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Wildflower Garden Project Report

Ben Brice | Published on 9/25/2022

Wildflower Garden Project Report

Briefest History

WFG like several other project sites was highly modified prior to the FOBHM taking it on as a project site:

1949: Mr and Mrs F.C. Payne developed the Athelstone Wildflower Garden –

- A public garden with associated plant nursery –
- Australian plants, featuring many Western Australian Species.
- Reticulated water ran all year via a pump near Addison Ave
- Watering system throughout the garden.

1963 Campbelltown Council took over the garden managed by Ray Holliday.
Soon after State Department of Environment took over the site under the condition that plant nursery and sales
would continue.

1976 Phytophthora cinnamomi was found in the garden - the nursery stock destroyed and operation moved to
Maryvale Road / Montacute Road site.
An employee of the Department by the name of Ruth, was caring for the garden on her. She changed position towork in OH&S . The garden was abandoned after Ruth left.
1990 FOBHM agrees to rehabilitate the garden in return for using the associated building following a meeting with Ranger John Watkins and local resident Bev Lane.

5 Year plan developed –
- Remove various exotic and non endemic native species which have a potential to hybridise or have spread
and colonise;
- Rare species identified – to be protected
- Replanting of the area with indigenous species

Progressively, the Dept rationalised walking tracks, and removed a bridge crossing the small ephemeral creek orphaning one of the walking tracks.

Beyond the Plan

We continue to have good colonies of the rated species.

The extent of the project site has expanded considerably. It includes the boundary to Prosperity Way, to just beyond
the artificial lake behind Foxfield.

Many of the introduced species of concern have been dealt with, but we still find seedlings of
- *Acacia iteaphylla (Flinders Ranges Wattle)
- *Acacia viscidula (sticky wattle) A sticky wattle that loves to get together with our local native Acacia
paradoxa and produce a weird hybrid both sticky and spiny!)
- Bluebell Creeper – Western Australian plant that has escaped the boundary of the WFG.
- *Gladiolus undulatus – an introduced garden plant Native to southern Africa
- Freesias – introduced garden plants – threatens the native orchid colonies
- Annual Veldt Grass – overtakes the garden in winter
- Perennial Veldt Grass – A limited area- in and adjacent to the Arid Garden.
Wildflower Garden 2022 Report for FOBHM Committee
- Bridal Creeper – less of an issue now we have the rust.
- Watsonia, Boneseed and Perwinkle (*Vinca major) adjacent to Addison Ave (north side)

In addition we are on the watch for:
- *Kunzea baxteri
- *Darwinia citriodora
- *Dodonaea hexandra

I became involved when Lola Both managed the garden – she had an amazing commitment and knowledge of the
garden and all things related to it.

Replanting the garden has significant challenges:
- Much of the soil is water repellent (hydrophobic)
- Phytophthora is always an unknown – where is it, what does it impact on
- Our plantings often don’t survive after a few years, despite care and supplementary water over summer
- Winter sees Annual Veldt grass and *Pentameris airoides (prev. *Pentaschistis airoides) overtake the garden
- Summer sees that garden dry , hydrophobic and plantings dying
- Plantings must consider fire risk due to proximity of houses

Fire management has been a higher consideration in the last several years, with Acacia paradoxa in the surrounding
area being slashed as part of the Fire Crew fire reduction program. The fire crew have also started coming into the
Wildflower Garden to reduce the fuel load.

Our work this year has seen a renewed focus on

- removing *Kunzea baxteri from around the lake, where it had started spreading into the park proper
- Continued reconnoitre to find and address Bluebell creeper
- Work on freesias and bridal creeper to contain their impact
- Removal of several each of *Acacia iteaphylla and *Acacia viscidula
- Removal of boneseed north of Addison Ave to Prosperity Way. (minimal seedling growth to this time)
- Commencement of work on Watsonia north of Addison Ave to Prosperity Way
- Re-mulching the walking tracks

Kieran Brewer has given us 4 Olearia pannosa ssp pannosa that need to be planted somewhere. Discussion about
the best location is ongoing, with consideration to Euc porosa association, heavier soil type and the capacity to water
the seedlings over summer. Advice has been sought from the District Ecologist, Anthony Abley

Future Directions

Continue to manage and control introduced plants.

Ongoing monitoring and management of weed species aforementioned including:
- Watsonia control needs to continue and be consolidated.
- Follow up on seedling Boneseed for some year