An alligator, an oasis of white flowers, a fern, a redwood and a balsam fir in one of the most beautiful gardens in the world — all of them could be on the chopping block if they aren’t carefully monitored.
In a bid to improve their natural habitat, gardeners around the world are planting more native species to help preserve them.
But one group in Oklahoma wants to change that.
They are putting invasive species like the invasive redwood on the list of protected species.
The Oklahoma Botanical Garden is trying to make sure these species aren’t taken out of their natural habitats.
The Garden has been working with the Botanical Gardens Association of Oklahoma (GBAO) and a group of local gardeners to create a plan to ensure these species are not taken out.GBAOs president Mike Stearns says the Garden’s plan to protect these plants is a first.
“It’s kind of a new idea,” he said.
Stearns said it’s a good idea because the Garden has a long history of protecting the native plants that have helped shape the Garden.
The gardens first planted the redwood trees in the 1800s, and it was a keystone species.
Stearn says when the Garden decided to start a botany program, it wasn’t about trying to take out the native species, but instead, the Garden wanted to help ensure the Garden was preserving them.
“They didn’t want us to take them out,” he explained.
Stears said there have been reports of redwood removal in the past, but the Garden doesn’t have a plan in place to stop them.
Garden members are taking a few precautions to ensure their native plants are protected.
They’re not planting them on top of each other or in clusters.
Instead, they’re planting them along the edges of their garden.
Stears said that’s because the seeds and foliage can take longer to germinate and can be a threat to the native flora.
“The more plants you can plant, the better chance you have,” he added.
The garden has also developed a list of other plants it’s protecting, which includes native plants like cottonwoods, aspen, maples, eucalyptus, wildflowers, and others.
Stamps said it was important to keep the Garden from going out of control.
“We don’t want to just go out of the Garden and destroy our native plants,” he stressed.
The goal is to have a list for every garden in Oklahoma that’s not on that list.
Stamps said the Garden is planning to send out a list to the public and get feedback on how the garden can improve its natural habitat.
“I think that’s important because if you don’t have the ability to protect the native trees and the native shrubs, we can’t maintain our gardens and we can not maintain our natural environment,” he told ABC News.
Garth Davis, an Oklahoma native who grew up in the Garden, said he’s glad they’re taking the initiative to protect their native species.
“That’s not a bad thing.
That’s a great thing,” he stated.