Invasive Species

I spent a month in New Zealand in 2014, touring both north and south Islands with my son. One of the constant items about which we heard much was the impact of introduced species of flora and fauna on the local populations.

Indeed having remarked, early on, on the lovely splashes of roadside colour that the ubiquitous lupins brought to the otherwise verdant verges, I was offered a free and lengthy lecture on the history of the ‘insidious little bastards’ which I decided it wise to accept gratefully from the large and explosively splenetic Kiwi.

And by the end of the trip I no longer thought it extraordinary to be encouraged to rip up Wilding Pine saplings on a tramp above Queenstown. You only had to see how they were invading the countryside to understand the urgency.

Here in the UK we’ve had our share of invasions, some at the fungoid or Coleoptera levels that have devastated some of our indigenous hardwoods – the elm and the ash to name two.

As a gardener, the worst you can encounter is Japanese knotweed, an aggressive bamboo that acts as a perfectly acceptable rhubarb substitute if cooked, and is prettily ornamental while having root systems that can crack foundations. Find that in your backyard and the chances of you selling your house without a significant price reduction to fund the expensive and long term cleanup is zip.

Over the last two days, I have added to my list of the top ten ‘most hated’ (coming straight in at number five, between caravan owners and undisclosed marmite) the green parakeet, a rather beautiful red beaked immigrant that has formed several large colonies in London’s largest parks.

Normally I’m fairly sanguine about these invaders. We are a very interconnected planet as our recent pandemic visitor has shown.

But where once I had these…

I now have these…

Sods…

It’s enough to make me want to…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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22 Responses to Invasive Species

  1. Mary Smith says:

    I’m sure they have your garden on their top ten ‘most loved’.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nick Bliss says:

    Completely agree with your views on both Japanese Knotweed and parakeets…..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had two months in NZ in 2010 and loved it. There was a lot of gripes about foreign plants though, especially gorse which is now rampant and they can’t get rid of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Personally speaking (as one of ‘them’) I am very fond of the wild lupins. They add a splash of colour amongst the otherwise dun green verges. And the gorse has turned out to be a secret aid in natural reforestation too. The seeding natives take root beneath the gorse, flourish and grow and eventually outgrow their nanny and, with a lack of respect and gratitude almost unbelievable to witness, smother the gorse and kill it. I lived for a decade in a part of Wellington that was covered in gorse when I arrived and almost entirely gone when I left. Now if we could just find something to deal with the invasive Aussies possums as effectively that would be really great news for our birds.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Erika says:

    OMG, that’s heartbreaking to see the sunflower being displaced. I can imagine your frustration so well. I think all climate zones have their invaders. Over here once you have horsetail in your garden you don’t need to plant anything else. It will fill your garden in no time…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. If I were a parakeet I would camp out at your place. Like the radical left, I think you have way too much in sunflower seed resources and should share it equally among the less fortunate (and lazy) masses.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. JT Twissel says:

    I had the same thing happen to my sunflowers. Absolutely broke my heart. You didn’t really bungee jump did you? Gads!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. willowdot21 says:

    “Don’t jump off the roof Geoff , you’ll make a whole in the yard”
    Seriously yes it’s depressing isn’t it ! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Widdershins says:

    Oh, that’s sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Elizabeth says:

    From the parakeets? The rain? The sun followed by the rain?

    Liked by 1 person

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