Monday, March 05, 2007

Native Plants

Last week Sandy Feet wrote a column about native plants and destruction of a butterfly garden maintained my Nancy Marsden, as is linked here. In a nutshell, Nancy asked permission to maintain a beach access and got it, but the town clean-up crews pulled up everything that didn't look like a Wal-Mart flower. She was furious, and simply gave up.

Enter yours truly here, with a concept to "adopt an access." This came up in combination in our Bay Area Task Force, since we were looking at native plants in large concrete planters at the bayside street ends. What a perfect thing to do, ask permission from the Town to help maintain the plants, Gulf-side and bayside?

Then the Marsden Incident occurred. I had already asked Nancy if she would help our bayside effort but she called back the next day and said "no [expletive deleted] way."

Now this puts me in a sensitive situation, since the topic is on an official Town agenda, yet many of the locals have bailed. Gosh, I had even checked with the City Manager about our proposal, and while he said it was all Town property, he liked the concept of having the experts help maintain the plants - indeed, it is not just a few amateurs like myself, but real Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists.

One of the reason the City Manager was concerned was that these nice citizen groups were great, but their longevity was questioned - sometimes people move, get sick, or lose interest. Nobody had thought of the possibility that the Town iself would be the main cause.

Ouch. Right when we want to promote eco-tourism, beautify the Island, put in an official Town butterfly garden, plant 60 bayside concrete planters, and even revegetate some dunes, this comes along. As I explained to Nancy, I was sure that the work crew had no idea about how to maintain a garden, especially when the native plants look so scruffy after such a rough winter. But the damage was done - end of discussion.

I suppose I'll withdraw my motion, sadly, perhaps in the hopes that people can get educated and the political winds change. We'll concentrate on stealing rare plants from land fixing to be developed and throw them in our yards as fast as we can before they become extinct. It's the only interim strategy for now - tresspassing, thievery, and being sneaky.

But by golly, it feels good. The latest rare plants to be recovered include the Yellow Saphora, as mentioned over here.

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