by Head Hunter Paulette Whitney
1. Location details: I go plant hunting at the library and on the internet! Blogs like Radix , Emma the Gardener, or The Veggie Patch Reimagined provide information and inspiration. Online relationships with plant explorers like these allow for a great exchange of advice and information, but sadly because of our quarantine restrictions that I am yet to learn to navigate, I just have to be a spectator to their exchanges of seeds and plant material. Friends of the Botanical Gardens plant sales and catalogues of seed vendors and nurseries, like Island Herbs and Plants of Tasmania, are great sources of plant material and inspiration.
2. What are the aims of your plant hunt? We are always looking for new plants to cultivate and eat, so our aims are always to find plant material that we can cultivate and explore new flavours, yields, and suitability to our climate.
3. Is this a unique program? I don’t think what we do is unique, there are many edible plant collectors out there. What is special about what we do is our close relationships with some incredible local chefs which allows us to explore exotic edibles on a larger scale than if it was just a self funded hobby.
4. What do you need to take with you? (Equipment, special clothes, food, any fun or funny items?) When I go plant hunting one of my most useful tools is my smartphone with the Plants for a Future Database. I’ll go to an ornamental nursery and look through the plants searching for the edibility of any that look appealing or ring bells in my mind. The other thing I need is willpower to help me remember how much room is in the garden and how many plants I can reasonably care for.
5. What limiting factors influence your ability to do this work? (weather, access, transport, money, etc) Time, climate, soil, money, knowledge and quarantine are our limiting factors.
- A Peaceful Green Sanctuary
- Researching Interesting Edibles
- The Trek for the Mountain Rhododendron
- Treetop Studies in the Coastal Evergreen Rainforests
- Carnivorous Plants of the South American Sky Islands
- A Chopper Ride into the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
- Sacred Trees of India
- Seed Collecting at Mt Anne
- The Hunt for the Macquarie Island Azorella