David Holmgren resources giveaway

| Permaculture, Permaculture Design | comments | Author :

holmgren giveaway2

In celebration (and anticipation) of hosting the insightful and awesome David Holmgren for an Advanced Permaculture Principles and planning tools course in Sydney this July, here’s a pack of fabulous resources we’d like to give to someone…

Permaculture Ethics & Design Principles – DVD

Following a brief but insightful coverage of the three ethics, Care of the Earth, Care of People and Fair Share, David focuses our attention in turn on each of twelve design principles that underpin the diversity of permaculture systems and solutions. Using simple yet powerful icons, proverbs and examples, David makes the link between the traditional wisdom of the elders and the power of systems thinking.

For those just getting involved in the practise of permaculture, this presentation gives you an inspiring overview of permaculture ethics and design principles that can be applied to every aspect of life.

For those who have completed a Permaculture Design Course this presentation, deepens your understanding to help you innovate rather than just copy proven permaculture systems and solutions.

For those involved in social change activism, this presentation provides a framework for positive contributions in helping our communities survive and thrive into the energy descent future.

holmgren giveaway3

Relocalisation: How peak oil can lead to Permaculture – DVD

In part I of this DVD, David outlines the history of permaculture as a design concept and a global environmental movement in the context of the emerging energy descent. Relocalisation of our economies and communities is highlighted as the central organising strategy for creative grass roots adaptive response to the energy descent future, both to build resilience and capacity in the face of unprecedented threats, and grasp the creative opportunities from energy descent.

In part II, David uses his photos of examples of the diversity of permaculture design solutions from his own property Melliodora as well as the wider world of permaculture to show the scope and depth of permaculture design in the home, garden, farm, forest, community and economy.

holmgren giveaway4

Collected Writings and Presentations: David Holmgren 1978-2006

Together these writings and presentations provide deeper insight into the thinking behind the Permaculture concept and an historical record of the work of one of Australia’s most influential environmental thinkers.

They will be of particular interest to permaculture teachers and practitioners and provide background material referenced in Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, David Holmgren’s major work on permaculture ethics and design principles.

Wow. Well those should keep someone out of trouble for a while. Some extremely timely and important information in there…


Comment below and let us know what your favourite weed is. Keeping in mind that the term ‘weed’ is highly relative to things like location, worldview and how you categorise the meaning of terms like nature, native and wilderness.

Also, incase you missed it, David Holmgren is guest teaching on our Urban Permaculture Design Certificate in Sydney this July, headed by Hannah Moloney (urban permaculture maven) with Nick Ritar and Floyd Constable from Milkwood. I think at last count there were 3 spots left. We’d love to see you there.

And straight after that course, we’re diving into the  Advanced Permaculture Principles and planning tools course with David which will be a rare treat – 2 full days of Holmgrenation. Highly recommended for all permaculturalists.

Entries for this giveaway will close Friday morning, 21st June. At that point, I’ll use my funky random number generator to pick a comment, get in touch with the lucky weed lover, and we’ll send out the resource pack.

If you just can’t wait (or want to buy David Holmgren’s book for your Mum), go straight to the shop at Holmgren Design

>> More posts about Permaculture

*this resource pack is 'puppy approved'™
*this resource pack is ‘puppy approved’™

See the comments

Related Posts

10 Days without a phone. Also, Barnacles…

When I was little, I was really into barnacles. Yes, actual barna . .
Read More

Farming the Commons: How to Turn Brambles into Goats Cheese

Though we may not realise it, common ground is still to be found . .
Read More

Design Basics: Mapping the Sun on your Site

When you're creating a permaculture design, mapping where the sun . .
Read More


149 responses to “David Holmgren resources giveaway

  1. Hard to pick a favorite weed! My current is Japanese Knotweed. Yes, it’s invasive, but it also make great resveratrol in its roots, which we ALL need in our toxic world . . .

    P.S. I wish I were closer so I could take your workshop!
    Terry, Massacusetts & North Carolina, USA

  2. Herb Robert is my favourite weed for a number of reasons: it has a lacey leaves and delicate flowers so looks good in the ground but is easy to pull out if it’s not where I want it. Its also edible with health benefits. PS I love the photobombing puppy who has recently appeared (everywhere) on your blog

  3. The blackberry, a weed at home that was the backbone of my Mothers jam cupboard, our morning juice and a festival namesake in my hometown to bring in tourism.

  4. A farmer once remarked to me that he was fed up with a weed that constantly returned whatever he did. In the end I believe the farmer gave way and allowed the weed some freedom. Upon asking what the weed was I confess surprise at his answer – a rose!
    I have long since that date admired the fact that a rose could be a weed. And then discovered that the weed Rose is many faceted. I never did find out what rose the farmer was talking about…. I was surprised to discover though that a rose has an enormous family including apples, apricots, plums, cherries, peaches and raspberries to name but a few. I was even more delighted to discover when reading Martin Crawford’s book on Creating a Forest Garden that he considers every rose to be edible.
    Long may I wish to return to the farmer and say to him on the contrary, grow the rose because although it had become a weed to him, cultivated it could become a perfectly pleasant plant to enjoy.

    1. The rose is a rose,
      And was always a rose.
      But the theory now goes
      That the apple’s a rose,
      And the pear is, and so’s
      The plum, I suppose.
      The dear only knows
      What will next prove a rose.
      You, of course, are a rose –
      But were always a rose.

      – Robert Frost

  5. Hi guys, Scotch thistle would have to be my favourite weed at the moment, I can be guaranteed to have a few come up somewhere on the property and now that I don’t have any goats I use them for compost. They have these lovely thick juicy stems that I chop up with a spade and they are great.

    Years ago I collected a couple of ute loads from a really bad patch on a roadside and made a massive amount by hand with a couple of ute loads of stable bedding.

  6. stinging nettle is my favourite; powerful tea; ok cooked; compost stimulator; host for red and yellow admiral butterflies; a sting in winter will keep you warm; said to be a great fibre…

  7. I love the little lemony wonder called creeping sorrel. When I show others they have this little gem cropping up their backyards, they’re usually so surprised!

