Victorian Volcanic Plains Conservation Management News

Raising awareness about the value and use of native grasslands, seasonal wetlands, grassy woodlands & other ecosystems on the Victorian Volcanic Plains

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Where are the grassland remnants?

We usually think to look for grassland remnants along roadsides and on rail reserves on the Victorian Volcanic Plain  Cemeteries are another good place to check out, but have you thought about going to church yard? At St George’s Church Balliang, there is tiny grassland treasure.

I was there on Wednesday chatting with a few people about what to look for and how to manage a remnant such as this one. As with most grassy remnants we need to manage the density of grass cover and this one needs a burn to open it up. Perhaps that will happen this autumn. You never know who has a little patch of grassland out the back. It is lovely to know this patch is in good hands.


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The mysterious world of Spiny Rice-flower

Recently Debbie Reynolds gave a fascinating talk about Spiny Rice-flower to a small group at Federation University Ballarat. These are my notes from that talk.

There are about 150 species of pimelea (rice flowers) which are mainly found in Australia, New Zealand, Timor and New Guinea. In Australia there are 110 endemic species and of these 18 are listed as rare and threatened. The ones seen in basalt derived grasslands are Pimelea humilis, P. curviflora, P. glauca and P. spinescens subsp. spinescens.

Spiny Rice-flower

Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens is listed as critically endangered and only found in Victoria. The common name is Spiny Rice-flower which relates to the end of the stems which are pointed or spine tipped. It is a small spreading shrub to 30cm, winter flowering and usually seen from April to August. Continue reading

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How we portray fire to landholders

I really enjoy reading Chris Heltzer’s articles from the prairies in Nebraska. Often the posts provide food for thought and ideas could transfer to the volcanic plains grasslands. Chris is also a very good photographer.

A blog article in March is timely as we try and get more burning is carried out. Here is a link to the article.


Continue reading

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Managing an offset with Matted Flax-lily

Here is an article by Dominic Bowd about the management of the endangered plant Dianella amoena, Matted Flax-lily, at an offset site in Epping. (Thanks Dominic for sending this in).  Here is the  Matted Flax-lily Article and a link to his blog Firewheel Landscapes.

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Teesdale Grassy Woodlands Reserve

Within the township of Teesdale there are several nature reserves and recently I visited the Teesdale Grassy Woodlands Reserve. It is a remnant of 25 Ha and adjoins the Don Wallace Reserve, that has the local sporting facilities. Many people would pass by on the main road and not be aware that this patch of endangered vegetation exists.

There are a few walking trails to follow if you are tempted to visit and enjoy a walk under the sheoaks and eucalypts. I last visited this reserve years ago in the spring and there were lots of wildflowers to see.

It was interesting to see that there is a grazing trial in operation, using sheep to keep the grass down to reduce the fire risk. In other areas ecological burning is carried out. Here is a link to the fire management plan.

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Botanic Gardens focus on indigenous plants

If you have visited Geelong Botanic Gardens you would have seen the display of native grasses as you drive up to the carpark and main entrance. There is also a small planting inside the entrance with a few VVP grassland species.

Ballarat Botanic Gardens also has moved to include indigenous plants in one of their display gardens. It is so new the plants are still marked with stakes. They have also undertaken to grow the threatened Basalt Peppercress which is an interesting development. We need to promote examples of where to see grassland plants so more are used in landscaping and home gardens and people begin to understand what the rest of us are on about.