Discovering the plant matrix

Have you ever wondered whether the events of a film could actually come true?

Well, that’s what happened for Mrs. Bloom, AKA Ann McCarron. Ann is a qualified horticulturist and experienced community gardener from Northern Ireland. A self-confessed plant nerd, Ann posts regularly about plants, produce and more over on her Facebook page. Here, she talks about discovering the matrix of the plant world.

It was about a year after starting formal studies in horticulture when the world began to look different. Better. It was as if a switch in my brain turned on and all of a sudden, I could see ‘The Matrix’! Not in a Keanu Reeves binary 0s and 1s way – I’m not that dramatic – but, in the sense of a horticultural awakening.

Mrs Bloom guest posts about the plant matrix

This revelation occurred to me when I was driving through the leafy, tree lined streets of Belfast (yes, we do have them), when out of the blue, the common and botanical names of every tree I could see, popped into my head.  

I knew why they were chosen and the benefits they brought to that location, recognising fastigiate, weeping, columnar shapes, pollarded and raised crowns. It was as if every tree had a virtual tag listing all of its botanical information.

Walking through these same suburban streets, peering over walls into gardens, without even realising it I was scanning them for potential cutting materials. Then discovering that the matrix is not limited to sight. You can actually smell it! The summer evening smell of sweet honeysuckle, and autumnal scent of viburnum bodnantense and even the underrated winter scent of skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’, reminds me that I am always surrounded by a horticultural matrix.

I don’t see a mess of wet, slippery autumn leaves. I see the golden gorgeousness of fertility, ecosystems and the seasons at work and of course an opportunity for tree identification. Even the shortest A to B journeys are intercepted with pitstops at plants, much to the annoyance of people I’m with.

Mrs Bloom guest posts about the plant matrix

Yes, the downside of the matrix is that not everyone else wants to hear about it… all of the time. I’ve lost count of the number of eye rolls and ‘oh here she goes agains’.  My gasps of excitement are met with groans of impatience. I’ve even been accused of taking photographs not of their intended subjects, but of a plant or tree in the background. Guilty! Admittedly, my camera roll is disproportionately made up of living things that aren’t human.

I realise now that in some ways I’ve always been able to see the matrix, studying horticulture just turned up the volume.  What always surprises me is that some people can’t see it, or don’t want to. Many people I come across in my career in community horticulture and horticultural therapy are blind to the beauty of their surroundings.  Slowly but surely working with them I hope that I can improve how they see their world.

The horticulture matrix is a never ending journey of discovery and I love it! Can you see it?

Head over to the Mrs. Bloom Facebook page here, and give it a like!

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