The garden articles throughout your paper and especially in Thursday's Home section usually fall on open ears. Surprisingly, one of the issues you have recently neglected to value appropriately is the problem of invasive plants. In the last two centuries of gardening in our region, many exotic plants have escaped our gardens and are flourishing in our wilderness areas, out-competing and often crowding out our native plants and animals, degrading recreational opportunities and increasing flood and fire risk.
June 14, your Page 3 article ["Exotic, Dramatic, Delicious"] highlighted one of the worst pest plants in the West: cardoon, or artichoke thistle. It is rated as a pest plant by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Invasive Plant Council. The author says that it is "not as invasive here" as in Northern California, but the distribution map on the state's Encycloweedia website shows many infestations in Southern California.
The California Invasive Plant Council maintains a list of known invasive plants at www.cal-ipc.org. Its "Don't Plant a Pest" pamphlet for Southern California and suggestions on the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council's website list safe alternatives. Also, experts can be contacted through the Los Angeles County Weed Management Area.