Nursery & garden industry fights invasion

The nursery and garden industry is proud to announce the release of its 'Grow Me Instead' booklets, launched in Melbourne April 1, 2009 in conjunction with the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show (MIGFS).

In championing this initiative, Nursery & Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) is taking a significant step forward in tackling one the of the nation's most serious environmental problems - the spread of environmental weeds.

These booklets, as part of the Grow Me Instead program, contain lists of plants which were formerly grown and sold to gardeners that have since ‘jumped the garden fence' and become invasive in the natural environment. The lists were developed by NGIA in partnership with the Department of Primary Industry, the Catchment Management Authorities, local government, and various other environmental weed agencies.

The aim of the booklets and the Grow Me Instead program as a whole is to educate gardeners to recognise and remove the plants listed and replace them with superior, suitable alternatives.

This important step in preventing the spread of environmental weeds is a vital public education program. By selecting plants carefully, using these lists for guidance and encouraging others to do the same, you will be significantly helping the environment.

NGIA CEO Robert Prince says the industry has, in the past, been blamed for spreading invasive plants which were brought to Australia with little assessment of how they would perform in our environment. "The Grow Me Instead program, which is supported by the Australian Government, shows the nursery and garden industry is responsive and will engage in effective communication with both producers and consumers to educate people on how to manage undesirable species," Robert says.

It is estimated the spread of weeds costs the Australian agricultural industry around $4 billion a year. The real cost of weeds to the environment is difficult to calculate, however it is likely to be at least equal to that of the cost for agriculture.

To obtain copies of 'Grow Me Instead' booklets contact your state Nursery & Garden Industry Association.

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