Monday, November 29, 2010
The plant that you did not plant that is doing better that the one you did is a weed. This means that it is possible that one man's weed is the next girl's desirable plant.
And this opens the field to relativism, not to mention infestation.
My neighbour Len insists on planting Statice where I am trying to grow Kangaroo Paw, his is doing better than mine, but is his a weed?
Many years ago when I went to The Flinders Ranges for the first time the hillsides were covered in purple and scarlet, beautiful, I thought.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
There is a weed in a vase in my front room.
It was collected from Mantung, (near Loxton, South Australia) in July 2010.
My friend Christine said it was Roly Poly Bush.
Roly Poly Bush, Prickly Saltwort, Salsola kali, the plant according to Wikipedia is most commonly known as Tumbleweed.
I collected the dried bush for its rounded, plantine shape. I found its branched, prickly stems attractive and placed it in a vase.
For the Wild Weeds project, I photographed the weed in a vase under the dappled light of vines growing at the side of my house.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
These are some little weeds that live at the bottom of my driveway. The photo was taken as part of a series of images mapping the weeds in my cul de sac at Philip Court, Rostrevor, South Australia. I noticed them one Sunday morning while sitting outside having a cup of tea on my front porch. It was just after rain and the little weeds were a lovely small coloured contrast to the dark grey asphalt. So I planned just to take one image and then I began and before I knew it I had 300 images, mapping the whole cul de sac one morning in late August 2010.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
In my piece Introducing Species, native plants such as redanther wallaby grass and allocasuarina seeds are combined with two noxious weeds - scotch thistle (onopordium acanthium) and yorkshire fog (holcus lanatus). Introducing Species was made in 2007 and measures 240 X 330 X 200 mm.
Scotch thistle is a common weed in my suburb of Annandale so here is some of its history. Scotch thistle is actually an exotic plant in Britain, brought by the Romans. It became the national emblem of Scotland after Vikings trying to sneak into an encampment stumbled into the thistles and yelled in pain, alerting the Scots who were then able to fight them off. Centuries later it was taken to Australia as a garden plant but quickly hopped the garden fence and became so prolific that it was declared noxious in 1856. Changes in attitude to this plant are vividly brought to life in the reminiscences of Victorian pioneer Katherine McKell who recalled the first thistle to flower in her district sometime around the 1860s: "One day we came on a Scottish thistle, growing beside a log, not far from the stable sheds - a chance seed from the horse-fodder of course... This was carefully rolled in a piece of newspaper and put under a stone. In a few days after it was in a beautifully pressed condition, and was shown round with great pride. No one thought then that, some twenty years later, the thistle from Scoltand would have spread in the new land and become a nuisance, requiring a special Act in some shires and districts to enforce eradication on private properties."
Like many plants known as weeds, the scotch thistle has also been useful, for example, in the treatment of cancers and ulcers and the reduction of discharges of mucous membranes. The receptacle was eaten in earlier times like an artichoke. The cottony hairs on the stem were sometimes collected to stuff pillows. Oil from the seeds was used in Europe for burning and cooking.
So, weeds are not only plants for which we have not yet found a use but also plants which we no longer use! Perhaps we are on the cusp of change when it comes to our attitudes to weeds.
Sources: Feral Future by Tim Low (Ringwood, VIC, Viking, 1999) and www.nwcb.wa.gov/weed_info/Written_findings/Onopordum_acanthium.html.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Lots of people in the hills think of the lovely forget-me-not as a weed
(one of my daughter Hannie's first paid jobs was getting them out of someone's garden; they are easy to pull out but the seeds hug every piece of clothing and refuse to let go--they love to travel) Here they are in the path growing next to some veggies in pots, clustered around the sink vent; just a few of the healthy clumps that drift in and find a spot around the garden every year uninvited but