Seedy Saturdays, not Weedy Weekends!

ISCBC News Release, Feb. 29, 2012: WILLIAMS LAKE—Seedy Saturdays are happening all over British Columbia, giving keen gardeners and growers a chance to share ideas, advice, plants, and seeds.  At these events you can find some rare heritage crop varieties. You can also find ornamental plants or plants with reported medicinal value.  

Could there be invasive plants lurking in the mix?

At recent Seedy Saturdays, known noxious weeds have been available, including plants like milk thistle (Silybum marianum) and chervil (Anthriscus), which are regulated under the BC Weed Control Act.  In addition, gardeners could purchase non-regulated invasive plants like policeman’s helmet (Himalayan balsam, Impatiens glandulifera).

Unfortunately, invasive plants continue to be sold in nursery and gardening outlets across BC, and are traded as seeds, transplants, or starter plants by gardening and landscaping enthusiasts. These ‘unwanted’ plants spread quickly and bring harm to BC’s environment, economy, and communities. 

Many BC residents are already familiar with Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparis) and English ivy (Hedera helix) – two ornamental plants that spread quickly and out-compete native plants.  But did you know that baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata) and mountain bluet (Centaurea montana) are aggressive invasive plants in BC’s interior? Did you know that common periwinkle (Vinca minor) and yellow archangel (Lamium galeobdolon) can move into forested areas and out-compete native plants on the coast?

By becoming aware of which plants are invasive, gardeners, growers and retailers can make a powerful difference!  

Avoid purchasing invasive plants like the eye-catching yellow flag iris (Iris pseudacorus). Gardeners appreciate the showy yellow flowers of this water-loving plant; however, it forms thick root mats that block waterways and cause extensive damage to wildlife habitat. 

Rather, choose a plant with similar features and growing zones, such as the lovely Oregon Iris (Iris tenax), Western Blue Iris (Iris missouriensis), or Butter and Sugar Iris (Iris ‘Butter and Sugar’). 

Learn more about making informed choices and selecting non-invasive alternatives in the new edition of “Grow Me Instead”, a booklet developed by the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia (ISCBC) and its Horticulture Advisory Committee. The “Grow Me Instead” booklet provides photos and descriptions of 26 of BC's most 'unwanted' plants in horticulture, as well as five recommended alternatives. 

Watch for this popular publication at Seedy Saturdays, and around nursery and gardening centres this spring! It is full of great suggestions for spring planting, and covers all growing zones in BC. By following the best management practices outlined, and using alternatives suggested in the booklet, you can achieve a vibrant and dynamic garden while contributing toward the most important part of invasive plant management: prevention. Thank you for taking this step to help prevent the spread of invasive plants.

To learn more about invasive plants in your area, contact your regional committee by visiting the Partners section of and click on your region for contact information. Or, call the ISCBC at 1-888-WEEDSBC. The Grow Me Instead publication is also viewable on the ISC website under Resources and can be ordered through the ISC office. 

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The ISCBC is a registered charity working collaboratively to build cooperation and coordination of invasive species management in BC. Workshops, activities, and events educate the public and professionals about invasive species and their potential risks.

The ISCBC has grown rapidly since its inception in 2004, and is recognized across the country for its leadership in building collaboration on the challenging and growing problem of invasive species. 

For more information, contact the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC): • (250) 392-1400 or 1-888-WEEDSBC •

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