Agapanthus 1It’s a major threat to native plants, and some councils list it as a pest species. But the fact it’s so hard to eradicate makes others wary of taking it on. –Nicholas Boyack, Dominion Post 19 January 2018

The popular South African import

By Roger Childs

It’s flowering time for agapanthus and you may have the attractive white and purple-blue flowers in your garden at the moment, or down the road on a bank.

But many exotaphobes regard it as a weed.

Well, it’s not a native and is seen by some as a threat to our biodiversity. Some local authorities have suggested to their citizens to root them out, but should all foreign plants in the country be wiped out solely for that reason? Kapiti Coasters will have noticed the prolific growth of agapanthus in the central barrier of the old state highway near Coastlands, so presumably the KCDC is OK with them [or at least the NZTA is —Eds].

Biodiversity is what we’ve got!

biodiversity: diversity among and within plant and animal species in an environment. –

Pohutukawa 1Some ecological and horticultural purists are obsessed with plants that are native to New Zealand and some don’t even like trees like pohutukawa growing outside their heartland in the northern half of the North Island!

Surely, our biodiversity is what we’ve got now: radiata pine, gorse, blackberry, poplars, the native forest and everything else that’s growing on our land. Not to mention sheep, cattle, possums, blackbirds, stoats, trout and rats.

Jamie_Steer-1Wellington ecologist Jamie Steer argues that we have a moral responsibility to value introduced species as well as natives. However, there are other scientists who support eliminating “unwanted” plants and animals.

Enjoy the agapanthas

These flowers have long been popular with gardeners and because of their powerful root systems they are great for holding banks together and growing along boundaries.
Agapanthus 2There is no question that highly developed agapanthus can be difficult to root out, however, why move them if they have a role in your garden? They are no more a weed than roses, camellias or rhododendrons, and no-one is suggested we should get rid of those garden favourites.

At this time of the year the distinctive agapanthus are a great sight!  Enjoy.