At this time of year alkenet (strictly speaking evergreen alkenet) is abundant round here and sometimes rampant so that gardeners far from welcoming it regard it as a weed. I tend to herd it to the back of flowerbeds where the bright blue flowers produce a pleasing contrast with self-seeded yellow Welsh poppies. Both are uninvited guests in our small garden but welcome if they behave themselves. Both are self-seeding and I root them out a short while after they have flowered they return every year, sure of their return. As I have said before in this blog the word Alkenet is Arabic in origin and comes to us via the Spanish alcanna
. The Arabic word is al-henna
which betrays the closeness of its relationship with the plant from which the colouring agent, henna is derived.
You don't have to look far for evidence of design either intentional in the way machines and to take another example furniture are made to suit function or the appearance or both; or as the result of trial and error in natural selection. Design is rarely if ever perfect either manufactured or evolved. The need for improvement is ever present. The thought crossed my mind when dealing with a tea bag in a cafe the other day. No where to put it, once fished from the cup. Not in the saucer because it leaves a puddle which will inevitably drip next time you pick up the cup.. More design thinking in respect of cup, saucer, tea bag please. Meanwhile evolutionary forces might consider their recent "master work" homo sapiens.
Good marks for adaptability but built-in obsolescence, which among other weaknesses such as territorial obsession, irrational greed and pugnacity, must earn it poor ones.
An avenue of 100 oak trees near Launceton in Cornwall, planted to celebrate the millennium and intended to last 1000 years is, 12 years into its planned life span, to be destroyed to make way for houses and a hotel. I don't know why but this piece of news disturbs me rather more than many of the other horrors shown to us daily on screens and in newspapers, but it does.