Did you know that the wonderfully fragrant (and bee-loving) Japanese honeysuckle is—in Houston, at least—an aggressive vine that can fatally blanket out its defenseless neighbors? Or that many common weeds are not only edible, but also tasty and highly nutritious? Or that the otherworldly and alien looking passionflower is a Texas native?
The motivation for our most recent poster series of local flora was to become more familiar with the plants that we see everyday on walks through our neighborhood or on the bike ride to work—plant life growing in manicured yards, roadside medians, sidewalk cracks, and vacant lots. What can we learn from these plants? What knowledge can they share with us about our environment?
To encounter these plants is to also encounter the language surrounding their classification and group identification. We have become particularly curious about those deemed invasive plant species, which exhibit the ability to thrive outside of their historical ecosystems, hindering the growth of native plants and producing newly-emerging ecosystems. Likewise, plants growing in the wrong places become weeds, just as earth in the wrong place becomes dirt—something to sweep away or get rid of.
Drawing is a slow, investigative process. As we study each plant, we must re-situate ourselves to its level and devise methods to translate its physical qualities into marks. In this act our attention drifts to the soil, sunlight, and air; to the visible interactions with neighboring plants; and to the subtle minutiae expressed by the plant itself.
We plan to continue this poster series throughout our late-summer and early-autumnal travels. It is a way to map our movements and learn more about what our plant allies offer and teach, if we take the time to quietly observe and listen.
These posters are available in our webshop in either cream or canary.