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California Native Plant PR

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Something Borrowed and Brilliant

I recently received a wonderful email from my mother that she got from her mother-in-law. It was an imagined conversation between St. Francis and God. God was asking St. Francis, patron saint of animals and the environment, about the disappearance of all the original flora. He wanted to know why he was seeing only patches of green. The answers St. Francis gave God shocked him. Nothing seemed to make sense. Finally, God couldn't hear it anymore.

That frustration with things being so backwards is what drives me to argue for native plants any chance I get. Knowing that natives will nourish wildlife, environmental stability, water conservation and ecological balance gives me a sense of peace. There is no better time to use natives in our landscapes. We have the opportunity to make our natural world right again, one garden at a time.

I'm including the St. Francis piece. I didn't write it. I wish I knew who did so I could thank her or him.


God talking with St Francis.
GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there in the U.S.? What in the world happened to the dandelions, violets, thistles and the stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees, and flocks of
songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of color by now. All I see are patches of green.
ST. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. They are called Suburbanites and they went to great lengths to kill the flowers and replace them with grass.
GOD: Grass? But it is so boring; it's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, bees, or birds, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want grass growing there?
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing it and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.
GOD: The spring rains and the warm weather probably makes the grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites very happy.
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it has grown a little, they cut it, sometimes two times a week.
GOD: They cut it? Do they bale it like hay?
ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
ST. FRANCIS: No sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
GOD: Now let me get this straight: They fertilize it to make it grow and when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
ST. FRANCIS: Yes, sir.
GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.
ST. FRANCIS: You aren't going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
GOD: What nonsense! At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep the moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves become compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life.
ST. FRANCIS: You'd better sit down, Lord. As soon as the leaves fall, the Suburbanites rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.
GOD: No way!! What do they do to protect the shrubs and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?
ST. FRANCIS: After throwing the leaves away they go out and buy something called mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.
GOD: And where to they get this mulch?
ST. FRANCIS: They cut down the trees and grind them up to make mulch.
GOD: Enough!! I don't want to think about this anymore.


  • Great conversation Carmen! I'm sorry to say that I still pay to have my cut grass hauled away....but it's in the process of changing.

    By Blogger badkarma, at 2:13 PM  

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