Tasmanian Christmas Bush

While walking around Baranduda roadsides at the moment you may catch a delightful aroma of the Tassie xmas bush in flower – sweet bursaria or bursaria spinosa. This is one of my favorite local plants. Its a haven for insects and small birds and so plays a crucial role in local ecology.

Sweet bursaria in flower on the Yackandandah roadside Dec 24 2013

I only just discovered that you buy Tassie Xmas bush honey from Beechworth honey would have made a great Christmas present.. if I hadnt left my shopping so late. Havent even got time to drive to Beechworth!

Nov 23 Swainsona sericea update

On Nov 23 in the late arvo Johno and I went up the range via Burgess Lane off Boyes road for the annual collection of pods from the known swainsona sericea plants (about 24)

The road had been graded and there was a bit of confusion about where we normally park – we ended up parking about 100 metres from our normal location – a stroke of luck as it turned out

We checked all plants on the north side of the road that had flowered in late September and pods were scarce – some pods still immature were collected anyway and kept moist so they have a chance to mature.

Pods found outside the mesh guard

Swainsona sericea greenish pods maturation in water

Despite the meagre collection of pods we were satisfied thats all we could do and headed back to the car. Nearly back at the road and we started to take an interest in some flora on the north side of the road on steep ground close to the car. Eagle eyed Johno spotted a small swainsona sericea and elated we searched some more and I found another one. We gps’d and recorded data and it was getting late and we decided to call it quits.

Just as we were at the car Johno suggested we have a quick look on the south (high) side of the road that had been burnt in autumn 2012 – to our amazement we found another patch dubbed Site 10 of plants with pods as well as a number of individual plants. We collected 50 pods and recorded locations – not all data has been finalised yet but this find just about doubles the number of known plants. And most significantly it reassures us that the fuel reduction burn planned next autumn is likely to deliver more positive outcomes for this plant we have been monitoring for the last 6 years.

Site 10 habitat post autumn 2012 burn view above road.

Site 10.1 habitat view to road edge

Site 10.5_seed pod s prior to collection.jpg

Fuel reduction strategy

On Sunday 24th November Johno and I drove up the Trig Point track from Burgess Lane access from Boyes Road to Baranduda Regional Park. A fuel reduction burn had taken place in autumn 2012 on the high (southern) side of the track leaving the low (northern) side of the track unburnt.

View of Trig Point track Baranduda Regional Park

View of Trig Point track Baranduda Regional Park

On the ground the difference in vegetation was pronounced

High side of Trig Point Track burnt in autumn 2012

Low side of Trig Point track - unburnt

Low side of Trig Point track – unburnt

It looks as if the burn off on the high side has resulted in more vigorous wallaby grass regrowth and flowering – and its tempting to conclude therefore making the fire risk worse. But the real purpose of the fuel reduction burn is to minimise the likelihood of a fire wicking up the loose and highly flammable bark on stringybark and to a lesser extent box trees potentially leading to a crown fire – upon examination of the blackened tree trunks in the photo below it would appear that this outcome has been achieved.

Fuel reduced eucalypt trees

Fuel reduced eucalypt trees

But the real purpose of the trip was to collect seed pods from the silky swainsona sericea plants we have been monitoring over the last 5 years. More about the outcome of that in the next blog entry.

Blue Pincushion

On November 12 Juliette Milbank wrote

The blue pincushion in my garden has finally opened it’s flowers. All the flowers aren’t quite open yet but I thought I’d better photograph it in case something happened! There are 3 more flower heads on it not yet open.

Given that the plant is now 2 or 3 years old, I’m expecting that it may die soon but I’m quite excited that it lasted this long and flowered as well! (I originally planted four blue pincushions, thanks to Glenda for getting them for me, and this plant was the only one to survive).

Now that I’ve seen my plant with an open flower, I’m now sure that there was a blue pincushion that flowered in the reserve next to our place about 4-5 years ago. We took photos of it (which I can’t find at the moment), but I was never quite sure if it was a blue pincushion or not. It was a lone plant just out of the trees, near where the paper daisies now are. I haven’t seen another one since but I don’t often go in there – might have to jump the fence and go have a look at some stage.

