May/June 2017 • Vol. XXXIX No. 3 Nature's Nature |

On the Cultivation of a Garden

That "Man is the only animal who talksto plants," was first asserted in the 1810Principia of the Baron Inger Stowe. Stowe surmised we'd talk to anything.The assessment was put finally to rest in 1907 when Kensington observed a solo jackal cackling to a yellow jonquil. I've talked to plants in my back garden. Who are you? I'll ask a weird weed, sensingsnaps as I break its every tendril. Hello, here's death. Man is a Chatty Cathy. Today we know "Man is the only animalwho hoped plants would grow better exposed to his chatter." I mean, sad, really. To what other beast would that ever occur? This rubric for differentiating our species, Man is what needs to be heard, known, was discovered, oddly, by Kensington's widow who awakened from a laudanum dream to find she'd stitched it in matte eggshell on a sheet-white linen sampler. 

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