Each Spring I rescued young plants growing from rotted veggies of the previous summer. The veggies from those plants were always a surprise. I would get strange looking tomatoes, zucchini & spaghetti squash. Be that as it may life found a way. Rightly or wrongly I hypothesized that those strange looking veggies came about bc veggies grown today are almost all hybrids.

    Larry, Write on. Henry


  2. Hi Henry, Aye, the blackcurrant seedling is now transplanted into a pot, along with a smaller one that had sneaked up beside it! We shall see whether the pair make the transition to Scotland! I’m intrigued at your new and strange fruits from the previous year’s veggies. One year we found a very bizarre plant growing in the potato patch, and when it had matured, we discovered it was a jimson weed, very hallucinogenic and rather toxic. Oh, I think it was an entry in Allendale Diary, let me see . . . [https://allendalediary.org/2019/03/13/curlews-lapwings-later-black-grouse-and-more/] Anyway, I put it safely away in the bin! take care, Larry


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