      1. Thank you so much, Milkweed Permaculture! I just completed a permaculture design course here in Phoenix, Arizona at the Valley Permaculture Alliance, and a group of us are considering starting our own company. Our guest teachers included Toby Hemenway, Brad Lancaster and Larry Santoyo. Wish I could come and participate with your courses, too, you seem to have an awesome group going. Thank you again, I’m very grateful and will be sure these resources are put to very good use!

  8. Indian mustard weed –the bane of cropping farmers but it appears here under and around Box trees, so I slash it down as mulch, or gather it and compost it, and as it’s so vigorous I get plenty of biomass to recycle , and yes, it’s finally decreasing , all without resorting to Monsanto horrors !

  9. Chickweed is my current favourite, it loves my place, looks after the bits your not paying attention to, and it’s a fight between me and the chooks for whether it goes over into their yard or inside for my salad. I love the corn silk flavour.

  10. Has to be the Willow. Salix genus… Holds waterways together, stock love to eat it, its a magnesium accumulator, you can make baskets and nets from it, it make hi quality bio-char and artist charcoal and they are beautiful. Take a note from Mr Peter Andrews and plant a willow!!!

  11. Favorite??? What season? Singing nettle is taken….(I rub it on my arthritic hands until they numb) amongst all the other things. So….I guess Poke Weed. It is a great spring veggie (comes the same time as asparagus and Egyptian onions makes a great trio). Is beautiful in the landscape, great cut flowers and berries for exotic bouquets, accumulator and I suck the berries (spit out the seeds) as a tonic for arthritis. Oh, pollinator….I know there must be more but my senior mind says, ‘that’s all folks, for now’. Peace

  12. How on Earth can promoting weeds be part of CARE FOR EARTH!!!? The first suggestion of Japanese Knotweed is listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world’s worst 100 weeds! Permaculture has some really great ideas but weed promotion is letting us down. We have been trying for 4 years now to get a community garden going in our local park which is next to some weed invested bushland. The Council has approved it but the kind people doing all the back-breaking and poison spreading work of removing the weeds and restoring the natural ecology in that area of bushland are very worried we will be introducing more weeds as we mentioned we would be following Permaculture principles. I can see their point! Will your children have to use poison to remove a weed you introduced later when you realise it was a mistake?

    1. Maree we do not advocate introducing invasive species. At all. However, *weeds are part of the human landscape* and should probably be used as usefully as they can be or biologically removed, rather than being poisoned, which adversely affects the wider ecosystem.

      You could also argue the biggest weeds of our generation are things like wheat and soy and palm – responsible for far more environmental degradation and ecosystem collapse than any ‘invasive species’.

      My point is, it’s a complex issue, not a ‘this plant good, that plant bad’ type situation. Which doesn’t make us pro-weed, but it does make us want to talk about what sort of world we’re creating with our preference for this over that in terms of plants.

      1. I’m disappointed with your reply to Maree and your approach to what we should be growing. So many good intentions go bad and yet today we have the ability to research the potential issues of introducing a foreign body to our environment. Very disappointed in this approach

        1. What are you disappointed by, Collis? By the attitude that we should deal with invasive weeds biologically (ie grazing them out or chopping them out and re-planting) rather than with glyphosate? Really, please let me know, as I’m not sure.

          I think we should be growing nutrient dense food. In an as intensive, organic manner as possible. And using all the other plants around us as usefully as possible, rather than poisoning or burning them outright… and that’s it really. Not sure what’s disappointing about that? I think you’re assuming a bunch of stuff that we don’t do or agree with here…

          We often have discussions with folks about ‘ah you permaculture folk are all for weeds’ but that’s a highly simplistic and incorrect view. What we are for is recognising the fact that if you have a patch of nettles in your paddock or vacant lot that, rather that shouting ‘ahrg! a weeeeed’ and poisoning it, you should probably use them. Pull them up by the roots, stick them in a stew or add them to your compost. I dont see what’s disappointing about that attitude at all 🙂

    2. I agree that planting an invasive species is ludicrous but harvesting some that is already there is very sustainable. I didn’t get that anyone was planting it. They were harvesting it. Make yourself some mock rhubarb pie with it and you may be singing another tune. Learning to love all of nature when it annoys us is a very pleasant way to live. I bless my most noxious weeds…..it makes me feel better and less helpless. Peace

  13. I’d never considered a “favorite weed” but Kudzu interests me. Its “invasion” of the south-eastern states of the USA presents a challenge that I believe permaculture principles can solve. Its aggressive nature and its resistance to attempts to destroy it via artificial means clearly illustrates that round-up is not always the answer. Kudzu is a great livestock forage in Asia, but in the USA it runs wild in open fields and along the freeways. Maybe they should make use of it and fence in some cows along the freeways. Kudzu also makes good paper :-).

  14. My favourite ‘weed’ at the moment is black nightshade. I always thought it was a useless weed with poisonous berries, but have since discovered they’re edible (and not too bad!).

    The name conjures up images of ancient potions and poisonous curses, although it’s a completely different plant from deadly nightshade.

    I’m looking forward to the next season, and making jam from it.

    More info here: http://foragersharvest.com/black-nightshade-2/

  15. Concrete and rebar are my favorite weeds at the moment in my location. Concrete pops up in random urban lots that should be urban farm plots, but alas, our paradigm selects for this invasive. Anytime I walk, rake, or turn around in the large junk yard that I’m converting to a permaculture demonstration site, there’s some rebar poking out of the ground! Very useful stuff! Can be stakes to hold in retaining walls and steps, hold up hoops for row covers, said to reverse energy vortexes and even useful in dousing!

  16. I love sorrel, I love dandelions, I love stinging nettle –
    but currently my favourite is purslane. I think the many uses of weeds makes them a wonderful part of a biodiverse permaculture system.

  17. Irish strawberry is a beautiful weedy tree around here, I wouldn’t encourage planting it, and would infact encourage removing it, but making the most of its wild berries by having a forest snack is certainly a happy affair. Almost a tangy nectarine in flavour.

