Most of my Master Gardener public outreach hours are going to school gardens. Recently, however, a service opportunity came up I couldn’t resist: spying on nurseries to document how many invasive plants they have for sale.
Ok, not really spying. It’s all done in the open as part of the non-profit organization Plant Right’s attempt to take “data collected from this survey to track California’s retail market for invasive garden plants over time. Having this information allows PlantRight to engage the nursery industry in building an effective program to stop the sale of these plants and replace them with environmentally safe alternatives. The survey itself is a data collection effort and not an outreach initiative.” They asked Master Gardeners for help, and I gladly watched the webinar and signed up for a nursery in the general area of my other Saturday errands.
Imagine my disappointment when the training webinar said “No disguises necessary.”
In reality, I strolled around–a plainclothes amateur botanical detective— with my Plant ID guide of 18 targeted invasives to find. I’m happy to report that the big box store to which I was assigned had none of them. We were supposed to record other plants in the genus, though, so I jotted down some notes about a broom and vinca minor (vinca major was on the blacklist), took some photos and submitted my notes to their site. A good afternoon’s work for a native plant vigilante.
To learn more about this cool effort, see http://www.plantright.org