eucalyptus blakelyii

DONE, BUT DUSTY

Amazingly, we’re done with our main project for 2018!

After the bitter weather on our big planting a few weeks ago, I was worried we’d never get our whole Glossy Black Cockatoo project finished.  Thankfully, Darren Menachemson and a wonderful crew from ThinkPlace plus a Greening Australia “Adopt a Plot” team came to our rescue.

The lovely ThinkPlacers turned up on a foggy morning and chose the highest ridge to plant.

frozen water buckets

We had to chase out a family of kangaroos that were still confused by the new fences.   We also had to crack the ice on the frozen water buckets we’d stashed ahead of time.  Brrrr.

They (the people, not the kangaroos) were a great team, both careful and fast.  We had the assistance of mascots in the form of dogs and toddlers, which always adds to the entertainment.

By the time we called a halt, they’d got 170 more allocasuarinas into the ground among the rocky ridges.   It’s going to look extraordinarily different when they all grow.looking uphillPlanting definitely moves more quickly where we’re able to put rip-lines in ahead of time, and because they’d come back so promptly, the soil still had just enough moisture.

The Greening Australia Adopt A Plot trio arrived a few days later, and polished off the hollow in the middle of the site.  They were even faster, getting 130 in 3 hours.  These included some extra eucalyptus blakelyi, dives, and a variety of shrubs that I added because I thought they would do better than the allocasuarinas in the heavy soil in the hollow.

The big issue is still the dryness of the ground.  The hills look quite green from a distance, but a lot of it is rosettes of Patterson’s Curse covering bare ground.  It’s hard to remember that the hollow is often wet and water trickles down the gully after heavy rain.  The fencers found that when they drilled for posts, the ground moisture was gone after 30 centimetres, and below that was bone dry.  We gave each plant as much water as we could, hoping for the best.    Last time we planted in dry ground, we lost some to the dryness, and some to having planted in places we didn’t realize were actually boggy.

This plot is pretty important as I’ve been working making links to it over the past four years – something that I hope will make it a really effective and productive area, for many types of wildlife including the Glossy Black Cockatoos.  sequence of planting

Matthew and covers

I’m hoping for some rain tomorrow to help settle these new plants into place, and to settle the unseasonal dust.

Thank you again to everyone that helped make this possible.

 

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DEATH OF A GIANT

When trees attack they often do so without warning.

A few months ago, a massive old eucalypt (I thought possibly a Blakely’s red gum, but my identification skills are poor – or maybe a very large Red Box (eucalyptus polyanthemos )  in the crop paddock near the house suddenly turned into a crushing giant squid-shaped thing, demolishing fences and flattening my hopes of helping it live into another century. Continue reading

PIXIE DUST, KITES AND PINK HATS

There’s nothing better than a beautiful day out on the hillside, unless it’s a beautiful day out with lots of lovely people planting trees.

kristen-among-the-rocksjake-helpingplanting-with-a-puppy

This year we had the wonderful team from Justin Borevitz’s lab at ANU, along with another hundred yellow box  (eucalyptus melliodora) that they raised from seed, genotyped and either pampered or subjected to all sorts of tests (drought strtrees-in-truckess, various sprays etc).  In the last two years we have planted 30 to 50 of these which despite some setbacks in the way of frost, not to mention last autumn’s endless dryness, have been doing well.   The main challenge is transporting the big pots (this year big sections of pipe) up to where they’ll be planted. The rest of our plants come from Murrumbateman Landcare, Greening Australia or Damian DiMarco’s nursery on Wallaroo Road, making as wide and balanced a range of species as we can manage. Continue reading

THE GREEN ARMY INVADES

I was quite cautious when the idea of a “Green Army” was proposed.  It seemed like a political stunt.  And the cost of the payslips was going to be subtracted from Landcare, a community organization I admire a great deal.

Who was this Army going to attack?  The trees?  Us?

Who was going to join up?  Willing people? Or grumpy teenagers who’d rather be playing video games, only moving when they were driven along with pitchforks?

rocksAnd how would they feel about planting in rocks?

Continue reading