On 28th March,
Plantlife International, The Garden Centre Association, Gardening Which?, Horticultural Trade Association, Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association and Royal Horticultural Society issued a joint statement in support of the
Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs' Non-Native Species Review Group. The group was established to evaluate the threat to the UK's native biodiversity from introduced invasive species.
The supporting agencies, which all participated in the review, endorsed the report and recommendations produced by the review group. The review looked into the threat posed to the UK's natural environment by invasive
plant species, introduced into gardens, which can thrive to the detriment of native species if allowed to establish in the wild.
Some introduced species can overwhelm natives, like Australian swamp stonecrop or New Zealand pigmyweed, Crassula helmsii
which can invade ponds. Others can interbreed with natives, irrevocably affecting the genepool; for example Spanish bluebell Hyacinthoides hispanica
hybridises with out native bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta
, exacerbating the decline of this species.
In response to the review, the RHS has updated its guidelines: it has, for example, undertaken to prevent problem species being displayed or sold at its shows or outlets. The endorsing bodies are encouraging the public to:
- compost excess garden plant material and never to dump garden plants in the countryside;
- keep up-to-date with information about potentially damaging non-native species, and avoid buying them;
- adhere to Government advice about bringing plants, fruits, soil, into the country from abroad;
- spread the word to improve awareness about the problem of non-native invasive species;
- prevent garden plants from colonising natural environments.