is In Wild Air
Georgina Reid is the founder and editor of The Planthunter online magazine. She has qualifications in journalism, horticulture and landscape design, and a serious passion for plants and storytelling. She’s an accomplished writer, designer, and workshop facilitator. If she were a tree she’d be a lemon scented gum.
I think it started with Stanley Kunitz. A reference to his book The Wild Braid in an essay, perhaps. I’m fascinated by poetry, particularly by the way it can get to the heart of things in three words, rather than the 3000 it may take in prose. It’s a quiet art, one that requires contemplation, space, and time.
Mary Oliver is another favourite. “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” she asks in the poem A Summers Day. It’s a question I keep returning to as I wander the earth, wondering what it means to be gifted life as a human, a plant, or a bee. I suspect its presence will continue rolling around my being as long as I breathe, touching places in the ways only poetry can.
Poetry speaks the unspeakable, touches the untouchable, and it’s more real than we realise. Life is a poem, as my dear friend Tamryn Bennett, the artistic director of the Red Room Poetry Company, suggests.
Olga Rubie Reid
Every single human life is magical. I could write for weeks about all the wonderful, inspiring people who’ve shaped my ideas, my being, my world. But one woman in particular stands out. My grandmother, Olga Rubie Reid. I find traces of her all the time - in my head, my heart, my actions. Olga was a deeply spiritual person who lived simply and in the moment. Perhaps I’m mythologising her (a great skill of mine) but what she taught me was the beauty of living well and living simply. We shared a deep love of nature – we’d go for walks around the farm or the garden finding beauty in rocks, bugs, sticks, flowers, clouds, everything. Beauty is everywhere, that’s certainly something I’ve absorbed from Olga.
Perhaps it’s ego, but for some reason I feel like I need to live the biggest life I can. I don’t mean big in the sense of being famous, or rich, or visibly successful, but big in the sense that I’ve given it my absolute best. The way Olga lived was big, even though she would never think so. She was incredibly involved in her community, she took great pleasure in interacting with the world around her, and she was a damn fine woman. She died a few years ago. Her death rocked me in a way I never expected. She was, and still is, my guide.
The rural landscape of my childhood is imprinted on my soul. I’m always astounded by the depth of this connection. Humans are incredibly adaptable – we can live nearly anywhere, but deep down there’s a connection to a physical place, usually from childhood, that’s so intertwined with our being that it becomes part of who we are. I’ve tried breaking this connection, but I can’t. Maybe it’s because I don’t really want to. In the last week my life dream of living amongst the trees with a garden of my own has become a reality. My partner and I are the new owners of the most dilapidated house on the Hawkesbury River and I am beside myself. I feel like I’m coming home.
When I first told my parents I was thinking of becoming a landscape designer after finishing my journalism degree they were a little dubious. My mum is a horticulturalist and told me (rightly) that there’s no money in plants. ‘Money!? Who cares about money when you’re following your passion,’ I naively thought to myself. The next time I returned home from the city there was a pair of red Felco secateurs under my pillow. My mum’s quiet sign of support. They’re one of my most treasured items. I love things that are either older than me, or will live longer than me. I think, I hope, my secateurs will outlive me. And I hope for a long, meandering life.
Truth & Simplicity
I think about a few things a lot. Two words – truth and simplicity – often pop up in my ponderings. Firstly, truth. Regardless of what they said in the X Files, the truth isn’t always out there. The older I get the more I realise nothing is fixed and very few things are true, really true. I’m interested in what it means to be human, how to live well, how to exist gently within the web of life. These kind of things. Questions, not statements. Divisive words and ideas always alienate. Whilst they’re easier to hold on to, they’re not as useful as they could be. And they’re a lot less truthful than we think. I’m drawn to ponderers. Probably because I’m one myself.
The other world regularly rolling around my head is simplicity. I’m always astounded by how complicated we make our lives. I’m very guilty of this. We develop all this stuff, these solutions, these tools to make our lives easier, more efficient and supposedly simpler but they don’t really work. Going backwards to some romantic ideal of how we used to live is no answer, but reminding ourselves what is important and realising how simple the important things are, goes somewhere towards something. Connection to nature, connection to ourselves, connection to others. These are my simple things.
I want to start a revolution. It’ll be wild. It involves people and plants, and it’s all about encouraging real engagement and celebration of nature on small and large scales. We all know the precarious position we’re putting ourselves and the earth in. No one needs to hear that again. Guilt and cynicism don’t change things for the better, but I reckon hope can.
I want everyone to become gardeners. Gardening teaches so much – perspective, observation, connection, and most importantly, hope. This is why I started The Planthunter. It’s a subversive, seductive revolution and it’s sprouting seeds of hope all over the world. In cities, towns, backyards, balconies and streets. Plant hope. It’s simple, truthful and a little bit wild.