Posts Tagged With: Scotch Broom


On June 7th of this year,  I blogged about the beautiful but invasive plant, Scotch Broom. Impossible to eradicate because the seeds can live 100 years. It has taken over the state of Washington and interferes with native plants. I copped a picture from a local newspaper:

DSC06861 (Copy)It isn’t a good enough picture to recognize the plant along the roadside, but even so, be aware that in our convoluted laws, we can’t get a ban on selling this plant until it is proven a nuisance. By then, of course, it is too late. I put out a petition in June, hoping to get a change in that law and a congresswoman from Oregon responded saying she had a bill going through the state legislature to change that type of backward process in Oregon.

Now, the good news is, in nearby El Dorado County, a mite was discovered that attacks the scotch broom and could keep it in check. While good news, it hasn’t happened yet, but remember, don’t buy and don’t plant scotch broom. Find a pretty yellow flowering plant that looks just as good. And, when you are in a nursery, remind your favorite nursery owner, if he’ll voluntarily chose not to sell it and advertise the negatives of scotch broom and recommend a better plant.

Today, I hope to pick the last of my apples and clean up underneath them. It was a real treat to have a heavy rain and not have to carry bath water out to my plants.

I hope the people in the burn area have seen some good come from this rain, though I know some feared it would  cause mud slides and erosion. A big mess no one needs after this horrible fire.

Even so, let us not pretend we can or should control the weather. Every time man interferes with the natural order of things, we wind up with disasters. Well, maybe not every time.  Enough said.







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My husband and I took a trip to Washington State in the mid 1990’s. Here we are, say about 20 years later and I was astonished when Jim and I traveled the state of Washington to see scotch broom covering the state. It filled clear cuts. It invaded parking lots, coming up through the asphalt in places. It is everywhere a pest, however beautiful it looks on rocky outcrops.

Last week, on my way to Oregon, I discovered Scotch Broom beginning its March into the state. It had invaded the back half of my seven acres near the river. I figured I could get rid of it quickly. Not so, explained my plant biologist daughter. You might be able to contain it by keeping it from spreading by vigilantly cutting it before it goes to seed. But, I don’t have 100 years left to do that.  I also have it on my property in Murphys. You have to get every plant. Had I known I wouldn’t have bought the stuff.


So, I’ve started a petition to change that. Please sign for me and let your friends know.




I bought Scotch Broom and now have to spend the rest of my life trying to rid my property of it. If I had known it is a take-over horror that interferes with natural plants, animals, birds, sidewalks and parking lots; it gravitates and fills clear cuts and that the seeds last 100 years I wouldn’t have bought it.

That’s why I created a petition to The Oregon State House, The Oregon State Senate, Governor Kate Brown, The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama, which says:

“Invasive plants are considered innocent until proven guilty. By then, they are out of control and cost millions to eradicate when possible. Why allow nurseries to sell invasive foreign species? At least labeling should be required. Simple testing first would save billions. ”

Will you sign this petition? Click here:


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Jim says I don’t rant as much when I’m on the road as I do when I get home.  Of course, he is right. I’m quite shielded from all of the muck going on in the world while we travel. It feels good. But, I return and quite happily get back in the fray. On the streets of Sonora Saturday, a woman told me her daughter was afraid to come to the protest for fear of someone seeing her,  reporting back to her boss,  and costing  her her  job.   I don’t have a job to lose, thus it is even more important that people like myself get out and make sure we don’t give our freedoms away and that we stand up for what we believe in.

My first real job, after high school, was at the Alameda County Jail.  My first day of work,  I was told I would have to remove the bumper sticker on my car. (It was my father’s car.)   The bumper sticker in support of Don Dillon running for mayor of Fremont had nothing to do with any County election. I was indignant at age 17 and full of  idealism. At home, Dad said, remove the bumper sticker, you need the job.  For this woman to fear for her job made me realize  we are not as free as we think we are and our freedom and rights have to be continually protected.