  18. “Maree we do not advocate introducing invasive species. At all.” Do you not consider Japanese Knotweed to be an invasive weed? even though it is listed as one of the world’s worst invasive weeds! As well as Kudzu. Do you not see any need to discuss this?

    How can a plant be ‘aggressive’? A plant called a ‘significant invasive weed’ is just an organism with no effective control in Nature. It is our culture (not necessarily us as a human animal) that does not recognise the importance of natural control. Humans had a culture of living sustainably in Australia for many thousands of years before our culture took over. It is now up to us to recognise the need to respect Nature and get to know each ecological area and how it all works together – with natural controls.

    I wonder how Landcare volunteers would feel if they read that you suggest they should not use Roundup and should instead try harder in other ways to restore ecological communities to their natural state? Yet at the same time, you are offering a prize to a lucky winner who promotes their ‘favourite weed’!

    As a Landcarer myself, I think you don’t understand the damage that invasive weeds do the insects, animals, plants, fungi, etc that were a sustainable complex web before someone from our culture misguidedly introduced it as a so-called ‘useful’ plant.

    If we want to promote this over that type of plant, in terms of Permaculture, perhaps we ought to look at how each plant interacts in complex food webs. I’m concerned that a lack of understanding in this area is letting us down and could be a wonderful fascinating topic. Food webs are what keep Nature sustainable in the long term. Lets protect what food webs are still intact, while we are learning how to transition to a new culture of ‘Caring for Earth’. 🙂

    1. Maree, I appreciate your views and as a member of various landcare teams I have participated in plenty of weed removal since i was little. I’m not advocating japanese knotweed. I did however ask people to tell us what weed they like best. Because weeds are a fact of life. So we might as well use them where we can, rather than ignore their usefulness.

      Also, our local landcare (Watershed Landcare in Mudgee) is doing some great work looking at effective biological alternatives to glyphosate for weed removal. While I do appreciate and have participated in the ‘a little poison for a lot of good’ attitude of some landcare groups, it’s not the only way, and not one that we personally advocate. A little research into glyphosate’s effect on ecosystems explains why.

      I encourage you to read David Holmgren’s paper ‘Weeds and Wild nature’ http://holmgren.com.au/weeds-or-wild-nature-2/ i think it throws up some interesting discussions around our current approach to natural systems which are worthy of discussion, even if you dont support his view. Also check out ‘Rambunctious Gardens’ http://amzn.to/125lrgq which is an incredibly insightful book looking at how nature is shifting faster than our perceptions of what constitutes the ‘natural state’ of an ecosystem.

  19. We have so many “weeds” I find it very hard to limit my choice to one! I am trying to use my new permaculture eyes and only see the positive things about weeds. The “weed” that has given us the most problems are blackberries. They adore Tassie conditions and like the Eveready bunny they keep on keeping on… and on…and on! And for someone trying to live organically and sustainably who doesn’t want to use poison they are a plant that you certainly need to make your peace with because they aren’t going away quickly ;).

  20. Blackberry – which I have on my property and I am torn between getting rid of it as a noxious weed and the fact that it provides a very safe habitat for the highly endangered Yellow Spotted Bell Frog which I am working with a number of environmental scientists to protect from extinction – also makes wonderful jam 😎

  21. The Stinging Nettle is my all time favorite weed. She has nourished and healed my body in many ways, replaces a daily vitamin when I drink a daily infusinon of her, and she is used in many Biodynamic practices. I appreciate making and applying a nettle slurry to my garden and adding nettle to my compost!

  22. Here on the Westcoast of Canada both broom and blackberry are very invasive, and I’ve done my fair share of ripping out both…but I do love them from afar, having just flown over great expanses of yellow clearcuts, and delighting in the blackberry jam picked from blackberries on someone else’s property.

  23. When we got a new puppy, she started munching on the dandelions in our backyard. I quickly googled to check that they were okay for dogs, and discovered that they are in fact very healthy for both dogs and humans! Now we throw them into a salad, with a few leftover for the puppy to graze on.

  24. Land cress (Barbarea verna). A deliciously edible and rampant grower which I find all over the place in surrounding Melbourne suburbs during my evening strolls down the narrow alley ways and gorgeous tree lined streets. A lovely feeling being able to go for a wander and gather some leafage for a salad or sandwich in an urban setting. Brings me excitement for future days on the farm.

  25. Bill Gammage’s very excellent book, The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia, tells, amongst other things, of the allegiance between people, fire and eucalypts in this country in 1788. In many places people had replaced rainforest with sparsely wooded eucalypt forest (in some cases, land that was described by early colonial invaders as “parkland” has since, deprived of aboriginal management, reverted to rainforest). Reading this book has helped me re-see gum trees as among the most successful “weeds” on this continent, beautifully adapted to use fire against their competition.

  26. I must admit i have little knowledge of weeds or the world of permaculture, so i am writing this as a surprise for my wife who is just embarking on her Permaculture design course. My wife now has something in her life apart from our daughter that she is passionate about. I see her every night studying going above and beyond what is expected of this course because she believes that permaculture is the way of the future and can help to solve most if not all of the worlds problems. I am inspired by her efforts and her vision. So whilst i dont have a favourite weed my wifes passion for permaculture has certainly been insipring to me to grow,prosper and to lead a life that has minimal impact on the earth and gives back rather than take which is what most weeds are trying to do…thanks for listening…..RM

  27. At the moment, it would have to be dandelion. I found some under the clothes line recently and added it to my greens that night for dinner. Also, enjoyed a dandelion latte last week. Great weed.

  28. Cannabis
    Incredible number of medicinal, nutritional and industrial uses. Cures cancer (and nearly everything else it seems), healthy food source, durable paper and clothing, sturdy plastics, renewable source of fuel, etc…
    And because of the crazy social taboos, by supporting cannabis/hemp the association with it lets you explore your inner pirate nature!

  29. Serrated tussock is my favourite weed. It provides plenty of opportunity for exercise in pulling or chipping it out, the opportunity to spread a little ‘good’ grass seed in the hole, and it makes happy neighbours when they see me removing it!

