Saturday, 31 October 2015

Native Grasses ID and Management Workshop Clare

So much to learn - so many new concepts and words. 
The native grasses workshop was a very worthwhile day for our members who joined the 20 or so participants in Clare.
Lots of plants we call grasses and have a common name like 'iron grass' but are rushes or sedges. It was great to be able to handle various plants and listen and ask questions to discover the distinguishing features of the different families. It's so much easier for me to learn by doing rather than reading. Grasses have leaves that articulate - that was new to me. Rushes have many seeds as tiny as pepper while sedges and grasses have one seed per flower, and all very tiny.
Having never looked at grasses with a field lens, it was fascinating to discover the minute features of the florets that make up the flower heads. It didn't take too long to distinguish between wallaby grass Rytidosperma,  spear grass Austrostipa  and windmill grass Chloris. However, it took a field lens and  real concentration while grappling with many new words and a two-choice key to be able to identify different species of wallaby grasses. Whew.....
Out in the field at Pink's Reserve it was satisfying to be able to identify some of the grasses and the weeds. And to apply new trick of pulling the suspect grass - annual grasses pull out easily and are almost always introduced plants (weeds).  
It was good to see the work of the Trees for Life group in reducing the weeds and maintaining the native grasses in this open grassland area.
This austrostipa is a shiny bronze colour with awns spiralling beautifully on the end of each seed. 
 I may take for ever to distinguish between different spear grasses but I now really appreciate the marvellous intricacy of the plants.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Wattlebirds in Spring

Jan White has an excellent bird hide in one of her bushes and is being rewarded with beautiful sights and excellent photos. 
She took these great shots of young wattle birds on their first day out feeding, away from their nest. 

Don’t you love the look of concentration on the fledgling’s face at the bird bath.
The eremophila hedge makes a great landing spot for wobbly first flights. 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Moonta Mines Revegetation

APS members took a self guided tour of the former Recreation Ground and Richman’s Way to check out the revegetation work undertaken by plant buff, Mike Austin.  Mike has been propagating shrubs and trees seedlings then planting them out at the mines for four years and has made a great improvement to the area.  He’s planted a wide variety of native grasses, shrubs and trees, some from the local area and others from all around temperate Australia.
Acacia notablis (notable wattle)  looks magnificent in June with its golden flowers and red trim on the leaves and stems.  They are flourishing near the Magazine along Ryan’s Road.
Also in the area are Eucalyptus lansdowneana (narrow leafed red mallee) and Grevillea olivacea (olive grevillea), a couple of imports that seem to be coping with the difficult soil of the mines.
Further along the trail is a planting of several Templetonia retusa (cockies tongue), Eremophila maculata (spotted emu bush) and Dodonea lobulata (hop bush). Most of these young plants are flowering now so this should be a very cheerful spot to come in future winters.
In other areas there were well established native trees and bushes. We came across a very big Exocarpus syrticola  (coast cherry) and a beautiful (Eucalyptus leptophylla) narrow leafed red mallee.
It’s inspiring to visit a place where people have revegetated areas that have been used, then neglected by our forebears.  Wonder how long it will take for the area to return to the ‘impenetrable scrub’ that gives Moonta its name.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Moonta Mines walk

Moonta Mines is a fascinating place,  as members of the aus plants society rediscovered last week.

We followed Trail 3 around Richmans area, initially in search of native plants.  Large sections had been revegetated thanks to many people replanting in the past, and those currently working in the area.
Scaevola spinescens (spiny fan flower), a rather drab and very prickly plant, could be seen in much of the understorey. It’s a valuable safe haven for the little robins and finches we saw only fleetingly. Pimeleass  (riceflower) and zygophyllums (twinleafs) were in flower, making them more easily identified than some of the other plants we came across. The zygophyllum were found only on the high ridge around the Magazine so it’s possible they had been planted by someone, rather than seeding themselves. The species has a distinctive twin leaf and it’s lovely to see them regrowing in the area. The amyema (mistletoe) was growing on an acacia (wattle) and the fruit was really sticky. We came across them along the bitumen road to Richmans.
We were soon distracted by the old copper processing constructions.  The size of the mines buildings and the intricacy of the stone work were good reminders of the industry that went on over a hundred years ago.
We were intrigued by the hardiness of the opportunistic plants that have found niches within the buildings – possibly acacias and scaevola in this photo.
Towards the end of the trail we came across plants that could only be described as giant weeds – boxthorns and pepper trees in particular.  Wonder if our forebears planted them as part of earlier attempts to revegetate the skimp and slime areas. 
When we stopped our chatter we could hear birds twittering and tried to find them. We were rewarded by sightings of robins and mistletoe birds and one of our young walkers caught them with her camera.
Walking along the mines trails can be a relaxing stroll, a history inspiration, a botanical delight, a bird watcher’s ramble, a photographer’s gift – whatever the walker chooses.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Plant Sale Northern Yorke Peninsula 2 Good

There was plenty to see and do at the sale.
It was terrific to have a helping hand in setting up and packing away from Kadina Apex members.  Such heavy work is getting beyond some of the NYP group.
The group, however, was well able to cater for snacks in the canteen, and organised the raffle with lots of plant prizes donated by the stall holders. Kathlyn Fabian held several floral design workshops – her talent was well appreciated, but the photos didn’t work out. 
Aussie herbs and spices featured in the dukkhas on the spices stall, and the quandong pies from the tucker table were delicious.
The Natural Resource Management team gave useful advice on what introduced garden plants quickly turn into weeds and what to grow instead.
Plants currently flowering in our area made for a very interesting display, and it was good to see their botanical names.
And the little cockatiel that came to visit added a charming touch.
Hope everyone has got their plants into the ground cos the damp soil and rain will give them a good start. We’re planning to do it all again next year so more Aussie plants grow in our gardens and on our farms.  

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Impressive Plant Sale on Copper Coast

The sale and display of Australian Plants was a real success. Buyers, sellers, information sharers and organisers were all pleased by the day.

Five different growers had a wide variety of plants suited to our local area that should thrive with just a little TLC, and a few more wide ranging specimens to challenge the experienced and determined gardener. Thanks to all the plant sellers: Ian Roberts, Kadina Growing Group’s Lorena Retallick, 

sDSCN6037 sDSCN6021

Keith and Paul Pitman, Brenton Tucker, (we can see Brenton’s plants in the pic, but not Brenton)


and Friends of Arid Lands Botanic Gardens volunteers Ronda and Peter Hall, and Chris Nayda.
sm arid