Getting Wise with arum lilies
Wise Wine is creating a culture of appreciation for the natural bush by clearing its 40-odd hectare property of arum lilies, landscaping with local plants and even looking to incorporate native botanicals into products.
Wise General Manager Greg Garnish said until recently the property was overrun with arum lilies, but in just two short years, native plants have taken centre stage. “It’s important to us to create a sense of place, which is why we allocate a lot of time and money to controlling weeds, like arum lilies,” he said. “We’re also working with Geographe Community Landcare Nursery in planting 1200 native tube stock — to attract native birds, wildlife and even to use in products we’re currently trialling.”
According to Mr Garnish, the days of admiring “exotic” introduced species were gone and more people had an appreciation for natural bushland and biodiversity.
“We’ve got vines and manicured gardens but a lot of bushland too and we feel a responsibility to protect it, especially because we’re the final frontier before reaching the Meelup Reserve,” he said. “If arum lilies began spreading through the park, it’d feel like our fault.”
Wise’s weed control efforts have been supported by Nature Conservation Margaret River Region’s Arum Lily Blitz, which is a collaborative region-wide weed control effort. Funded by the WA Government’s State Natural Resource Management Program, the Blitz offers free herbicide, resources and contractor subsidies to participants.
Nature Conservation Project Officer Mike Griffiths said it was a big win for the region’s biodiversity to have high-profile establishments favouring local plants over problematic introduced species.
“We live in a Global Biodiversity Hotspot so it’s amazing to see businesses with big visitor numbers like Wise Wine highlighting our endemic flora and supporting local biodiversity,” he said. “Their sense of stewardship for their land and surrounding areas and their consideration for neighbours is admirable, and it goes to show what can be achieved when we work together.”
Wise has a long history of weed control but Mr Garnish said the focus was now mostly on maintenance rather than management. “We’ve been working on it for quite a long time and we’ve made some amazing progress,” Mr Garnish said. “We want our gardens to be form and function, not just one or the other … and with the Blitz helping to cover costs, it’s made all of it a lot more achievable.”
To get the cost of spray contractors subsidised or for access to free herbicide and other resources, register for the Blitz at Nature Conservation.org.au. The Arum Lily Blitz is funded by the WA Government’s State Natural Resource Management Program.