Early in November the Field Naturalist Club of Ballarat visited a property at Chepstowe, near Snake Valley to see how the landholder combines farming with the management of high quality native grasslands – link to story
About a month ago on a rare trip through the city, we stopped off at Burnley Gardens beside the Yarra River. These gardens in Swan Street Richmond, date back to 1861 when the Horticulture Society of Victoria established experimental gardens. The aim was to introduce new plants to the colonies, and to promote botanical and horticultural science. It is now a campus of University of Melbourne and subjects relating to horticulture are still taught.
The site includes some of the oldest trees in Melbourne but there is also a small section of native plants tucked away behind the buildings. Under some original River Red Gums, great use is made of native grasses and other small grassland plants. There are some beautiful small pools and the area provides inspiration for using native grassland and wetland plants in the home garden. The gardens are easily accessible by public transport.
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.
Teesdale Cemetery has large areas of kangaroo grass which have been left to go to seed and only the main areas around the graves have been mown. In late summer the grass will probably be burnt to maintain the grassland in good health.
In spring there are usually masses of Golden Moth Orchids but it appears that African Weed-orchid is also established. The distinctive brown spent seed-heads were visible earlier this week. Take care not to spread this weed if you are visiting this cemetery.
Did you know that there is an indigenous seed production area in the Geelong Botanic Gardens? The aim is to have a supply of VVP native grassland seed for restoration projects. It is funded by the Australian Government’ National Landcare Program, Geelong Botanic Gardens, Corangamite CMA and the Sunshine Foundation and supported by Greening Australia.
A few years ago there was a seed production area in the nursery section of the gardens and plants were grown in polystyrene containers. It was very successful and produced a lot of seed. This time the plants are in the ground in weed mat. The aim is to produce a greater quantity of seed than can be gained from collection in the field, with less stress put on local populations.
It is hard to judge how much seed is currently being collected but the bulbine lilies still have plenty of seed and the kangaroo grass is unharvested. Other plants growing are Myrnong, Button Wrinklewort, Blue Devil, Pussy Tails, Hoary Sunray and Salt-lake Tussock-grass. There is also Euphorbia drummondii, Caustic Creeper, but it probably made its own way there.
Are you a member of the Victorian Land for Wildlife program or do you know someone who is? The latest newsletter has arrived. It is only available online so sign up for it if you haven’t done so already. If you have signed up then may just need to check your emails as apparently there are some people who don’t open the link and miss out on some valuable info. LFW_Newsletter
This voluntary program promotes wildlife conservation on private land. According to the DELWP website if you wish to create or protect wildlife habitats on your property, then the Land for Wildlife scheme can offer you advice and assistance no matter whether you manage a farm, a bush block, a council park or school ground. link
Here is an article from New Zealand that discusses the benefits of fencing of smaller waterways than we usually consider as they are a big contributor to contamination load and water quality link