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Guerrilla Gardening To inspire people to improve their neighborhoods by planting out areas that need beautification. Be it greenbelt, or the neighbor who just lets his yard go. This forum is for people to share before and after photos, point out areas in need, donate plants for the cause..... Organize Recon Missions, Covert Ops, Challenges....

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  #1  
Old 07-31-2013, 11:47 AM
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Default Bay Area Xeric Guerrilla Gardeners

I have wanted to do this for some time now. Plant 1-5 gallon Agave' in very scenic locations about the bay. We have all seen the Variegated Agave on the eastern approach to Treasure Island above the tunnel. They have either seeded or let gravity disperse them down that very steep slope.
I have a few sights in mind and plants for installing. Most locations would require some repelling and lookouts as it may be trespassing.
These could be watered in the first time and let the fog do the rest.
They would most likely be invisible for a few years, but over time....
Im thinking of places the Native garden nazis would be afraid to approach.

Hit me up if anyone's interested .

MCGAVE
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Old 07-31-2013, 12:08 PM
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i love this idea and if i were in your area would happily join you. good luck!
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:33 AM
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Ill do the trespassing you just keep watch
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:43 AM
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If anyone sees Agave on this slope I dont know anything about it.
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Old 08-01-2013, 03:06 PM
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Guerrilla gardeners---1935 in South Laguna---notice the Agave bloom on the rock above the arches---these Agaves are left from a movie set from a 1935 movie....I transplanted a few pups from those plants to another part of the bay in 1974 (heh, young horticulturist already at it!) but don't have pics. But the original Agaves are still growing---took this pic just last week.
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Old 08-02-2013, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mcgave View Post
If anyone sees Agave on this slope I dont know anything about it.
I just hiked that last weekend. Walked the bridge and then tried to get around the bend. There's construction going on there (part of a 2 year retrofit). There's a road leading up to the construction site and if you looked construction-y enough you could just waltz right in on that road you see that parallels the bridgeway.

I took a trip to the top and 1) it's covered with cement from artillery placements, 2) they have signs saying the earth works are historic, 3) it's crawling with people, and 4) the view down looks more fierce than I expected--various types of loosely packed sandstone that may or may not break and may or may not tumble onto you.

I've been thinking about ordering work shirts with a made up company name (some combination of meaningless letters) and just drive around during the day and plant them on roadsides or commercial landscapes every 20 feet or so. I would love to see a long line of agaves snaking around google. If you look official and it seems like they are evenly spaced, seems like you could get away with it in broad daylight.
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:30 PM
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Nice work again Mr Mudge! Love it!

Hey Kaal PM me lets keep the planning private for now. You are on the right track. We can easily pose as California Conservation corps idiots or Construction workers. Im thinking 3-4 am. Dressed in black broad daylight is sketchy.
Check this guys work out. He calls it recreational trespassing. http://www.nopromiseofsafety.com/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...s-forward.html
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:20 PM
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Why plant non-native Agaves in Cal native landscapes? Disturbed or not isn't there something better to do? Tell me what the interest is? I'm seriously curious.
I volunteered and worked restoring areas to Cal natives for a few years. Those areas are educational, recreational and actually used for such purposes. I'd say beautiful too but that's subjective. As is the beauty of non-Californian Agaves in California wild areas (if wild areas are what's being planted or planned to be planted). In the Bay Area where not much native stuff remains. I think it's nice to preserve what there is.
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Old 08-05-2013, 05:07 PM
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For my part mea culpa---I was in 10th grade when I transplanted the Agaves...
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:37 AM
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I dig the concept of guerrilla gardening- but feel that planting of only natives in open habitat is appropriate. Dedicated people work hard to try to restore precious native habitat...there are so many ramifications of unleashing non-natives in open terrain. The area around the Marin headlands is already rife with non-natives ... I can get behind planting non-invasive non-natives in urban patches though.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Olneya View Post
Why plant non-native Agaves in Cal native landscapes? Disturbed or not isn't there something better to do? Tell me what the interest is? I'm seriously curious.
I volunteered and worked restoring areas to Cal natives for a few years. Those areas are educational, recreational and actually used for such purposes. I'd say beautiful too but that's subjective. As is the beauty of non-Californian Agaves in California wild areas (if wild areas are what's being planted or planned to be planted). In the Bay Area where not much native stuff remains. I think it's nice to preserve what there is.
The current or natural allocation of plants is perfect? Imagine we go to the Canary Islands and mark the boundary of Aeonium nobile with yellow caution tape. We'll have somebody regularly walk the perimeter to ensure that none of them escape. If a seedling is found outside the perimeter...then it would be summarily and promptly removed.

