Meet: Meri Peach, biologist and artist
Photo - Libby Cameron
Meri talk plants and basket weaving!
What do you grow in your Sydney garden?
Edible plants grown inside the garden wall, and plants useful for basketry plants grow on the nature strip. Many of these are popular landscaping plants such as Cordyline and Lomandra. I use native vines such as Hardenbergia as ground covers.
What makes your bush block special?
It’s in a very beautiful spot: a valley surrounded by escarpment, with incredible biodiversity. There are several different plant communities including Allocasuarina forest and box/ironbark woodland. I am particularly fond of Allocasuarina verticillata (drooping she-oak), and the glossy black cockatoos that feed on it.
Tell us a about your involvement with Landcare.
My Landcare group is an active and sociable mob. We have been re-vegetating, using local-provenance native seedlings, to combat tough weeds such as serrated tussock, prickly pear and blackberry.
How does nature influence your basket weaving?
Nature provides both my materials and inspiration. I am fascinated by natural structures such as cocoons, seed pods, webs, skeletons and the myriad forms of plankton. I use my basketry work to convey messages about ecological concepts and human relationships with the environment. Basketry makes me feel connected to my ancestors and non-human relatives. There are many examples of other animals that weave, including other mammals, birds and insects.
Photo - Meri Peach
Are there any particular plants that inspire you?
The biologist in me says the grey mangrove (Avicennia marina), the painter says Angophora costata, and the basket maker says Gymea lily, (Doryanthes excelsa). The latter would be my "desert island" plant, to provide fibre, food and flowers.