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Native vs Spanish Bluebells

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Hallo panel
This is a question of conscience! I have some beautiful bluebells growing beneath some fruit trees, creating a mini woodland feel.
However, they were given to me and I am pretty sure they are of the Scilla (?) variety rather than native.
Having a strong conservationist conscience, should I dig them out immediately? I have attempted to sow some bluebell seeds from a reputable source, but if necessary I am prepared to replace them with indigenous plants.
Thanks for this great opportunity.
Fi

Native vs Spanish Bluebells

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  • Views: 981
  • Replies: 3
  • Posted: Wed. 6th May 2009 18:15

Native v non-native

Reply from David Sewell

Hi Fi,
What an interesting question and this is something you're obviously quite concerned with.
My initial thought was 'what harm are they doing' but on reflection I think the answer to that is 'quite a lot actually…'
I know you're aware of this already (which is why you've posted the thread) but for those who reading this and aren't aware, the Spanish bluebell hybridises very easily with the native bluebell and the resulting hybrids are stronger and compete more efficiently. Eventually they can cause the native bluebell to die out in an area.
Now from a purely wildlife point of view (as far as I'm aware) the Spanish bluebell has as much value as the native so this is more a question of 'should we allow a species to die out?' or do we accept that this is an inevitable consequence of humankinds messing with the environment?
As someone who's found Crocosmia growing in the high Andes of Colombia I'm more than aware that plants get transported everywhere and anywhere. I don't think you can turn the clock back because that's physically impossible but should we do all we can to slow the process? Probably….
Just out of interest…what have you decided to do?
All best,
David
David Sewell NCH, NDH
http://www.the-gardenmakers.co.uk
http://www.landscaper.org.uk

  • Posted: Wed. 6th May 2009 19:08

I'm going to do the right thing ...

Reply from Fi

and dig them up before I feel I may have in some way contributed to the Victorian's lack of care in spreading non-native species (my poor mum suffered with Japanese knotweed!).
I think the Spanish can look after their own, and we can look after those from the British islands.
However, am I being a hypocrit in having Japanese acers, bamboo, camelias brought back by Mr Williams etc etc!
I've really enjoyed this exchange this evening - the slight delay was from a hungry teenager demanding some feed (I suppose she sometimes feels neglected over the plants!).
Best wishes if you're at Malvern, or for your next show. Can I look out for your exhibit?
Fi

  • Posted: Wed. 6th May 2009 19:20

native/non native

Reply from David Sewell

Fair play to you Fi,
I don't think you're being a hypocrite - as far as I'm aware Acer palmatum hasn't hybridised with Acer campestre yet! Fairly evidently most garden plants aren't a threat to our native species and long may it stay that way.
As long as people like you are active and vocal and interested in issues like this then I think these vulnerable species do have a future. keep it up!
All best,
David

  • Posted: Wed. 6th May 2009 19:36