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On a Roll

By Paul Bendix

About this blog: A 32-year resident of Menlo Park, I regularly make my way around downtown in a wheelchair. This gives me an unusual perspective on a town in which I have spent almost half of my life. I was educated at UC Berkeley, and permanentl...  (More)

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Politically Correct Gardening

Uploaded: Nov 22, 2013
I consider myself an ecological guy, very green in my gardening practices. My wheelchair-height raised beds are bursting with green. Which aside from chlorophyll, is also the color of money.

Which I keep pouring into every square foot of ground, particularly the flower beds along our walk. Which brings me to the snail, the one my wife found high on a stairway railing. Such a brave little being, she said. Having climbed all that way, didn't he deserve to be taken downstairs and placed among the winter pansies?

Jane is a fellow liberal, eminently green and ecological. Still, we do clash. I pointed out that snails are an invasive species. So are you, she replied.

Which left me rather speechless. I have, more than once, given Jane my lecture on non-native species. She is singularly unimpressed. Devonshire, her place of birth, hasn't seen a native species in centuries.

Britons view nature differently. Long before Columbus stumbled on this hemisphere, most of England was no longer wild. Sherwood Forest in the era of Robin Hood did not have a single tree that wasn't pollarded, coppiced or otherwise trimmed. Pioneers in woodland management, the Brits were. And remember, Robin's Merry Band wore green. Okay, Lincoln green.

I have even tried to play the French card. California's snails, I pointed out, hail from a mass breakout at a 19th century escargot farm in the San Joaquin Valley. My wife was not swayed.

Maybe I will have the last laugh, having dumped copious amounts of snail bait all around the garden. Problem is, the stuff is green. It doesn't kill snails, so much as deter them. In any case, it is having no discernible effect. The snails, I am convinced, have a good laugh at their weekly staff meeting.

Still, I insist on being green. Looking at the flower beds up the street makes me green with envy.
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Posted by Alan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Nov 25, 2013 at 10:24 am

This is funny; I understand where you're coming from. We have a native plant garden and (generally) avoid pesticides.

People are probably worse than snails when it comes to invasiveness. Snails don't pave things over or grow lawns.

Try the shallow pan with beer trick. Snails will crawl into the beer, drink it, die. It's a happy way to go.

Actually, invasive plants and animals can be worse than pesticides; pesticides don't self-replicate. Sometimes you're forced to pick the lessor of two evils. Consider Integrated Pest Management: Web Link . Basically, it shows how to keep pests under control, using pesticides as a last resort, with the latest scientific research. 95% of the time - you don't really need pesticides.

Happy Gardening!

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