Thursday, June 13, 2024
Industry News

Djilba – First Spring

By Matthew Lunn, Executive Officer, Nursery & Garden Industry Western Australia (NGIWA)

Spring has arrived and in Western Australia, this hails the arrival of prime gardening weather. With it comes an explosion of wildflowers right across the state which has made many parts of regional WA a tourist heaven for locals, and those from many parts of the world.

Once again, Kings Park Botanic Gardens will be the focus of attention with its annual Wildflower Festival opening during the first spring of the Noongar season, Djilba, when thousands of wildflowers will be in full bloom across the park.

With the heightened interest in gardening at this time of course comes an increase in sales across many of the NGIWA’s garden centres and nurseries. In the past few months nurserymen across the state have constantly shared the view that plant availability is going to be a real problem, particularly as the domino effect of COVID19 on supply and demand has never eased.

With the closure of borders during the pandemic, Western Australians were forced to holiday in their own backyard, and with it came a real connection with endemic plants as travellers headed out of Perth to see the floral wonders of our state. Coupled with climate change, native plant sales are certainly on the rise and will start to become more prominent in home gardens as those travellers try to emulate the landscapes they saw on their travels.

For this to be successful, organisations like Kings Park Botanic Gardens will have to continually work on plant breeding to develop plants that have higher levels of adaptation to our changing climate, as well as a greater ability to withstand growing conditions on balconies, shady courtyards and postage-stamp-sized front and back gardens.

One of the new releases to come out of the Kings Park breeding program is the arrival of the blue kangaroo paw. Anigozanthos ‘Masquerade’ is the only blue variant in cultivation worldwide and took nearly a decade of work by Kings Park plant breeders to produce.

The news therefore out of WA is a big thumbs up for our industry, and with the Perth Garden Festival making its first appearance in late October, there is growing optimism that horticulture has become an important part of people’s daily lives.

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