Friday, July 29, 2011

The Doctor's Office

While waiting at the doctor's office today, I was reading "the Landscape Revolution" by Andy and Sally Warsowski.  This book was recommended by my native plant mentor, Jan Hunter.  Although out of print and hard to find, I was able to get a used copy from an internet search.  The authors walk through the reasons for converting to native landscaping and show with numerous pictures, how nice native landscaping can be.  They have a particularly humorous writing style that makes this an easy and enjoyable read. 

Both the nurse and doctor noticed the Landscaping title and asked me what landscaping I was doing.  Each of them was interested but had different reactions when I started to describe my recent activities.  "Native plants - those are weeds, right?" asked the nurse.  I laughed because that is probably a widespread misperception about native plants.  After a very brief discussion, she went on to describe some of the headaches she has with her landscaping.  She told me about a "weed" she is currently fighting.  I hadn't heard of "buckweed" before so she drew a picture.  Armed with both the description and picture, I'm sad to report I can't find anything that comes close to matching.  Can anybody help me here?  The doctor on the other hand asked me whether our native plants were any harder to establish with the climate change underway.  I told her I hadn't heard or experienced that so far.  But the invasives seem to be getting worse.  She was aware of invasive species, more so of foreign invasive insects (e.g. Emerald Ash Borer) that have plagued our plant populations.

Native Plants - NOT
Of course, we did get around to the medical aspects of the visit.  Nonetheless, I found it interesting that so other people are curious about the subject.  Unfortunately, the nurse's misunderstanding is a common one.   After all, "native plants" are those that grow when you don't apply any weed killer, right?   I too used to think that if I just let the yard go, it would be native plants that grew.  And what a mess that would certainly be.  Then too, it was interesting to find that the awareness of invasive species, both flora and fauna, might be growing. 

Grayhead Coneflower
On the way home, I found these two patches of land.  The first is a pile of dirt where whatever sprouted was allowed to grow.  A superficial inspection shows this weed pile is almost all invasive or at least non native plants.  No wonder most people think native plants are synonymous with weeds.  The second lot is a small field, blooming with Grayhead Coneflower.  There are a few invasives growing here, but mostly it is native.  How or why this plot of land came to be this way, I don't know.  But it sure was nice to see.

1 comment:

Beatriz Moisset said...

It is ironic that people associate weeds with native plants. Actually, more often than not, it is the other way around. Garlic mustard, purple loosestrife and many other non-natives are the ones more likely to become "weeds".
But this thought reflects the philosophy that horticulturists practiced for a long time; they took pride on bringing exotics and looked down their noses at natives most of the time. That is why such notion is so hard to uproot (pun intended).