One of the more unusual calendars produced in New Zealand for the coming year has been released by Weedbusters, the interagency programme working towards raising community awareness about weeds.
At first glance the calendar appears to highlight some beautiful garden plants. But in fact, each plant is a weed, one of many that pose a major threat to New Zealand’s environment and economy, degrading bush, coastal, wetlands, and tussockland areas, waterways and agricultural areas.
Weedbusters’ National Coordinator Carolyn Lewis says the 2006 calendar features twelve highly attractive looking weeds including heather, kahili ginger, cotoneaster, montbretia, climbing spindleberry, plectranthus, Mexican daisy, boneseed, Taiwan cherry, yellow flag iris, pink ragwort and Chilean flame creeper.
The front cover spot has gone to the stunning pink ragwort, an invasive perennial causing problems in Wanganui, and now the Hawkes Bay area as well.
“It’s really the old Snow White and the poisonous apple story. What looks gorgeous can, in reality, be very harmful. Many of these weeds started out as ornamental garden plants that ‘jumped the fence’ and went wild.
“So with this calendar, we have showcased some of these plants as weeds. Once valued for their good looks, they are now showing their true colours as delightful but destructive invaders of New Zealand’s precious environment,” Ms Lewis says.
The calendars are available from Weedbusters at firstname.lastname@example.org at $5.80 each (including postage).
Weedbusters is an interagency effort supported by regional authorities and unitary authorities, and other organisations such as Biosecurity New Zealand, Biodiversity New Zealand, Landcare Research, Federated Farmers, NZ Landcare Trust, Nursery and Garden Industry Association, NZ Biosecurity Institute, and the NZ Plant Protection Society.
Ms Lewis says there are now over 100 groups, schools and individuals registered as Weedbusters who are dealing to weeds around New Zealand.
More information about weeds and control methods is available on the Weedbuster web site at www.weedbusters.org.nz