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Citizen complaint of the day: People are eating the shrubs in the Public Garden

Eating a shrubbery in the Public Garden

A concerned citizen filed a 311 complaint about some unusual activity in the Public Garden today:

Subjects in picture eating the shrubs in Public Garden. Probably not a big deal if this was a squirrel or a deer, but since this is a pack of humans, it might be worth putting up a couple signs or something.

Perhaps they are collecting an offering for the Knights Who Say Ni.

H/t Robert S.

Ed. note: Yes, that makes two posted complaints in one day. But this seemed like the sort of complaint that just couldn't wait.

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Whoever these folks are they should wait until the ginkos bear fruit. It's decreases the stink in the neighborhood when the ginko fruit is removed.

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When I saw this a couple of years ago I asked about the plant and what they might be doing with the new growth they seemed to choose. One of the experts from the Friends of the Public Garden replied. "...the plant used to be called acanthopanax sieboldianus, it has been renamed Eleutherococcus sieboldianus. There are 38 types of this thorny shrub. It is thought to be related to ginseng and that it promotes energy."

Young leaves are used raw or cooked, old dry leaves are made into tea.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleutherococcus
https://www.drugs.com/npc/eleutherococcus.html

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From the wiki:

"The European Medicines Agency has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate the efficacy of Eleutherococcus for any clinical condition."

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... leads people to think that it's OK to steal the plants from a public park?

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Human beings are not civic minded on the whole. People intuitively know that if it’s there free for the taking and there are no consequences, you take it, before someone else does.

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They're not digging up bulbs and hacking tree limbs.

Is it wrong? Yes.

Should there be signs in multiple languages telling people to please not eat our garden? Maybe?

The world is getting smaller, were all learning of each others customs at a rapid pace.

If you put jelly and butter together on toast at a Denny's nobody bats an eye. Try that in Chengdu and people will act like you're eating cat litter.

This event doesn't require a police action or any strong arm tactics but a deep breath and perhaps someone at the Parks Department looking up how to write "Please dont eat our plants" in a Mandarin.

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It's not as though "Don't help yourself to stuff that's not yours" is such a weirdly specific custom here, that visitors from elsewhere couldn't possibly be expected to know it without a sign.

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I just gave you a viable option and your response is:
"visitors from elsewhere" should know better.

I even gave you an example of customs that cultures look at differently (butter & jelly together)

Your response was to blame "visitors from elsewhere"
and that they should just know these things.

You're just angry for angry's sake.

It ain't healthy.

Go for a walk, Bob.

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If Bob goes for a walk, he might end up in the Public Garden, and heaven forbid there is a group of Chinese tourists there who are a little bit hungry.

As for the substance of all this, what kind of person eats the leaves of shrubs in a public park? I'd bet anything there is a sign at entrance to the park that notes that one should not be doing anything to the plants within.

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Why do you assume these are Chinese tourists as opposed to U.S. citizens of Chinese descent?

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This is not a hanging offense; just another tiresome example of low-level antisocial behavior, on a par with failing to pick up after your dog, or cutting in line to board the bus. It's a mildly in-your-face, passively hostile display of "I don't give a damn about anybody else's comfort, convenience, or enjoyment of a shared public resource." If you think a sign is going to change the behavior of pathologically self-entitled folks, I disagree. And I don't see why you're trying to make this about cultural differences.

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Explains everything.

You just don't get it.

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Everybody's familiar with the "Ugly American" stereotype of American's traveling abroad and behaving like a bunch of oafs because they're not cognizant/respectful of cultural differences. Personally, I get embarrassed when I've been overseas and I see Americans who have made no attempt whatsoever to learn the local language or customs. I'm willing to bet that most of us on this thread feel the same way.

So when somebody visits the U.S. and pays no attention to our standards, how would that be any different? It seems like there would be three possible rationales for not taking issue with visitors disregarding our cultural norms:

  1. A person thinks we don't actually have a culture per se;
  2. A person thinks we have a culture but that it's somehow not worth as much as other cultures, i.e. ones American travelers might visit; or
  3. A person thinks American culture is so globally dominant ("the hamburger that ate the world") that, as a general principle, it doesn't need defending.

Rationales 1 and 2 are oddly self-effacing. Rationale 3 makes sense but only if you assume that American culture is/will remain a sort of global default which, given the rise of other global powers, maybe ought to be reexamined at some point.

