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First real Master Gardener class


Today was my first "real" Master Gardeners class. Last week was basically orientation, so I don't think it really "counts" as a class. It does, but today was the first class of content.

The subject of today's class was plant physiology: parts of plants, how they grow, how they reproduce, all the good plant stuff. The content of the class followed very closely to the content of the handbook chapter we were to read before class, so I didn't feel I learned anything particularly new. However, different people learn different ways, so I was happy for the review.

In plants, there are two parts in the stem that make up the vascular system (with a third thrown in if the two parts need to be separated): the xylem and the phloem. The xylem moves water and mineral nutrients from the roots up to the aboveground plant parts. The phloem, on the other hand, nominally moves food from the leaves to the rest of the plant. With the xylem, everything goes up. With the phloem, materials can move every-which-way.

During the class, a fellow student asked the question, "Why does the material move in any direction in the phloem, but not the xylem? Why doesn't the water move down in the xylem?"

Various answers were proposed in the class, from a college botany instructor to other fellow students. For the most part, no one could answer the question. My answer would have been the cells are constructed in such a way that materials can easily move in one direction, but not the other, but I kept my mouth shut. Not really knowing the exact processes involved, I would be giving a Boy Answer™ with the Voice of Authority (VOA), and it might not be correct.

However, such inhibitions were lacking in a fellow student, who decided the proper answer was, "Because that's the way it is."

I'm unable to properly express how much such answers enrage every cell of my being. "Because that's the way it is" is the cop-out answer used by people who don't know the answer, in an attempt to both look knowledgable and stop the questioner from finding out the real answer.

Maybe the class wasn't really interested in or have the knowledge base of plant physics or molecular biology, and that's fine. But giving me a "because that's the way it is" BS answer makes me think you're a moron and immediately think less of any further words from your mouth.

Fortunately, I kept my mouth shut in class on that opinion, too.