Hawaii doesn't have any native epiphytic orchids. This represents the best allocation of epiphytic orchids? Did they get the memo? From what I can tell they very irresponsibly release their seeds into the wind. Each capsule contains a gazillion seeds...so it's only a matter of time before some lucky species manages to infiltrate Hawaii.

When a new island forms...and it doesn't have any plants...then it's perfect just as it is?

What about Johnny Appleseed? What was he thinking? Going around sowing apple seeds everywhere. Now the allocation of apples is horribly inefficient.

It's pretty much the same thing with the wild parrots that we have here in Southern California. When the fruit is ripe on my fig tree...each morning the parrots gorge themselves and then they fly around squawking and pooping the seeds everywhere. It seems like they want more fig trees. Maybe that's what they're squawking? "We need fig trees here...and here...and over there...and over there...!!!"

When I moved into my house...the front yard was all lawn. St Augustine had a monopoly on the space. Before this land was developed...I wonder how many different plants the space contained? I'd bet good money that it didn't have as many species as it does now.

The interest is greater diversity. Nature does not believe that California is diverse enough. As we speak...Mexican plants are making the journey to California. Lots of plants are migrating north. From the perspective of nature...there is no such a thing as "Mexico" or "California"...there's only space...and plants are all about the conquest of space.

So it's rather unnatural to try and preserve or conserve the current level of plant diversity here in California. It'd be like Noah closing the doors of his boat when it was only 1% full.

We've got space for Aeonium nobile and Aloe dichotoma. I think it would be irresponsible if I didn't sow some dichotoma seeds the next time I went on a hike. Unfortunately I don't have any. My dichotoma is painfully slow. Then again, I don't have any seeds from my Hercules either...and he's painfully fast. I do have a gazillion thraskii seedlings...but I'm pretty sure nature would deem them unfit to survive on their own...given that they require summer rain. That's where the diversity bottleneck is.

