Well, it's back in the weeds again as I begin research on a new book. Not literally into the weeds of course —but wait —maybe I will have to get into the weeds, ahem, plants, as I plot my new novel.
I was just getting started when I researched aspects of botany for my novel, Joyous Lies. The February 2021 release of this book happened at a moment of interest in the just-being-discovered life of plants. My main character in that novel, Maelle, is a botanist trying to prove that plants can hear and communicate danger from a predator to their companion plants.
I made that up.
But my research led me to it. In May 2021, forest ecologist Suzanne Simard released Finding the Mother Tree, in which she wrote about the communicative powers of trees. "How," she writes, "they perceive one another, learn and adapt their behaviors, recognize their neighbors, and remember their past; how they have agency about their future; how they elicit warnings and mount defenses, compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication."
Simard's book is a standout in its original field research, but for some time, scientists have been conducting laboratory studies on plant communication. I read as much of this as I was able to as a layperson. Ed Yong's 2019 article in The Atlantic was particularly interesting about "floral communication." https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/01/plants-use-flowers-hear-buzz-animals/579964/
My new novel will have a different theme. But it will involve plants.
In the meantime, my mint is outgrowing its raised bed and threatening the lemon grass, the romaine has already made many a Caesar salad and keeps on coming, and the Thai basil is growing far higher than its cousin, sweet basil. Herbs love heat, and they're getting plenty of it.
The plants are having a good time.