While Todd Major's articles are always informative, he is wrong to say in his Jan. 23 column, Exotic Plants Not Always Bad, that people extoll the virtues of native plants to the exclusion of all other plants. Purists - no way! Native plants are known as hardy, adaptable to climate change and spring flowering, so to use them only would never be acceptable to any gardener, or garden owner.
Living in a local strata we deal with aggressively growing invasive plants such as ivy and lamium that smother all other plants in their way. To do so is costly and work intensive. Lasagna or sheet mulching has been one way we have successfully restored the soil and replanted with a mix of native plants and spring bulbs. Summer flowering plants are ideally in containers or pots to add colour during that time.
As a North Shore streamkeeper and member of the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver I am well aware of streamside protection and herbicide usage bylaws - municipal, provincial and federal. Harm is done to our local streams by run-off from cosmetic pesticide use on lawns (still sold and used regardless of bylaws), dogs in streams disturbing the spawning beds during those most sensitive times, illegal disposal of liquid or toxic products, and encroachment of the 15-metres-from-topof-bank streamside setback. Japanese knotweed is still a major problem, so powerful a plant it can grow through concrete. Stem injection with herbicides is done only away from streamside, by professionally trained personnel, with licences from the appropriate North Shore municipality. Signage is posted to warn people that a herbicide has been used.
There is nothing like a delicious blackberry and apple crumble pie! But keep that devil blackberry bush under control out of bird nesting season.
Janet Dysart North Vancouver