If you are not looking for another Kudzu disaster, I would recommend NOT planting these 4 invasive species in Coastal North Carolina or anywhere in the United States honestly.
Let us start with the infamous Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima). Tamarix ramosissima has naturalized and become a major invasive plant species in parts of the world, consuming large amounts of groundwater in riparian (relating to or situated on the banks of a river) and oasis habitats due to the density of its stands. The high salt level in tamarisk infiltrates the soil, preventing other plants from growing, creating a tamarisk-dominant forest with no understory, void of important habitat for pollinators and other native species. Tamarisk forests also tend to burn hotter than most native riparian trees, worsening the fire hazard of acres of uninterrupted tamarisk and their risk to human structures.
Native To: Eurasia (Carman and Brotherson 1982) Date of U.S. Introduction: Early 1800s (Carman and Brotherson 1982) Means of Introduction: Ornamental (Carman and Brotherson 1982) Impact: Lowers the water table & creates large deposits of salt in the soil (Di Tomaso 1998)
Next on the list is the Thorny-olive (Elaeagnus pungens).
This exotic invasive species (native to Asia) has become a serious ecological pest in North Carolina, displacing native vegetation in many forested and forest edge habitats. Exotic invasive from Japan, this shrub to small tree grows along wooded edges in suburban areas in the eastern half of North Carolina.
Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) is coming for you North Carolina!
What problems does pampas grass cause?
It forms dense, often impenetrable, stands that can damage grazing lands and affect visibility on roads. Pampas grass increases its density and colonizes semi-natural areas in a short period of time, being a threat to native plant diversity. Due to low decomposition rates of standing dead leaves and senescing panicles, it increases fire risk. The sharp leaves can produce superficial cuts and flowers may provoke allergies in summer. Their large size significantly reduces light availability, blocking out native species.
Beach vitex (Vitex rotundifolia) is sea turtles’ enemy!
Beach vitex is a salt-tolerant, perennial, invasive shrub that has naturalized in coastal areas of the southeastern United States. Since its introduction in the 1980s, this Pacific Rim native has invaded many fragile beach-dune ecosystems along the Mid-Atlantic, Southern Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico. Large-scale monocultures of beach vitex supplant native species through rapid vegetative reproduction and seed production. Fruits are capable of water-based dispersal, allowing for potential rapid range expansion in coastal areas. Ecosystem damage resulting from exclusion of native plant species by beach vitex and fears associated with potential negative effects on sea turtle nesting have served to promote the control and survey efforts presently underway in coastal areas of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland.
Here are some sites that will help you find native plants to your area.
A beloved tradition is reborn as the picturesque grounds of the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park play host to a new take on a classic gathering with the 2nd Annual Suwannee Spring Reunion at the end of March. For decades the onset of Spring meant gathering at the park for a weekend of fun, family, Bluegrass and string music. The intial Line-Up included artist with storied histories of epic Suwannee performances like Donna the Buffalo, Peter Rowan, Jeff Mosier and many, many more…. Matching the history on the stage, long time park hosts, Randy and Beth Judy are partnering with the Spirit of the Suwannee to make sure that every piece needed to make an epic weekend of music and fun is in place and ready to write the new entries for this new legend.
Once again the beloved tree lined amphitheater is home to early morning sing-a-longs and night time musical pyrotechnics from the park’s stellar cast of alumni. Placing a strong emphasis on embracing on the traditions that made the park a national treasure, there will be a wide array of arts & crafts, food that ranges from healthy to decadent and of course the grandeur of the park itself. It’s a place where kids of all ages can remember why they fell in love with the magic mixture of sights, sounds and sensations that constitutes a weekend of paradise that is the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park.
For four days in March, you can slip your shoes off and dance under the bright blue vistas and star studded skies. Wander the endless trails along the Suwannee River, tell stories around the crackling campfire or simply lie back and watch the Spanish moss that drapes the sheltering Live Oaks that sway in the breeze. Dance the days way at the Stages and wile away the night hours around the “Picking Parties” that spring up along into the dawn’s early light. There are no wrong choices when you arrive at your home and the place where live music lives for the founding of a new tradition, built on the love of the past, the Suwannee Spring Reunion.
Mushpa + Mensa can’t wait to see you all there!!!
Here are some of the artists playing this weekend!
If you are into podcasts, and spirituality, maybe you’ve heard of Joel Osteen. I’m sure there’s politics around him. He is a white male with money and success. Honestly though, I don’t want to google that today. It’s so easy to find fault with everyone on the internet, probably even Mother Teresa, that I am choosing to bring only positivity into this post.
I just happened to stumble upon his podcast one day, and truly he is a wonderful speaker. I got hooked. If you want to feel good, and need a little spiritual restoration, and want to uplift yourself, try him out. There is somethig about him that reaches into you, digs deep, connects and doesn’t want to let go… and you want to keep listening. Even if you are a “liberal latina spiritual lesbian” like me (which is not who I truly am…but that’s another post on human existentialism I won’t go into today).
In the episode/sermon “Say So” he speaks about the importance of saying things out loud, and he finishes the sermon with a blessing. This morning I typed it down, and adapted it a little bit for myself. I have printed it out and hung it in my room, where I will committ to recite it outloud every morning along with my meditation practice.
The blessing is a follows:
Say it like you mean it:
I am blessed.
I am prosperous.
I am strong.
I am healthy.
I am talented.
I am creative.
I am competent.
I am secure.
I am disciplined.
I am focused.
I am attractive.
I am well liked.
I have a good personality.
The right people are in my future.
The right opportunities are headed my way.
I will accomplish my dreams.
I will overcome every obstacle.
2019 is my year.
Things have shifted in my favor.
God is about to show me something that I’ve never seen.
It’s going to be
than I ever imagined.
I am safe in the hands of God.
I am present today.
I am here now.
I have faith.
Do it too. Print it out. Put it up in your wall, in your bathroom, in your notebook, next to your desk, your bed, your altar. Just make it happen. Try it out with me for the next 30 days. This is another step I am taking for myself to live more in the moment, to fill me, and to truly just be.