Another weed

I don’t know why I have an interest in weeds but it began years ago when studying horticulture and I had to collect a range to make a herbarium. Since then weeds seem to jump out of the environment at me. Here is a new one to me that until someone else decides otherwise I am identifying as Crepis vesicaria subsp. taraxacifolia, Dandelion Hawkesbeard. It has been removed from the side of the road but we will be alert for any others. It doesn’t look particularly invasive but that is how they all start out.

Fast Track Poas

Has anyone seen this before? These common tussock plants have germinated on while on the seed head. I must say this speeds up the propagation process and you can cut off the seed heads, remove the little plant and put them straight into a pot. This is what I have done but they may not grow roots!

Munch, munch, munch

These are sawfly larvae which cluster together in the day time and then venture out at night and become eucalypt leaf eating machines. If you disturb them they rear up and vomit a yellowish liquid made up of eucalypt oils. Some people call them ‘spitfires’ and they can defoliate young trees starting at the top and working their way down. They are a natural part of the environment but on a small tree you may like to interfere and remove them by hand.

Nest Box Success

After all the years of waiting finally something has used one of our nest boxes. While this is exciting it probably indicates that we have enough natural hollows for most of the local species that need them. Crimson Rosellas have raised some young in a nest box that was put up on 14 September. It doesn’t matter that the box was designed for a ring-tailed possum that was squeezing into a smaller adjacent box.

The species we really want to see is a phascagale. We know they were in the area as a dead one was found next door a few years ago. We probably won’t see one now as the adjoining land has been subdivided, the local cat population has increased and the new next door neighours have raked their patch of bush and burnt or removed all the fallen timber and stumps so their horse can graze.

Meanwhile we will continue maintain our nest boxes, plant a tree every time we hear the chainsaw start up and value natural hollows, stumps and fallen timber.

Latest Land for Wildlife Newsletter

Here is a link to the latest newsletter. We are not sure what is happening with the Land for Wildlife program. The newsletter still appears once a year thanks to a dedicated editor but not much else seems to be happening. The focus and support seems to have shifted to the Gardens for Wildlife program. Both are programs that need to be well supported as more people find their way back to connecting with nature. LFW_Newsletter_Spring2020 Continue reading

Koala sighting

Here I go again singing the benefits of having sensor cameras in the garden. A koala came for a visit over a week ago and we only know because it is on camera. Koala sightings are becoming less regular and the last actual sighting is from November 2017. This looks like a young one.

Before you buy that rural retreat

After visiting hundreds of properties, a few years ago I came up with a list of some of the questions to consider before buying a block of land. It is a big commitment to buy some land and often not easy to sell that same block if you decide it doesn’t suit your purpose and/or you can’t build on it, for example. Here is a link to the list of questions and suggestions on where to do some background checks.

Understanding the difference between common tussock grass and serrated tussock has a big implication on future management actions. Serrated tussock is a declared noxious weed that is difficult to control and of little nutritional value to stock.

Serrated Tussock

Waiting for a decision

A cool morning with the threat of rain didn’t deter us from taking a walk in a forest near Ballan today. The VEAC Central West Investigation Final Report June 2019, recommends this forest becomes a bushland reserve. If you have followed the local media you will have heard about the VEAC recommendations for new parks and reserves within the Wombat, Wellsford, Mount Cole and Pyrenees Range forests. The report also includes a lot of small areas that receive little attention and are worth visiting. The decision on the report was due in February and we are still waiting.

Continue reading

Keep your cat safe

After spending a lot of time making a wildlife garden and trying to attract more birds and small fauna it is very disappointing to now have to deal with cats. While some organisations rightly focus on the damage done by feral cats, recent research has highlighted just how much damage pet cats do to wildlife in urban and peri-urban areas.

We use sensor cameras to see what visits our water bowls, as despite how often we look there will be fauna that we miss seeing, especially at night. It has been disturbing recently to see cats use the bits of wood that have been placed to allow small sugar gliders get to the water bowls. Continue reading

Winter Colour for the Garden

While there is always a Common Heath (Epacris impressa) flowering somewhere in the local bush it is mainly a winter and spring flowering plant. Smaller honeyeaters love the tubular flowers as do butterflies early in the season. It is a plant only occasionally seen in nurseries despite its range of colours.

You may find Fuchsia Heath (Epacris longiflora) which is native to the Sydney Region. It has long coral pink white tipped tubular flowers in dense clusters. The photo below is a cultivar, Epacris ‘Nectar Pink’. A well planned habitat garden has something in flower throughout the year to provide food for a range of wildlife.