Simply put, I don't expect any less of visitors from abroad than I'd expect of U.S. citizens when we go abroad. Holding visitors from overseas to a lower standard carries a whiff of "how could they possibly know any better?," which is problematic for all sorts of reasons.

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I'm fully aware of the reputation that Chinese tourists have earned. (Aside: there's nothing especially Chinese about bad behavior; we have plenty of homegrown litter-tossing, road-raging, resource-hoarding "sociopath-lite" jackasses of our own.)

Where we appear to disagree is that you argue that it's a matter of different cultures having different rules and expectations; that it's a matter of them not knowing our rules. I think most of the behavior that people complain about is just as much against the rules at home in China as it is abroad; that the issue is not lack of awareness of the rules so much as it is not giving a damn about the rules.

I think this is for two reasons, mostly:

  1. One-child policy. The largest social engineering experiment in the history of humankind. An entire couple of generations growing up without siblings. See Little Emperor Syndrome
  2. A society in which power and privilege are highly stratified. Chinese who are in a position to travel abroad are either party elites, children of party elites, or rich. These are folks who have spent their entire lives being taught by their society at home that the rules are for little people and don't apply to them. They have learned that for them, there are absolutely no consequences for misbehavior.
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Whaaaaaat? The president is Chinese? Forget this impeachment stuff and get a hold of his birth certificate pronto.

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There are also lots of parks and public spaces that are designed to invite interaction with the space like this. You'll see parks that are designed for foraging or with lots of edible plants, just like parks where there are lots of things climb on. It creates a space where people experience the environment in other ways than just walking through and looking at stuff. That being said, this is not one of those parks. :-)

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You do know plants regenerate , right ? And pinching off growing tips will even help
Them

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That doesn't mean any amount of human foraging is a good idea.

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You do know plants regenerate , right ? And pinching off growing tips will even help
Them

Mind if I come to your garden and cut all your flowers and take them home? Does absolutely no harm to the plants.

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than pinching off growing tips of plants in a caretaker action.

When I grew tomatoes, I would do this procedure.

Cripes.

That being said, I don't think these folks should be eating public shrubs without permission.

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Just put up a sign in several languages that the plants have been sprayed with pesticides.

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That’s a shrub and they’re not picking off any flowers. Also this is a public place. Anything else , cry baby?

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in before "tragedy of the Commons."

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I'd like to know where the dividing line is between parks you can eat from and ones you can't.

Clearly you can eat blueberries in the White Mountain National Forest. And chowing down on the ornamental flowers in the Public Garden is frowned upon. But what about a woodsy section of Franklin Park, or parkland along the river?

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I'd like to know where the dividing line is between parks you can eat from and ones you can't.

We, the owners of all public land, have gone to the polls and chosen folks to take on the job of stewardship of those public lands for our benefit. And those folks have used the authority we delegated to them, to make rules governing the use of our land. And those rules are available for anyone who wants to read them.

Clearly you can eat blueberries in the White Mountain National Forest.

Yes, you can eat the blueberries in the National Forest, but not in National Parks. And you can't harvest them in commercial quantities. This may be helpful: https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/ethics/index.shtml

And chowing down on the ornamental flowers in the Public Garden is frowned upon. But what about a woodsy section of Franklin Park, or parkland along the river?

This may be helpful: https://www.boston.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/parks-rules-and-..., specifically 2(e)

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from dogs and/or people.

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Yesterday along the Cambridge side of the river I saw two women picking a few dozen flowers from the banks of the Charles River Parks. Do these people go to zoos and take animals? Who thinks its OK to take flowers from public parks. What a selfish douchebag move.

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Is a botanical garden, created for passive enjoyment, such as strolling, appreciating the plethora of floral and tree varieties. It is not a park where sports are to be played and it is not a source of free food!

I’m always dismayed when I walk through the Public Garden and see people sitting on tree branches, playing ball, cycling...now there are food foragers?! There should be more enforcement of appropriate behavior here since so much money is spent to create the beautiful environment for all to enjoy. People just do whatever they please today, wherever they may be. It’s very discouraging.

About the idea of pinching plants to encourage growth: leave that to the trained experts, it’s not supposed to be a free for all!

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I am frrequently tempted not to be passive every time I am aasaulted with some busker's music. Especially of the amplified variety.

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SLEEZEBAGS STEALING FROM THE PUBLIC TROUGH. THEY NEED A GOOD PADDLING, GRAB MY SPACE SAVER

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