Mother Nature is Mad!
Well, today I decided a rant was in order. I haven't had a good spleen venting in years, ok, since yesterday. What am I so upset about? People who aren't thinking about what they are doing to the environment! I'm not going to complain about the everyday homeowner (who by the way uses an average of 25 times the fertilizer used on the most successful farms. Face it people, if the bag says covers 5000 sq ft, don't put it all on a 1000 sq ft yard.) No, today I'm going to rant about those of us who should know better.
A few years ago there was a movie called the Orchid Thief. People thought it was a great movie but they thought that the author was exaggerating when he wrote the scene about the orchid hunter burning off several thousand acres of wetlands so no one else could find the rare orchid that he had discovered. It really happens! Most of the North American wild flowers that are on the endangered species list (yes, they have one for plants too) were harvested in the wild because they are hard to grow from seed, or someone found one that no one had ever seen before, or it is just easier to dig up a mature plant and get it to market than to take the trouble to cultivate it. Several varieties of trillium, woads, toad lilies, and native sumacs are completely lost because of harvesters that steal from the wild. No big deal, right? These are plants that your children will never see because they are no longer around. These are plants that species of butterflies, newts, frogs and beetles depend on and these species may not be able to make the switch to another food plant. The ripple effect can be much farther reaching than we can even imagine. There are cacti from the Mojave and Sonoran deserts that have been completely wiped out because they don't handle cultivation well. If you take them from their native habitats they die plain and simple.
Ok, so maybe you don't know anybody that harvests plants from the wild. Have you ever met anybody that had water lilies in their garden pond and when they threw them out they just pitched 'em out in a bar ditch somewhere? There is a group of plants that are being known as "noxious aliens". Several water plant species are on this list, there are some garden plants that have escaped the confines of home gardens that have made it, there are even some plants that were imported by our "benevolent" government that have kinda slipped their leash. No big deal, Right? Well, ask the state governments of Mississippi, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana how much they are enjoying the kudzu. The last figures I heard, each of those states are spending several billions of dollars per year, each and every year, to try and eliminate kudzu. The joke going around the chemical industry is that if you can find a cure for kudzu, several governors will give you their daughters in marriage and make polygamy legal in their state just for you!
There are several "holy grail" plants that are being searched for. Some are being searched for in the wild, some are being crossbred for in the greenhouses. The greenhouses are our best hope. Please, please, if you see a beautiful flower or plant by the side of the road, don't dig it up, take a picture and take it to your local garden center or state extension office and see if it is in cultivation. If you know anybody who harvests for the trade or even for their own gardens, explain to them what they are doing and then turn them in if you have to. Even if you don't stop my next rant (let's face it, I'm fickle, I'll be on something else by tomorrow) you might at least save something for your grandchildren to see.
Please be good to yourself today. And give someone else a smile. Even if you don't make them smile, at least they'll be worried about what you have planned.
God bless you all,