A dominant model in the West has metaphorically likened the human body to a machine since at least the time of the Enlightenment. Drawing on research in the north of England with gardeners, this article explores a different set of associations. I consider the implications of English gardening practices and knowledge that insist on reciprocal parallels between human bodies and intentionality and those of plants. While humans are not equated with plants, plants are incorporated into a worldview that is not straightforwardly mechanistic. I discuss the implications of describing these connections between plants and people as 'simply' metaphorical, arguing instead for a theoretical framing that seeks analytical space beyond metaphor.
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