Friday, April 27, 2012

invaders appeased

Last Saturday's garden tour, held on the day before Earth Day, was appropriately advertised as a 'green' garden tour. This epithet referred not so much to color as to sustainability. Indeed, plants with grey, blue, dark purple, or cream colored leaves were standouts among the water-wise cacti and succulents.

Politically and environmentally correct practices abounded: rain barrels, drip irrigation, hydroponics, permaculture, cob building techniques, etc. Birds, bees, and butterflies were attracted, invasive species repelled. Literature was distributed, but not lavishly, as attendees had been enjoined to follow interactive on-line maps to the garden sites. It was a day for feeling responsible and resolving to continue along one's righteous pathway, paved with permeable materials so as not to overburden the storm drains and pollute the ocean.

I picked up a few brochures and cards, including one on invasive plant species, a favorite topic on this blog during my recent wars on Sprenger asparagus fern and Confederate jasmine plus pre-blog struggles with Algerian ivy, plumbago, Cape honeysuckle, and Banks rose. But wait! This 'Weed Watch' campaign -- sponsored by the worthy California Invasive Plants CouncilLos Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council, and SMSLRWMA -- includes nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) among the species NOT to plant if we are to "Stop the Invasion" of plants that "fuel wildfires, degrade grazing land, contribute to soil erosion, clog streams and rivers, and increase the risk of flooding."

Having posted nasturtiums rampant just over a year ago, and being delighted with this year's stand of the cheery yellow and orange blossomers,* I took umbrage.

One of the things I love best about nasturtiums is that they are so easy to get rid of after they have run their course, or at any time they become tiresome (yes, it occasionally happens!) . Nasturtium roots are so inconsequential as to bring Marvell's On a Drop of Dew to mind: "How loose and easy hence to go, / How girt and ready to ascend."

I do not plant nasturtiums, but I welcome their annual invasion, in my garden and along the highways and byways. Sometimes appeasement seems appropriate.
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* My spell checker disapproves this word, but Yeats used it in the majestic Among School Children ("O chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer, / Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?") I can't resist a parody: "Nasturtium, small-rooted blossomer / your leaves and flowers feed my soul!"

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License