Calgary

Woman launches 'Harvest of the Beast' contest to fight Alberta's 'evil' weed

A Lethbridge woman hates one invasive weed so much that she's started a "Harvest of the Beast" contest to try to wipe creeping bellflower off the Alberta map — even offering cash prizes.

Creeping bellflower will 'take over if you just blink for a second,' warns Chelsea Sherbut

Chelsea Sherbut has launched a contest that she hopes will rid Alberta of its most 'evil' invasive weed. (The Purple Menace/Facebook, Chelsea Sherbut)

"Don't be fooled. This is not nice. It will trick you. It's evil."

Chelsea Sherbut might have her tongue in cheek, but she isn't messing around.

The Lethbridge woman wants to wipe one invasive weed off the Alberta map: the creeping bellflower.

In fact, Sherbut hates it so much that she's started a "Harvest of the Beast" contest on Facebook with cash prizes, with the rallying cry: "Let's unite together, as Albertans, to take a stand against this insidious plague!"

"It is a beast. If you are not sure what it is, it will take over if you just blink for a second," Sherbut told the Calgary Eyeopener on Friday.

First you need to know what it looks like.

"It starts out in the spring as little heart-shaped leaves. As the season progresses, anywhere it doesn't get cut down … it will develop a taller stalk," Sherbut explained.

Looks innocent, right? Well it's not. This is the creeping bellflower at an early age, plotting to take over your yard. (Nicole Kimmel/Government of Alberta)

"The stalk will have heart-shaped leaves along the bottom, a red stem near the ground. Near the top it will have pointier leaves that are attached to the stem. It will get these five-lobed purple-blue flowers along the top."

Now you need to know what to do with it.

"They have these little tiny roots and you think you have got it, but you haven't got it. You have to dig down one to two feet to get the mother ship tuber out of the ground."

If you blink, the creeping bellflower can invade your yard, your neighbour's yard, the whole neighbourhood. (Nicole Kimmel/Government of Alberta)

Now what?

Enter her Facebook contest in one of the following categories: Longest, girthiest (oh my) and heaviest.

Show your work. Send them a picture showing the length or weight of your capture.

Here's what the roots of the creeping bellflower look like. (The Purple Menace/Facebook)

"Dig it up, measure it or weigh it. Submit it to the Facebook page," Sherbut said.

"Anyone can enter but only Albertans can win."

There's $50 in gift certificates in each category but get your entry in no later than midnight on Monday, Aug. 5, which is Heritage Day in Alberta.

"Spend your long weekend digging up bellflower, get a nice clean yard and maybe profit," Sherbut said.

An Alberta woman is waging war on the most of invasive of weeds: the creeping bellflower. Chelsea Sherbut of Lethbridge even has a contest you can enter to sweeten the pot. 5:01

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener

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