A deep appreciation for native plants usually is cultivated in a person’s mind or heart once education about invasive plants really sinks in. Once I understood a little bit about how noxious, introduced invasive species can crowd out natural areas and prevent our wildlife from getting the food and protection they need, it became critical for me to learn about the natural history of wildflowers we were in danger of losing. This year I’ve been playing with the idea of conservation bouquets: we might not make a huge splash individually, but picking the flowers of invasive plants before they have a chance to go to seed will prevent an amount of seeds from entering the ecosystem and local seed bank. Here in the photo is a conservation bouquet composed of flowers from the invasive species Purple Loosestrife. Doubters and shade-throwers may respond with queries like, “Won’t picking the flower just force it to double down it’s seed producing efforts and push out twice as many flowers after?” Of course that’s possible. But, conservation is a mindset, and in many ways it’s the spirit of the effort that motivates other people and eventually a difference can be made. So many people are outside playing Pokemon Go! right now, it’d be easy and fun to assimilate conservation bouquet picking into the day. Summer’s in full swing and many invasive plants, including Purple Loosestrife are in bloom right now.