Some Big Sky kids got to show their creativity with the recent Noxious Weed Bouquet Contest. PHOTO COURTESY GIS

Creativity shines a light on invaders

The first Noxious Weed Bouquet Contest in Big Sky a succes

Beware the beautiful weeds of the world. The difference between a weed and a flower goes a little deeper than aesthetics. Weeds like tansy ragwort are toxic to nearly all livestock; hoary alyssum with its innocent, delicate looking petals wreaks havoc on horses; the yellow flag iris, though striking in appearance is detrimental to livestock, dogs, cats and humans according to the Montana Noxious Weed Field Guide.

The first – and potentially annual – Noxious Weed Bouquet Contest was created by the Gallatin Invasive Species Alliance (GISA) with support from the Arts Council of Big Sky, Hungry Moose Market & Deli and The Gardens at Crail Ranch. The goal: to educate people about noxious weeds and also to inspire locals to help control them.

Forty people braved storm clouds to see the 17 entries at the event held at Crail Ranch.

Oxeye daisy, musk thistle and spotted knapweed took starring roles in many of the bouquets. Those behind one contest entry became particularly creative with a bouquet titled, “Stop the Spread” in which googly eyes and masks were placed atop musk thistle. Also along the COVID-19 theme was an entry titled, “Coronanoxious ubiquitous: Weeds observed during social-distance hikes in Big Sky. Mask up… or push up Oxeye Daisies!”

Jennie Cohen took first place with her extravagant bouquet in a rustic watering can. One entry made use of a hollowedout stump, while another cheeky contestant placed the weeds in an Estron 99 Weed Killer can.

Jennifer Mohler, executive director of GISA, said she was thrilled with the interest in the event and astounded by the creativity of contestants.

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