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Paper studio turns weeds into art

WHEN the owner of Hobart’s niche paper and design studio Plane Tree was put on hold during a telephone call to the City of Hobart she paid attention to the recorded message.

What pricked Di Turner’s ear were the words ‘red hot pokers’, used in reference to the City’s fantastic Bushcare program and in particular the work of the Lambert Gully Bushcare group which has been battling this environmental weed in the wet gullies of Bicentennial Park.

Ms Turner has been running Plane Tree for 30 years, making beautiful, handmade paper from all manner of materials, including recycled paper and paper products, and now the leaves of red hot pokers.

“I’m always peering into people’s gardens looking for red hot pokers, so when I heard Bushcare was clearing large plots of the plant out of nearby bushland I couldn’t resist the chance to get my hands on some,” Ms Turner said.

“The leaves from red hot pokers are an incredible fibre to work with when creating the sort of hand crafted paper we make at Plane Tree.”

Since that promising phone call, Ms Turner has been working with Lambert Gully Bushcare, taking delivery of huge bags of red hot poker leaves and turning them into beautiful handmade paper products.

Once cleared out of bushland gullies the weeds would normally end up in land fill, but Lambert Gully Bushcare carefully sorts out the leaves from the rest of the plant, ensuring that very little of the weed is going into green waste.

Red hot pokers have long been a favourite of gardeners in Hobart.

They have a striking red and yellow flower that attracts nectar-feeding birds and are extremely hardy.

However, they are a well-known garden escapee, and easily jump fence lines into our bushland reserves where they clog up gullies, rapidly take over creeks and drainage lines, and choke out native species.

Lambert Gully Bushcare is doing a tremendous job pulling these weeds out of Bicentennial Park, with the added bonus of turning them into art.

Caption: City of Hobart’s Bushcare team leader Bec Johnson delivering 11 bags of red hot poker leaves to Annabel Tanner’s Plane Tree Studio after a Bushcare event with the Lambert Gully Bushcare Group.

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About the Author: Hobart Observer

The Hobart Observer is your monthly community newspaper, reaching over 24,000 homes and businesses in and around the City of Hobart. It is the product of Nicolas Turner, Justine Brazil, Ben Hope, Simon Andrews, Tobias Hinds and guest contributors, with support from advertisers.

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