"What is a weed?
Oh, what is a weed?"

- Julian Bannerman, Great Gardens: Trematon Castle, Nowness

What is a weed?

On camera, famed British gardener Bannerman asks this seemingly simple question whilst walking in his Trematon Castle garden in Cornwall, with a spiky giant Gunnera in hand, the leaves acting as an oversized umbrella over the imposing man.1Yet, he spent months removing the invasive petasites from the grounds of the garden when he first started working on it.2
Here lies the complexity of offering an answer to this treacherous interrogation. A plant is, first and foremost, regarded as a weed according to its desirability to humans in a given context. In this human-centric perspective, it is a plant that is not valued for certain of its particular characteristics and properties, making it undesirable, to be eradicated through various — often violent — methods. As the famous gardener asks us to reconsider our narrow conceptions of nature, at the core of his role, lies the desire to control and manipulate nature.
What do these plants become when growing in an alternate third space (or is it the first space)? Vegetal practices such as gardening have a long history of control and conditioning of nature as a separate, subservient non-human entity — the desire to tame it in accordance with human’s use of space.
Weeding out undesirable plants is a part of this practice. What potential then lies in relinquishing control to these undesirables? Is this ground for a rewilding revolution, a quiet resistance and decolonial utopia? To think through the question of what is a weed is to problematize the varied notions, to become conscious of the dualistic divide of nature and culture, and to break it down like a mycellic cell in a heap of soil and humus.
This collaborative multi-disciplined project, which premises itself on the idea of vegetal and human entanglements, weaves a collection of provocations, questions and investigations that explore and interrogate the multi-faceted notions of a weed through essays of images and texts using the digital landscape as fertile ground to germinate from. We agitate metaphysical soil and thread together plant provocations and metaphors. We explore the weed’s place in the construction of landscapes, botanical migration across the globe and we situate the body as a landscape.

Is a weed

A displaced plant

a plant out of place

In a not no place

Is a weed

A (vegetal) being holding ground

Landing ground — to land on the ground — to come through

A weed is

Is a weed

Is a weed

Is a weed

Is a weed

A plant negotiating concreterup



Are weeds pushing their way out of every crack,

nature’s proof of her will to resist the human’s urge to control it?

A reminder that every built environment must exist in

negotiation — ideally in harmony — with its natural one.

Is a weed then,

A resistance to laboriously curated, easily manageable and predictable urban spaces


Blurring seductively clear








S , roads, tidy delineations


Show us how to be in the presence of discomfort, of disruptions

Is a weed

A pioneer

Is a weed

What is yet to come

Is a weed

A history maker, a storyteller, a punctuator

Is a weed

Is a weed the thought in our minds that make us move more vigorously

Is a weed the dance between the boundary and the threshold

Is a weed the feeling in our bodies that agitates our skin

Is a weed the song we sing when we settle to sleep

Is a weed

To push beyond the edge,

to keep to the margin,

to straddle in between,

to protrude more than others

Is a weed

To take space

To speak louder

To live longer


enabling etnlmns


STRANGLING the stuff of living

REGENERATING the stuff of living

Is a weed

A plant living in the urban human habitat

a landscape?

Is a weed



the soil

The types of weed found growing in soil indicate its composition

Moss and plantain love an acidic ground

Chicory thrives in fertile soil

Knotweed needs a heavy and compacted home

Clover will cover a lawn lacking nitrogen

Body Is/As Landscape

Is a weed

A way to navigate oneself

through space,

through a place,

through no place

Is a weed

Weeds, testimonies of resilience and adaptability — their numerous seeds remaining dormant for many years, waiting for the right conditions to spring, spreading easily and rapidly in inhospitable locales —

Showing us how to develop survival mechanisms to counter



Is a weed

a paragon

For bodies made to feel out of place

For displaced bodies

For contested bodies

For Indigenous bodies whose land rights are contested

For migrant bodies denied resources

A weed

Teaching the body how to become its own landscape

Is a weed


Is a weed

Resisting definition

  1. 1. Johnnie Shand Kydd,“Great Gardens: Trematon Castle”, Nowness, 2016.
  2. 2. Tim Richardson,“A Garden Sanctuary of Medieval Magic”, New York Times, September 23 2016.