In gardens, some people plant non-natives (exotic plants) only. Some have natives only, and some have an interesting mix. Whatever your preference, most gardens are beautiful and provide a source of endless enjoyment. But consider this……
Since 1770, when James Cook arrived and announced he had discovered Australia, wide areas of our native bushland have been invaded by exotic plants. Examples are privet, lantana, blackberry, wandering jew (Trad), seaside daisy, passionfruit, honeysuckle, agapanthus, pampas grass, cotoneaster, ochna, bamboo, Formosan lily, mother of millions, bridal creeper. Each year bushcare volunteers, property owners, farmers, National Parks staff, Councils and Landcare members spend countless hours and millions of dollars trying to get rid of these weeds.
Surprisingly, 90% of all weeds were once grown only in people’s gardens and have escaped into the bush. So how did they do that?
Nature is very cunning and has given plants many ways of spreading:
• Roots can grow underground into nearby bushland
• Some plants such as grasses, fireweed, fleabane have windblown seeds
• Seed is washed into bush by water after heavy rain
• Seeds remain fertile in bird and animal poo and is spread far and wide
• Seeds stick to clothing and animal fur
• Then there are those awful people who dump stuff in the bush. I recently removed a pile of cotoneaster branches covered in red berries from the bush near the end of Crosslands Road.
So how can we prevent garden escapes?
• Don’t grow exotic plants that are known to be hard to control e.g. fishbone fern, seaside daisy, common couch, honeysuckle, jasmine, any plant with windblown seed.
• Cut spent flowers off before they go to seed, especially agapanthus, cassia, Formosan lily.
• Cut seed heads off plants with windblown seed like pampas grass.
• Help the community by removing weeds from bushland near your place, with the owner’s permission.
• Never dump garden waste in the bush or on roadsides. Landcare would love it if you decided to join us, or one of the Bushcare groups in the area.