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    Athelstone SA
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Wildflower Garden Project Report

John Fleming | Published on 10/1/2023

2023 Wildflower Garden Project Report

Watsonia control near the Wildflower Garden

Follow ups from last year

Our work 2022-23 saw a 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

The *Kunzea baxteri around the lake has been treated and at the moment, does not appear to be regrowing.

Bluebell creeper is an ongoing issue, and continues to come up randomly.

Work of feesia and bridal creeper continues

*Acacia iteaphylla and *Acacia viscidula were found again and treated – these are an ongoing issue

Boneseed towards Prosperity Way has been removed, and seedlings removed

Watsonia work continues – it is clear this will take some years to complete, however, areas previously worked show a significant decline in numbers, allowing us to work into new areas. We have also taken out Darwinia citriodora in this area

Mulching of walking tracks has been completed, a top up may be required in some areas soon.

Kieran Brewer has gave us 4 Olearia pannosa ssp pannosa for planting.  Discussion about the best location gave consideration to Euc porosa association, heavier soil type and the capacity to water the seedlings over summer. Advice was sought from the District Ecologist, Anthony Abley.

The Olearia pannosa ssp pannosa were planted and watered throughout the summer – but do not appear to have survived. We have planted others that were propagated but Russell, and they are continuing to survive.

There is also an introduced succulent plant ( a pigface) that we have in the WFG that is also very tenacious – we again removed a moderate amount of this weed in the last twelve months, and will need to check for it again when it flowers.

The coming year

We will need to continue to monitor and treat the following weed species

  • *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 and has been given a higher priority
  • Annual Veldt Grass – overtakes the garden in winter
  • Perennial Veldt Grass – A limited area- in and adjacent to the Arid Garden we are gradually brining this under control.
  • Bridal Creeper – less of an issue now we have the rust.
  • Watsonia, Boneseed and Perwinkle (*Vinca major) adjacent to Addison Ave (north side)
  • The pigface plant – remove when flowering.

In addition we are on the watch for:

  • *Kunzea baxteri
  • *Darwinia citriodora
  • *Dodonaea hexandra

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 and other weeds listed above for some years


Additional comments from Russell

Olearia pannosa spp pannosa

For many previous years we have not had substantial rain until spring. This year has been different with Adelaide recording 442mm !!! of rainfall recorded to date!


This has seen a massive improvement in the conditions of the various plantings in the in WFG - that have been there for many years - both in terms of vigor and flowering. A Hakea rugosa behind the building that has only previously had a couple of flowers is covered in flowers!


The only downside of the rain is where natives plants and Kangaroos thrive – so do the weeds!


We still experience problems with the abundance of kangaroos in the garden and surrounding areas - which tend to target juvenile growth on Dianellas, Xanthorea and Hakea etc… and if not protected prevents the plant reaching mature age where the foliage changes and the kangaroos no longer seem to exhibit an interest.


One genera the kangaroos do not seem to show interest in is Acacia – and this year they have been stunning – particularly the gold dust wattle A. acinacea


Plantings this year include:


Olearia pannosa ssp panossa

Once thought to be extinct in this area – around 20 plants have now been established in WFG. After an extensive search four remnant plants were located in the Black Hill area above and to the east of the WFG. Tends to prefer protected positions with access to some moisture.



Dodonea visosa ssp spathulata

Widespread – and normally grown from seed that requires some pre-treatment. These plants were cutting grown ( genetic clones ) so faster growing and quicker to reach mature status – seed set and flowering.

Spider Orchid Wildflower Garden 2023

Goodenia ovata

Easy to strike from cuttings. Tends to prefer damp sheltered positions. With the right conditions will flower throughout the year.

Prostanthera behriana – downy mint bush

Mauve white flowers of soft new growth. Prefers shady position and flower colour determined by location.

New plantings are helped by – where possible - choosing a suitable location – and the application of wetting agent and initial watering.


After many years of being dormant we were lucky for three orchids to return to an area where we haven’t seen them for several years!


Koala in the Wildflower Garden 2023

While taking these photos I was greeted by a curious friend!!!

Russell Dahms