Case Study: Role of the nursery and garden industry in reducing the spread of invasive garden plants
With the increasing focus on the impact that invasive garden species have on the environment and agriculture, the nursery and garden industry and its customers are frequently targeted for education and awareness strategies.
A challenge is that 'customers' include not only gardeners, but also a diverse range of people with differing needs, knowledge and skills. This varied consumer base must be taken into account when developing education and awareness strategies. Problems can be prevented if people are educated at the point where they make decisions about their gardens and the plants they use in them - the garden centre, supermarket or hardware business - and also later in managing their weeds.
The experience from outdoor water conservation highlights the potential for industry to play an important role in educating and influencing the behaviour of householders. Existing programs such as Western Australia's Water Corporation's 'Water Wise Accredited Garden Centres' and Nursery & Garden Industry Australia Limited's 'Wise about Water' program demonstrate the industry's commitment to take on this vital role and the significant benefits of industry involvement in garden-focused environmental education.
The Nursery and Garden Industry Australia's 'Grow Me Instead' program has been very successful in highlighting the importance of industry and local government partnerships in identifying and targeting key invasive garden species on a regional scale. Through daily contact with customers and stakeholders who are making decisions and seeking advice about their gardens, the industry is in a strong position to educate the community about responsible plant choice, to promote appropriate care and maintenance to reduce the spread of invasive garden species and to better manage plants already in gardens.