IMG_5316-small-cropped IMG_5318-small-cropped

Glen Johnson replied:

Its unlikely that the loner in the parklands spot near you was Brunonia. The best local spots to find it are Stringybark Reserve off Kiewa Valley Highway and Ridge Lane –
there is a nice block on South side of Ridge 400m or so up.  GJ

Middle Creek Reveg Revisited

On Oct 3 Glen Johnson wrote:

Here’s some pics of the Kiewa Hwy Middle Creek Bridge Crossing BLCare Reveg
Juliette, Peter and Nicholas (and Judy – Pete’s mum) and Chris and Christine
and I planted:

  • Approx 35 Apple Box, Blakely’s Red Gum and (only a few) Yellow Box adjacentto the Bike Track to help provide native overstorey competition to the Phalaris dominated (long grass) site and begin to establish a tree corridor.
  • We also then planted about 15 Lemon Scented Gums to reinforce the fantastictree corridor avenue either side of Ellen McDonald Drive – adjacent to theBLCare planted WREN reserve’
  • and Chris, Christine and I finished off planting 15 or so shrubs into the Baranduda Boulevard beds (that BLCare planted many years ago) either side of the Verbena St entrance.

HovellTree_1Yr post planted_BLCare_RevegProject_BridgeCrossingBLCare_MiddleCk_KiewaBridgeCrossing_Eucalypt_Planting_3BLCare_MiddleCk_KiewaBridgeCrossing_Eucalypt_Planting_1MiddleCk_KiewaHwyBridgeCrossing

Kurrajong tree breaking out

While walking up the northern end of the range for the swainsona survey in Sept we spotted a couple of kurrajong trees that appeared to have been guarded with 44 gallon drums. We wondered if these trees may need liberation with an angle grinder but it appears they can bust out of the drum of their own accord! Photo by Glen Johnson


Wildlife of Baranduda range

Chris Lehmann wrote on 10/4/12

Tony and I had an unsuccessful swainsona search on the west side of the range this morning (about 4 hour walk).

But the critters were out in abundance!

Kangaroos (of course), Wallaby, fallow Deer (3), Goanna (!), numerous Jacky lizards, black snake, brown snake (that was posing for us), unidentified dark “blue tongue type” lizard, Tawny Frogmouth, spotted pardalotes, sacred kingfisher, black face cuckoo shrikes and a Wedge Tail Eagle soaring right in close over us … it was a wonderful morning. : )))

An amazing walk because:
* I have never seen a goanna on the range.
* and never seen 2 separate snakes on a single trip.
* also never seen deer “on” the range (evidence of, but not alive).

Planet Ark 2012

On the 25th July 2012 GlenJohnson wrote
It was another great annual event at Frayne College – thanks heaps to Suzie & Josh (and all the Frayne students and other teachers) and Sue (and her Tafe Riverina Bush Regeneration students) – and the folk who prepared the soups (much appreciated).

We ended up planting approx 540 of the 640 tube stock BLCare provided – and all (approx. 40) advanced natives donated by the Frayne parents (with nursery in Whyte’s Rd?)

For more photos of the day go to here

Purple Loosestrife

Posted by Tony Marsh at February 28. 2012
Down on the roadside west side opposite Lindsay Lane is a patch or two of purple flowers which have attracted our attention. Initially I though wet spot, got to be weeds but closer inspection and consultations with higher authorities proved otherwise – turns out this is a native plant called purple loosestrife – what a great name – its scientific name Lythrum salicaria is not quite so endearing. You can also view some more pics in this photo album
I remembered Id seen the purple loosestrife at a visit to the Botanic Gardens in Canberra earlier this month (photo above). This place (Bot Gardens) should be listed as one of the seven wonders of the world I reckon. The latest project is the creation of a grassy woodland section only open late in 2010 – read about it here

But theyve got a long way to go to catch up with our Ridge Lane grassy woodland resplendent in spring with scaly buttons and blue pincushion plants