David is a student and steward of the land. At present he is caretaking, creating and cultivating his way to change through land management on the east coast of Australia. He is our fourth invited to speak about weeds, as a permaculture practitioner.
1. What is a weed to you?
To me, a weed is an opportunistic yet symptomatic plant, growing in a space you don't desire it to grow.
It´s mother Earths way of covering her surface and remediating the land. They range from cracks in the concrete to underutilized space in the garden, from endless battles in the pastures to the pioneers healing a scarred landscape.
Weeds tell the story of their environment while offering solutions and remedies to the imbalances that are ever-present.
After all, they are a human construct. We create this notion of “weeds”, to differ and distinguish, to polarise and separate. “Weeds” have been offering solutions long before humans began creating problems.
2. From the plants considered as weeds, which is your favorite, and why? What do you like to do with this plant?
From the plants considered as weeds it is difficult for me to pick a singular favourite.
A standout for many reasons would be the scotch thistle. With a luminous yet well-guarded flower, the scotch thistle is reluctant to give up her secrets yet eager to repopulate and remediate compacted and nutrient deficient soils. It is indicative and beautiful beyond aesthetics. Hardy and practical.
I find great joy in picking the flowers and finding ways for the cows to enjoy eating this wonderful plant.
3. How do you define your relationship with plants, and how did it start?
I would consider my relationship with plants to be one of symbiosis. They enable me to be a happy, healthy and functioning human being and for this I owe them great service. I aim to do this in my actions by encouraging and attempting to further the survival of all plants while fostering and sharing the enormous connections that they give rise to.
My connection to plants stems from growing up and adventuring the Australian bush. From growing our own food as a young family to harvesting valuable timbers from nearby forests. The roots of my connection to plants goes far deeper than my understanding and is a story that began before my time. I am beginning to learn of this story and I take great pride in fighting for their survival.
4. Do you have a favorite “plant space”?
A favourite “plant space” for me would have to be among some of Southern Tasmania’s old growth forests. The abundance and harmony that exists within these forests brings about feelings that cannot be put into words. Looming trunks of great ageless trees give habitat to innumerabl we created with our own hands. Countless hours of preparing beds and soil has resulted in a beautiful space that is productivee species and have far reaching effects that we struggle to comprehend. The diversity, the cycling of life, the cycling of nutrient and water, the clarity of natural law giving rise to such balance is truly something to behold. These beautiful spaces are more than worthy of fighting for and are among my favourite plant spaces.
The wild in me regards this as a favourite plant space but it is somewhat difficult to eat from the forest. This resulted in another favourite plant space for me which is the food garden while also having far reaching effects. The rewards of growing our own food and sharing the fruits of our labor extend into many meaningful parts of our lives that are often overlooked in modern living. Being a caretaker of our Earth gives meaning and joy to life and we can do so from our very own garden – this is among the many reasons our garden is a favourite space for me. Grow!