But it might be a fun experiment to see how long I could keep a thraskii seedling alive for in the foothills of Pasadena. I'd have to water it around once a week during summer. If it managed to grow above the surrounding scrub...I wonder how tall it could get before somebody removed it? Whoever removed it...would their motive be "preservation" or collection? Would anybody stop them on the way down and challenge the removal? "No no, it's ok, it's not a native. It's not invasive though...some idiot must have been watering it during summer."
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:38 PM
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If plants had a will, I would say it might be...to live. That's all. They move around, get moved around, and grow where they can. It's true, plants will continue to spread around and colonize. I don't think the history of plant movement necessarily justifies more plant movement, I don't think it justifies intentional plant movement in the setting of wild spaces.
I don't think planting non-natives is a good way to create diversity. It's not responsible. At least not in the context of native habitats. And I partly disagree that the inclination of nature is towards greater diversity. Thatís not always the case. Itís not that simple. The diversity is already there (Unless said area is already a mess, then itís usually a short, not diverse, list of spatially inquisitive flora). In fact, that old diversity is what supports animals, people, and the complex ecosystem which took a long time to diversify and give us amazingly complex environments. Whoís going to judge if a particular area needs more diversity? Whoís got the right? In general, people tend to put high value on landscapes that are as original as humans can decide those landscapes have historically been. Usually those humans are trained scientists, researchers, nature lovers, plant geeks, in awe of the process of evolution and a great reverence to how things are, as found, without much influence by 'modern man'. Because, in short, people are just a blip on the timeline, and plants and soils and other flora and fauna have been at it for a good while longer. Itís cool. And to be respected, worshiped even? Yes, worshiped. Planting a plant that has never grown there before might illustrate diversity, but a lot of the scientific work done on plant communities show that non-natives can take over. Like ice-plant, hedera (ivy), yellow star thistle, Erharta erecta, pampas grass (ugh horrible), etc... This can cause other species to disappear, including animals. So, in this case, diversity, i.e., allowing invasives to persist or intentionally introducing outsiders, can actually mess up an area. It can become a monoculture, like some eucalyptus groves. Not much diversity in Cali's euc forests. And the oils can change local soil.
Similarly, salt cedar, or tamarisk, start out as one plant, then take over riparian areas in the West. They displace native plants entirely, or kill them by competition over vast areas, they lower the water tables because of their numbers and use of water to just live and from transpiration as well. So, these plants are sucking up water that people need locally. The water goes into the atmosphere and blows somewhere else. Also, introductions can tip the scales when it comes to rare and/or endangered plants. Bye-bye diversity. These are, of course, extreme examples, that are wiping out diversity around the world. And they create a cautionary tale which I believe in.
By the way, seeing if an aloe will grow somewhere just to see if it will grow somewhere could be interesting. I do that all the time in my garden, where I can enjoy it at home, or just enjoy the experiment. Your experiment would subject others to your interest. Do they want that? I believe your interest is really in the lowest minority.
Sure a nifty aloe, agave or other xerophyte can be cute, but it brings me back to my original question. Why bother? Lol. Itís humorous to meÖ guerrilla gardening in this specific context. Guerrilla gardening, to me, is ripping up a gratuitous sidewalk to make way for pretty flowers, free plants, even edible veggies. Making an empty city lot into a community garden, throwing a seed bomb into a fallow, city, weed-lot, planting a street tree when there was none without going through city bureaucracy, etc.. Why go to the trouble when there is so much other stuff going on in this world, or so many other cool and gratifying and productive things to do. Ah but thatís opinion isnít it. Iím like, of course it makes sense to ME that itís time better spent to tear up a sidewalk than to plant an aloe in the foothills. Different strokes for different folks.
Will gardening one plant mess things up? Who knows. Probably not. But would going out there, hiking off trail, digging into soils that have taken centuries to develop, disrupting soil bacteria, fungus, lichen, etc.., watering where there is usually no water, be a fine thing to do? That's for you to decide. Given all the knowledge available, I really just don't understand why anyone would expend the energy. I really don't. Difference in opinion I suppose.
Maybe those foothills are a mix of Mediterranean, South African, and Australian plants with a few California and north American plants. Already messed up. So, maybe it doesn't matter. Is it ok to plant in a Ďmessed upí area? What exactly are those places like? How to judge what area is ok to plant in and what is to be kept pristine? Whoís rules are we playing with?
I think of natural space, open space, park land, and wilderness as precious. They are living museums, you walk in, don't leave anything and don't take anything and walk out after enjoying it. Intentional willy-nilly planting of things for fun orÖ in one personís mind, to create diversity, is not in line with this.
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Old 12-07-2013, 05:54 AM
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I can only think of a few differeces of myself and a parrot. One of them is that they enjoy different things.


And. We do not know in the past how many plants have been moved around for whatever reason.

Last edited by theinvisiblegardener; 12-07-2013 at 10:22 AM. Reason: Native habitat near Cairo and Los Angeles
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:44 PM
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Native plant Nazi's irritate me. Coastal California is a mediterranean climate, so why not let grow here what grows well here? Plants do not care where they are as long as they have there needs met they will thrive and provide beauty and sometimes resources to the rest of us. As I have had know one show real interest in helping me with this endeavor it has not come to fruition as of yet. But it will. The ground is just starting to sponge up what little rain we have had. I have a few rocky outcroppings in mind in full view from the 101. I have several Agave and Beschorneria ready to plant. These are not invasive in anyway. The native plant people are losing the battle to Scotch broom and Pampas grass. I cant think of a single native plant that can fight back against these invaders. But seeing a beautiful Agave Parryi truncata rooted into a rocky nook surrounded by Manzanita and Coyote bush, now that sounds mediterranean to me.
Borders and boundaries are what wars are fought over. Nationalism is dead! Let the plants grow and work it out amongst themselves.
Are plants from Oregon and Washington ok to plant in a California native garden?
The range for most Ca. natives is way up and down the Coast. California used to be called Mexico.

