So I’ve gotten tired of hearing stump speeches from the Red Huckleberries (Vaccinium parvifolium). And irritated by the Tall Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium) going around boasting “We’re going to make America grape again!” I’m longing for the good ol’ days of Occupy. So in honor of May Day, let’s look back a little bit to 2012:
Native Plant Appreciation Week is over but the residual effects are still with us. AND it was May Day a few days ago. All week long, I have been beleaguered by sign-waving Native Plants. They are standing tall and proud in the nursery (egged on by the free-range huckleberries in the woods adjacent).
One of the Grand Firs (Abies Grandis) gave a speech: “It’s time to take a stand! Haven’t we been downsized enough? Our hard-working limbs, leaves and roots disrespected enough?”
The Large-Flower Fairybells (Prosartes smithii) straightened their curving stems a bit and waved their creamy yellow flowers.
Grand Fir continued. “Those humans have contracted out most of our work! They dig pits to replace whole ecosystems and claim they will keep the water clean. Are they doing the job RIGHT?” Grand Fir paused for a moment to curl a branch into a full-on sneer. “NO-O-O-O! How can a hole in the ground do YOUR jobs of cushioning the earth from pelting raindrops and rushing, polluted runoff? How can a gutter or a storm drain provide a home for a Junco or a Tree Frog?”
At this point, the demonstration took on a surprising degree of diversity. Scolding noises came from the trees. A tree frog croaked and the newly-hatched tadpoles in the kiddy pools waggled their tails. And the little pots of mosses, carrying signs that said “Cushioning is our job!” and “Moss-Out Kills!” and “Solidarity with Peat!” stumped out to the driveway and staged a Moss-In. The moss on the branches of the tall Douglas Firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii) overhead went wild, throwing lichen bits and hollering.
Grand Fir, encouraged, worked herself up a little more. “Do they think that LAWNS or poodle-puff-who-knows-what-they-are-supposed-to-be shrubs will really give them what they need? They need life! And they get that from us! WE are the 99%! Just try to imagine how many plants it takes to keep one of those too-smart-for-their-own-good primates alive?”
“I know, I know!” squeaked a plump baby Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) in a 1-gallon pot, flapping its new, still-soft leaves.
Grand Fir ignored him. “Let me tell YOU! There’s a big debt outstanding to Mother Nature! It’s high time humans stop taking it out of OUR cambiums!”
The Red-Flowering Currants (Ribes sanguineum) began swaying back and forth, making a deep rumbling (which surprised me, since they are only a foot tall): “No more bailouts! No more bailouts!”
Grand Fir raised a limb to silence the somewhat off-topic Currants. “It’s high time they APPRECIATED us!”
I’ve been hearing this kind of talk all week, and frankly, I have had enough. Time for these plants to march on out of here. Time for you to give them gainful employment in your yard, doing water quality protection, habitat support and general environmental cleanup. And allow them to reclaim some space for Mother Nature.
Don’t be afraid to come—these highly qualified job candidates will welcome your support. And I will make them put away their signs.
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