For a long time I thought that everyone knew about plants, how they grow, how to look after them, plant uses, how to cut them, feed them etc. etc. Since I began to photograph them, people have talked to me about my knowledge of plants, flowers and nature. Through this I began to track back to how I know what I know.
In my childhood my maternal and paternal grandparents had gardens often filled with flowers. My maternal grandparents lived close by and we went there often. They had a large lawned garden beyond which was a vegetable growing area with an aviary. I remember picking the peas and beans, shelling them and eating them raw. I recall being told that the Antirrhinum were called Bunny Noses and watching how they twitched as I pinched them. I remember the green house growing flowers and veg, the sowing, the harvesting and the eating.
I've always enjoyed being outside, often taking my younger sister and brother with me. I recall sheltering under a willow tree with them during a thunder storm, not realising that wasn't a sensible idea until our unhappy parents came out to find us. The weeping willow remains my favorite tree to this day.
When I was in junior school about 10 years old there was an area which was the wildlife garden. I loved our lessons there, it was a chance to sit, watch and wait for butterflies and insects. The longer I could spend outside the better and a way to avoid lessons in class which were a challenge.
As a young adult I grew plants in a greenhouse. I'd often be asked to help with the gardening for my in-laws who planted hundreds of flowers each spring/summer. This led to me having an allotment in which I grew peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, fruit plants including Jostaberries (if you've never tried them do), winter vegetables, salad and enough courgettes to supply a local supermarket. This all came to a halt when I decided to go to university in my thirties to study, an allotment takes a huge dedication especially when hens and ducks are involved too. I did however continue gardening at home with a 100 foot plus garden to nurture at times it was a welcome escape.
After university, a career, a change in circumstances left me without a garden of my own but brought with it an opportunity to admire other peoples. Some times to admire rather than own that thing yourself gives just as much pleasure.
So how do I know what I know - life and hands on experience (and sometimes a little help from Google).