All able bodies required this Sunday at Minim Cove Park as we race against time to spread mulch around our new plantings. This will lock in soil moisture, reduce evaporation, suppress weeds, enrich the soil with nutrients, microbes and water holding properties! Irresistible!
The weather also is forecast to be irresistible for being out doors helping and enjoying the bushland. A mountain of mulch will be delivered for us by the end of the week!
Other tasks available on Sunday are weeding just inside the fence and checking plastic sleeves around our plantings.
The weeds have enjoyed our rain pattern this year with a burst of growth. As our plantings grow they will suppress weed growth but seeds now will be in the soil for at least seven years. We have a bigger area to manage with virtually the same number of volunteers. You can see how they have got a way from us! In areas of high priority biodiversity we are weeding more carefully with the intent of eventually decreasing the weed load.
This week traps have been set at Chidley Point Reserve, Bayview Park, Minim Cove Park and Buckland Hill bushland. Our bush care officer at Town of Mosman Park, Heidi and other enthusiasts as far away as Swanview have been out at 5am each morning. About 10 species of reptiles have been caught in good numbers. Names have been put to species seen in Minim Cove Park. Facts about what these reptiles eat and their behaviour have been learnt.
One blind snake and one legless lizard have been caught which is good news for our bushland health.
One observation made on this fauna survey was that everyone who attended had smiles despite the early hour.
The survey is continuing each morning this week with Sunday 27th November the last day. So if you would like to see and hold our reptiles, head to Chidley Point Reserve, upper car park by 5am. You will never get this opportunity again to see close up the critters that race around the bushland too fast to observe or too hidden to see.
See you from 9am to 11am! Equipment supplied! Bring a hat, sturdy shoes and a water bottle! Morning tea supplied!
Peter’s wife, Carol, has informed me that Peter passed away this month.
It is with great sadness that I inform you of this news.
Peter’s career was with the department of agriculture. He was able to give advice on weeds in particular when putting together an inventory of flora in Minim Cove Park. Peter was happy to take plant specimens to the WA Herbarium to be identified. I remember the first time he went to his mates at the WA herbarium with a grass. He came back with the name "Austrostipa flavescens" and details of how it was identified from other Austrostipas. It was with great joy to put a name to this native grass, as it was not present or at a stage where it could not be identified when a professional team surveyed the area for Mosman Park Council. We have since discovered this grass is very hardy, grows tall to shade the earth and reduces wind without robbing other young native plants an opportunity to survive. It only takes what it needs and can live in harmony with it’s surrounding flora.
It was great to share the excitement of new plant identifications with Peter as with others in the group. It is one of the joys of bush regeneration to discover new plants and precious young ones coming up. Biodiversity is the lifeblood of bushland, providing food and shelter all year round for those that inhabit it.
The commitment Peter put into our newly forming group was heroic considering arthritis limited his mobility. There were many jobs he could do without getting up and down.
APACE nursery in Fremantle came to Minim Cove Park the first summer we started working in the bushland to show us how to collect seeds. Peter set to work collecting the orange berries from the dysentery bush (Alyxia buxifolia), which he could easily reach because of his height. Little did we know that they are very difficult to grow from seed and all the seed we collected bore one plant that we planted this year along the bush trail.
Even though Peter was not agile and had difficulty bending, it did not stop his enthusiasm to put in some long hours getting our bushland jobs done. He would even lend a hand when he was sick working away as long as any of us. An ankle replacement early in the year put a end to his bushland work.
We'll have to find that dysentery bush seedling and tender it in his memory. There are only a couple of bushes left in Mosman Park. They are very attractive and have been used as a cure for dysentery. We owe Peter this at least!
About 20 people turned up on what promised to be a bit of a rainy day. It turned out nicely though, light winds and enough sunshine peeking through the cloud to keep us all well and truly warm. The weeds are going ballistic, not surprising given the rain and relatively warm conditions we've had this winter. The weeding team went pretty ballistic too!
Bucket loads (literally) of weeds were pulled. We remove all the black flag and soursob from the site as they both have subsurface corms from which they propagate. Other weeds are pulled and left onsite as mulch.