Thursday, January 11, 2007

Invasives, cancer & forget-me-nots

Help fight cancer, the seed package states: “Recognize the Potential Signs & Symptoms: Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma”. I have sometimes been amazed about the disconnects we face when we try to do too much in our complex world. A seed package is a helpful, harmless way of spreading the word and saving life. In a way, an invasive species in a natural system is a cancer, spreading without control and over-riding the complex balance of the established systems and processes.

And why, do I bring this to my web log? Because the well intentioned effort to help contains the seed of Myosotis scorpioides L. forget-me-not. At least that is what I think is in the package based on the photograph on the seed package; there is no information about the seed on the package, but plenty of very helpful information about these deadly diseases.

All we read is the poignant instructions under the beautiful flowers: “As you plant these seeds, remember all the children and adults who are counting on your help to fight blood cancers.” I am hesitant about posting this as it is not my intent to stop the campaign or hinder it in any way; this would be extremely counter productive. To the contrary, to me this is a small piece of the difficult process of education which ultimately guides each individual’s plant choices. Of all the flowers, this one has the “correct” common name to market the information which would save lives. This would seem to be the right plant at the right place at the right time. But a plant can also be the wrong plant in the wrong place at the wrong time.

To me landscape choices follow a similar decision pathway built less on knowledge than on received wisdom. We use certain plants in specific places without consideration of the species effect on neighboring ecosystems.

You can reach and help the cause of blood cancer awareness at their website Please do not use this posting to complain to them, but do consider this as a tiny example of daily landscape and garden choices and how they are made.

I shall post a picture of the seed package this weekend.

1 comment:

Ruth Hanessian said...

The forget me not packaging exemplifies the power of a name.I planted them just because of the cause