  30. I love the common weed that we would walk past everyday and take little notice of like dandelion, ribwort and yarrow . It’s these little unassuming plants that live side by side with people that fascinate me. They are often wonderful medicines, edible and fantastically useful in repairing disturbed ground. Quite a great little symbiotic relationship!!

  31. Invasive weeds are organisms with no effective control. Some of us have studied invasive weeds and animals and noted that they can destroy ecosystem structure (food webs). Take the rabbit introduction into Australia. It is very useful for our culture – good meat, breeds well, very adaptable, soft useful fur and cute pets.

    In 1859 it was written in a journal, “The introduction of a few rabbits could do little harm and might provide a touch of home, in addition to a spot of hunting.” It took about 50yrs but we learnt that it is not a good idea to allow known or potentially invasive species to be let go in a foreign ecosystem, and we know to monitor every new plant and animal introduced very carefully.

    I suggest reading this informative article: It explains a little of the problem and how forgetting the invasive side in favour of how ‘useful’ it can be to humans in our culture can be a mistake for our future. http://nativeplantwildlifegarden.com/invasive-plants-in-permaculture/

    Take the Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata). Feather-tail Gliders feed on the insects and blossom on the tree. Little
    Red Flying Fox and Grey Flying Fox feed on the blossom and help with pollination. It is host for the Scribbly Moth, and many many other insects. Eucalyptus siderophloia, Eucalyptus robusta and Banksia integrifolia are very important food trees for the Squirrel Glider. These are just a few trees that have been in our local food webs for longer than European people have. The insects hosted on the native trees are all very handy to have around if we want to control invasive insect pests in our permaculture gardens.

    Did you know that there are native aphis that will ONLY feed on certain native plants. Good to know if you want to attract the predators of aphis but don’t want the aphis to feed on your food plant. And what about the native birds… Apparently they need native insect larva to feed their young. Native insects need native plants. Native plants need native ecosystems with natural controls.
    Just some food for thought…

    1. Again, I agree with everything you’re saying Maree but no-one is talking about pro-actively introducing weeds or any other species in this conversation… we’re talking about utilizing what’s already there… and those are two very, very different conversations…

      Permaculture as a set of principles doesn’t promote any particular species, it promotes a design framework based on natural patterning. Anyone telling you that this or that is a permaculture-promoted species per se is off track, in my opinion.

      It’s like saying all architects must and do promote bricks, just because it is possible to make a building out of bricks, and some architects design things made of bricks… Clearly that’s not the case.

      Same with Regenerative Agriculture. Same with Permaculture. – they’re design frameworks.

  32. Favourite weed? Comfrey! Helps heal sprained joints as a compress, our garden loves a cup of comfrey tea and our super charged compost improves with a few leaves too. A very useful weed!

  33. I live on a tiny iland off the northeast coast of Japan, and anything that does not grown on or around the island has to be ferried in. After studying up on some Permaculture ideas for building up our poor soils, I thought to sow some pigeon peas, among otherthings, but I could not find any at the seed stores on the mainland (plus I didn`t know what they were called in Japanese!). Then after a bit more research, I found out the local name and that my gardens and fields are actually covered with them. Nature was already several steps ahead of me!!! So, pigeon peas (karasu mame = crow beans in Japanese) are my favorite “weed” because I needed them and they were already there.

    PS Thank you, Milkwood, for my Apios Institute supscription from last November`s PDC. I just got it!

    PPS If I win this raffle, I will pay postage to Japan. Deal?



  34. Hmmm…so it’s totally unrealistic to recognise the resource that ‘weeds’ can be , and the learning you can have from observing where they recur on your property? (Although,one thing to remember is if you are bringing in products from off site, you may get plants growing that aren’t really indicators of YOUR property, but the property you are bringing your products from-such as mulch, manure, hay, etc..)
    But assuming everything is equal- and you’re not broad acre farming introduced invasive species (*sigh* really?) I love the Eastern Bracken fern. Toxic in large quantities to cattle and humans its true, but an amazing mineral accumulator of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper and cobolt. Plus it is an amazing bee food. extends the food source for bees from mid winter through to late spring. it’s the earliest ‘flowering’ grass that will sustain a hive, if for instance we get a weird start to spring with a few hot days to entice the bees out followed by wet cold return to winter. (um. caring for our environment in unpredictable weather patterns….that’s also something we need to manage right?)
    Dynamic accumulators gather nutrients from the soil and make them available to other plants.
    Dynamic accumulators are similar in function to nitrogen fixers, such as clover, lupines, and beans. These plants have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria in the soil that allows them to capture atmospheric nitrogen and store it in the soil. Dynamic accumulators work much the same way, only instead of drawing nutrients from the air, they draw them from deep in the soil, through their root systems, which are often extensive.
    So when you talk about the soil food web, as you’ve studies all this Marie, I’m sure you have also considered the impact of a multispecies approach to landcare- making sure there are plenty of food sources available to nourish the whole landscape, including soil mycrozoria, and not just the mammals that rely on eucalypts…….
    So I vote for Eastern Bracken, and thanks for the opportunity Kirsten.

  35. Kykuyu grass. This hardy invasive weed had been sucking up alot of my time trying to clear it for new garden beds, to keep it out of existing gardens beds & pathways etc, then i changed by outlook on it. Now Kykuyu feeds my daughters guinea pigs, for free, in a moveable hutch along the edges of beds, or in an area I want cleared( the longer they sit in one area, the greater the chance they will eat it to its death 🙂 ! ). They are also fertilising the ground with their excrement too, handy for new beds!! (Chickens dont quite cut the mustard here when it comes to kykuyu. So kykuyu has moved from my most hated weed, to free guinea pig food :), and now a friendly & useful weed (food source).

  36. Lantana. Even though I hate working with it (scratchy and stinky), when I have finally wrestled it into a pile it makes amazing compost! And it has to be removed anyway so that cattle don’t eat it, so at least its good for something! I’ve just read Holmgren’s book and would like to see the DVD lecture just to reinforce some of the concepts that haven’t quite stuck. Wish I could make it to the course!

