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Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Not Allottment

At Pensford Field there is a hut (the studio) and behind the hut is a bank of earth with a lot of nettles on it.

I am amazed to find that I am offered the opportunity to grow things on this bank. I am allotted, not an allottment but an aNottment.

I went there yesterday with Graham from the Alpines in Kew Gardens, you could say he knows a few things about native plants. We had a look around and got together a list of plants growing on the patch. Of course it is mostly nettles, but also Alexanders, burdock, green alkanet, horsetails, Black HoarHound, a type of wild lettuce and a mustard, some pretty grasses and a wild barley, mugwort (allegedly useful in clairvoyancy), a buddleia and some buttercups. I may well have forgotten a couple of things too.

We also have on the site a pile of breeze blocks, some rubble, a few black plastic tubes and a bird box.

With this highly promising collection of assorted plants and objects I want to intervene as a concious and conscientious agent of ecological change. I would like to foster whatever wants to grow there naturally, introduce a few new things, (mostly native) for diversity and for edibility, usefulness, and interest (eg perhaps some woad) and monitor the assortment of plants to maximise their happiness and health and also the diversity both of species but also of uses to myself, other animals, and the earth and other plants, other people etc.

People usually dominate when it comes to choosing who should a plant serve but i want to make sure I provide for as many strange creatures as possible.

In short, I want to make it a garden of natural wonders and delights for all the senses and the imagination. When you really look at little humble plants they become the most amazing extraordinary beasts of all manner of marvels.

Also I'd like to put in more bird boxes so if anyone can help please get in touch.

I tried digging up some green alkanet roots thinking they were good for dye, but it turns out its the wrong type of alkanet. But for now the alkanet stays: its pretty , and the bees and bugs seem to absolutely love it. They were thronging in.

When I clear out some of the nettles (some will stay) I can eat the tops, make fibre from the stems, use the roots for a good yellow dye (for the fleece that will be delivered at the Pensford Field Picnic 20 June) and put the rest into a mulch for a good compost.

This is totally thrilling and all are welcome to help out and learn about the amazing wonders of weeds.

Hurrah! many thanks to the lovely Diana and Pensford Field people, and Graham.

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