Carolyn’s Corner – September 2015

Cape Jervis has many colourful plants worthy of a place in a coastal garden but unfortunately they can be hard to find at nurseries. Check out the new red plant signs along Flinders Drive (near the big ugly MAC sign) to find plants you like and ask for them at good native nurseries. Like many exotic plants, natives benefit from pruning after flowering. If you don’t they can become really straggly. Check out the difference between an unpruned plant (left) and one photographed about 4 weeks after pruning in my “city” garden. If you are not sure how much to prune, try removing 20-50%, just make sure there are leaves left behind on all the branches. Some long flowering local native options that benefit from pruning include Vittadinia sp, Senecio lautus, minnie daisy (Minuria leptophylla) and coastal tobacco (Nicotiana maritima).

Yellow buttons (Chrysocephalum apiculatum) before (left) and after (right) pruning

Next get together, Sat Oct 10 (Spring wildflower walk) & Sun 11 (TBA)

We welcome new volunteers.  Contact Carolyn Schultz 0423 213 481.

Plant of the Month – September 2015

YORRELL

(Eucalyptus gracilis)

(Photos: C. Schultz, leaves and buds; flowers; Cape Jervis )

Although the yorrell is common in SA, we only know of a handful around Cape Jervis … and these are much smaller than ones growing elsewhere (2-3 metres, vs 8-15 metres). Once again, the harsh soils and wild, windy weather at the Cape have worked together to reduce the size of the local specimens. The multiple trunks shed their bark in short ribbons higher up, exposing smooth white wood; lower down the bark persists like a collar around the base. Leaves are long and narrow, hairless, often glossy, sometimes with a red margin. Each of the up to seven white flowers in a cluster have two rows of stamens, and no petals. Their buds are smooth with a cap shorter than the base part, while the gumnuts are barrel-shaped. ‘Gracilis’ means slender or graceful, describing the habit of the yorrell beautifully.

Weed of the Month – September 2015

BLACKBERRY NIGHTSHADE

(Solanum nigrum)

          

(Photos: E. Cousins, plant, cluster of young fruit)

Known by many other names such as black nightshade, this erect, bushy weed is well-known to many of us, because it spreads so easily on roadsides, waste ground, cracked footpaths etc. It is native to a band of countries from Morocco to India. Don’t confuse this weed with deadly nightshade (Altropa belladonna). Blackberry nightshade has pendant clusters of white flowers (with a hint of purple) and slightly hairy leaves. The flowers of deadly nightshade are individual. Leaves are a dull green, also with a purplish tinge. The fruit are dull green when young (see photo), but darken to a dull purple later. See the way the 5 little sepals (leaf like tissue surrounding the flower) sit apart on the top of the fruit? This helps distinguish this solanum from others.

Carolyn’s Corner – August 2015

The coastal display garden at the start of the Heysen trail is taking shape. What a change a few months can make. Thanks to the team from District Council of Yankalilla for installing the new bench and cutting the walking paths through “the lower loop”. Support from the AMLR-NRM helps us keep on top of the weeds and propagate and buy our seedlings. Our small group of volunteers, together with the green army, planted 900 seedlings this year! Thanks everyone who helped. The only disappointment was how dry the soil was so we had to lug water in 10L containers to give the seedlings a drink. We are very pleased for all the rain in late June and mid July. We’ve learnt a lot in our 3 years about how critical watering and hand weeding is for survival, especially on the sandy lower loop. If you want to know more about the plants we are growing or the weeds we are removing, give us a ring or come out and join us at one of our working bees!

Lower loop paths after the planting. A well earned rest at the new picnic table.

 We welcome new volunteers.  Contact Carolyn Schultz 0423 213 481.

Plant of the Month – August 2015

MALLEE POMADERRIS

(Pomaderris paniculosa ssp. paniculosa)

 

(Photos: E. Cousins, habitat at Cape Jervis, a pomaderris behind hibbertia; https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6194/6123759156_85ef3c5dfd_m.jpg, close-up of leaf stem )

This waist high shrub is one of the hardy survivors around Cape Jervis. It can grow in windy coastal locations as well as woodland and mallee, and doesn’t mind rocky ground. Despite this, the shrub is now extinct in NSW, and endangered in Victoria. The dull green, oval-shaped leaves are about 1 cm long, and look furry. This is because of fine white hairs along and below the leaf edges. The hairs on raised veins, the younger stems and buds look rusty, giving a brown-green look to the shrub. Little flower buds occur in loose hanging clusters (see third photo above), and the tiny 3 mm flowers that follow the buds are yellow; look for these shortly in spring!

Weed of the Month – August 2015

RICE MILLET

(Piptatherum miliaceum)

    

(Photos: E. Cousins, plant, seed head; http://ausgrass2.myspecies.info/content/piptatherum-miliaceum)

This perennial grass can be recognized by its long, wiry stems. These stems can be up to 1.5 metres tall, and are segmented, looking very much like bamboo! Whereas the leaf-sheaf is smooth, the leaf-blade surface is ‘scaberous’ (rough, as if it is covered with scabs). The plant occurs as a loosely tufted clump. As can be seen from the second photo, the seed stem has several spirals of branches; branches in turn divide into secondary branches which bear clusters of the grass flowers. Green/purple flowers then seeds appear over summer and autumn. Originally from Eurasia, this grass is now fairly widely distributed over the bottom half of Australia. It likes disturbed sites, and has frequently spread from plantings used to stabilise mine dumps, etc.

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