Although it certainly doesn’t feel like it at the moment, summer is here, a time when many of us will enjoy working in the garden, particularly bach owners who will embark on the annual summer clean-up. But gardening often produces large amounts of unwanted rubbish. Taking this rubbish to the transfer station is often an inconvenience and involves a small expense. The nearest sand dunes, harbour margin, roadside bank or gulley seem to provide a convenient solution for some people. All over the district I see garden refuse dumped in this way and I would like to make a plea to everyone to deal with their garden refuse in a more environmentally friendly way.
Refuse from the garden, which seems to be merely organic and quite harmless, often contains all kinds of plant material, perhaps quite safe in the confines of the garden, but a very real threat to the natural environment elsewhere. The discarded seeds and plant fragments may well rejoice in the ready made compost around them, and, thanks to our benevolent climate, thrive and spread in their new found freedom. This is one of the major sources of invasion from weeds such as wandering jew, wild ginger or Madeira vine, to name a few which will re-grow from the tiniest of fragments. The only threat to all these escapees is a chance discovery by an Environment Bay of Plenty pest plant officer.
None of us want to see our wild places over-run with invasive weeds. So please, either take your garden refuse to the nearest transfer station or deal with it on your own section. The good old fashioned compost heap, carefully constructed, need not be unsightly or smelly and will be of benefit to rest of the garden in the end. As a last resort there is the bonfire, but please wait until all the material is dry to avoid excessive smoke and make sure you get a fire permit from the District Council.
Written by Tim Senior, Environment Bay of Plenty pest plant officer. For more information call me on 0800 368 288 ext 6010.