Anyone interested in Bay area Guerrilla gardening please PM me.
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Your experiment would subject others to your interest. Do they want that? I believe your interest is really in the lowest minority.
Sure a nifty aloe, agave or other xerophyte can be cute, but it brings me back to my original question. Why bother? Lol. Itís humorous to meÖ
Fucking beauty my friend !!! Sheer beauty, not science not politics... Just the site of beauty growing happily alongside beauty. Subjecting others to inspiration, to spiritual experiences, to wonder...... Yes they want that.
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Old 12-08-2013, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Olneya View Post
Your experiment would subject others to your interest. Do they want that? I believe your interest is really in the lowest minority.
The text I entered was too long by 700 characters...so I posted it here... Man Man Zou - The Species Richness Standard
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:02 PM
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Well said Epi.Your tree is magnificent! Thank you
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:40 AM
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Well said Epi.Your tree is magnificent! Thank you
Thanks! You're welcome to see it in person anytime you're down! And next time I'm up for the orchid expo I'll contact you to see if you need a hand with any guerrilla gardening (GG)! I can dig the hole...you can keep a lookout. Unless we have a lot of digging to do...then we should both do the digging. Haha...we could totally GG a banyon fig tree in the middle of downtown San Francisco! We'd go to jail...get tons of publicity...and GG would go viral. They'd do a movie about us...and GG would be the most popular thing ever. Nobody would be able to stand still for a second...they'd either get an epiphyte attached to them...or they'd be surrounded by Agaves...and Martha Stewart. It would be the Garden of Eden. We wouldn't be clothed in light though...we'd be clothed in plants. Then we could finally see theinvisiblegardener!

Speaking of Heaven and gardening...anybody ever see the Indie short film about a boy whose grandfather loved to garden? The grandfather was sick and knew he was going to die soon...so he told his grandson that he had to go because Jesus needed a gardener. When the grandfather passed away...the boy asked his mom why she was so sad...she said that it was because his grandfather was gone. The grandson said that it was ok because he was in heaven gardening. It's been a LONG time since I saw it...so not sure if that's exactly how it went. Definitely remember getting choked up though. I gardened all the time with my grandfather when I was growing up. I'd love to watch the short film again. Last time I Google searched for it I totally failed to find it. Ummm...I'm very vaguely thinking that it might have been from New Zealand.

Also speaking of loss and Heaven...when I was stationed in Afghanistan I saw a burning bush. It was some sort of legume in the middle of the desert. The bush was covered in sunshine yellow blossoms...and it smelled just like Heaven.

I took a photo of it...but it doesn't do it justice...


Burning Bush Smelled Like Heaven by epiphyte78, on Flickr

It's one of my biggest regrets that I didn't make more effort to try and get seeds of this. Not sure how much money we've given Afghanistan...but however much it is...importing this bush would be more than enough repayment. Anybody want to civic crowdfund me to go get some seeds?

Last edited by epiphyte; 12-09-2013 at 01:38 PM. Reason: my editor was on hiatus
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Old 12-09-2013, 07:09 PM
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I think plants have been invading other territories since time immemorial and even the most rapacious like Tamarisk eventually fit in to the ecosystem and are preyed upon. I'm thinking of Hawaii, which is entirely composed of non-natives----invasion after invasion of plants over the millenia have continually altered the ecosystem and even the damage we have done with Lantanas, Acacia, etc. will be absorbed and reintegrated.

That said, it would be nice to keep our remaining "wild islands" in California intact as possible. Because we "like" it. But even they, as the Earth's 120,000 year wobble again reorients itself toward another ice age, will have to move and invade southern areas again---the Madro-Tertiary flora originated in Mexico.
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Old 12-11-2013, 02:24 PM
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:21 PM
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The term native-plant nazi is offensive. It's pretty arrogant too to assume you know what people want and the belief in sticking an exotic in a native terrain would be a welcome sight. I find native beauty extremely spiritual and lament careless/intentional damage to it. There are so many native plants that inspire alone and collectively. What about planting some American plant in Madagascar? There is so much more to it than just plants and subjective aesthetics. If an animal transports a seed there is natural symbiosis going on. When a human does, generally it's an act born of selfishness, arrogance or ignorance or aota.
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Old 12-12-2013, 06:03 PM
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The term native-plant nazi is offensive. It's pretty arrogant too to assume you know what people want
Is it possible to know what people want?

