Ethnobotany in not only about “exotic” plants in the rain forest: “The ethnobotany of British home gardens: diversity, knowledge and exchange” is the title of a new research project at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kent. Among other things the anthropologists will look at the the social networks along which plants and knowledge are exchanged.
“We hope to be able to demonstrate scientifically the wider value of home gardens beyond the material worth of the land that they occupy", Simon Platten explains. “We wish to learn how people learn to become good home gardeners. Whilst biological diversity in itself is important, so are the skills and knowledge that maintain it”, project director Roy Ellen says.
Despite high rates of participation in gardening there is according to him relatively little work on the basic social, cultural and ethnobotanical dimensions of home gardening.