Home, Home on the Range
As you travel down Centre Rd from St Arnaud you notice the lack of understorey vegetation in many places.
Trees, yes, although few are older than 90 years due to extensive felling for timber up until the late 1990s.
A few are thick with Golden Wattle and Grey Everlasting; these are areas that have been burnt over the last 20 years.
Monitoring by the Club over a 10 year period showed little increase in the species in the burnt areas,a total of maybe 5, including Gorse Bitter-pea and a couple of lilies while the unburnt sides contained up to 30 floral species.
Despite over 100 years of sheep grazing (up until 1996) mining and timber felling and the grazing pressure from increasing numbers of kangaroos, small patches of quite rich floral diversity can still be found.
One such patch on Shearing Shed Rd is on the top of an ironbark ridge and small treasures such as Blue Pincushions, Blue Finger Flower and Grass Triggerplant and are abundant within maybe, a 4 acre plot.
Blue Finger Flower Cheiranthera cyanea- the fingers refer to the arrangement of the stamens- like a hand.
This plant of the Goldfields is nowhere common now.
Blue Pincushions Brunonia australis
A Raspwort species - I don't know which- easily overlooked as it is quite small but the hot pink flowers are intriguing
Grass Triggerplant- Stylidium graminifolium- rare now on the Range, it can be seen in greater numbers in the Wax Garden
Of course, Bursaria is flowering madly- I always think of it and Buloke Mistletoe as the Christmas Bushes of the Box-Ironbark forests.
Sweet Bursaria Bursaria spinosa with its seed capsules forming
Another small patch of rich diversity can be found on Centre Rd south of the Aliens' Camp Rd intersection.
Here, under straggly and dying Red Stringybarks (Eucalyptus macrorhyncha) a vast horde of Rosy Baeckeas (Euryomyrtus ramosissimus)ramble down the hillside
in company with many small peas, lilies and the red form of Common Correa(Correa reflexa).
Red form of Common Correa
Along with the Wax Garden, View Point and another small patch on Boundary Rd, these tiny patches have survived.
Better management, protection and a helping hand is called for to allow them to survive and re-seed the bush in time.
Christmas greetings from all our Club members- may you all have a happy festive season and return to 2020 reinvigorated and refreshed.
Mugga Ironbark (Eucalyptus sideroxylon) in a member's garden this December, attracting birds, insects, gliders and possums although not all at the same time.