Saturday, July 30, 2005

My garden of invasive perennials, part 1

I've added plants to my garden over the years based on what they do and whether or not I like them. I have roses because I think they're nice, rhododendrons because they provide good sight screening, azaleas because I like the profusion of flowers in the Spring, blueberries because I like to eat blueberries, and butterfly bushes (Buddleia davidii) because I like butterflies.

So it was with some trepidation that I learned that the "summer lilac", the common Butterfly Bush, was considered an invasive perennial.

Well. I suppose there are worse things I could do than provide vast flotillas of butterflies (like the female Black Swallowtail pictured above, photographed earlier today while taking a late lunch with several dozen of her friends) with a quick snack or long-term nutrition for their several-thousand-mile migration.

Still, invasive perennials worry me. Some of the nicest plants in my yard just sort-of showed up on their own, probably as seeds deposited by birds. These plants - Rose of Sharon, Barberry, even a grapevine - have been integrated into my landscape. Others, like the Burning Bush, Trumpet Vine, and my two Butterfly Bushes, have been intentionally introduced by me.

Do they pose a threat to the local natural environment? I don't know. I can imagine a scenario in which civilization collapses and leather-clad gangs of mutant bikers roam the streets of Nanticoke in armored and beweaponed dune buggies, carefully avoiding the butterfly-infested groves of pink Buddleia, crimson Euonymous and pink-and purple Hibiscus syriacus, only to run afoul of the spiny needles of the blood-red Berberis thicket. And should such a future come to pass, it shall be upon my head, for I will have helped to bring it about.


Katie said...

Quite a beautiful picture Harold.
Also, your latest blog led me to some interesting thoughts.

:) Funny, it puts my name in as Katie now. Do you think that is fate?

TowersSeen said...

Hey DB stumbled across your website because I was investigating the so called invasiveness of Buddliea. Google turned you up.
I have 5 different stands of Butterfly bush planted and have never read them to be invasive here in PA until this year. I was very surprised by this.
Invasives make me uneasy as well. Infact invasives are down right scary. But concerning the reality of buddliea being invasive I think "fanatical extreme" is emerging.(Seems to be in the air) I can name 5 other plants that are still being sold with abandon that are poster child for invasive and something to be nervous about.
I have witnessed a stand of Buddliea at a house not far from me for 10 years running. There are 3 bushes and as of August 5, 2005 there are still only 3 bushes but considerably wider and a bit taller.
I also have been able to observe that the occupant of this house is not of the persuation to maintain his lanscape. Lawn ornaments are of the Sanford and Son nature and there is definitely an atmosphere of wild abandon. I would imagine that deadheading is not one of his strong suits.
I was sorry to read that the most rewarding thing that visited you was a hummingbird moth.
I am also an organic gardener and this year I had hummingbirds , Cardinals ,hummingbird moths (first time seeing these moths). My daughter and I both are fascinated by nature insects ect..and seeing this moth was really neat.
I have a large population of diverse spiders some of which were new to me and I was able to view them up close as well as snap photo's along with many insects that were wierd strange and different. It's fun.
The best moment yet for this season was when I saw a Scarlet Tanager. It was my first time seeing this bird. I was able to get a very detailed look due to this birds habit in motion being smooth and graceful. It doesn't flit about choppy darting like many of the birds I usually see.
I was unable to get my Nikon 4600 (please be careful don't touch the lens) camera to take a picture at that moment. Speaking of the Nikon Digital I was hopeful when reading the bit of information you shared on how to view my pics without exposing the lens. I tried it with my 4600 model and it doesn't seem to work . This means that the ever so redundant phrase of "Be careful don't touch the lens with your fingers" , "No watch don't hold it like that" .
I enjoyed stumbling into your blog and hope you do not mind me leaving my thoughts as your writing inspired many .

D.B. Echo said...

Welcome, fellow gardener, naturalist, Nikon Coolpix owner, and David Bowie fan!

Perhaps you can help me with the last of my "Musical Unanswerables": who was the platinum-haired dancer in David Bowie's "Fame '90" video? The one who does a flip over his back?

Billy Idol fans have addressed the two Billy Idol unanswerables, and I suppose I could just post my question to a David Bowie fansite. But I am fundamentally lazy and prefer to let the answers come to me!