Weed of the Week – Agapanthus africanus

Davidson Design Studio is very conscious of the ecological and environmental impact that the development industry can have.  To that end, every project is approached with a mindset of how it can benefit and enhance its local environment.  The use of locally indigenous plant species is often a great option, and the absolute exclusion of environmental and noxious weeds is essential.

Each week we will be investigating and promoting plant species that we believe are good solutions for your garden, and also those that are inappropriate.

Today we discuss the ever-popular Agapanthus.

Weed of the Week – Agapanthus africanus

Author: Amy Davidson

Tim Low, biologist and author, states that our nurseries, gardens and pet shops are, when viewed properly, carelessly conceived holding pens for wild creations that regularly escape.  It’s an interesting concept and one I strongly agree with.  It frustrates me no end when I see plants such as Agapanthus (Agapanthus africanus) sold and promoted in nurseries for their ‘drought tolerance’ and ‘hardy disposition’ while local and state governments pump millions of tax payer dollars into the species control and eradication.

(Screenshot via www.bunnings.com.au)

Garden escapees are responsible for so much damage and destruction to our landscape.  Most domesticated plant species remain wild at heart, animated by the drive to survive and multiply – it’s in their DNA.

Agapanthus growing alongside a railway (www.weedbusters.org.nz)

The nursery industry believes they are responding to what their customers want by cultivating or stocking the weeds and that it is their commercial right to sell the species.  The responsibility again falls to us as consumers to make educated decisions when it comes to designing and stocking our gardens.

Agapanthus at Clifton Springs foreshore, Victoria (www.anbg.gov.au)

I may want to introduce ‘drought tolerant’ and ‘hardy’ agapanthus to that dry area under my gum tree but to do so would risk the local sensitive heathlands a couple of streets to the north.  These heathlands are also part of my landscape – the landscape I share with the community and I am a custodian of until I pass it on to the next generation to care for.

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