  37. Foraging weedz is one of my favourite practices, being able to appreciate the constant abundance provides much gratitude and free food! At this time, my favourite herb is Chickweed / Stellar media… Caryophylaceae family

    An extremely vital winter herb, Stellaria media provides an amazing abundance of energy to all that consume it. It seems to pop up next to my cultivated succulents, providing a constant supply of salad greens…

    It is mucilaginous, high in minerals (Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper namely) and vitamins (C, B6, B12, D and A) as well as medicinal flavonoids (namely, rutin)… Yum!

  38. Love Wild Vetch… ground cover for predatory bugs, replenishes nitrogen in the soil and can be used as a cover crop for plants needing good nitrogen. Besides, it’s beautiful in a field. Having a small permaculture farm is my dearest dream.

  39. I love bamboo, some species really invasive but is really graceful and the most all rounded of all weeds. You can eat it, weave it, build with it, construct fences, domestic utensils, make paper and the list goes on.

  40. The interest and utilisation of foreign species have led to our current problem of invasive weeds currently threatening almost all biological communities in Australia today. Perhaps we might look at changing this attitude of seeing all plants as something we can use and get excited about. I guess if we don’t care about natural biodiversity – you know things like koala, sugar gliders, butterflies, native birds, etc, we will only care about what we can get from a weed as a ‘resource’.

    I know its an individual survival strategy to use weeds when you have no other choice, but do you think promoting known invasive weeds (such as Japanese Knotweed & Kudzu which are listed on the top 100 worst invasive plants in the world) into Australian or other natural ecosystems around the world (if there are any left) by offering a prize for loving a weed is ethical given that we know that ignorantly spreading weeds causes destruction of habitat (what about care for Earth)? Biodiversity that has taken millions of years to develop needs protecting from our culture of using whatever we can even when we know it will wipe out whole species. Perhaps its our culture that seems to be out of control!
    See – Impact of Environmental Weeds on Biodiversity http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/weeds/publications/books/pubs/bioimpact.pdf

    I heard that some landcarers came up with a good idea. They have morning teas during their working bees with a weed theme: e.g. Asparagus for morning tea, or (Turkey) Rhubarb pie, etc.!

    what do you think?

    1. Ok. To close this conversation, I’ll say once more that I don’t think advocating using what weeds already exist, in our suburbs is a bad thing. ‘Using’ doesn’t mean propagating, it means using. Which is a management strategy in itself – once you eat all the nettles in the patch, there’s no more nettles.

      Nor do i see using weeds as promoting loss of biodiversity, nor do i see it as un-ethical. Since we all call them weeds, and we all know what that word means, i think we all fundamentally understand that our pristine native ecosystems would be better off without them. That point is a given. But the overwhelming cause of loss of habitat is human land use: for things like conventional agriculture and suburban sprawl, not invasive weeds.

      To utilise the nettles in your paddock does not mean you don’t love and appreciate biodiversity, nor does it mean that you ‘don’t care’ about our native species. It DOES however mean that you are committed to using what is about you, rather than sourcing your food from far away, and you will perhaps buy one less bunch of supermarket spinach this week as a result which will, when viewed cumulatively, pro-actively aid the preservation of what precious native habitats remain in our country instead of having them under tillage.

  41. Dandelion. Great for drawing up deeper nutrients and digging through clay soil. Edible, Medicinal, Bee forage, pretty when it flowers and goes to seed, and fun to blow the seed head puff ball!

  42. My favourite weed in the whole wide world is without a doubt my 7 year old nephew Ewan. He just won’t stop growing, and is getting taller and taller everytime I see him….. no matter how many books I stack on his head to keep him small!! 😉 I am so lucky to be his aunty and he blesses my life every day with laughter and love.

    In regards to plant weeds, I will have to go with the sweet briar (rose). Gorgeous and tasty red fruits that can be eaten or made into tea, jellies, wine – packed with vitamin C! And you can also break off the thorns, stick them on your nose and pretend you are a rhino….. awesome…..

  43. Dandelion too, how very unoriginal! Edible, medicinal and a mineral miner to recycle through the compost or in a ‘weed tea’. I’ve also found chef’s at a two-hat restaurant I can barter my ‘weeds’ with in exchange for meals! 🙂 Plus I love to blow the seeds off the heads and watch them fly away. 😀

  44. Shepherds Purse, innocuous enough, sticks to disturbed ground, whose “purses” have a surprising bite to them which goes down well with the child within. I appreciate the discussion. One day we may not have the glyphosate option so we do need to think carefully about we introduce and how we tend the land we have responsibility for now, not only for our surrounding neighbours’ sake, but those beyond.

  45. Radiata/Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata). I live in the Upper Blue Mountains and those trees suck up light (precious in grey winter) and much else. Plus older taller trees, with their shallow roots, are dangerous in strong wind.

    That said, when we had 11 large trees cut down, we couldn’t discard them. Slow grown, high rainfall pine is very beautiful and very strong, I discovered. Not at all like the plantation stuff. Most trees were milled on-site (neighbours less than pleased!) and are waiting to be used. The rest were chipped and used on site.

  46. I was watching the conversation about invasive species. Just my 2 cents.

    I chose kudzu, not because I LIKE what it is doing in the southern America, but because it proves a point. Round-up isn’t always the best “control” mechanism, but that’s all the mainstream knows how to do. Sometimes we have to get more creative about it. Creative solutions is one thing that permaculture is known for. Finding out what a weed is good for is a good way to find out how to get rid of it creatively… not cultivation, but creative use.

  47. Warrigal Greens pop up all over the place around my property. Along fence lines, through my vegie patch. I can chop some and throw them over the fence as a tasty treat for my cow or sheep, or take them inside to eat ourselves. If left to grow it makes a nice thick ground cover that keeps the grass at bay.

  48. My favourite “weed” has to be a little fig plant that has managed to grow in the side of our apartment complex, rooting between bare bricks and yet somehow managing to sustain itself there. It’s so encouraging to observe the resilience and fortitude of nature.

