I have had it up to “pussies bow” with the lack of science being shown by supposed scientists that work with weeds and weediness! Several years ago as a horticultural media operative I was invited to a seminar in Melbourne to be told what we in the media were to be able to say about declared weedy plants (nothing positive!).
At the time the Willows (Salix) were about to be declared noxious and when I queried the fact that almost the whole Genus was being declared instead of assessing them species by species I was howled down by one of the people that was doing the assessments that as a huge Genus like this (some 300 species and God knows how many hybrids) it was too large to do it that way. I pointed out that we don’t have even a fraction of this number in Australia so it should be quite possible to do those we do have.
I used as an example Salix boydii, which is a sterile natural hybrid willow that in 20 years may get to 20cms. tall if it is lucky and that I had killed it by not keeping it moist enough or giving it enough sun several times over the years and under the current laws was now to be illegal. There is just no way this plant can be weedy and there are lots of other willows that could be proven to be perfectly safe if the science were to be done. They wonder why knowledgeable horticulturalists get annoyed!
At the very same conference a representative from the New South Wales got up and declared that were about to ban the Genus Oxalis which on the surface seems logical until again you consider the fact that it is a Genus of some 800 or more species from around the world including Australia so obviously they can’t all be weeds.
It also must be said that they weren’t banned in Canberra which is surrounded by N.S.W. so that it does seem silly if you can grow them and transport them into Canberra through the afore mentioned state.
Yours truly leaped up yet again and pointed out that the ban would obviously then include O. lactea, which is on the endangered species list and a native of Mt. Kosciusko! Dead silence followed my outburst but I have since noticed that the ban now excludes native species!
I love my ornamental Oxalis and grow a wide selection both in my garden and for sale and regularly have bemused customers asking me why I am growing weeds? Obviously if they are from N.S.W. I won’t sell them any.
Most of the species I grow are tiny plants that even if they did spread around a bit aren’t tall enough to smother anything, most are winter growing so fill gaps when other plants are dormant and have such fabulous foliage and flowers that if they had their botanical name changed no one would think twice and plant them all over the place.
So look at the photos accompanying this article and see if you can resist these plants, I know I can’t. Come and see them in my garden on the 22nd and 23rd of June this year as it’s open for Open Gardens Australia.