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It's not over yet!

The hot dry spell we have just had has put paid to many of the our wildflowers, espcually the more showy plants. Heading east out of town on Monday to start the Mid-Spring Bird Surveys, the much improved L. Bray's Rd took me through the Hard Hills to the eponymous Nature Conservation Reserve(NCR) where the Club has two fenced enclosures. The oldest one, established in 1984 to protect the vulnerable Inland Pomaderris (Pomaderris paniculosa ssp. paniculosa) and Daddy Longlegs Orchid(Caladenia filamentosa) demonstrates the importance of controling grazing and browing animals. Outside the enclosure, there is little but mature Blue Mallee (Eucalyptus polybractea) whilst inside the fence, the entire shrub and ground layer of plants is present and flourishing. A few years ago, a count by Club members returned more than 400 plants of C. filamentosa! The newer enclosure was established to protect the newly named Hard Hills Spider orchid (Caladenia ampla) as well as Bristly Greenhood and Inland Pomaderris. However, most of these plants have finished flowering for the year but there is still much to interest keen photographers and naturalists. After climbing through the fence,a scramble through the regenerating Blue Mallee showed big beautiful plants of Scarlet Mintbush- Prostanthera aspalathoides, in every shade of red and orange. These plants despite their turpentiny smell seem attractive to browsing animals and are often browsed low to the ground.

withered rosettes of Bristly Greenhood with spikes soon to flower:

tall stems of Milkmaids(Burchardia umbellata),

drooping bee-infested heads of the mauve Totem Poles(Melaleuca decussata)

still flowering,the coconut-ice flowers of Grevillea alpina- Cat's Claw Grevillea... and meat an

the last flowers of the heath- myrtle,Micromyrtus ciliatus, turning red now:

seed capsules forming on the Hopbushes (Dodonea sp) with attendant beetles

And as a treat the delicate flowers of a Wallaby Grass (Rhytidosperma sp)

So get your boots on, and get out in the bush- the sights are no less impressive than the big Spring wildflower display, just rather more subtle.

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