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Thursday, June 11, 2009

The fauna and flora define us.


This is scotch broom, an invasive species here in the Northwest. It looks fabulous in the sandy shoreline, between the water's edge and the road. It was not planted here; it found its way by some clandestine back road, driven by wind, crushed into the sand by eager teens playing soccer.
All around this area we are surrounded by Douglas fir, Madronas, Rhododendrons and gorse. Yes, gorse, the same gorse that grows in Ireland and Scotland. During pioneer times, and for the last 150 years of statehood, Oregon coastal pastures were planted with gorse to support the dairy industry.
If you look on Google Map you will see a ring of yellow around this area, miles and miles of gorse and scotch broom punctuating open pastures. In the coastal range you'll see mountainous areas all in green, snakes of rivers and receiving lakes in blue, and lights around the cities on the I5 corridor, the main commercial highway connecting Washington State to the north to California in the south.
At the entrance to each state there are agricultural stations preventing plants and backyard fruit from entering another state. We can't take our weeds and dump them on our neighbors' back doors. We're stuck with them.

43 comments:

Ribbon said...

funny how the unwanted weed is so beautiful to look at.

best wishes
Ribbon

Sniffles and Smiles said...

It's lovely! Fascinating botanical history! Enjoyed this so much! ~Janine XO

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

And I too can sit and enjoy the scotch broom at water's edge, knowing it is strong and determined and awaits my pleasure. Such pleasing descriptives and photos - Thank you.

Woman in a Window said...

Pretty though, in spite of the weediness. Weeds are just hardy flowers, aren't they? Flowers with determination.

Landscape so makes a person. When I was away from my home landscape I was surprised to feel so naked all of the time. Give me a good sturdy pine and rock to wear and I'm ready to hit the town.

Hit 40 said...

I like the weed! Weeds are pretty as long as they are not in my garden.

I saw your post about the white space to make your posts easy to read!!! I KNOW. I am not that old - really 40 this year. But, I need some white space to help me know where I am in the story.

Helen said...

Dear Rosaria, I have particularly enjoyed your last two posts. Such an entertaining writer you are! 'Word art' is how I would describe it. We have just much rain as you, so I can't be of much help right now. Chin up!!!! It will get better.

Amy said...

I'm always amazed at how the flora and fauna differ from state to state. What we think of as weeds at home, others who visit say, "Oh, how beautiful" while we turn up our noses in disgust. Anything that is even slightly pretty in the part of Arizona where I live, has been transplanted from somewhere else. And...everything is prickly. *sigh*

Amy said...

I'm always amazed at how the flora and fauna differ from state to state. What we think of as weeds at home, others who visit say, "Oh, how beautiful" while we turn up our noses in disgust. Anything that is even slightly pretty in the part of Arizona where I live, has been transplanted from somewhere else. And...everything is prickly. *sigh*

Delwyn said...

Hi Rosaria

that gorse must be a universal problem - it was introduced into NZ and Au for hedging/fencing in colonial days and has become a noxious weed.

Do you live on a river mouth or on the coast itself? The picture you posted shows houses opposite...

Happy Days

potsoc said...

Brother Marie-Victorin, a Québec botanist, once wrote: "Weeds are plants that we have not yet found a use for". Some people even keep them as ornaments. In Shelburne, VT, there is a farm of them and you can buy seeds for your little wild corner if you so wish.
And speaking of prickly things as Amy calls them, near Las Vegas there is a chocolate factory where they have a cactus park. Incredible are the shapes, colors and, yes, flowers that grow on them. Beauty is everywhere...if we care to look for it.

Mervat said...

Although a nuisance they are very pretty.

And I agree about not transferring seeds and pollen interstate - allows states to maintain their own characteristic. And I am sure weeds are widespread enough!

Gaston Studio said...

That's really interesting that you see a yellow ring around your area on google! I love native species and sometimes, what's known as a weed in one area, is desired in another. We are such a fickle species!

NitWit1 said...

Botanical history is interesting.

Lakes, especially in the south and southwest fear infestation of a weed known as "carp grass." It is so invasive it robs the water of oxygen.

Boats can unknowingly transport the grass from an infested lake to another.

Fire Byrd said...

I like the idea that there is no such thing as weeds, just unwanted plants.... I tell the dandalions in my garden this!
x

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Wildflowers were first! They are always so gorgeous!

La Belette Rouge said...

That title, Lakeviewer, is so provocative and beautiful and I believe that it is true. Thank you. Really. I am taking that idea with me as I leave.

merrilymarylee said...

We live in NC. It's interesting that people move here because they think it's beautiful, then proceed to bring all the plants from where they came from and transform it.
We already have enough trouble enough with Kudzu and Chinese privet! Oh yes... akebia, Japanese honeysuckle ...Arrggghh!!! Not to mention all the invasive species
in our waterways.
We seem to think the environment is indestructable.

Gran said...

Gorgeous! The northwest is so beautiful, and I feel lucky to live here.

Mary said...

I really don't know very much about plants. Truth be known, I know next to nothing. I guess the plant world has a right to go multicultural? No doubt I have missed the point here entirely (lol). It just felt as if there was an analogy or metaphor or two lurking here somewhere.

Renee said...

Darling, I am going to miss you.

Make sure the kids take super fantastic care of you and treat you like the queen bee you are.

I want my Muse back from California in one piece.

Have a wonderful time with your children and granddaughter.

Love Renee xoxo

Natalie said...

Rosaria,that was a very interesting post. I am often aware of our flora and fauna when I am out and about snapping shots. I will google it! Thanks.xx♥

Femin Susan said...

Absolutely fantastic post! Good job!
Great! Keep up the great posts…..

Sarah Lulu said...

For some reason you are not showing up in my google reader!

