Project Date: 31 December 2010
Project Status: Complete
Research Organisation: Gordon Institute of TAFE
Project Number: 62R - 2050
An online plant database for the Barwon Water region was compiled, and to make it accessible to householders and the region's nursery industry, a purpose specific web tool was designed and tested. The aim was to create effective communication on common drought tolerant garden plants that are closely matched to local soil and weather conditions.
The diverse climatic growing conditions and differing soil types within the Barwon Water region are important factors in sustainable plant selection for the regions gardeners and landscapers. For the database to be effective, it was important to ensure that the growing conditions and soil types were identified and linked to suitable plant selection for each location enabling the community to choose suitable, available, water efficient plants for new and existing gardens.
To realise this aim, the region was divided into seven geographic zones and the soil types and climatic conditions within these zones were cross linked and factored into plant selection. The soil types and climatic conditions were identified through internet research, reference books, and surveys of local industry knowledge. This information was collated to form the basis on which to build the plant database. The database was designed to include up to five hundred plants based on their recognised water economy within the Barwon region. All of the plants in the database were chosen for their low water use.
The project produced solid outcomes for all stakeholders. The Gordon TAFE Horticulture teachers gained experience with the development of a unique information site which benefits the general community. Their students gained valuable industry experience and were enthusiastic and highly motivated.
The database includes 450 carefully researched drought tolerant plants suitable for planting in gardens and landscape projects in the Barwon region.
The participants from local industry pooled their knowledge of growing conditions within the region and made this widely available.
The Web Tool is now a working tool to assist landscapers, councils, householders and the Barwon region nursery industry on suitable plant choices, and can be found here: http://www.barwonwater.vic.gov.au/residential/saving-water-home/waterwise-plant-selector
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