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and the belief in sticking an exotic in a native terrain would be a welcome sight.
Are wild parrots here in California a welcome sight?

http://californiaparrots.us/
http://www.californiaparrotproject.org/

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What about planting some American plant in Madagascar?
Ok, how about the Ghost Orchid?

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There is so much more to it than just plants and subjective aesthetics. If an animal transports a seed there is natural symbiosis going on. When a human does, generally it's an act born of selfishness, arrogance or ignorance or aota.
Yesterday I watched my hummingbird drinking nectar from my Aeschynanthus evrardii. I took that photo back in September and it's still blooming. The hummingbird really loves it. Well...that's what I discern based on his actions. He spends a long time with his face buried in each flower. I wonder how much nectar he gets from each flower? I wonder if he thinks the nectar tastes better than the nectar from other flowers?

Was it selfish or arrogant of me to give my hummingbird a new option? Was it selfish or arrogant of whoever it was who gave me an additional option by bringing Aeschynanthus evrardii into cultivation?

I don't think my hummingbird wants less options. I don't want less options either. Do you want less options?

I'm pretty sure Stan wants a larger selection of plants that he can grow outside year around.

A few weeks ago I sowed nearly all the seeds from my Aloe thraskii. I could have sowed them earlier in the year but I waited until winter. Why? For Stan. Now I have a gazillion seedlings coming up...and it's a given that one of them is more cold tolerant than the rest. Because they can't all be equally cold tolerant. Whether or not the variation in cold tolerance is significant remains to be seen though.

Except, who knows if any of the seedlings are going to be Aloe thraskii for sure. The seeds all came from thraskii...but I didn't pollinate the flowers. It was probably my hummingbird. At the time there were several other tree Aloes in bloom. And my hummingbird is all about hybridizing. I don't think thraskii really cares if its genes are mixed with another species or the same species. In both cases it still gets to pass its genes on. What thraskii cares about is the fitness of the vehicle. Thraskii doesn't care if the vehicle is black or white...thraskii just wants it to effectively transport its genes. So if Aloe speciosa provides a fitter vehicle for thraskii's genes...then speciosa is thraskii's preference.

Will Stan thumb his nose at a thraskii hybrid? My guess is no.

So what are all the factors involved? Thraskii provided all or some of the genetic material...the hummingbird did the pollination...nature is going to decide how cold it gets down here...all I did was sow the seeds.

It's arrogant and selfish for me to sow the seeds? But everybody else is aiight? Or it's only arrogant and selfish if I sowed the seeds in the surrounding foothills? But what if my hummingbird told me to do it? What if there's a hummingbird controlling me? Would you prefer if there was a platypus controlling me?

Wouldn't the future be better with more hummingbirds? Did you know that Taiwan doesn't have any hummingbirds? How sad is that? Now take that sadness and multiply it by all the countries that don't have any hummingbirds. That's a lot of sadness!!! You don't have a heart if all that sadness doesn't make you sad.

I'd be sad if the lemurs disappeared from the wild. How do you describe their unique form of locomotion? Skipping? Prancing? Hopping? Their habitat is being destroyed. Maybe they should be introduced to Australia?

I'd also be sad if Chameleons disappeared. But I feel somewhat less anxiety regarding the survival of the Jackson Chameleon. That's because it has naturalized in Hawaii. Now we don't have all our Chameleons in one continent. Perhaps Hawaii lost a few snails species as a result...but how many snails do we really need? Of course I'm biased against snails. Snails eat my orchid roots and fern fronds. On the other hand, my gf, who is from Hawaii...is biased against lizards...they seem to like jumping on her. Chameleons don't jump...but they are guilty by association I suppose.

I'm pretty sure that epiphytic orchids can and should be introduced every where that they can possibly grow. Unlike other plants...it's pretty rare for them to occur in high densities. Having lived for three years in the Panamanian jungle jungle...I can vouch from personal experience that space on trees isn't very scarce. Seeing an orchid on a tree was by far the exception. Chances are good that the gains will offset any losses...so orchids from Borneo should be introduced to Panama and vice versa. The alternative is to keep too many eggs in one basket...and that can't be right.

