|"Optuntia"- MR 2012|
I'm actually going to discuss person-to-person knowledge transfer, or how we learn things the old fashioned way. We used to learn something particularly well because a real-life person, often a family member, librarian, or teacher, taught us that something. When I was a child, the mighty Google hadn't been born yet. If I wanted to find something out, I had to ask someone, or go to my local library. I enjoy the convenience and abundance of online data, and would have a hard time going back to the old days. But I worry that in the crush of online data, we've lost knowledge that used to be gleaned the old way. Learning how to take care of plants is something that is best done by person-to-person knowledge transfer, and I had an example of this truth this weekend at our local orchid show.
I am no longer a nimble youth, but I was the youngest one at the show! Most of the people who were visiting, or displaying their orchids, were in their 70s and up. There were no kids. The only exceptions were the families from Taiwan and the Philippines who were there to sell their orchids. They were mostly extended families, with children in tow who were learning the family business. I bought a beautiful Catasetum from a Taiwanese gardener. She said she'd learned all about orchids starting at age 5 from her grandfather, and her parents. Orhid-growing was her family's business for many generations. She's now teaching her own children how to tend orchids.
I went online when I got home (of course I did!), and found out my country's orchid society has shrunk from 33,000 members 10 years ago to about 11,000 today. They lost their home and gardens in Delray Beach, Florida, because there weren't enough members to keep it going.
Frankly, I'm worried. If we're not passing our knowledge of horticulture on to our kids, and other young people, how will that knowledge be kept? I don't like the idea that the only place out there to learn gardening is a highly vulnerable virtual world, the Internet. Especially in this time of rapid climate change, when many native habitats (and their inhabitants) are disappearing, it's even more important that we learn to cultivate all sorts of plants in our own gardens. Then we can personally pass that knowledge on to others.
I'm going to make an effort to get out with my Tillandsias and Mesembs more often to speak to groups of kids and young people. What do you all think?? Am I just being old-fashioned?? Or are you pensive, too?
|"Ulm Cathedral"- MR|