Part of a project we are working on aims to increase supply (by nurseries) and demand (by the public) of local native plants in a specific area. By local native we mean plants grown from seed collected in the local area (local provenance) - as distinct from the common practice of using seed collected in a different area. We would appreciate information about any similar projects or research in this area or any ideas that readers may have.
Real Options International Education, Training, Facilitation, Communication
PO Box 221 Huskisson NSW 2540
Phone: 02 4441 8885
Meg Bishop: 0418 676879
Graeme Gibson: 0408 676550
Local Native Plants - Supply and Demand
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Your local branch of the Society for Growing Australian Plants, or nearby branches will be doing this already. Here in Gladstone Qld, we have the local branch doing this as well as one of the local schools. We also have an organic growers group which is focussed on fruits and veges which is doing the same thing, saving seeds of successful varieties for our local area (sub-tropics), and distributing them in our local area. Obviously, these varieties are more successful than commercial seed, due to being adapted to the heat, humidity and long dry spells of our region.
It's my belief that demand for local natives here is outstripping supply as it's virtually impossible to get a wide range of local species without growing them yourself (or doing favours for people who do!)
The Council nursery, which used to do a range of local native plants has had its budget virtually removed.
A nearby landcare group (100kms) is doing great business selling tubestock of the more common Central Qld natives, which, while they're not as local as they could be, are still better than plants from the Sydney region.Good luck with your project, it's a great idea.
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(07) 4970 7293
0412 502 798
Zanthorrea Nursery in the outer suburbs of Perth www.zanthorrea.com has an extensive local propagation programme and sells plants in starter tubes for mass plantings. They also have a programme called BOB (Bits of Bush) which provides more mature local plants for the home gardener. A percentage of the profits from the sale of local plants is used to support a local native animal sanctuary. They have numerous awards for their work and are very helpful with advice and support. Men of the Trees www.menofthetrees.com also have extensive native nurseries and offer great support programmes.
The Ceres community environment ( http://www.ceres.org.au/park ) park in northwest Melbourne has a native nursery that sells indigenous plants for the northern and western regions around Melbourne. They detail the specifics of the plant (species, genus, history etc. and where the seeds were collected (sometimes down to the street names) so that you can pick plants that are truly local. The great thing about this is that the plants just look after themselves just as they have been doing for thousands of years which makes for a very low maintenance garden.
0419 307 418
The comment I would like to make on the supply and demand is that the general community would like to have lush growth, variety of foliage, colour and compactness. For landscape architects (LA) and landscape designs (LD) they require the above plus they need to know that the plants will grow successfully in controlled amenity landscape conditions, growth consistently and to receive the knowledge on how to grow & design with them. A few of the difference between the LA & LD selections of plants are as follows landscape architects design with foliage not flowers so when you are choosing local plants choose ones where it have interesting foliage via shape, texture & colour and compact growth (flowers are last on the list of plant selection criteria). For landscape designers they like to see & use the successes from the landscape architects and then add lots of colour. Local plant consistency is required thru the following steps 1. Select the 'best of the best' of your local plants; you have the right to be fussy, 2. Take cutting material for this best selection (not seeds) as the cloning is the best one for contemporary designs, (this is not hybridising) 3. Grow a stock plant for future propagation material 4. Give it a 'catchy' name (plus the botanical) for the community 5. Grow it in a demonstration garden or give 20-30 free to a landscape architect to try 6. INFORM the landscape architects and landscape designers about the 'NEW' local plants and how they can use in designs. This process will increase the supply & demand of 'designer' local plants instead of 'native bushy looking' plants. Don't get me wrong the 'native' plants do have their place. But for the more contemporary domestic designs and unique landscaping impacts that we require in our amenity landscapes, we need to focus on 'designer' local plants to influence the community. This way they are still able to have fashionable gardens with our very special, unique and amazing local plants that create our own sense of place. I hope this information helps you with your future supply and demand.
Adv dip Hort, Dip Land
15 Bayley Street Principal Everlasting Concepts
SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE EDUCATOR DIANELLA WA 6059
T (08) 9275 3404
F (08) 9375 8608
M 042 747 7090
ABN 58 343 934 817
It is important to understand, especially in the Australian context, that natives are not always the easy care option especially in the establishment phase. They do need water in the domestic setting for quite some time, dependent on seasonal conditions, and many, especially fast growing varieties that appeal to the home gardener, have a very limited life, so need to be replaced. It may seem politically incorrect but some Mediterranean plants (such as rosemary and lavenders) may be easier to grow, use less water and be more suitable for the domestic setting, especially on smaller cottage style blocks.
Native plants taken out of their environment and placed in the wrong conditions can have pest problems, disease problems and be more maintenance, if not invasive. Native plants are good for restoring habitat and attracting wildlife and beneficial insects, but if the soils of a development have been scraped off and foundation soil for new homes have been brought in, the soil is no longer native. States can have multiple zones and what's native in one zone isn't native in another. Returning a site back to its original ecosystem isn't always the best recommendation. Good research and care needs to be taken when prescribing native plants. If we were to return the state of Nebraska in the United States back to its original habitat circa 1800's- we would have to remove every tree to restore it back to a treeless plain, which wasn't viewed then as being beautiful or essential to the ecosystem. We now know that the plains and prairies do serve a purpose and is necessary for the survival of certain species of flora and fauna. We are losing our prairies to surbanization and lack of knowledge of their purpose. Non-native plants can also be water-efficient, less maintenance, and less pest problems if chosen correctly. Good selection and diversity is the key to a better environment.
University of Florida/IFAS
Florida Yards & Neighborhoods
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There is a nursery that is producing seed for the local area around the seymour or shepparton area of victoria. My understanding is that they collect seed from the local area and propogate the stock. I also believe they sell the seed in packets. I am sorry I cannot remember their name. I believe they have a web page also.