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Published: 2007-08-23 00:00:00

Seven Hamilton garden centres are helping local people get behind Environment Waikato’s Hamilton Halo project.

The garden centres will be creating displays and offering advice on the best trees and shrubs people can plant to attract tui into their gardens.

The displays will be up by September 1, with some centres also running special promotions.

The Full Bloom Nursery will be discounting eco-sourced and native plants by 10 per cent, Palmers Garden World in Cambridge is running an art competition and the Airport Garden Centre is running a draw for a native bird clock.

Other centres supporting the halo project are Fresca Garden Style, Hofmans Nursery, Burtons and JJ's Garden Centre.

The Hamilton Halo project aims to bring more tui into Hamilton by controlling the rats and possums that prey on them in areas of bush dotted around the city. The “halo” concept describes the 20 km ring around the city containing all these sites.

Environment Waikato hopes Hamilton residents will support the initiative by planting food sources and habitat for tui in their own gardens.

“Nearly 20 years of planting by community organisations in Hamilton around parks, reserves, riverbanks and gullies, means there’s already great tui habitat here,” Environment Waikato biosecurity officer Ben Paris said.

“But every urban resident and home gardener can increase the chances of tui visiting the city by controlling pests and planting the right species, which may also attract native butterflies, moths, skinks, geckos, beneficial insects and other birds.”

Tui-friendly smaller trees and plants such as kowhai, flax, wineberry and five-finger grow easily in Hamilton and can be planted in urban sections. Larger trees such as kahikatea, rewarewa, kohekohe and puriri may be more suitable for larger properties, schools grounds, parks and gullies.

For more information about what you can do to help the Halo project and garden centre promotions, please visit www.ew.govt.nz/hamiltonhalo.