22 March working bee; Notes, incl. recent activity on Mt Rogers; dates for Weed Swap (11-12 April)

THE NEXT WORKING-BEE IS ON SUNDAY 22ND MARCH FROM 9am. We'll meet at the Wickens Place Car-park and walk through the bush, SE towards the Notice box. Angharad and I found several woody weeds needing our attention. They have been hidden by the Cootamundra wattle thicket that spreads up almost from the gravel path. I'll supply gloves, gaiters, tools and volunteers will need sturdy footwear, to be dressed for the expected weather including long-sleeved top and long pants and sun-shading hat. Bring water to drink & possibly a snack.

Ivan and I worked up and west of Magrath Crescent on 22nd February and found quite a few bushes that had matured since we last weeded in that area...Viburnum tinus, privet, Chinese pistachio, pyracantha and there are some briar roses to return to in that general area. A pity we can't persuade someone to come up and collect the rose hips as I believe they are rich in pectin for jam making!

On 2nd March Angharad, Kathy and I walked east from the Wickens car-park. On the way we pulled some St Johns Wort (SJW) that was in flower and bagged any heads that had seed-capsules on. We moved towards the rocks where the mosses look so soft and stroke-able when rain's fallen. This time they and the Rock ferns looked sad & desiccated. We dribbled some water on one area and within 10–15 minutes the moss looked green & lush where the water had touched it. Some years ago Flemming & I planted 8 Dianella revoluta plants near the boulders and at least six seem to be well established. Wally mentioned the Dianellas (Flax lilies) on Saturday. We found one of the two original Mt Rogers clumps then. 

We were watched by two very tall kangaroos and their small mob as we added Skeleton weed into the bagged SJW. Skeleton weed, I recently found out, was the subject of another successful biological control program beginning in the 1960s. The weed had severely infested wheat growing areas in the eastern states and Western Australia. Research was carried out from Montpellier in France, as Skeleton weed came from the Mediterranean countries originally. CSIRO scientists were the diligent investigators then, but the Montpellier station has since closed as being too expensive to maintain ... a shame that present day governments don't believe in the value of scientific research to the extent needed.

Mowers have opened up some of the main tracks again. 

There have been hunting Kookaburras in mid Flynn and also a calling Grey Butcherbird. It's probably been through Mt Rogers recently too. Denise took photos of one on her patch close to the creek at Giralang Ponds. Barbara spotted and recorded Gang-Gang cockatoos not far from the Mildenhall–Spence playground I believe. This is an exciting sighting for Mt Rogers even if it happened a week before the official Gang-Gang Muster began. Anytime now we may see groups of honeyeaters gathering prior to moving out of the ACT to avoid the cooler weather. 

If you're interested in Australian native plants the Society has launched its magnificent new Australian plants for Canberra region gardens and other cold climate areas. 934 species are illustrated and described in detail. The photographs and the text have all been provided by the Society's members. There's an excellent introduction to gardening in our area preceding the plants' descriptions. 365 pages of value for $30 from the Botanic Gardens Bookshop now and possibly nurseries & bookstores later in April.

The Society's WEED SWAP is on 11th & 12th April, so take the murdered woody weeds from your gardens, plus Agapanthus heads, out to Canberra Sand & gravel and claim a free native plant or 3. 

If anyone needs help in their garden please contact me as I have names of several recommended horticulturalists who can do a range of tasks for reasonable cost.  6258 4724.

If any rain comes it might be easier to see some of the magnificent spider webs when misty-dew's on the threads. There are quite a few Leaf-curl spiders around also. Maybe we'll have toadstool displays again.

Try to track down European Wasps and have the nests treated. They are seeking water now and sweet foods or, maybe, drinks around BBQs. The number to phone is  6162 1914. 

I have written in about getting the signs we suggested installed at the main entry points. These would explain the dogs off-leash status of Mt Rogers to newcomers. It would be good to think that bins for bags of dog-poo would be provided, but I suspect more agitation for the bins will be needed. We may be able to have NO DUMPING signs installed. I've asked Jasmine from Parks and Conservation Service if we might have several of their WOOD IS GOOD signs also. They explain that fallen timber and small branches are essential for biodiversity and to healthy reserves and shouldn't be taken for firewood or kindling.

Wood-smoke doesn't help suburban fresh air and is a hazard to the health of some people ... as some of us have found out even with the recent official Hazard Reduction Burns.

I was thinking we might have a  Walk and Wonder on Tuesday 7th April as we'll miss the ‘official’ working-bee date on the first Monday, Easter Monday 6th. 

Please let me know if you're interested & we'll see what's changed in the reserve by then ... or go over the Indigenous walk route for those who missed it, perhaps.

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