The wildflowers are in full bloom. They are as happy as I’ve ever seen them. It has been a cheerful June, with the continued promise of a great blueberry crop. We are currently scouting the hot picking spots….

A newer ditch weed is actually an import—pink and purple Lupine have taken hold along the Gunflint Trail and the side roads. They’re very beautiful—and remind us of one of Granny’s favorite books from Maine (Mrs. Rumphius—the Lupine Lady). My friend Laurel, a landscaper in Minneapolis area struggles to grow Lupine in peoples’ gardens. A very popular suburban want-a-flower.

The habitat must be just right in Cook County for these pink and purple beauties. However, as transplants,—they are a hearty invasive species, taking over the local plants. The woods are changing for those local plants—suddenly more sun is available in some of the burned areas. So the shade loving woodland plants don’t necessarily thrive in the open.

The Gunflint Trail isn’t native to these woods, and neither are the dry rocky ditches. As I investigate more, I understand that orange hawkweed aren’t native, nor are the birdfoot trefoil. Now I’m starting to feel guilty about my favorites..

I’m very interested in the discussion, and in the harm that transplants, both plants and animals, do to the local biosphere. I understand that some of the burned areas are most susceptible to infestation, and landowners are proceeding carefully, reseeding their properties with native seed mixes. I also am reminded of some of Michael Pollan’s ideas (The Botany of Desire) —regarding plant adaptations. Aren’t the Lupine evolutionarily clever? They are so beautiful that they have conned humans into transplanting them here—thus ensuring their survival. Isn’t this a “smart’ seed transportation strategy? Should we humans be more aware of the ways that the plants are manipulating us?

I’ve witnessed what the Kudzo has done to the woods in North Carolina—I’ve seen what Eurasian Milfoil has done to the lakes in Minneapolis, and purple loosestrife to the cattails—I am very sensitive to the idea of invasive species, especially during this time of forest regeneration. I’d never advocate planting or transplanting any Lupine, but the noxious weeds still make me (guiltily) happy. All things considered, it is a fascinating time to be looking down at the exponential growth happening on the forest floor.