Considering the Environment

  • 6 replies
Considering the Environment
« on: October 15, 2008, 04:17:55 AM »
Hi, new to the forums.

I was wondering where, if anywhere, members are encouraged to learn more about plants, and the locations at which they plant them.  To make a long story short I just want to say that planting at one's own discretion, and encouraging others to do so may have unforeseen consequences.

For example: say I decide to plant on an empty patch of ground in the middle of a town.  That empty patch becomes a beautiful plant composition.  But....the flowers/grasses that I plant could very easily seed, flow into a water outlet on a surrounding street, and destroy an ecosystem downstream.

Just a thought.

Re: Considering the Environment
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2008, 09:36:49 AM »
That was the basis of the whole bamboo argument that blew up a few weeks ago - one person suggested that everybody everywhere plant bamboo, and I quailed because here in Ausrtralia bamboo is categorised a noxious weed because it takes over and destroys whole ecosystems.

I think the spirit of guerilla-gardening is a spirit of behaving in keeping with the land, not to suppress it, so planting food-plants and plants native to the area or not damaging to the area is paramount.

I for one am not planting bamboo, no matter how stupid and badly-researched I am according to other people's lights.



Re: Considering the Environment
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2008, 07:34:26 PM »
Nisaba, just for the record I think you have a very good point regarding bamboo planting. Maybe some people just have difficulty realising your point if they havn't seen the potential damage themselves. I mean, I myself for example live in Sweden, and I don't think bamboo would take over from our native plants...

So I guss my point is, everyone has a responsibility in their own area. And while most plants which are ok in a private garden are ok in a guerrilla garden, some may be a threat to the surroundings. And not all people will realize this.

A good rule should be: Don't grow anything you don't know anything about. How big does it get? How fast does it grow? How does it spread? Does the plant already exist in the area? are good questions to consider when planning your guerilla garden. 

Re: Considering the Environment
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2008, 09:55:33 AM »
There was only one person blowing up over that issue. All that some of us were saying was that you should always try to plant species appropriate to the area, but that any plant is better than concrete.

Some environmentalists view nature as a museum - it's there to look at, and we shouldn't touch anything. Others view nature as something we live with and in, not beside.

The museum environmentalists will be so terrified of doing the wrong thing that they end up doing nothing. While the museum environmentalists are paralysed by terrified indecision, the idiots who want to cut down all the forests, sell them for woodchips, concrete the land and turn it into McMansions, they win.

Nature is reasonably resilient. If it can survive billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide, millions of tonnes of acid and toxins poured into it, more than a hundred million tonnes of concrete laid down every year, whole mountain tops removed to get at the coal, diesel four wheel drives trundling along, it can certainly survive a few plants in the wrong place.

Once I had a CPR lesson, and someone was saying, "what if I break his ribs?" The thing is that we were talking about a person whose heart had stopped. They were dead. Whatever we did couldn't make them any worse than dead. We were told, "that's why we're practicing, so you can learn to use the right amount of force and not break their ribs, but if at the time you do, well you're doing your best and anyway if you save their life they won't complain."

So in selecting species to plant, we should do our best to get the right ones for the area. But if we screw up a bit we shouldn't worry. We can't make things any worse than they already are.
greenwithagun - permaculture, democracy, and a future for the world

Re: Considering the Environment
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2008, 08:17:48 PM »
Nature is pretty resilient, but that's because it consists of balanced ecosystems...
...most of the large problems are caused by people introducing species to an area where they aren't native.

There are plenty of examples of both flora and fauna doing damage to the native species thanks to accidental, or well intended introduction.

It's always worth being careful.

Even in barren areas surrounded by concrete are not a completely blank canvas and so surely hardy natives are to be preferred over non-natives that can take over.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2008, 08:20:52 PM by BigShot »

Re: Considering the Environment
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2008, 05:19:56 AM »
If you do a search on "indigenous non-invasive plants" and add your zip code, you'll get some good resources. Here are a few more examples: - Native Plant Nurseries in South Australia - Sustainable Gardening Australia - The Forest Service has issued a new directive (Federal Register Notice, PDF,73 KB) for the use of native plant materials in the revegetation, restoration, and rehabilitation of National Forest System lands. - Wikipedia: Invasive species; if you scroll down you can read about the impact invasive species can have. - What is an Invasive Plant? - Gardening with Native Plants in Indiana - Bowie, MD

Re: Considering the Environment
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2008, 01:39:08 AM »
Sorry Kiashu but I've been working restoration in Southern California for over 5 years and invasive plants have destroyed thousands of acres of habitat in my state alone.  Invasive plants (like bamboo) push out native plant materials thereby leaving the creatures that depend on those native plants without food or shelter.   Many butterflies and birds that evolved in a certain habitat can only use the plants from that habitat for survival, planting an apple tree isn't going to do them any good.

We need to be extremely conscious of what we plant and where we plant it.  If you are planting an invasive plant that will re-seed and end up destroying native habitat then NO plant is better than that plant.  But it isn't any more difficult to find a plant that isn't invasive and plant that instead.

I believe we should establish some basic guidelines:

1) Be aware of your natural environment (ie: find out about the invasive plants in your region and don't plant them)
2) when possible or for large plantings plant native or at least drought tolerant plants to save water and restore habitat
3) plant foods producing plants where they will receive proper attention, water, and most importantly where they can be appreciated.

For those of you in California:

Cal. Invasive Plant Council:

Good luck to you all!!