I'm off to google your area now.

I've missed commenting.

Of course I have been very busy and away with the new baby.

Sarah Lulu

Bogey said...

There is an irony when it comes to what we call weeds. When they are in our backyards, we call them weeds. But today, I was paddling along one of our local rivers and those weeds looked pretty nice along the shorelines. They were tall and colorful and if I didn't think they were anything more than weeds I would have overlooked there wild beauty!

The Things We Carried said...

It looks good by the water!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love broom and gorse, but over here they're native, which makes it different. i don't think I relaised that they had become such a big invasive species over there!

Reya Mellicker said...

I love the word "gorse." It sounds like "coarse" - seems like it would be a hearty plant, almost a weed.

Loved what you said in your last post, about the perseverence it takes to bring a vision into manifestation. Oh yeah, I know just what you mean!

C'mon Brother Sun, shine down on Rosaria's garden. Please??

God of Another World said...

You are sounding very philosophical in that last line...Hume perhaps, or possibly Kirkergaard (sp?)

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Ah, the joys of the invading species. Good thing it's just plant life though and not aliens from some far flung galaxy! We have increasingly strict rules here about invading flora and fauna - sometimes to the point of being thoroughly draconian. Curious though how nature responds in some cases - the indigenous and the alien get together and create something new. I love that, even if it gives the botanists headaches!

Debbie said...

Oh those darn invading plants. Here, we are all about the kudzu.

Rob-bear said...

I agree with several others -- a weed is simply a plant which is growing where you don't want it. And some do look really beautiful.

That being said, transplanted or invasive species can be a real problem. One of the problems in Canada (and the Northern US) is purple loosestrife. It is quickly drying out wetlands in many key areas. People go out and dig it up in large quantities, hoping to get rid of it, locally. They have mixed success.

Boots said...

Well you have a beautiful calm spot to sit and rest or drink coffee and the the wild growth around your coast is beautiful...thank you for your careful appreciate and sharing that beauty

Tessa said...

I did it - I googled your world and it looks like a beautiful abstract painting.

I have lots of plants which people in this country consider to be weeds in my garden. I love the mix of cow-parsley with the blues and deep pinks of 'proper' flowers and the bold yellow of buttercups are, to me, an absolute delight!

I’ve finally had a moment to catch my breath since our Turkish sojourn so I’ve spent the last 40 minutes catching up on all your recent posts…..and, oh, I have loved every minute. The French garden is exactly what dreams are made of – I’m quite certain that you’ll achieve that in yours. (And do try Ali’s wonderful recipe for gozleme with the spinach that you harvest!)

I do so love your Blog, lakeviewer, it is such a pleasure spending time here….and I always come away having learned something brand new.

PS. As an educator, you must have been appalled to see the typo on the Reach Out Award. A string of sssssssssssss after the word bridges! Well, not quite, but a mistake nonetheless. I’ve since corrected it and the revised one is up on my blog if you feel inclined to change it .

star8278 said...

We have scotch broom planted in our garden at the corner of the house. Hubby's always called it Witches Broom. Which explains why I was never able to find much info on it on google. Thanks for a great informative post!

Rob-bear said...

Just an extra thought: as the flora and fauna define us, so do the winds, fields, rocks, waves, and rains, etc.

sallymandy said...

You put your finger on such an important topic. I get muy triste when I think about these silent invaders. The mountains outside Missoula, where I grew up, are now covered in knapweed and leafy spurge (the latter of which is actually pretty and used as an ornamental, but is death to native plants).

The group I work for is very concerned about these invasives in the backcountry, and we send out volunteers and crews every summer to pull and release bugs that help control them. I think it's a losing battle, though.

Now reading back others' comments, I wonder if I understood your post correctly. To me, invasive species are nothing but bad news. Sorry to be a downer!

Polly said...

it also looks like the kind of weed that doesn't let you go through, a tough little creature. but it does look pretty

Dave King said...

Fascinating post, gives a real insight into another dimension.

Scintilla @ Bell'Avventura said...

Australia doesn't want Agapanthus. You pay through your teeth for them here. When Mum pulled out hers at the beach, I eagerly took them for our place in Italy.
Love them.

lakeviewer said...

Hi folks,

While you helped each other mull over the fate of alien species, my husband and I traveled to California to visit our two boys. At the border, our car was searched thoroughly, for any plants or backyard fruit.

California has a major agricultural stake in keeping out pests such as fruit flies which may travel across state lines and destroy an entire crop overnight.

Usually, I look forward to the trip, eating at fancy restaurants in wine country, and shopping at the many malls that punctuate every major city in California.

I am happy to report that except for actually breaking bread with my boys and their families, the trip was a total disappointment: too much traffic, too many delays, too many people.

Thank you for stopping by, for sharing your thoughts, for informing us on your flora, for pointing out so many fascinating things.

When we share these tidbits we'll never look at another plant the same way again.

Now, please, if you know of a medicinal use for gorse, let us know. Our governor will grant you permission to ride the dunes for sure!

As for me, it is Wednesday eve, and I'm sitting on my deck waiting for the sunset with a glass of cabernet from our favorite winery in Napa: Rutherford-B.V. Some things must cross state lines.

p.s. I did get plenty of sunshine down there; so much so, that I'm all dried up and I hope we get some welcoming cooling fog for a day or two.

Willow said...

You are welcome to keep the gorse. Would it even grow in SoCal? I could trade you gorge for some agave cactus...

You asked how I came to your blog. I'm sure (although I can't really remember) that I saw your name at David McMahon's blog in the comments.

india said...

the British thoughtfully went around the world, deforesting places and then planting "helpful" species like gorse, scotch thistle, broom and blackberry

in Australia they introduced the fox and the rabbit as well as sparrows and blackbirds... all pests.

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