Nature's Garden: An Aid to Knowledge of Our Wild Flowers and Their Insect Visitors (Classic Reprint)by Neltje Blanchan
Surely a foreword of explanation is called for from one who has the temerity to offer a surfeited public still another book on wild flowers. Inasmuch as science has proved that almost every blossom in the world is everything it is because of its necessity to attract
Excerpt from Nature's Garden: An Aid to Knowledge of Our Wild Flowers and Their Insect Visitors
Surely a foreword of explanation is called for from one who has the temerity to offer a surfeited public still another book on wild flowers. Inasmuch as science has proved that almost every blossom in the world is everything it is because of its necessity to attract insect friends or to repel its foes - its form, mechanism, color, markings, odor, time of opening and closing, and its season of blooming being the result of natural selection by that special insect upon which each depends more or less absolutely for help in perpetuating its species - it seems fully time that the vitally important and interesting relationship existing between our common wild flowers and their winged benefactors should be presented in a popular book.
Is it enough to know merely the name of the flower you meet in the meadow? The blossom has an inner meaning, hopes and fears that inspire its brief existence, a scheme of salvation for its species in the struggle for survival that it has been slowly perfecting with some insect's help through the ages. It is not a passive thing to be admired by human eyes, nor does it waste its sweetness on the desert air. It is a sentient being, impelled to act intelligently through the same strong desires that animate us, and endowed with certain powers differing only in degree, but not in kind, from those of the animal creation. Desire ever creates form.
Do you doubt it? Then study the mechanism of one of our common orchids or milkweeds that are adjusted with such marvellous delicacy to the length of a bee's tongue or of a butterfly's leg; learn why so many flowers have sticky calices or protective hairs; why the skunk cabbage, purple trillium, and carrion flower emit a fetid odor while other flowers, especially the white or pale yellow night bloomers, charm with their delicious breath; see if you cannot discover why the immigrant daisy already whitens our fields with descendants as numerous as the sands of the seashore, whereas you may tramp a whole day without finding a single native ladies' slipper. What of the sundew that not only catches insects, but secretes gastric juice to digest them? What of the bladderwort, in whose inflated traps tiny crustaceans are imprisoned, or the pitcher-plant, that makes soup of its guests?
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