This is a long away around to get to, an organization that allows you to set up a petition about something you believe should be changed.  They will help you give your idea legs as you spread the word to your friends and they spread it to their friends, if anyone out there  thinks your idea has merit.

I’ve had this thought at the back of my mind for years. Why do we allow California Nurseries to sell non-native invasive species? I had a horrible experience with an Australian  pampas grass plant when I planted the Calaveras Community Studio Garden. It’s fronds are sharp like tiny razors and the pampas I planted began to spread into the nearest parking spot. Finally, no one could exit their car door without getting scratched. It even made tiny scratches on car paint. Our studio manager tried cutting it with a chain saw. It bucked the saw back at him and snarled the chain. We cut the fronds individually, a nasty job,  and poisoned it over a period of weeks. It couldn’t be dug up with shovels,  the root ball was so deep and fibrous. What a mess. And, worse, it seeded to a neighbor’s property.

When Jim and I drove the coastal route from Washington to California, I saw plantations of pampas grass, and parking lots and roadside banks where people have tried to mow them down with little success. Yet, we allow these monsters, beautiful though they are, to be sold by nurseries all over our state.

Another invader that has proliferated is Scotch Broom, again, beautiful, but invasive. They grow incredibly well without any native enemies to keep them in check, much like star thistle. Star thistle in its native Scotland has  a parasitic enemy that keeps it in check. It has cost Calaveras  County over a million dollars to control star thistle and it is still growing and needing constant treatment. Expensive.

Now that I’m done ranting, I’ve developed a petition through to gather signatures for a petition that seeks to  make it against the law to sell non-native species in our nurseries.  Realize that it will cost us huge amounts of money to eradicate them when they get out of hand.  If you are like minded, please sign my petition.

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The Haceta Lighthouse is barely visible from a distance on this rugged section of the Oregon coast. The day was overcast, damp, cool and invigorating.

The steep hike up gave us aerial views of the beautiful point and cove it commands and also the Cave Creek Bridge over which we crossed to get to the parking lot.

From above, we watched the churning power of the sea swirling around huge rock outcroppings as though to pulverize them to pieces.

On the way up I wanted to swing like monkey from the branches of this a tree that formed natural stairs along the trail with its huge root system. I haven’t a clue what kind of tree it is.

Amazingly, Haceta is an old 1894 lighthouse, but it is still in service. It has an automated fresnel lense that turns a 1,000 watt bulb, magnified a million times by the lense to shine 21 miles out to sea. Its an historic relic maintained by the Oregon Parks System because ships and planes have GPS and satellite sounding systems that have no need for this piece of history.

Jim and I visited about a dozen lighthouses on the East Coast last year, but I learned more about them on this visit than all of the others. Each lighthouse has two oil houses. In case one catches fire and burns, the oil from the 2nd house is available to keep the lamps lit for passing ships. The big can was filled and brought to the service level twice per shift. The small can was used to fill the oil lamp. On the day shift, the fresnel lense had to be cleaned of soot and smoke from the lamps.

The keeper had to climb inside the lamp through this service bay and polish every facet of the lense and the lighthouse windows as well. The keepers had to wear white aprons over their uniform to keep their brass buttons from scratching the lens.The lense weighs two thousand pounds and operated in the old days by counter weights such as those used by a grandfather clock.

This is old growth forest, with trees that dare to grow out of even older rock outcroppings. The forest itself is interesting.
On our return to camp we stopped at the Sea Lion Cave, the biggest sea cave in the world. It was a natural wonder in its early days, but now a tourist rip off courtesy of its current owners who built a 300 foot deep elevator into the cave and ruined it for viewing. Don’t be tempted. They do have a position over one of the biggest birthing rookeries for sea lions. But they can be seen almost as well from the cliff sides on the road.
The cliffs here are made beautiful by an invasive plant, the scotch broom. They can’t seem to rid the state of the stuff but its adaptive form on these cliffs is nothing short of spectacular.
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