A little gentle, socially distanced guerilla gardening has continued over the last while.
Sedge planting went first–in co-operation with others who have a more authorised relationship with the Council. There was a man playing his clarinet in the park the day these went in beside Brownhill Creek.
These are Cyperus gymnocaulos, Ngarrindjeri weaving rushes. Do follow the link to hear Aunty Ellen Trevorrow share her wisdom about the rushes and the basket weaving, its deeper meanings and Ngarrindjeri weaving traditions. The Aunties gave all of us who did a workshop with them years ago some starts, and these rushes are propagated from plants I’ve established from those starts.
These saltbushes went out into a new spot I’m gardening where a lot of the original planting died a long time ago. Here’s where they have gone into the ground…
And here’s the traditional shot of what I brought home!
Then more saltbushes… in a different part of the same area.
Here they are tucked in alongside the watering system. It seems to me part of the watering system has died and part of it is flooding an area of the planting area–and that is contributing to what has died and what has lived, so I’m planting drought tolerant species in the very dry area and those that might enjoy the water in the spot where the water struggles to drain away, and we will see how that goes.
But wait! There’s more!
This time sheoak as well as saltbush…
This roll of very quiet planting has been driven by the welcome arrival of rain. So heavenly. I have just a few plants left now and need to get cuttings in for next planting season!
This culvert has been one of my patches for a few years now (in this post in 2016 I am not sure I am planting for the first time…), and it is really looking good now. In fact, today as I weeded, a gentleman in a suit came past and his only comment was “oh, I wondered who had been doing that!”
Ultimately, my goal is to have native plants out compete weeds, so that no one feels the need for poisoning, and native insects and birds and lizards can have a little more of what they need. In the meantime however, the struggle is on to make sure that effort to poison weeds do not kill my little plants before they can become established. So here is my weeding toolkit and our biggest bucket.
I filled it to overflowing and at this time of year, a weed the hivemind on this blog identified as a cudweed predominates. It is probably Gnaphalium affine (Jersey Cudweed) (so far from home!) But look! The saltbushes (three species here) are really established now.
There is flax leaf fleabane and prickly lettuce and fourleaf allseed , and even a few fumitory plants have survived past the first heatwave and my best efforts. On the other hand, look at the native plants now.
Even the Ngarrindjeri weaving rushes are looking good at the moment.
And, here it is afterwards–perhaps you can’t tell iin so small an image. But hopefully the seed burden is reduced. Already, the boobialla and saltbushes are crowding out weeds which really can only take root seriously at the edges. I hope the poisoners will leave things be.
And seedlings for autumn planting are springing up under the regular watering provided by my beloved. Life rises up in its own defence, and so must we rise up for the future of life on earth. Today, with a little local weeding.
There is a culvert in the neighbourhood where I have been on a project of restoration over some time now. I planted some pigface (a native succulent) with initial success, and then it all died back partly because scale insects have targeted this plant across the suburb. I have cleared rubbish and broken glass and spent time weeding, trying to keep the poisoner from spraying indiscriminately and killing these plants.
There are now some large saltbush plants and a few ground covers doing well. The poisoner has destroyed all evidence of life in the culvert in the rest of its path though the neighbourhood, but this section has escaped. I am particularly happy about this plant though. It’s a Ngarrindjeri weaving rush (a native sedge) used for basketry. Here they are going into the ground in 2016, after a flood took out my first round of plantings. In the previous post you can see how bare it was previously. I planted at least nine sedges here after bringing them home from a weaving retreat and observing my neighbourhood closely for suitable spots to plant them as they grew to a suitable size. There are a couple more that haven’t died–but this one is thriving at last.
So much so that I am propagating from it so I can try again! Since this picture was taken I’ve potted up ten plants and I’m growing them up so they can go into the ground over winter.
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.