Planting the seeds of innovation; native plants gardening app

Helping gardeners choose the best local plants to beautiful their home and beat the spread of weeds is the subject of an app being developed by Griffith University and Gold Coast based environmental consulting and environmental education company, Natura-Pacific.

The project to promote the use of native plants in South-eastern Queensland gardens, has been awarded $22,550 to Natura-Pacific, and $10,800 to Griffith University under the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland Knowledge Transfer Partnerships program.

Professor Catherine Pickering from the Griffith School of Environment said the app for smartphones and tablets will be of benefit to every gardener in south-eastern Queensland.

“The app will be fun to use and help gardeners identify the best local plants to use in their gardens,” Professor Pickering said.

Professor Catherine Pickering
Professor Catherine Pickering

“Whatever garden style you want, be it Tuscan, cottage garden, formal, courtyard, rainforest or wild, this app will help you chose the best local plants to use.”

For each species there will photos and information about how and where to grow them.

“You can use it to work out which native trees work best in your garden, based on the size, shape and colour of the tree and the sorts of flowers and fruit it produces.

“It will also let you select which local plants are bird attracting, water-wise, hardy, provide shade, or will survive in that shade spot in the back of the garden where nothing seems to grow.”

In addition to using the app on a smart phone or tablet, people will be able to access the information on the web along with virtual tours of gardens. The app will be developed in collaboration with specialist native nurseries, plant experts, botanic gardens, and local government.

Professor Pickering is delighted the partnering company is Natura-Pacific, and not only because it is an award winning environmental consulting and education service. Natura-Pacific was established by Griffith graduate Kieran Richardt (Bachelor of Environmental Science) and it has now been in business for more than 10 years. With the funding from the Queensland Government Partnerships program, the company will employ a recent Griffith graduate to develop the content for the app.

“At Natura-Pacific we are committed to helping communities, particularly children, connect with the natural world,” Kieran said

“We want to help stimulate a sense of ownership and understanding of the local environment so people will want to protect it and it is fantastic that we can add another Griffith graduate to our ranks.  We now have a team of 12 and of those, 8 are Griffith graduates”.

Kieran also said that it is inspiring that the Queensland Government and Griffith University are so supportive of this innovative project.

Fan Flowers
Fan Flowers

“This app will be a brilliant new way people can enjoy interacting with nature right at home in their garden and it will help to minimise the spread of weeds.”

Natura-Pacific has won numerous awards including the Healthy Waterways Awards 2014 – Minister’s Grand Prize, Gold Coast Business Excellence Awards 2015 and it was a finalist in the Moral Fairground Ethical Enterprise Awards 2015.

The app and website will be ready for release early in 2017.

Know More: Environmental Futures Research Institute