Nature Poetry, Conservation

Community Gardens

Forbs are the plants
people often call flowers

Nearly all plants produce flowers, including
grasses and trees and sedges.
But forbs are the radiant,
brilliantly bright buds
that we imagine in
bouquets and

By themselves, forbs
will grow tall and top-heavy,
their stems eventually
drooping or toppling
under the weight of the flower.

To flourish long-term,
forbs need competition
for the sun
and rain
and soil.

In nature, this is provided
by a surrounding community
of grasses and sedges and trees.

This healthy adversity
saves the forbs from their appetites,
and eventually collapsing
under the weight of
rampant vanity.


Ed Makowski is the Communications Specialist at Schlitz Audubon and is also a poet. This poem resulted from a conversation about the Butterfly Bend planting, and how root competition benefits native plant species.