Trick Or Treat?

Rose with blue and red spray painted leaves

Having stored up some brownie points by offering you a virtual treat yesterday, I thought I might get away with tormenting some of you today.

I found this rose growing on the land surrounding an art park in Austin, Texas, with its leaves spray painted blue and red. I could imagine this as an alternative greeting card, but there’s something of plant cruelty about it, assuming you agree with my sweetheart that there is such a thing.

If the rose was wearing an expression, I imagine it would be like the one old Rusty had that made us laugh so helplessly when he came back from the dog groomer looking like the spaniel version of a Chinese crested dog, closely shorn in some places and fluffed up in others, crowned with a bow.

Spray painted poison ivy leaves

We don’t have poison ivy where I’m from, but I believe this is what it is. Growing while spray painted, not far from the rose bush, this plant is looking more likely to quickly outgrow its paint job. Is it OK to spray paint a plant that attacks us? Or more OK? Let me know what you think.

Graffiti - blue and red heart

42 Replies to “Trick Or Treat?”

  1. Never heard of such a thing with plants that are actually growing. However back in the day, cut flowers for arrangements were sprayed to give them vibrant color. Yes, plant cruelty.

        1. I presume the spray would wear off long before the rose got anywhere near the customer, unless it was used as a con by the people who go round pubs and restaurants trying to shame people into buying expensive stems for their dates.

    1. I was a bit naughty for sharing these without their wider context, which was in a graffiti park. Most of the plants were OK.

    1. I ought to have explained the plants were growing wild in a graffiti park that was earmarked for being demolished – Castle Hill, in Austin, TX.

  2. I agree with the above comments – sealing off its pores and ability to photosynthesize is harmful. Plants will endeavor to overcome, but at a cost.
    Now being very allergic to poison ivy, I say go for it! This plant can even survive herbicide (Round-Up makes a special formula just for it). While I prefer all natural gardening, this plant gets a pass from me.

    1. I have seen some terrible looking rashes caused by poison ivy. It seems as if people don’t just get one or two blisters, but a whole lot of them.

    1. It is really weird to do that, even though a tiny proportion of poinsettias survive their first season out with the public.

  3. Yup, poison ivy in one of its incarnations. I feel bad for the rose, though. Was someone spraying for rights of way or to show where utilities were, or was it sheer meanness?

    1. Those utility marks often have me raising an eyebrow or two. British people would not take kindly to having public services spray yellow or put flags on their garden. It wasn’t meanness – perhaps thoughtlessness at worst. It was growing wild on land around a derelict building used as an art park before being redeveloped.

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