According to the old English proverb, necessity is the mother of invention, and that is never truer than in my tiny courtyard.
One thing I’ve learned is a garden is never finished – it’s always a work in progress. While some gardens can expand outwards, my courtyard walls exclude this possibility.
So that left me exploring other possibilities. I’ve taken to the trees! Not literally of course, age and loss of swinging ability prevents it. But I have hung pots from branches, and bound epiphytic plants in old stockings filled with bark to the trunks and crooks of my trees. It works beautifully. Mind you, I only have two trees so that too, is a finite growing space.
And then my need grew again. I developed an itch for new plants I could no more ignore than my need for food.
In the time of Corona Virus there’s a lot said about ‘need’. Endless talk of ‘essential services’ – those things we really need to survive. Feeling a little chastened by the fact that I have everything I essentially need – and more, I resolved to count my blessings. Yet, here I am still talking about ‘needing’ more plants.
But I digress. My point is this: need makes us more creative. Need stretches our imaginations when we’re motivated by what we see as a lack of those essentials.
While I was imagining more space by hanging lined baskets filled with plants from gates, by hooking to fences wire grills into which I could press bromeliads, others too, were busy.
To fill the gaps in essential supplies, industrial designers and backyard inventors were turning their skills to building low cost ventilators; gin distilleries were re-tooling to make sanitiser; small manufacturers were forgoing usual outputs to make personal protective equipment. I am so proud of Aussie ingenuity. However, I’m not suggesting ingenuity is confined to Aussies; I think it’s innate in the human condition, when a need we see as essential presents itself.
But like any successful garden, ingenuity needs the right conditions to flourish. A sense of working together toward a common purpose for the good of all, is a crucial element in this. Gratitude to those who are putting the needs of others before their own is another; everyone needs positive feedback. Leadership is paramount and sometimes it arrives in unexpected forms. Again, where there is a lack (a need), people continue to step up filling leadership voids.
Among the good things to emerge from all this I believe, is the growth of human ingenuity. I know I’m not the only one that thinks we have it in spades.
We have this history of impossible solutions to insoluble problems.Will Eisne
You have to, in some ways, trust in the human spirit and in human ingenuity.Ariel Garten