Dangerous Compassions

awkward botany

awkward botany

I’m so excited, my friend’s awkward botany blog–my guest post posted!  Please take a look.  Permaculture Lessons, part one is my science writing debut.  Well, it’s not that sciencey.  But I’m so happy to contribute to this plant lore, collaborate with a friend, and share with many readers about something I love.

My guest post is about permaculture, gardening with Ming when we lived in Sacramento, the emotional-social challenges of sharing community garden space, tree collards, and accidental mushroom farming.  Please check out the whole awkward botany blog for much “amateur botany for the phytocurious.”

I’ve been gardening since I was a kid, growing bean plants from the pinto beans my mom sorted out before cooking a pot of them for dinner.  I love plants very much.  Going on trips is a joy to me because seeing plants I don’t know thrills me.  Also I’m thrilled to see plants I already know in a new context.

I’ve studied permaculture for ten years, off and on.  The ideas are important to who I am, and I’m so grateful to Ming for helping me learn the concepts initially.  Yet I’ve hesitated to claim permaculture, gardening, or plants as something I’m expert about.  Feels great to finally share this part of me with the world.


The awkward botany blogger Daniel Murphy is someone I met in the mail through zines, maybe 12 years ago or more.  Ming and I visited him in Idaho nine years ago.  It’s funny how an old friendship can lead to goodness in many different ways.  It was fun so swap zines with Dan, and love of plants is wonderful to share.  Dan was a hardcore bicycling advocate long before I rode trike.  I love how interests can influence us and interweave like that.

Some subjects of awkward botany seem over my head, but I can enjoy most of what Dan shares in my own way.  I’ve never taken a botany class or owned a Jepson manual, but my love of plants leads me to pay a lot of attention.

Ming and I were recently in Utah, and I liked learning about a cute weed at a park called henbit deathnettle.  It was blooming purple all over the park, small plants in with the grass.  I saw its square stems, and it reminded me of a sage.  Ming identified it with an app on his phone, and I read about it more at home.

It’s great to be always learning, and learning is better with friends and loved ones.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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