A fallowish season


tending, august 2011, by kirsten from milkwood

Yikes, it’s been two months since the last blog entry!

Diego and I have been very busy, together and separately, which has (besides the events chronicled in the previous post) kept us away from our gardening.

We both worked our butts off recently on something else which, like Tending, was also of a “greenish” nature – the Green Bans Art Walks, in Woolloomooloo. Diego was our tireless project manager, and it was a huge project. It was our way (in collaboration with many others) of getting in touch with a small corner of Sydney’s spatial activism history. Via the Green Bans, The Builder’s Labourers Federation effectively put a halt to dodgy commercial building developments. These bans were first implemented in the early 1970s.

I’ve also been working on Yeomans Project with Ian Milliss (who, coincidentally, was one of the squatters on Victoria Street which collaborated with the BLF on the green bans).

And Diego’s begun a long-awaited site-specific project out at Casula Powerhouse Art Centre, called Wild Stories, which should see him involved in a manure-load of foraging, in the local environment, running weed-cooking classes, facilitating community skill sharing and story-telling.

And while we’ve not been around at TENDING much, it’s been growing itself quite well in our absence, thank you very much (and, it must be said, thank you very much also to Aanya, our local hero of Balmain who keeps popping in to plant and pick with her young son Rufus).

I was curious to see how the garden was going, and so it was pleasing to see this blog post by Kirsten from Milkwood, with the above photo and more.

Judging from Kirsten’s photos, the plethora of peas we planted with Aanya have become superabundant, and it looks like our broadbean planting has been going well too (though we won’t see the fruits of that investment til November). And I’m very curious to see how the large scale garlic crop is going…

Kirsten had popped in to visit Ross, our benevolent overlord, and talk through some possibilities for Milkwood to do some permaculture workshop teaching activities down at SCA and TENDING. I really hope that comes to pass!

Oh, and the other reason(s) I’ve been busy and away from TENDING are also, in a way, related to the growing of stuff. Lizzie (my partner) and I are having a baby! And we’ve moved down the coast to boot.

Anyway, TENDING we miss you! I’ve put in some tomato seeds down here, and hopefully soon Diego and I will converge (with seedlings galore) for a little spring plant-in day.

…’til then, Tenders!

Bryden and his “Techno Tree”

Bryden's Techno tree

A few weeks back, we reported on 3rd year student Bryden, who is using the Tending Garden as a site to develop his project called Techno Tree.

With the help of Tending, Bryden was able to secure a small amount of funding from the Sydney University Student Union to buy some electronics for his project.

I asked Bryden to describe what he’s been up to for our readers:

Hi Lucas.
I’ve been busy of late doing bits and pieces on my weeping willows so I thought I’d write you a few lines and send through some pics of the processes, outcomes and related stuff on the Techno Tree Project.

Where I grew up on my parents property in the Blue Mountains, we had a lot of trees and open spaces to spend most of our days. There used to be a whole row of big old willow trees in the gully where our mud brick house is but most of them have since been knocked over by wind, given way under their own weight and struck by lightning. Within a matter of weeks a bunch of new sprouts would emerge from the remaining branches and the tree brings itself back to life.

Having cultivated a collection of branches from a particularly old and interesting looking Willow, I wanted to position simulated images and sound amongst the living off-cut branch in a kind of gardening-experiment media-object that pays homage to the willow tree. I also wanted to draw attention to plants, technology and human interaction between the environment and the technology we use amongst it.

Moving images as part of a sculpture seem to work really interestingly in an interactive space. Macro photographic videos of leaves, bark, branches and surrounding natural features are worked into an atmospheric soundtrack of similiar organic dimensions.

Power supply for the video, sound and light in the trees is designed so that it may be self sufficient once a solar or wind powered input is connected. For now there is a sine wave invertor and a small 12v battery providing all the power the work will need.

Talk Soon!

As an addendum, today Bryden sent through the following philosophical thought:

Hi Lucas.
Hope you’re well.
Had a little quote I wanted to shoot to you re: Techno Tree:

“When we are seeking the essence of ‘tree,’ we have to become aware that what pervades every tree, as tree, is not itself a tree that can be encountered among all the other trees”.
– Martin Heidegger

Hope you can use it on the tending blog!
Talk soon,

Wow! thanks Bryden. If anyone can help interpret this densely packed cryptic utterance from old Marty Heidegger, be our guest!

(Hint: it comes from his classic essay The Question Concerning Technology…)


diego mowing

22 March 2011

Today’s desk
quote… ‘Grass is
the forgiveness of
nature – her
Forests decay,
harvests perish,
flowers vanish, but
grass is immortal’.
Brian Ingalls x

Lisa Kelly