Flowers are both beautiful and diverse, and are used by humans to improve their surroundings, celebrate notable rituals and events, to declare their love to each other and as a source of food and medicine.
But flowers are also the reproductive structure of all flowering plants and flowers turn into fruit. Because flowers are the method by which the species ensures its survival, evolution dictated how flowers developed until farming began about 10,000 years ago and then humans began to learn how to alter things, initially by simply selecting which plants to grow and then by crosspollinating different plants in an attempt to improve food crops.
We know that the Babylonians were crosspollinating palm trees by the seventh century BC and when the Spanish arrived in South America in the sixteenth century, the Aztecs had already bred larger flowered marigolds through selective crosspollinating. So plant breeding has a long history and plants have been altered to produce more and better food as well as better flowering. Plants have also been hybridised to alter their shape, hardiness and length of flowering and while there is no way we could have the benefits of our age without the extensive hybridisation that has gone before us, it is nice to walk through undisturbed bushland and see nature at its purest. It has a unique integrity…
Read more in Edition 63 of Hunter Lifestyle Magazine.
Story and images: Mark Adamson, Heritage Gardens Nursery, East Maitland.