  49. Coconut palm…
    yes, believe it or not, some people see it as a weed.
    well it’s my favorite.
    I cant think of another plant with as many uses as coconut palm.
    lvs. for mats,baskets, wall pannels etc.
    edible terminal bud… a delicious vegetable
    Inflorescence can be tapped as for a nutritious sugar rich drink , fermented as toddy, or boiled down to a syrup or set as solid sugar.
    cooking or cosmetic / medicinal oil/fat, from nut meat,
    coconut water (sterile until opened),
    coconut milk/cream.
    nut shell for all manner of useful items, bowls, spoons, charcoal etc.
    husk as a cookuing fuel or as source of coir fibre for twine etc.
    and coir peat for propagating media etc.
    trunks of old trees for wood for furniture , building etc.
    roots as medicine
    stump of dead palm can be hollowed out and used as a container.

    There are places on earth in the tropical zones that would be almost uninhabitable without the coconut palm.
    it would be difficult to imagine a more useful and versatile plant.

    These are just a few reasons why coconut is my favorite weed.

  50. And there’s also the bamboos (also monocotyledonous plants),
    I love bamboos…the ‘tree grasses’.
    Again, viewed by many ppl as ‘weeds’ but I’ll leave it at that for now 😉

  51. So, the term “weed” is a curious label for many common “weeds” have only become a “problem” because of man- our imbalanced lifestyle, exploitative, smash and grab mentality or someone’s misguided cleverness thinking it a good idea to import/export some organism for some ill conceived and incomplete reasoning… Of course many “weeds” are also cultivated by some folks, (I have a biodynamic farmer buddy who had the most beautiful bed of dandelion I’ve ever seen) but I digress…
    So, my favorite “weed”? Hmm… my first thoughts zeroed in on chicory. Back home in the states it’s everywhere but mostly in depleted “waste” areas, clinging on the very edges of asphalt and concrete roads, etc. This spindly, wiry and tough plant is not particularly attractive in the heat of the day – stringy, really kind of ugly with its pathetic looking leaves, and little more than a living stick or twig that’s hard to remove or eradicate. But… in the morning when it’s cool and dewy, those defiantly upright, little green sticks burst forth with glorious little pinwheel flowers and for a few brief hours the “waste” areas are graced with the most soothing and soul pleasing hue of blue (and white but I like the blues best) – and the flowering can be so surprisingly prolific. With the sun, that fleeting moment of beauty shrivels and browns, returning all back into twisted little deformed sticks. But the it is only to be repeated the following morning making it something akin to the “ugly duckling” but played out on a daily basis. Even more so for me, it’s also an inspiring picture of making the most of the moment and that there is glorious beauty within all of us. No matter how rough the exterior, within is a song, a poem, a flower imbued with grace.
    So, of course, there’s also a host practical uses for chicory (although I don’t particularly care for it in my coffee very much) but for me, way beyond any “practical purpose” , it’s those fleeting moments of grace and beauty that give chicory a special place in my lexicon.

  52. I love the dandelion. Everyone here in the states hates them, but I love them. My favorite part is when they get the white fluff and then the wings blow them all around, I call it the summer snow 🙂

  53. For me, I’d have to say that “weed” is something I am NOT cultivating, so that discounts nettles, dandelion and a lot of other wonderful plants listed in this thread. Given that, I’m going with ….. MULLEIN. Mullein is the plant spirit that brought me to herbalism. Her energies drew me into this magical world as a child, enamored by her grandeur and magnificence. I lean on her for medicinal mojo for respiratory, bone and muscle ailments. Of course, her antimicrobial flowers are infused in oil as an ear remedy. I love it when she self-establishes herself in my gardens where she is given room to flourish and showcase herself as a medicinal ally but also as “garden art”! Another favorite is Shiso (aka: perilla). Makes wonderful probiotic sodas!

  54. We’ve just moved back to our native Texas in the U.S., and our land is chock-full of Roemer’s Sensitive Briar. I’ve been interested in weeds for the last several years and never come across this beauty until now.

    It’s best attribute, apart from it’s spacey beauty, is that the bobwhite birds LOVE it. And anything that allows me to hear their song more often is a friend to me.

  55. Fat Hen, it comes up all over the place, when the vegetable seeds I’ve sown don’t appear at all. It even survived last years plague of slugs. It can be eaten like spinach and is the most productive ‘veg’ we have.

  56. Like others said…hard to pick just one! My favorite here is the Pacific Northwest is the wild blackberry, tho. Most people here have an ongoing battle with it, as it can take over places akin to kudzu in the South. On the smaller, more practical level, I’d have to go with miner’s lettuce, plantain and the lowly dandelion.

  57. So hard to choose. I love nettle, dandelion and hawthorn but today I will choose cleavers. Fantastic medicinal and just does its own thing under the willows.

  58. gloriously sunny persistent nutritious dandelions……..fab food for bees and humans…….nourishing for the soil and humans……….multi-purpose plant as food and medicine, pollinating darling of so many vectors.
    I’m taking dandelions from Canberra garden to farm as there aren’t any there – yet 🙂

  59. Lantana is my favourite weed. It’s fire retardant, provides habitat for small birds and animals, and it chokes out other weeds. If you’re a bush regenerator on the East Coast it’s the best weed to have because it will do all of these things while you re-establish your bushland.

  60. Briar Rose, a natural remedy made from the red plant buds, is for runny nose and congestion humans and animals and thought to have a high vitamen C content. It strengthens the immune system and is useful for conditions involving ear, nose, throat and sinuses. It is particularly helpful for winter colds. Briar Rose is a natural form of medicine and when flowering in the paddocks is rather pretty as well! 🙂

  61. Hard to pick a favourite, but I think I’ll go with amaranth. I know it’s often cultivated, but it definitely grows wild and I love eating the popped seeds with some honey for breakfast, and the leaves are also super tasty. I wish more people would grow amaranth or quinoa instead of other broadacre crops, since they’re both potential staple foods and they seem to be much better adapted to our environment than wheat or rice.

