Rebels of the Plant World

One day, a wise man introduced me to the thorny debate surrounding the use of the term weed. Whether we are talking about a weed or an undesirable plant, we understand that a plant that grows where it is not welcome becomes a weed. A dandelion in my lawn, perfect! A dandelion between my tomato plants, no thanks! A tomato plant between the rows of garlic: go away!

With time, some plants change their status, sometimes because we end up loving them and recognizing them at their true value.

Today, I would like to share with you a recent passion: that of discovering rebel plants? This is the name I give to plants that have managed to establish themselves in places where no one has planted them and that, against all odds, have managed to blossom to our great delight. You will quickly understand…

Without further ado, here are my favorites from last year, the 2022 Rebels of the Plant World.

The 2022 Plant Rebels

The various bindweeds (Convolvulus arvensis, an introduced species, and Calystegia sepium, a native bindweed) are pretty invaders. Skilled climbers, they quickly bloom on ephemeral structures. Although it may be fine to let them grow in an urban environment, consider removing them if you live near agricultural land or natural environments.

Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus and C. sulphureus) appreciate well drained and poor soils, which makes them excellent candidates to flower our sidewalks. The great sage ranked them in his top of the best annuals.

A neighbor cultivates cosmos, it is necessary to believe that these escaped.
What a nice surprise on the way to the office! It’s almost more beautiful than in a garden…
Here’s a view from another angle to capture the rebellious aspect of this bold cosmos.
With a little help, the rebels have colonized this parking lot.
Here is a minimalist microgarden adorning the cracks of a staircase with a fall and bryophyte style arrangement.
The impressive bloom of a mallow (Malva sp.) for a rocky space at the curb. Another invasive plant to keep away from natural environments.
A little less aesthetically pleasing, this impressive spontaneous garden is home to at least five different varieties of plants.
A goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) at the foot of the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.
Vines and sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) come together here to decorate a neglected bus.
Here, we were able to get our hands on the collar of these rebellious kohlrabi.

I hope you enjoyed it. If, like me, you are fascinated by these surprises, keep your eyes open during the summer season and you too will find some plant rebels.

Francis Cardinal is a biologist who graduated from McGill University and then from HEC Montréal. Since 2013, he has been a member of the education team at the Montreal Biodome, aprt of Espace pour la vie, where he is responsible for the My Jardin program and the science popularization program. Very sensitive to the environment, Francis uses every means possible to arouse curiosity and bring us closer to nature. Humour and emotion often allow him to make attractive what would otherwise be unnoticed or banal. He considers himself a laidback gardener and has developed a sense of self-criticism in order to accept imperfection and to act only when it is essential.

6 comments on “Rebels of the Plant World

  1. During the Shutdown, when most of us tried to avoid going to the supermarket, I found more produce than I needed among the naturalized turnip greens, mustard greens and radish greens that now inhabit the abandoned ball field. It was rad, and still is.

  2. Mary L Discuillo

    Every time I see a flower in a sidewalk or a gutter it makes me stop and pause. (Think of the George Strait song I saw God today). Nature is amazing If we could only stop, get out of the way. and leave it be 🙂

  3. I really enjoyed that, thanks!

  4. Nature always finds a way. Have to admire the adaptability of any see that can grow and thrive between the cracks of a sidewalk or road.

  5. Catherine

    Very interesting. How do you define a natural environment? You mention keeping mallow away from natural environments. Thank you

  6. Ann T Dubas

    Very interesting! Sometimes I feel conflicted about destroying invasive plants. They are often beautiful and I can’t help but admire their strength and adaptability.

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