News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Hateful Eight: Ranking Reston's Most Wanted Invasive Plants

We Restonians are a pretty amiable bunch. We don't hate anyone or anything, except maybe for paid parking. And invasive plants. Way back in ought-eight, the Reston Association declared war on eight species of invasive plants, saying they are just as destructive to our community's moral fiber as white landscaping stone. More recently, some kindhearted out-of-towners were so concerned about the invasive plants encircling Reston National Golf Course that they offered—out of the goodness of their own hearts!—to put up a bunch of massive condos just to eradicate them. Just like in some 1980s police drama, some English Ivy creeped up and strangled their long-time partner on his last day before retiring, and they vowed to avenge his memory.

But we digress. We're here to ask the tough questions: Are those eight invasive plants really so bad? And why can't we get the app to validate our parking? Oh, wait—wrong tough question. Let's offer our verdicts, one by one:

1. Barberry. Isn't this a store in Reston Town Center that sells overpriced raincoats? Actually, it's worse: it's an OUTLET in Loudoun County. 

Verdict: The factory seconds bin for them.

2. English Ivy. Let this climb the walls of an older Reston townhouse and you soften the Brutalist feel with some Ye Old Timey vibes. But do you think across the pond in Olde Blighty, the folks in Milton Keynes, or whatever they call their New Towns, get worked up over "Reston ivy?" 

Verdict: A full English breakfast.

3. Bamboo. Often used along property lines. Virtually indestructible. 

Verdict: Replace them with bollards.

4. Chinese and Japanese wisteria. Pretty enough, but Wisteria Lane was the name of a street in another plastic fantastic planned community—the one on Desperate Housewives. 

Verdict: Too much drama.

5. Oriental bittersweet. We'll tell you what's bittersweet—driving by the spot where the Macaroni Grill once stood. 

Verdict: No endless breadsticks for you.

6. Flowering pear tree species. Flowers are fine. Pears are fine—tasty, even. But together? 

Verdict: That ain't right.

7. Burning bush. Usually these are portents of unpleasant journeys, like having to wander in the desert for 40 years or drive to Tysons. 

Verdict: A fistful of pennies to pay the tolls.

8. Nonnative Bush honeysuckles. According to something we Googled on Bing dot com, their fruits are considered "junk food" for many animal species. 

Verdict: Let them grow around the McTacoNoLongerAHut and nowhere else, the end.

This post was originally published in the Reston Letter.

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