The Nursery and Garden Industry in Australia employs about 45,000 people in some 22,000 businesses across the country. For many years the Industry has been conscious of their environmental responsibilities and they have been proactive in furthering educational programs, including those concerning invasive garden plants. Garden escapes are not a new issue: weeds have been around since the first settlers brought along reminders of 'home' to help them settle into a new and strange land. How strange the Australian landscape must have seemed then, and how natural it would have been for the settlers to want only the tried and true familiar garden plants of the British Isles. Despite the difficulties of creating a garden in the Antipodes, it took many years for the average Australian to appreciate the native flora of this great land.
Then, there were the early 'acclimatisation societies' who thought it a good idea to introduce plants and animals from the old country and also to spread Australian native plants from state to state. Although great damage to the environment has occurred as a result of these indiscriminate introductions, this has not been solely the fault of the horticultural industry: certainly other industries have contributed. Graziers have imported new grasses and fodder crops and there were 'accidental' imports that came about unwittingly through inappropriate packaging, movement of plant and machinery, as seed in fodder and in ships' ballast. However, the weed issue and who is actually responsible should not become a 'blame game'. Together we must seek to repair what damage we can and to work together as a community to prevent similar damage occurring in the future.
The Nursery & Garden Industry is actively participating in lessening the availability of invasive plants in Australia by preventing their production and sale. The Industry has recently established a greater understanding and cooperation with both State and Federal Governments, culminating in the ‘Grow Me Instead' guides and this website. Greater awareness and education of the home gardener is a major part of the answer to this problem. By using the information in the 'Grow Me Instead' website as a guide and consulting with your local garden centre or plant nursery, you can help to minimise garden escapes and create a better environmental future for following generations of gardeners.
To find out more about the Nursery and Garden Industry policy on Invasive Plants download the following file;
To read about how Grow Me Instead is being adopted by the Nursery and Garden Industry download the following file;