Introduction

The Department of Conservation in Northland is launching the booklet ‘Plant Me Instead’ with a weed swap event at the Whangarei growers market on Saturday 8 October 2011.

The Department of Conservation in Northland is launching the booklet ‘Plant Me Instead’ with a weed swap event at the Whangarei growers market on Saturday 8 October 2011. Bring a shopping bag of weeds (with roots on) to receive a free native plant.

Giving away nikau at a children's birthday party.
Giving away nikau at a children's
birthday party

“We gave a nikau palm to all the guests at my daughter’s fifth birthday party as a take-home message about the spread of good berries” - the 'Plant Me Instead' booklet is full of such messages with lots of ideas on native and exotic non-weedy garden plant alternatives.

The negative impact one weedy tree in a garden beside the bush can have is astounding. Equally amazing are the positive effects of carefully chosen alternatives. Imagine gardens featuring sculptured nikau and cabbage trees with pate below and kowhai glancing through.

These native plants take up little space yet bring birds to the garden year-round and create the perfect shelter for native lizards and insects. To go that bit further at your place, you can make a shelter under trees to protect lizards from hungry cats, rats, mice and hedgehogs. Use corrugated iron – small pieces are fine – and create 5 mm spaces big enough for lizards but too small for mice.

The exotic rainbow skink unfortunately present in Northland competes with native skinks. The Regional Council can identify pest skinks for you.

A ‘good-berry’ nikau planted, and an area safe from predators made for lizards are all part of the network of care that sustains biodiversity. At Open Spaces Early Childhood Academy in Glenbervie, Whangarei, children go for walks to the taraire forest where they investigate wild spaces and wildlife with excitement.

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