  62. Chickweed is one of my favourite weeds, we make chickweed ointment with it which my daughter uses as lip balm but it is also great for nappy rash. It goes into our morning juice along with other weeds such as Dandelion, I have also made Chickweed vinegar and I am going to give Chickweed gnocci a go. And as a bonus, my chooks also love it!

  63. My favourite “weed” is wild fennel. It grows along the railways and we have let it naturalise in our forest garden. I LOVE cooking with fennel, for that tangy liquorice taste that it gives dishes. Leaves make a fantastic salad dressing and the leaves and seeds make a delicious and refreshing tea. The flowers attract hoverflies and other predators and the bulb can be harvested for soups and stews. Chewing the seed is a breath freshener and has the added benefit of curbing the appetite; hence it can help you to lose weight. Pumpkin tastes sweetly aromatic when roasted with fennel seeds. Herbalists use fennel to treat stomach disorders, improve digestion, control flatulence and as an eye wash. The essential oil is used in the food industry in condiments, liqueurs, soaps, creams and perfumes. Bunches of fennel were traditionally gathered at Midsummer’s Eve and hung in the home as a protection charm. I add fennel leaves to vases of flowers for the brilliant splash of ferny green foliage. Fennel can be foraged as a wild herb but as roadsides are often sprayed with poisons it is safer to cultivate it. It’s an annual and easily self-seeds, so you can grow it where you want it, or cut it back before the seeds set and it’s gone. Best of all, children LOVE the liquorice taste of the leaves and as it grows taller than a small child you can plant Forests of Fennel in a maze for children to play inside. They can play and nibble on their playground at the same time!

  64. black nightshade, because i grew up popping those berries into my mouth all the summers of my childhood and they remind me of those simple, carefree days, just like the weed itself, growing wherever with out a care in the world.

  65. Nasturtium – bee-attracting flowers, vibrant winter garden colour, edible flowers, gorgeous peppery leaves make great dips, and its prolific with no care so makes great chook greens through winter 🙂

  66. Dandelions are my favourite, they are the great all round medical herb, cleans your blood, fight liver disease, cleans your kidney of stones and the chooks love it ! I don’t think there is anything this little fighter cannot help the body to fight! For us older girls, it also great for your skin!

  67. My favorite weed is grass! We live on slopes, so it helps prevent soil erosion, we let it go to seed to feed the birds, and the bits we mow around the house, the new shoots are grazed by the local mob of kangaroos. Its also great when weeding the garden beds, the chickens get a wheelbarrow of seeded grass thrown into their coop too.

  68. Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) ! An ayurvedic longevity herb that will run off and away through the lawn… pretty, tasty, nutty leaves to eat sparingly in salads and teas 🙂

  69. My favorite weed has to be ‘Good King Henry’
    The leaves are a salad green, cook down like spinach but milder, and when it sets seed, its Quinoa!
    If i do nothing, this is what comes up. Beautiful!

  70. Dandelion – definitely! Makes wonderful confiture de pis-en-lis, great wine, fantastic beer (especially when teamed with burdock), can be added to salads, fed to the chooks, makes daisy-chain necklaces, and helps you to tell the time. Talk about multi-tasking!

  71. My favourite “weed” is what we in South Africa call “Khaki Bos”, botanical name Tagetes minuta. It arrived in South Africa during the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) when the British imported fodder for their horses from South America. Considered an “alien invader” it has wonderful pharmaceutical and agronomic properties. Mixed into animal bedding or spread in their housing, it helps eliminate ticks, fleas and other parasites. Used as a green manure, mulch or in compost it helps eliminate soil born pests, such as nematodes. When planting potatoes I place Khaki Bos in the trenches together with comfrey, to help ensure a healthy crop. A wonderful plant – one that strangely resists cultivation, preferring to “choose” where it wants to grow. It is one “weed” which I allow to go to seed to ensure that there is a good supply of this wonderful resource.

  72. Dandelion is my favourite weed, not least because of its giant tap root bringing up all that goodness from deep in the soil. Great for chooks, bees, compost and greens for us.

  73. I have quite a few but the good old Stinging Nettle takes the lead, love a good cup of nettle tea, nettle omelette and also nettle soup yum 🙂

  74. At the moment it is Lantana, because learning about this plant is helping me recall a lot of memories about my dad who died beneath some Lantana scrub. He had an amazing knowledge of tropical plants and was always peppering our conversation out in the bush with random facts about different plants. I remember him calling it the fart flower and then apologizing for the smell when when he handed a posy of them to me!

  75. Banana passionfruit. Maybe controversial, but it grows wild everywhere around Hobart. I love the flowers and the fruit, tart and a great taste of the tropics for our southern isle.

  76. the name of my favorite weed I only know in portuguese, it’s called Cravo-da-India “Syzygium aromaticum”, just because of the amazing contribuit that it gives to other plants, working as a natural pesticide! and you can even get spices, tea and oils from it 🙂 pretty good

  77. I can never just pick one. I like dandelions, good for so many things. poor mans pepper cuz It’s just yummy. plantago major for itchy, because It works. Soo many more.. :0)

  78. We have had trouble getting our community garden accepted by the local Landcare group since we mentioned we will use Permaculture principles, and they are worried that we may be treating weeds as assets only and that we will not care about plants that might turn out to be an invasive weed.

    Just last month in our local Permaculture meeting I needed to point out that a new ‘useful’ plant being discussed and encouraged was in fact an invasive weed. The group was surprised and once they learnt why its important, the group wondered why Permaculture principles don’t discuss this problem.

    Neglecting to discuss the dangers of introducing invasive weeds leads to lots of problems. For example, at least one entry admits he actively encourages an invasive weed, and yet the ramifications of doing this has not been discussed. Instead, the whole blog is about loving weeds – invasive or not.

    Surely we don’t want everyone around the world in the permaculture community being slack with the introduction and control of invasive weeds – as they are unsustainable and ecologically damaging? Wouldn’t you say?

