The sun is out some days now, and I am well after quite a lot of winter snuffling, so I have been out in the neighbourhood.
I set out with 16 ruby saltbush seedlings. Some went in at the end of a street. First my friend stopped on his way to work and we had a chat about the risks to this patch when the Royal Show opens and pressure for car parking creates all manner of hazards for plants large and small. Their prospects have been much improved since we first put out plant protective bunting. Then I was hailed by a man who lives right at that end of the street. He has concerns about bad treatment of the plants and also about crime and drug taking, and shared them with me. Clearly his interventions have led to some of the recent changes in our area to close off access points to public land where it is clear some people are using after dark. He has been putting stakes beside some of my plantings and they are mostly thriving. So I tried to accentuate the positive and emphasise the long term nature of the project and how much better this part of the neighbourhood looks now than it did in the years before he moved in.
Then I moved around to a nearby reserve and planted the remainder of my seedlings in gaps left as other plants have died. I found a huge grub, something I see seldom these days. I remember as a child how exciting it was when Dad would dig one up, and he would put it on his spade and set it a little way off so that birds could come and eat it. I am glad some beetle will get to live here. I carefully put it back under some mulch out of the sight of passing birds. It looked succulent, even to my unwilling eyes.
But my main task was to tend to the sedges growing in this area.
There are lots of them growing beside a pedestrian and cycle path, but some of them have been faring badly in recent years after having been extremely healthy earlier in life.
Now that I have learned about these plants from the Ngarrindjeri Aunties, I understand that the way the council has treated these plants (a rough haircut 10 cm above ground every year) is probably killing them.
In some sad cases, only the root mass and a lot of dead sedge is left, but in others there is still a little foliage coming on. So I cleared away the dead to make way for the living.
Having had their lesson in how the plants spread I could see that some of the plants that are there now are new plants that have been sent out by some of those that are dead or perhaps dormant. In other cases, I hope that using the Aunties’ wisdom might let the old plant recover. Meantime my little sprouts are coming along and perhaps this is a place they can be planted eventually. Then, some rubbish collection and home again.