Last week, as I was driving down a rural road, on my way to meet a client, I witnessed someone in the ditch with a spade in one hand and a plant clump in the other. I don’t accessorize with a badge yet, so I didn’t stop. But a word of caution if you had similar ideas – “look, but don’t touch”. Wisconsin is one of a few states that has a wildflower protection law. It was passed in 1923 due to concerns of declining plant populations. If you’re caught you could be fined and charged with a misdemeanor. Ouch!
It isn’t just live wildflowers that are of concern either. Cutting dried wildflowers causes damage as well. Just one cut flower can reduce the number of flowers that return the following year. These little bloomers aren’t just there for our visual pleasure. They’re there to support entire ecosystems for pollinators, birds and small animals. Butterflies, insects and small birds depend on their seeds, nectar and pollen.
NOW is a great time to get out and enjoy the wildflowers cascading through the roadsides of Northwestern Wisconsin! Whether you’re traveling at the slow pace of a walk or driving your ATV to the nearest trail. Take an opportunity to “stop and smell the roses”. These little jewels will be gone before you know it! – Wanda Boldon