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Seeding the Future
Seeding the Future
Seed collection for Landcare and Friends
Review by Brian Bainbridge
Seed collection excites the imagination of many people interested in nature restoration. The tiny parcels retain the magic instilled by childhood windowsill experiments with broadbeans and cress on wet cotton wool. Intense observation of plants, weather and fauna is crucial to this craft, re-awakening kinship with traditional food gathering and ancient agricultural skills. However the uncomfortable reality of sweat, prickles, flies and paperwork can extinguish the enthusiasm of the inadequately prepared seed collecting novice.
This DVD is designed to equip individuals and groups with basic seed collection knowledge and technique. Protocol and techniques specific to particular plant groups are covered. Judy Allen, an experienced propagation manager, uses a few basic tools to collect and process seed of several indigenous plants. The video format is able to convey the degree of pod crunchiness, the sloppiness of fermented berries and the varying amounts of physical exertion and patience required to process the seeds. We watch Judy’s fingertips delicately pluck a single wallaby grass seed and see flower to seedfall compressed into a few moments. It is the next best thing to working alongside an experienced seed collector over several months. The footage reinforces the message that a few seasons are needed to become a proficient seed collector.
Video is a demanding medium to carry out well, it is a tribute to Judy’s perseverence and guts to see this project to completion across uneven financial terrain (it is funded by several sources, primarily a Melbourne Water Grant) and the inevitable crises of confidence that an extended project entails. It is a particularly apt that IFFA has been able to contribute financially to the production that is well aligned with IFFA’s objectives of sharing and disseminating knowledge of indigenous plants.
This is not a slickly edited TV garden program. There are rough edges (and fuzzy ones, uneven lighting, wind noise, awkward script and cutting etc), however these should not prove so severe as to distract from the flow of know-how. The straightforward presentation and gentle pace (think Kevin Heinze rather than Jamie Durie) is enlivened by a bluesy soundtrack provided by Sal Kimber and the Good Ol’ Boys.
This DVD is to be available free of charge to Friends and Landcare Groups. Judy and her team have performed great service for local revegetation efforts.
Judy Allen will introduce the DVD at MCMC's coming AGM on 18 October.
- Drying and cleaning techniques
- Is there seed? (Juncus)
- Colour change (Dodonea)
- Fruit (Solanum, Rhagodia, Dianella, Melicytus)
- Dry Seed Pods (Acacia, Bursaria)
- Cones (Allocasuarina, Banksia)
- Valves (Eucalyptus, Leptospermum)
- Pea plants (Indigofera, Kennedia)
- Differential ripening (Bulbine, Arthropodium)
- Green seed collection (Convolvulus)
- Grasses (Austrodanthonia, Themeda)
To order the DVD (available free to IFFA members, while stock lasts) email firstname.lastname@example.org giving your name, postal address and phone number.
My Journey: Why I made the DVD Seeding the Future
Some birthdays suddenly appear, candles are blown out and they are gone. Some birthdays sit looming on the horizon, getting larger each time you look at it.
I had one of the looming sorts on my horizon so I took stock of my life so far. (do not take this as a recommendation). Then I enrolled in a ‘Write your own Documentary’ Course with Open Channel. Six weeks later I smiled warmly as I received the ‘most likely person to make a documentary’ award by my teacher. Strangely, my fellow students weren’t overwhelmed with jealousy.
Things then rolled on quickly. The local science teacher lent me his camera, (thanks Charlie, I’ll get it back to you soon), a friend offered to help film it, a bloke in my household promised to edit it and MCMC backed by application to approach Melbourne Water. And then Melbourne Water was very interested in funding it. All I had to do was write the documentary, co-ordinate people, find sites, monitor and track plants, prepare the table setting and front the camera.
There were a couple of new skills I needed to practise: smile while talking, put on make-up and walk while a camera looked at me.
This was the easy part. Then came two years of editing, doing out takes and re writing.
I know why I started, but why did I keep going?
About 6 months ago the DVD was shown to a selected group of Friends. They were asked for feedback. They loved it. It was clear, there were good close ups of flowers and seeds. There were good close ups of seeds and how to clean them There was heaps of information about storage, easy species to start with and the longevity of seed. And their criticism reflected their great desire to make the DVD better, and clearer and more informative.
And the feedback I had the most problem with? They wanted more close ups of me! The person who still has to blow out those candles!