club members was Big Government

Sun, 01 Feb 2009 17:23:43 PST
Like Diane, I too have wondered about such things. People bring with
them aspects of their original culture and if those do not include
ornamental horticulture we should not expect it to appear as a general
rule. Given that our pastime is one of luxury, beyond the provisions
of feeding one's family and other basic needs, it should not be
surprising that only the most prosperous areas manifest it. Very few
countries or regions can boast a long and productive relationship with
floriculture. Many, perhaps the great majority, of immigrants in the
U.S. and Canada are/were of modest means so that if they are prone to
cultivate plants at all it is as a source of food rather than for

But there is more to it than this. I wonder about those of West Asian
origin, especially Iranians, most of whom are well-acculturated to the
West and could afford to cultivate flowers if they so wished.
Conversely, it is common to see modest but well-loved small gardens
and window boxes in tropical Latin America, at all social levels, but
this may diminish or disappear when the same people settle overseas.
In both of these cases, if prosperity eventually allows one to hire
"gardeners" to do the work then grubbing in the dirt may be seen as a
lowly activity.

I think it takes not only prosperity but a settled culture, or settled
population, to allow flower growing to develop. If there is no
historical basis for such activity then perhaps it will only show up
as a cultural idiosyncrasy, or not at all.

Another important factor is the "volunteer spirit". In most parts of
the world volunteerism is rare to non-existent. I can attest to this
in Latin America and even in the UK there is nothing like the
volunteering that goes on in the U.S. This peculiarity of ours can be
an estrangement for some and may account for the low participation in
clubs and societies which are, of course, voluntary.

Just my random thoughts.

Dylan Hannon

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