Wildflowers and Weeds
Once a month, the fourth Saturday of each month in winter, and the fourth Wednesday evening of summer, we walk in Barrm Birrm. People join us to enjoy what's out, to knock off some of the weeds, and to be with people who like being out in the bush.
Walking up through Goshawk Way. RCL member Sean McConnell has been visiting regularly, finding feathers, hearing the high repeated whistle, and today, a sighting. Something hawk-ish is living in these parts. Could it be the Red Goshawk?
We balance wonder with work, and it feels damn good.
One of the burdens of becoming environmentally aware is that everywhere you look, there are weeds! There may be native species, indigenous to the place you find yourself, but your now-educated eye is drawn to the weeds. Your heart sinks - what a mess we've made of this place! The whole goddam planet. We never show now restraint; we break up what works and impose the things we want on each and every place. We expect the world to serve us. It's very sad, and maddening.
If you've been involved in environmental work for a while, then that's what you will see - the work, the years of it, to make good each habitat. When you feel the mess we've made, it's easy to feel disheartened, and to start thinking nothing will ever make a difference. It can be hard to keep going.
At Barrm Birrm we are developing a method to counter despair and keep our hearts light. On our monthly 'Wildflowers and Weeds' walk, we head out to find and enjoy the life that’s there on the slopes and in the hollows. Our mission is to be alive to what’s happening in this 120 hectares of bush …. and to clear some weeds.
Here’s the good news: in Barrm Birrm, you can actually make a difference! There's not that much weed, and focused, persistent collective effort will clear it! Sometimes that means putting a circle around a patch of weed, dropping to your knees, and clearing till that patch is gone. Sometimes it means mobile weeding, pulling up an errant feral acacia, here and there, as you walk. You give back just a little as you breathe in the bounty of the place.
January 28 2023, for instance, saw us checking progress in the creekline where we previously cleared Watsonia. The lifted bulbs are rotting away well, leaving our route clear to the blackberry behind the Watsonia patch. Find the cluster of stems for each blackberry plant, cut, then dose the cut with roundup. Then up through Goshawk Way, to the Rosy Hyancinth, and a workout on another patch of blackberry. Two hours in all, and we're done, feeling amazed by the wild world, and virtuous too!
Come to 'Wildflowers and Weeds', 4th Wednesday each month, 5-7 through summer standard time, meeting at 288 Gap Road. Come and learn the calming art of weeding while walking. We balance wonder with work, and it feels damn good.