Selecting native plants to support precious bee colonies and learning to grow healthy herbs in the backyard were the hot topics discussed by renowned ABC radio host and gardening presenter Neville Passmore in Geraldton recently.
The event was hosted by the Friends of Geraldton Gardens Inc. (FROGGs) with financial support from the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC), and attracted more than 20 attendees who were eager to learn about pollinators and the types of herbs that are useful for their health.
According to Neville Passmore, most of the food crops we eat need pollination to produce fruits or vegetables for our kitchens. However, our local treasure chest of biodiversity is under threat from a lack of pollinators.
— Stanley Yokwe (@StanleyYokwe) August 15, 2017
When asked why the numbers of pollinators in our gardens were declining, Neville explained that large-scale destruction of habitat due to a long history of native vegetation clearing, and the continuous use of neonicotinoid insecticides was to blame for lack of pollinators in our gardens and wildflowers.
However, this can be overcome through a number of strategies, he said.
Firstly we need to fundamentally change the way we approach garden and household pests by foregoing biocides in our gardens. A biocide is anything that kills life and includes chemicals that are used to control insects, diseases, nematodes and weeds. This form of chemical warfare negatively affects those all-important pollinators we need in our gardens and natural environment.
The second strategy is to attract more birds, bees and insects to our gardens by deliberately choosing pollinator-friendly plants.
On the topic of herbs, Neville started by unlocking the secret of each leafy herb he brought to the talk – oregano, common mint, rosemary, garlic, parsley, lavender and basil.
“Fresh leafy herbs are not only rich in the nutrients we need, but they are also important for our guts’ health,” he said.
In conclusion, Neville commented that a botanic garden in Geraldton was a wonderful idea.
“People need to reconnect with nature, and one way that we can do this is by bringing nature to the people.”
NACC was represented at this event by Stanley Yokwe and Jessica Stingemore (who is also a member of the Friends of Geraldton Gardens), who both agreed that the session was interactive and inspirational.
Mr Yokwe said the team was privileged to collaborate with a local volunteer groups such as FROGGs and the Goodness Festival team, and to connect people with such a headline act as Neville Passmore.
“Event such as this allow people to learn and discuss, and ask questions on topics that matter most to them,” he said.
Friends of Geraldton Gardens Inc (FROGGS) is a not-for-profit community group with a vision to “realise, sustain and interpret the cultural and natural values of the unique botanical heritage of the Midwest” by creating a botanic garden for Geraldton.”
For more information of the group please check the FROGGS Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/froggsinc/
This event was hosted by the Friends of Geraldton Gardens and supported by NACC through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme as part of the Regional Landcare Facilitator project. Other partners to be thanked include the Goodness Festival, and Central Regional TAFE BCMI.