This Saturday being the first one of the month, was regular bushcare session, which sees the start of a new era of active collaboration in the gardens between groups working here. Paul O’Reilly recently organised that around 20 enormous Pine trees overshadowing the south side of the gardens from the west be cut down, as part of a plan to extend the Native planted area working out from the Aboriginal Bush Tucker Garden. This little area has profited well by the heavy rains of the la nina cycle and in the last three years has transformed what on google maps still looks like a bare patch of nothing much at all into a lovely garden and meeting space.
The bushcare group works first in an adjoining area as well as alongside the creek (ok so there’s some collaborating going on there already too :-) ) and we begin by planting a tray full of ferns into the bank. This is the third session of fern planting I’ve been involved in so far and the bank is really starting to fill up with Blechnums now. Its a biggish group of semi regular participants and 4-6 people is about the usual size of the group, which includes two Ishtas, one of whom is here today. Four of us join Jill today, Ishta, Sue, me and Paul. Some plants are going straight into the soil, which is moist and easy to work, a little harder to put in are those going into geotextile which has been laid underneath to hold the bank together, its tough fabric to cut through and makes for slow work. Still with four of us we polish off the job before 11.
Morning tea is strong black tea warding off the chills on this brisk winters day, and after a short break we head up the hill to help Paul knock in supports for coir logs which will help support the steep bank from erosion while new trees planting there are established. Only a couple of months ago this was a dark spot with great pine trees looming, now all that’s left is the woodchips they were made into, perfect food for fungal hyphae to grow and feed on.
The Harold Hodgson Bushcare group meets first Saturday of the month, barring seriously inclement weather. Come along or find out more about bushcare in your neighbourhood at http://www.weedsbluemountains.org.au/bushcare_groups.php