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As of Monday 15 June, the Goolwa and Strathalbyn Libraries are open to the public. For more detailed information about particular services affected click here and for the latest updates on Alexandrina Council's response to COVID-19 click here

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Gazania Free Gardens

In March 2018, the “Gazania Free Goolwa” campaign was launched to encourage residents within the township of Goolwa to remove gazanias from their gardens and roadside verges.

After the Gazania Free Goolwa campaign, Council remained committed to encouraging our community, not just in Goolwa but in the whole district, to control gazanias and other declared weeds in their gardens and on their roadside verges. As a result, the campaign was rebranded Gazania Free Gardens in 2019, with a focus on Middleton. The Gazania Free Gardens campaign ran through April and May 2019 and included a community planting day, coastal garden design workshops and a plant swapping initiative where residents could trade in Gazanias removed from their gardens for a free six pack of native plants.

Gazania-free Gardens was a collaborative project between Alexandrina Council, the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board, the Goolwa to Wellington Local Action Planning Association, Middleton Town and Foreshore Association and Alexandrina Community Nursery.

The campaign was an initiative from Alexandrina’s Environmental Action Plan, and was in direct response to Alexandrina council’s “Thrive in Clean Green Futures” strategic objective.

What is a gazania?

Gazanias are a common garden plant, introduced to Australia from South Africa. Gazanias are an invasive environmental weed, and present a significant threat to the health of natural ecosystems.

Gazanina PlantGazania Free Gardens logo

Why remove gazanias?

Established plants reproduce by seed, which can disperse 1km or more from the source, and through Rhizomes, producing a dense carpeting groundcover. In coastal environments, there is a potential for gazanias to form a continuous groundcover, which chokes out native vegetation. Because of the damage that gazanias do to our natural environment, they are declared as noxious weeds under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004, and therefore must not be sold or purchased anywhere in the district, and must be controlled in parts of the coastal strip.

Council staff and volunteers are engaged in the removal of gazanias from reserves in Goolwa, particularly in the dune system along the coastal strip. The work is vital to preserve the biodiversity of bushland areas, but can only be successful if new plants do not re-establish where older plants have been removed. We are appealing for the help of local residents by asking them to remove plants from private gardens and road verges, so that they do not contribute to the re-establishment of gazanias in bushland reserves.

Benefits of backyards for biodiversity

As urban areas have expanded, natural bushland has been fragmented and largely confined to small conservation reserves. In some areas such as Goolwa, Council and the local community are working hard to preserve the last remaining areas of native vegetation in its urban biodiversity reserves (such as the Goolwa sand dune system). However, there is no reason why backyards can’t be rich in native plant and animal communities.

You can help improve your local environment by choosing to plant indigenous plants in your garden. Backyards for biodiversity help to conserve native plant and animal species and create links between isolated bushland reserves. They also add colour and life to your backyard by attracting native wildlife such as birds. On top of that, it makes practical sense to choose indigenous plant species because they are adapted to the conditions, and therefore require less maintenance, less water, less fertiliser, less pesticide – basically less fuss! There are lots of resources available to show you how others have gone about creating a backyard for biodiversity.

Where can I buy local native plants?

Alexandrina Community Nursery (Friday 9am - 4pm)

Hindmarsh Island (Tuesday 8:30am - 4pm)

Clayton (Tuesday and Thursday 9am – 4pm)

Where can I find more information about enhancing backyard biodiversity?

Information on controlling weeds including gazanias from Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges

An app designed to help identify and control weeds, including gazanias from the SA department of Primary Industries and Regions

Tips on improving backyard biodiversity from Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges

Coastal planting guide from Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges

Alexandrina Council Township Verge Planting Guide

Gazania Free Gardens pic

Community cooperation at the Gazania Free Gardens plant swap.