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.
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