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A New Volunteer

Around the Gardens Blog

From last year’s compost comes a reminder of nature’s perseverance.

By Brooke McMinn

Life is persistent.

That is the thought that occurs to me whenever I see this particular plant. I think back to earlier this year when its life began. There is no denying this spring had a bit of a rough start. Even still, amid the spreading pandemic and social strife, a tiny seed from last year’s garden refuse, intended to decompose, began instead to grow.

In gardening, we call a plant that grows on its own without being deliberately planted by someone a volunteer.

Unlike weeds, which are undesirable, a volunteer plant may be encouraged and cared for by gardeners. They are nice surprises in unexpected places—like this impressive specimen of Luffa cylindrica.

Nestled snuggly in the warmth of Bruno Vegetable Garden’s compost bin, this little volunteer luffa seed didn’t consider
the state of the world that awaited it. It knew only what it was meant to do—live.

And has it ever! From that single, small seed a wall of luscious green foliage dotted with cheery yellow flowers and curious elongated fruit sprang forth.

Visitors, staff, and volunteer workers alike have been awed by her beauty, inspired by her success, and perhaps most importantly, reminded by her obstinate existence that, in spite of opposition, life continues on its course.