Gardeners’ perspectives and practices in relation to plants in motion
Robert A. Francis
Summary, in English
The establishment of introduced species in new environments is today widely acknowledged as a potential threat to biodiversity, and many plants that are known to be invasive have obviously spread from gardens. Thus, in the context of biosecurity, we need to consider how contemporary gardeners think about which plants and animals are welcome in their gardens. In this chapter we look at vegetation in motion from a cultural and social point of view, with a particular focus on some of many different ways in which people are involved in spreading of plants, both desired and undesired ones. We do this by investigating everyday practices of gardeners in Sweden, and not least the common habit of sharing plants, in order to highlight the social and cultural aspects of the spread of species. Among the gardeners in this study it is obvious that the dynamics and vitality of plants is often regarded as an asset, but also sometimes as problem, when plants simply grow too much. Understandings of the relationship between gardens and surrounding environments, as well as between nature and culture, have changed over time, and are continuously changing. As plants have the ability to multiply and spread in various ways, both on their own and with the help of humans, there is a need to acknowledge the role of human as well as non-human agencies in order to understand the complexity of these interactions. Inspired by Tim Ingold we find it useful to think about both gardeners and plants as ‘biosocial becomings’. In order to address the threat posed by invasive species, we propose that it is important to improve our understanding of what happens in everyday biosocial encounters between people, plants and other species.