This garden provokes and inspires conversation, questioning our values around European invaders. The garden will be mobile as beds of weeds roll around the expo floor. When we think of weeds, we think tenacious, invasive, opportunistic…all negative judgments. However these villains can be virtuous host plants, nectar sources, and medicinals. We place our natives on a pedestal; we have a somewhat pious attitude about what should survive and thrive. Do we desire a pure white nature? Perhaps this fantasy is not worth perpetuating? Maybe changing our attitude about weeds is the answer and the nature that we should look towards.
I found the collection of weeds that were chosen quite interesting. I seem to remember yarrow - well, why not. But there was also dandelion, which I could live without, and the dreaded Ivy, which likes to smother everything in its path. This odd combination of naturalized, relative benign exotics and a clearly invasive exotic high on the Don't Plant a Pest list made me wonder whether the folks who put in this "garden" really thought about this question before provoking others to think. The group, urbanhedgerow.com - a collection of instigators, fine artists, and inspirators (whatever that is) does mostly art projects and might shy away from science.
So, here's some suggested reading, friends:
- Invading Species Can Extinguish Native Plants Despite Recent Reports to the Contrary - see http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130109162030.htm
- Invasive Plant Species May Harm Native Grasslands by Changing Soil Composition - see http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121219092817.htm