July 15, 2012
Ontario Invasive Plant Council (OIPC) and Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) officially launched the Grow Me Instead Nursery Outreach Project on June 7 in Toronto.

The Grow Me Instead Guide highlights a variety of native and non-native plants that do well in gardens and are non-invasive in Ontario. It is a helpful resource for anyone adding new plants to their garden, starting a landscape project, or removing invasive plants.

English Ivy, periwinkle and winged euonymus are just some of the plants that are listed as invasive. These plants are defined as having the potential to establish themselves and disrupt ecosystems, forcing out native plants. One of the ways invasive plants are being spread is through sales at garden centres.

OIPC and its partners, including Landscape Ontario, are working with garden centres to inform consumers about popular garden plants that escape gardens and cause problems in nearby natural areas.

“Invasive species cost Ontario’s economy millions of dollars each year,” said Michael Gravelle, Minister of Natural Resources, at the official launch.

“We have found that gardeners are very eager to avoid these invasives and to learn what species are good alternatives,” said Owen Williams, chair of OIPC.

In 2012, the Grow Me Instead Nursery Recognition Program was piloted in the GTA. This program recognizes nurseries that carry and promote the sale of the non-invasive and native garden plants featured in the Grow Me Instead Guide. These nurseries also distribute copies of the guides. The pilot project resulted in 10 nurseries joining the program, leading to stronger engagement with growers, retailers, landscapers and gardeners. In the next five years, the program will expand to include additional regions in Ontario, including Northern Ontario, through partnerships with local organizations.

The Grow Me Instead Guide can be found at participating garden centres across Ontario, or can be downloaded at www.landscapeontario.com/grow-me-instead.