Sunday, February 27, 2011
One of Those Gray Sundays Wisconsin Does So Well
(The pretty yellow euphorbia above? Don't plan on it for your yard! FORBIDDEN by DNR NR-40!)
It is one of those gray Sundays that Wisconsin weather seems to provide so often. My son is off milking cows with my father-- yes, there are still some dairy farmers here California, you with all your damn happy cows... I'm looking through the blogs I follow and happened to notice one for today's date February 28, 2011. She has a clock on her blog, "Gardens of a Golden Afternoon". Her blog is written in the UK, so it is almost always a sunlit afternoon there.
Jimmy Buffet Parrotheads move over!
A bunch of things from her blog for today jumped out at me all at once. First, almost all the blogs I follow are of gardeners in much more hospitable climes, second, paging down there is a post from the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show featuring a plant that has been banned by Wisconsin DNR's NR-40, and last, there is a recipe for what looks to be a delightful vegetable curry.
Wisconsin is getting to be a much more repressive place, it seems. First, our weather--never particularly hospitable in the central sands part of Wisconsin anyway.
Secondly, our Governor, who after bankrupting Milwaukee County, has moved on to bigger and better things defying the Peter Principle and achieving a level on the employment ladder one higher than his proven level of incompetency. And, thirdly, and maybe more insidiously that someone died, or just went on vacation, and made the DNR king.
The DNR, (the Wisconsin Department of Resources) has been quietly getting a number of rules and bills passed giving them more and more authority over Wisconsinites' land ownership in the guise of protecting our waterways and other natural resources.
I'll put up the disclaimer right now; a lot of what the DNR does is a pretty good idea.
There are people from large metropolitan areas that buy property in less developed parts of Wisconsin where the zoning, or what have you, are not quite what they should be, or not quite so well thought out and the DNR will literally save the butts of those governing bodies with their rules for river or lake developments. Many time their rules simply bring state code up to federal NCRS standards. All good.
So getting back to the Chelsea Flower Show. The euphorbia pictured is illegal in Wisconsin according to the NR-40.
Reading the rule in its entirety is a bid daunting and scary; all the definitions and verbiage in the beginning can certainly weigh on one, especially in the gray of a Wisconsin day. In addition to listing a couple plants I've seen on display at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens and plants I have in my own yard. It also lists two species of cattail, the root of which is food for a number of different wetlands critters. It goes on to list things which no person in their right mind wants, nor are easy to control: Asian Longhorn Beetles, oak wilt, gypsy moths, wooly adelid, and emerald ash borer; putting the onus for control on the property owner.
It includes the parent stock of a newly hybrid bittersweet just patented and introduced this last year. I'm not sure what the legality of that patented plant would be.
It also includes Dame's Rocket, which has been a understory feature along some of Wisconsin's road ways all my life.
The rule also gives the DNR to the ability to declare any any plant noxious WITHOUT having to prove its invasiveness. That's not the only underlying, subtle phrasing included in this rule. The rule give the DNR the ability to get a warrant to enter a property if they simply suspect the forbidden plant may be present. They don't have to prove it and they get reimbursement for any costs associated with any of their actions.
Wow. There is a lot here to be worried about. A couple of the big plant suppliers that ship to Wisconsin are not aware of this rule. Nurseries and growers who have any of these plants in stock must destroy them.
A nice picture chart so Wisconsinites and report sightings of these bad, bad plants is provided.
So, property owners, get out your herbicides and insecticides and get spraying! You don't want to be fined by the DNR! Just be careful that none of your nasty chemicals get into our waterways and destroy the aquatic life the DNR obviously wants to protect.