While at Chico Hotsprings last weekend, I was struck buy the thriving mountain desert landscape. It is rich with life and while dry most of the year it wasn’t that way over Mother’s Day weekend. The sage and cottonwoods were fragrant, the wild grasses green and thick and the arrowleaf balsamroot abundant and so yellow. On a hike, my ma-in-law and I saw prairie crocus, Indian paintbrush, periwinkle, bunnies and a snake that sorta looked like a rattler but upon close inspection, it wasn’t. (I didn’t take many pics, so the photos shown below are the plants in my front yard. From left to right: bluebunch wheatgrass, sage brush, periwinkle) On our hike, I was struck by the lack of weeds especially knapweed–I didn’t see a single freakin‘ spotted knapweed. There was a tiny, tiny amount of leafy spurge, but that was it. The big fat bummer for me is the landscaping around every cabin and lodge: bright green lawn. It is boring, less beautiful, extremely resource consumptive (they were watering the entire time we were there) and because it is a monoculture and lacks diversity, prone to weeds. I am certain they spray.
The ecosystem there is taking really good care of itself. All of the above and below ground niches are filled so weed seeds can’t germinate. Why disrupt that? Chico is funky–that is why Montanans and tourists love it so. I heard they are putting in a golf course.
I don’t know if I’ll go back if they do.
Why mess with a landscape touting youth, happiness, domesticity and camaraderie?