Everyday Enviro with Elise: weeding out problem plants 

Everyday Enviro with Elise: weeding out problem plants 

By Elise Catterall  February 17th, 2023

It is now well established now that gardening is incredibly beneficial to mental and physical health. If the gorgeous weather we have ahead of us makes you want to get into the garden, you might want to take some time to learn about something that will change the landscape (pun intended) of the green life industry and protect our environment and native species: the Gardening Responsibly and Plant Sure Accreditation scheme.


The scheme, which the creators are simply calling the Gardening Responsibly movement, aims to encourage and support Australians to grow gardens that support our environment by preventing the spread of invasive weed species.

Invasive weeds not only have a huge financial impact (costing our economy an estimated $13 billion every year!) but they also seriously threaten our native plant and wildlife species.  Unfortunately, 72% of our known weeds (think: lantana, privet) started as ornamental house or garden plants and, as over 30,000 varieties of plants are currently traded in Australia, there is a huge risk that some or even many of those could become invasive and wreak havoc on our environment, our wildlife and our economy.

The Gardening Responsibly and Plant Sure Accreditation scheme, run predominantly by a research team at Macquarie University, assesses plants for their risk of invasiveness and applies an ecolabel – essentially a gardening responsibly ‘tick of approval’ - to plants determined to be low risk.

The scheme is an industry-led initiative, and has free membership for green life industry professionals, like landscapers, plant breeders, nurseries, and so on.  Only members of the scheme can sell or provide plants that have been assessed and given the ‘tick’ so as a gardener  you will know you are in good hands.

No matter whether you are a home gardener, a plant supplier or a gardening professional, there are lots of ways to get involved with the scheme. You can search for your next plant from the Gardening Responsibly data base of recommended plants, look for the ecolabel when you are out choosing plants, sign up to use the Gardening responsibly research portal, join the scheme as a professional to serve your clients or customers, or even just support the movement through the Gardening Responsibly Redbubble shop. You can also get involved by nominating a plant to be risk assessed.

By the way, while Gardening Responsibly’s aim is to prevent invasive species spreading in the future, if you are dealing with an invasive plant in your garden right now, the NSW government has a great, information rich website, NSW WeedWise.

So now there is nothing to stop you getting in the garden and doing good for your mind and body and our environment and wildlife. For more information, visit Gardening Responsibly.

Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes..


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Elise Catterall

Elise is a writer, photographer, and naturopath with a passion for nature. She completed a Master of Public Health in 2017 through the University of Sydney. Her photographic work focuses on flowers and plants as a way of celebrating nature. She has been writing for Planet Ark since 2017, sharing positive environment stories, personal environmental experiences and perspectives.

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