    1. David Holmgren has talked extensively on weeds in permaculture design. One can apply all 12 principles to consider weeds within the context of our land management. David has been working along Spring Creek Gully over his years on Melliodora, exploring a range of natural techniques to eradicate blackberry. He espouses the Bradley Method of bush regeneration, based on careful observation and minimal interventions, while being careful not to distrupt other processes working perfectly. It’s worth revisiting Holmgrens principals with your group.

    2. I second Dave Mattinson’s recommendation to read David Holgrems work with managing weeds. His work in Spring Creek Gully is especially important for the community, as it endeavours to build resistence against bushfires too. He demonstrates a very intelligent approach, where much can be learned.

  79. Hello! I follow your permaculture newsletter and drink up every part of it… even though I am presently living in Northern Alberta, Canada!! My all time favourite weed here is Stinging Nettle! We use this medicine plant for almost everything! I suppose I should also give honourable mention to Yarrow, another beloved herb / weed / medicine, as it would be a close second.

  80. Enough about “invasive weeds”. A weed is a plant out of place, so any plant has the potential to become a weed. It’s just that modern, consumer western society has a very narrow range of acceptable plants, fruit, veg. and herbs. Historically many of our “weeds” are medicinal herbs and food. It’s great that we are rediscovering them. Let’s remember that Permaculture is about creating self-sustaining eco-systems. It’s all about balance……. therefore the opposite of invasion. Let’s hope we’re all on the same page.
    One of my favourites is Indian Pennywort – great for memory, great for tabouli, great for groundcover and a gift from our Sri Lankan friends at my community garden.

  81. I love my dandelions. My yard is a early bee cafe in a neighborhood of overtended lawns. When they bloom, I know the soil in the garden is warm enough to plant onions and peas. The roots are filled with minerals and good bitters for liver health. The leaves are diuretic but also high in potassium. Janet, WISCONSIN,USA

  82. my favourite weed right now would have to be farmers friend or cobblers peg. It is great as a liquid fertiliser when soaked for a few weeks in a bucket.It is a yummy salad herb when picked when young and tender and if young lush growth is cut and dropped before it flowers it is a great mulch material for fruit trees.

  83. Willows are my favorite weed for their ability to slow down evaporation in rivers and stabilize rivers and gullies. If I ever have a daughter I would like to call her Willow

  84. Dill. It comes up everywhere there is the tiniest bit of water spilled on the ground with any regularity. Has many uses for the leaves and seeds, but I like just touching it as I walk past it for the scent it throws into the air.

  85. Coffee is considered a weed up in Northern NSW. mmm so much goodness from a pot of fresh coffee! but as a permaculture designer I wouldn’t promote people growing it because of the labor needed to produce enough coffee, although the leaves are good as a tea, so maybe a bit for fun… Weighing up all the options in the grand design, its more than likely I would point towards supporting growers in Byron Bay, who we hope are minimising losing seeds to birds and save our labors for something more appropriate. Unless a farmer was interested in building coffee into a banana polyculture, which would be exciting to see in our agricultural landscape. The chickens will be working double time with all that caffeine!

  86. Bamboo is my favourite weed. If is a running type and you feel compelled to cut it out, it still gives you years worth of pea sticks, stakes for tying up your tomatoes, capsicums, beans etc, or bigger canes for buildings anything and everything. And if you don’t cut it out its lush beautiful foliage and upright canes make a wonderful forest maze for children and/or chooks.

  87. I think the amazing thing about weeds is how they pop up in an area where they can often add something to the soil and the environment. Rejuvenating the soil with nutrients etc, breaking up clay, and I’m sure many other things we don’t even know yet. Simply covering bare earth to avoid erosion and protect the land. Not that I’m advocating weeds, but I think they come with many advantages and not all disadvantages. Along with medicine, food and many other benefits mentioned in the comments made by others above.
    One of my favourites would be Farmer’s Friend. It is a good source of iodine, Can be used raw, cooked, in tea, for ulcers, UT infection, eye wash (conjunctivitis), thrush, candida, and it is anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic. For your compost etc.
    Weeds are not all bad! (in my opinion)

  88. THANKYOU EVERYONE for entering such a lively debate. And here was I thinking everyone was just going to say nettle or dandelion…

    The random winner was #12 – Tamara. Tamara, I’ve emailed you!

    Feel free to keep commenting if you like, but that’s it for the giveaway.

  89. I recently had the opportunity to visit David Holmgren’s property Melliodora and he was saying that this year he’s got a weed problem… With CARROTS! Most of the conventional weed are my best friends at the moment with a brand new animal on our little slice of paradise – a goat. We Miss Anna loves the silver poplar trees growing everywhere on our property (our biggest “weed” problem but I’m lovng them and plan to coppice them for the goat (removing any new trees popping up to prevent the further spread), using the chopped down branches and trunks to build my hugelkultur garden beds so I guess poplar is my favourite weed right now. Oh and the hawthornes too. I made jelly from their berries and Miss Anna also enjoys eating them. 🙂

  90. Dandelions. Fun family adventures picking them with the kids, then dipping the flowers in tempura batter and flash-frying them for a delicious post-walk snack!

  91. Am Rick-son based in America, my sister was suffering from head cancer and the doctor told me that there was nothing that he could do to save my beloved sister.
    Then a friend told me about the Rick Simpson cannabis oil that can cure cancer, i told him that my wife’s breast cancer was in the last stage that i don’t think the
    hemp oil would cure it and he persuaded me to try it, for the love of my wife, i decided to give it a try. I did some research and i found a doctor who helped me with the cannabis oil to cure my wife’s breast cancer and he assured me that after 4 months the cancer would be no more, you can also contact him here is the email to contact: [email protected] I bought it and she used it, it worked exactly as the doctor prescribed it. Thanks to doctor Rick for taking away sorrow in my life. can you all imagine, that my wife have a 6 years old daughter and a 3 years old son, what would i have done. God will bless DR. RICK SIMPSON for helping me wth cannabis oil and for his support and care,contact Email: [email protected]
    email: [email protected]

Leave a Reply