|Rugosa Rose iconic flower of simple beauty was proclaimed an invasive species by the government of Maine' in 2019|
photography (c) Susan Mackenzie Andersen 2019
|The Rugosa Rose is like an endless evolving sculpture that twists and turns itself into many unexpected forms. As long as it is blooming, I cannot stop photographing it.|
Conversational references to Boothbay on social media is dominated by the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, which is no surprise since a corporation so well funded with redistributed wealth has the means to advertise, while our traditional regional draws like the unparalleled Ocean Point do not. Over the years I have seen images identified as having been taken at the Boothbay Botanical Gardens on a Facebook page for photography of Maine Flowers. Recently there was an image posted of an exotic flower imported into our local ecosystem by the Gardens. This flower could not have been named more perfectly for the cultural and political discussion it generated. It is called Imperial, relating in meaning to that of imperialism.
Fritillaria imperialis (crown imperial, imperial fritillary or Kaiser's crown) is a species of flowering plant in the lily family, native to a wide stretch from Kurdistan across the plateau of Turkey Iraq and Iran to Afghanistan, Pakistanand the Himalayan foothills. It is also widely cultivated as an ornamental and reportedly naturalized in Austria, Sicily, and Washington State. The common names and also the epithet "imperialis", literally "of the emperor", refer to the large circle of golden flowers, reminiscent of an emperor's crown. Wikipedia
Definition of imperialismMy reader might say' "what a stretch! to relate the name of a flower to a political meaning!". In justification, I commented that it was a beautiful photograph but not a Maine flower and instigated a ruckus in which I was accused of being anti-immigrant by questioning the practice by Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens of introducing exotic species into our local environment. Sentiments flowed profusely as the undertone of the conversation was unleashed by my comment. We are in the midst of a War of the Flowers.
1 : imperial government, authority, or system
2 : the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas
broadly : the extension or imposition of power, authority, or influence Miriam Webster
|An independently spirited Sculpture in Motion|
Abundant funding bought the legal might to build a parking lot in the water shed, after the Gardens lost the argument with the town ordinances, an argument which relied on defining the Gardens as a school, and not a museum. If the Gardens is not a museum, why then is it introducing exotic plant species into our natural habitat? The idea of it is not only environmentally dangerous but symbolic of the long historical cultural divide which has defined the Boothbay Peninsula for as long as I can remember.
The political undertone in a Facebook group dedicated to photographing Maine Flowers has been percolating for quite some time. It was evident when I posted a picture of a field of purple Loosestrife. Comments were made implicating myself as an irresponsible person, noncompliant with Maine environmental proclamations, although it was not my field. I do not know why purple loosestrife is planted there but It has not strayed onto other properties. The reason for concern about purple loosestrife is due to its crowding out other wild life species in the wetlands, but there may have been a reason why the purple loosestrife was planted due to particular environmental conditions at that location. I remember there was the intention to plant a field of wild flowers by the late artist who owned the property. Sometimes, what is detrimental for one purpose is advantageous for another. Honeysuckle trees are said to be an invasive species and yet in some states one is not allowed to interfere with them in a wetland.
|photography (c) Susan Mackenzie Andersen 2019|
I was reprimanded for posting a photograph of a neighbor's field. Was it really about an evasive species - or was it about landscaping that encourages the natural meandering habits of nature uncontrolled by man? Is there a mission by Maine's increasingly centralized government to ban nature's tendency to meander in a lyracle rather than an orderly manner? The Legislature may have access to qualified research but there are historical examples in which the Legislature simply ignores the research in order to do what it wants to do as a foregone conclusion.
The Rugosa Rose is classified as "very evasive" by The Maine Legislature circa 2019:
The Rugosa Rose has been growing in Maine for as long as I remember. It grows at the beach but not aggressively. It expands over time but not rapidly. If I want to establish a healthy clump of Rugosa Roses in a garden, I will require patience. If I want to get rid of it, there is an old tech invention called a shovel which will do the job.
In another recent post, a picture of the common ground cover, Mound of Gold was posted, asking how to get rid of it. The conversation veered into claims that the Maine Legislature had declared Mound of Gold to be toxic to live stock and had declared it to be an invasive species. One of the posters asked if I wasn't pleased that the Maine Legislature was looking after us. To which I responded that to my knowledge Mound of Gold is not a wild flower but a cultivated one. I have never seen live stock wandering in our streets and that I think farmers are better at making the decision about what to feed live stock than the Maine Legislature. Later I concluded that the comment was just spreading fake news as I did not find Mound of Gold listed on the Maine invasive species list.
|A Day in the Life of a Rose|
Why menacing? Because the Gardens has dealt with environmental regulations with money and protestations that it was really nothing. Based on that record, why should we trust Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Inc, with safely introducing foreign species into our local environment?
The administrator of the group handles the rukus gracefully, saying it was acceptable to post some images of flowers not local to Maine but it was best to stay on the subject to which the group is dedicated.