My second book was published in June 2011, throughout its writing the title had been Plants the Ultimate Renewable Resource, however, as is often the way with publishers when it came to the moment of publication they chose to change the title, it became: 20 Amazing Plants & Their Practical Uses. Changing the title meant a rewrite of some paragraphs within the introductory chapters and the conclusion, but fundamentally the message and main body of content remained the same, plants are the ultimate renewable resource!
Oil reserves will not last forever, we need renewable resources; plants can be managed to provide us with exactly that. By growing the 20 plants discussed in my book you would be able to build, furnish & decorate your home, and feed, clothe and medicate yourself! There have been plenty of books written about the uses of plants but many of them centre on the plants you can grow in the tropics, especially in Australia the birth place of the permaculture movement. So I felt it would be useful to pick some especially useful plants that can grow easily and well in the temperate zone.
Still it is important to recognise plants as beyond just a resource to be exploited by humankind, pehaps more as a living relation. The following is an extract from chapter three, working with plants and their inherent resources:
It is not only during the growing of the plants but during the processing, the making of something with the plant material, be it a chair or a loaf of bread, that I encourage you to be conscious and present. When you have your harvest in your hand get to know the materials, touch them, feel them, smell them. Close your eyes and explore with your hands, feel the material, experience it’s texture, it’s strength, it’s character. In this way you will get to know and understand the material, you will be inspired as to new possibilities of how you can work with it and what you can create. When working in this way with the material it takes on a life and an energy and becomes a living being that you can work with touching, feeling, sensing at all times. As you give yourself to this process and the material yields under your direction something invisible is exchanged between you, somehow you become very much a part of that chair, that bread, and it too becomes very much a part of you. Whatever it is you are making will absorb some of your (the makers) energy. As a result your relationship with the raw material, the living plant, deepens irrevocably, your soul is enriched and the separation, cast by the current cultural paradigm, between yourself and the rest of the natural world narrows slightly. It can be your little secret, your special relationship as you pass the chair you made and lovingly brush your hands across it, or say a prayer of gratitude as you eat your freshly baked bread. The next time you are in the presence of the materials origin, the plant itself, a smile touches the corners of your lips as you silently yet wholeheartedly greet that old friend, admire its beauty and fuss around it lovingly as the bond grows ever stronger. Whatever you produce will be more sympathetic to the nature of the material, and ultimately more beautiful as a result.
If you enjoyed that extract you may be interested to know that 20 Amazing Plants & Their Practical Uses is now available as an ebook.