Wildcrafting vs the garden
If I had to pick one- I'd say I am a gardener over a wildcrafter. I like to have the plants close to me, all the time. Like a trusted friend or sibling. But when I am in the forest, I feel like I am a wildcrafter or as a friend coined the term; wild tender. Lucky for me, I don't have to choose. I get to have both.
If I had to describe the energetic difference~ Wildcrafting is a bit more sacred, I suppose. I tend to move slower with a bit more intention. The plants are my friends in the wild but they are a bit like visiting the elders as opposed to the siblings I visit in the garden.
I've read the fad guidelines for wild crafting. Some are based on numbers, take one in 20 flowers or harvest 30 percent of a field or harvest site. I like numbers but they don't hold a space with me when I'm harvesting. I'm more in tune with the habitat, the need of my community (both human and plant) what part of the plant I'm gathering and if its what I need for the moment or for the year.
Another rule I'm not too fond of is When is the best time of year to harvest the root, the leaf, the flower? I'm not saying there isn't an optimal harvest time but in the words of herbalist Adam Seller, I often answer "When you're there."
I cannot imagine my ancestors needing a plant for healing and discounting its actions because its the wrong time of year. Or finding a beneficial plant high up a mountain they will never climb again and walking away empty handed because the plant is in flower and they needed the root.
As a gardener, I get to create the landscape. Sometimes its for the beauty and art, sometimes for necessity and science but other times it's like setting the table for a dinner party where I get to seat my best friends at a long table and watch them enjoy the setting.