They came in their hundreds, each clutching a bag of weeds to exchange for a free native plant. “Hawke’s Bay’s inaugural Weed Swaps held at Greenmeadows New World and Hastings Countdown this weekend was an unparalleled success” said organizer Gabriela Gomez Fell from the Department of Conservation.
Supported by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Hastings District Council, the Weed Swap was a chance for all of us to talk to keen gardeners on the perils of garden escapees she said. Many exotic plants once liberated, can cause a real problem out in the reserves. Liberation can occur because gardeners choose to dump their weeds illegally rather than take them to the landfill. Or seeds get distributed by birds and winds, and if not kept under control in a garden, will smother and take over some of our most special places.
“Old Man’s Beard is one of New Zealand’s best known invasive weeds. But many gardeners were surprised to find out that Agapanthus, Mexican Daisy and the Arum Lily are all on the hit list” said Gabriela. “Once in the wild these plants all smother the ground and prevent the establishment of native seedlings.”
Woody Weed from Weedbusters gave away hundreds of “PLANT ME INSTEAD” booklets too. The book identifies garden escapees and gives suggestions of what to plant instead. They proved very popular as it is focused on the East Coast and Hawke’s Bay region. Those wanting copies of this booklet should contact the Weedbusters website or call in at DOC or the Regional Council.
“Weed Swap was such a great success that we will be planning more of these events in the future. Watch this space” said Gabriela.