Invasive Plant Medicine Nine Month Exploration
March -November 2023
“We are all indigenous to this planet, this garden we are being called on by nature
and history to reinhabit in good spirit. To restore the land one must live
and work in a place. The place will welcome whomever approaches it with
respect and attention. To work in a place is to bond to a place: people who work together
in a place become a community, in time, grows a culture.
To restore the wild is to restore culture.” -Gary Snyder
Running within plant circles for the past few decades, I have felt what a controversial topic ‘invasive plants’ can be. Listening with the plants & the land, listening with those considered ‘invasive plants’, seeing the landscape they are tending, I have found there is much more than meets the eye & heart than ‘good vs. bad plants”.
I have taught classes about ‘Invasive Plant Medicine’ to allow for questioning, for other perspectives & as an alternative to the disdain, scapegoating & poisons that are commonly brought forth when many plant lovers, gardeners, botanists, many who like myself, are also not native to this land, find themselves face-to-face with these maligned plants.
Is this coming face-to-face with parts of self?
We as humans call certain species “invasive”, but this is not inherently who they are.
Does the Earth sees any of their inhabitants to be 'invasive species'?
Yes, honoring, protecting & supporting native plants & their habitats is of vital importance. Crucial. And within this dialogue, 'invasive plants' are often pegged as the reason for why habitat loss is happening & why native plants are struggling. How do we look to the real causes of loss of biodiversity including habitat loss due to poor human practices, overwhelming pesticide usage even in ‘restoration projects’, lobbyists & governmental agencies infiltrated by chemical producing companies, monoculture…
Are ‘invasive plants’ really the cause of habitat loss or are they responding to human disruption without reciprocation?
These 'invasive plants' seem to be coming forth as land tenders, caregivers, protectors, as warrior plants at the same time as offering guidance, foods, friendship & medicines for the beings of the Earth.
Could these beings be present to protect & transform landscapes after great distress?
What messages are these ‘invasive plants’ bringing to the forefront & what is their work in this world? What medicines do they carry?
How is the Earth wise beyond human comprehension?
How can we trust the Earth & their processes?
How do we listen?
It has been deepening & heartening for me to realize that my dear friend & colleague,
Jillian Twisla of Hyllantree, has also deeply studied & taught classes questioning the mainstream view of 'invasive plants'. Recognizing our shared passion & interest, as herbalists, teachers & lovers of the Earth, we dreamed of a course to deepen with others within these topics. In September 2021 & July 2022, we offered a weekend course on ‘Invasive Plant Medicine’ & we are thrilled to bring forth this longer-term delving.
During this nine-month long Invasive Plant Medicine course, within the framework of experiential, hands-on, thought & heart provoking exploring, we will deepen with one maligned plant each month & meet many veins within this topic of 'invasive plants'.
The Plants honored during this course are:
Norway Maple, Japanese Knotweed, Honeysuckle, Black Locust,
Multiflora & Rugosa Roses, Himalayan Jewelweed, Autumn Olive & Barberry
Some aspects of the course include:
Be chosen by an 'Invasive Plant' Ally to deepen with & co-create with
Root into the depths of the gifts these plants have to offer
Journey to & with the Plants
Co-create culinary & medicinal recipes with the plants
Delve into topics such as: the term ‘invasive’, the pesticide industry, government policies, xenophobia
Keep journals & be encouraged to work with writing prompts
Explore the grief that walks with this topic
Create ritual together
Each person takes on a research project of their desire for this course
This course will take place mostly at my home in Belfast and a few times at Jillian’s home in Hope
We will meet each month, March-November, from 10am-4pm, dates TBA.
Cost: $900 total – a $200 deposit is required for registration and another $200 is due before the first class. The remaining $500 is due by 7/17.
Limited to 12 participants
We will meet outdoors with an open and airy barn option in the case of rain.
BYO lunch but there will be plant snacks from our culinary creations!
Scholarships are available. BIPOC, Queer & Trans folks are prioritized for scholarship allocation. Reach out by email to apply.
Contact myself & Jillian at email@example.com with questions/to register
or follow this link: Hyllantree