What can't we learn from Biomimicry?
My fascination with Biomimicry began with a chance second hand book encounter so named by Janine Benyus and I have strived to recognise and apply its concepts ever since. Biomimicry involves the recognition and application of the deep patterns found in nature and believe me its application has come a long way since creating Velcro. Biomimicry can be particularly insightful when seeking efficient and organic ways of doing things like gardening.
My current read is the library’s copy of The Shark’s Paintbrush by Jay Harman, a further Biomimicry tome and I find myself repeatedly renewing the loan because I can’t bear to part with the book (sorry to anyone else that has the book reserved, it is me muddying the waters). The tales he regales touch all aspects of our lives particularly complex, diverse soil environments. I am always on a quest to learn more of soils so I was excited at his suggestion that soil born fungi may provide us with future artificial intelligence. According to Harman a Japanese experiment which used a regional map where tempting oat flakes represented the location of nearby cities illustrated this intelligence. When fungal mycelium was let loose on the map it grew to the oat flakes by way of an efficient precise pattern thus illustrating pathways which not only resembled but improved the regions transport, communication, water and electrical networks.
Don’t be afraid of these fungal smarts if word gets out imagine the value which soil and compost would assume. We as gardeners could well be the stewards of future intelligence.