Last edited by epiphyte; 12-12-2013 at 06:10 PM. Reason: A man, a plan, a canal, Panama
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Old 12-12-2013, 07:47 PM
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It's about the where. Your yard or a developed area vs natural space. Your citing of parrots makes me think of the python problem in FL. And countless other invasive animal issues. So many... I'm simply giving this controversial topic thought and sharing my opinions evoked regarding cavalier, intentional depositing of an exotic into a wild landscape. I love exotics in the garden, I admit. And if a hummingbird or some other pollinator makes something happen so be it. I do contemplate my roll in this as a gardener, but it's essentially a fait accompli and brings me immense joy (and other rationale) so I allow myself the guilty pleasure in my patch which was a suburban wasteland of geraniums, juniper, ivy and dog doo when I moved here. That said, I did plant many natives such as manzanita, arbutus, redwood, buckeye, snowberry... all of which I love. What was once a dry barren sad little patch now is host to lizards, salamanders, earthworms, a plethora of butterflies, insects and birds. Even a couple rarities and surely some invaders. I hope the balance falls on the side of the original heirs.
But I really do hate the thought of being the guy who callously caused doom for some delicate plant/creature/ecosystem because I thought it would be cool to see a <fill in the blank> along a path somewhere. Not saying it isn't happening, or can be stopped, but my personal modus operandi is based on being considerate, humble and treading carefully in nature. I *love* the concept of beautification of urban spaces that are unloved repositories of ugliness. But all philosophical and scientific haggling aside, I'm not personally comfortable with going out into open spaces and seeding something exotic any more than I can abide graffiti on the rocks in Joshua Tree (or where ever that was recently reported). I love artistic graffiti in an urban setting however and have on occasion lamented it's removal. Some people love ATVs and think the sound is awesome and to hell with what the rest of the people think, even though it may be incredibly disruptive in a natural setting. It's relative and subjective and cumulative. For myself, I still question whether a person of a tiny specialized faction really can/should say what others want or like or throw caution to the wind, and take liberties out in native terrain based on some notion that their roll equates to just another random fluke in nature- a living contribution will persist long after the roar of the ATV has stopped and the paint fades from the rock. Nature is taking a beating and the more we can avoid adding to the desecration of wilderness the better. Energy and whimsy is better focused on re-greening the dead zones humans have already desecrated. OK, I'm shutting up now!
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabngirl View Post
The term native-plant nazi is offensive. It's pretty arrogant too to assume you know what people want and the belief in sticking an exotic in a native terrain would be a welcome sight. I find native beauty extremely spiritual and lament careless/intentional damage to it. There are so many native plants that inspire alone and collectively. What about planting some American plant in Madagascar? There is so much more to it than just plants and subjective aesthetics. If an animal transports a seed there is natural symbiosis going on. When a human does, generally it's an act born of selfishness, arrogance or ignorance or aota.
The term native plant nazi refers to an attitude or outlook of control and geographic purity regarding what plants should grow where and as to how they are introduced. This term fits native plant purists like yourself perfectly. The Nazis were trying to purge genetic diversity to create a master race. Yes steep slopes covered in Manzanita, Mimulus, and Eriogonum are lovely but injecting Agave Americana into the mix will not affect this landscape the slightest.
Are humans no longer animals? Are my choices any different than a wild parrot planting ficus in palm trees? Or worse the green form of Coprosma?

Your view is too limited for me. I remember the California garden at the Barcelona botanical garden in Spain blew me away because the 'natives' looked happier and healthier than they did back home in the wild?

Epis hummingbird could care less.
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:40 PM
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IMO,

I think the only guerilla gardening that should be done is with native plant species that compliment a particular location. So. Cal. might be the exception here as there are few places left that are dominated by native plants. But in my neck of the woods, a good majority of folks live here for the natural beauty of the desert. I don't live far enough on the outskirts of town to see wild creosote and saguaro (it's close), but I still would be peeved if someone planted a bunch of tropical looking plants in the median down my thoroughfare. They just don't belong here.

Keep it native and it's all good.

Personally, I think it is a bit selfish for one to take it upon him or herself to plant things they like on property which is not theirs, that's what your back yard is for.
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