It's such a shame when people don't appreciate plants. To the 'man on the street' a plant is an inanimate, barely alive object, not worthy of particular attention and, at best, just a piece of ornamentation to enhance the environment. When challenged most will know that a plant takes in carbon dioxide and gives out oxygen, and some will know that plants lock up carbon and can feed themselves using sunlight and a range of chemicals from the soil.
For a gardener, plants hold far more appeal. Each plant provides a layer of colour, shape or texture to a scene, and a gardener uses these to make a garden in the same way that an artist uses different paints and techniques to create a picture. Anyone who spends prolonged time with plants will also get to learn their magic, the magic of the scent from an exotic flower, the form of a fern's frond, the texture and shapes of leaves- the diversity of plants can make studying them a passion.
Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex 'Plena'
The wealth of plants available to gardeners is extraordinary. To think that just 100 years ago many of the ornamental plants that we take for granted today were solely seen in the collections of wealthy people who had sponsored brave plant hunters to explore far-flung hillsides in the search for botanical treasures. Now anyone can buy a Rhododendron from China, a Nerine from South Africa, a Eucalyptus from Australia or a cactus from America; we plant enthusiasts live in a time of privilege, where the only limitations we really face in creating the garden of our dreams, packed with exotic plants, is the suitability of our garden.
Let's always be thankful for this.