Sunday, November 25, 2007

Invasive Species Challenge

The conflict between beauty and order versus diversity and complexity is a wicked inconvenience of invasive species issues. Fear of and for nature collide in the quest for the moral high ground. The simple serenity of a traditional landscape with its easy to comprehend species syntax, is set in high relief to the swirling interactions and complicated relationships which require a great amount of landscape syntax to understand. The cultural collision of our ideas about nature is focused as we contend with the desire to subdue and control while at the same time the need to preserve and protect.

The brilliant burning red color of the burning bush, Euonymus alatus, is, at first glance, a beacon bringing the eye to a specific point, and helping find easily recognized reference points within the garden. At the same time at some subliminal level we note and store the signal of warning and danger that red sends. The traditional garden gives comfort to short term feelings of tranquility and peace; the long term needs of our common environment our obscured by our short term near horizon decision making dynamics. We are constantly pulled in different directions that are seemingly irreconcilable. They need not be. If color is the landscape design need, then sumac in the Chesapeake region is a native replacement. If the tight, well manicured look is called for, then someday, researchers at faculties like the National Arboretum will perhaps discover sterile cultivars of the burning bush. I am radically moderate in my belief that we can find consensus in future adaptations and adjustments to changing expectations and needs. We can find the common ground which will propel us forward into tomorrow.

1 comment:

Xris (Flatbush Gardener) said...

"radically moderate" ... I like that.

I hope that our capacity for wisdom catches with our consequences.