Friends of Mt Majura (FoMM) Newsletter December 2021

It has been great to resume ParkCare activities since the lockdown ended. Another La Nina season has led to prolific weed growth as well as abundant wildflowers.
December working party this Sunday 12 December 9am to 12 noon.

We will remove weeds along the drainage line close to the Hackett water reservoir. Come along and give some of your time to the mountain – whatever you can spare. Our targets are seedlings of English Ivy, Honeysuckle and other weeds. No experience is necessary: instructions, tools, gloves hand sanitiser and morning tea will be provided.

Wear long sleeves and pants, sturdy shoes or gumboots and gloves if you have them.

Join us at the drainage line close to the reservoir near the Rivett and French Streets intersection, Hackett between 9am and 12 noon; give just as much time as you like. More information about the rehabilitation of the drainage line is on our website

Flowering Native Raspberry, Rubus parvifolius. The species occurs in the drain line further uphill. Plants have been raised from softwood cuttings and have now established well.
Wildflower walk

Undaunted by a cold grey day 30 Friends joined ecologist Michael Doherty for a walk on 21 November. Despite it being late in the season, we saw many flowers including the delicate Fringe Lily (Thysanotus tuberosus), plants with quaint common names like Scaly Buttons (Leptorhynchos squamatus) and Creamy Candles (Stackhousia monogyna) as well as three varieties of orchids.

Michael Doherty leads the walkers. Photo Max Pouwer
Close up of Fringe Lily Thysanotus tuberosus. Photo Louisa Barnsley
Common onion orchid (Microtis unifolia) Photo Margy Burn
Mondays at the Fair

We work every Monday morning at the Fair site, north Watson, between 9.30am to 12.30pm. It’s a friendly welcoming group to join for activities including weed control, mulching and planting. No experience necessary and you don’t need to stay for the full three hours. Any time you can give is welcome. We meet at the entrance to the nature park near Tay and Ian Nicol Streets.

Luna, a regular Monday volunteer, enjoyed climbing the mulch mound. Photo Margy Burn
St John’s wort beetle

We have recently sighted some friends working with us to control St John’s wort, which is prolific this year. Chrysolina quadrigemina is a small luminous greenish bronze beetle. The beetles are native to Europe and Africa and were introduced to Australia in the 1980s as a biological control agent. They only attack St John’s wort. The larvae which emerge in early spring feed on the developing shoots of St John’s wort and adults attack the spring growth, defoliating and weakening the plants. While there are not enough beetles to solve the problem of St John’s wort on Mount Majura, they are a very welcome sight.

Photos by Max Pouwer, courtesy Canberra Nature Map
Climate wise garden design

The Suburban Land Agency has published a free booklet by local landscape architect Edwina Robinson to help plan gardens which will thrive in Canberra’s challenging climate of hot summers and frosty winters. It includes suggestions for low maintenance and edible gardens. More details

And with Christmas only weeks away, ParkCare Ranger Marty Bajt’s gift recommendation is the book Australian plants for Canberra region gardens and other cool climate areas. Published by the Australian Native Plant Society Canberra Region Inc, it was first written in 1973, and is regularly revised. Now in its fifth edition, it can be purchased from shops at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Arboretum, National Library and Namadgi Visitor Centre as well as good bookstores and some nurseries.

Leaf litter and our waterways

Leaf litter along urban roads, footpaths and gutters enters stormwater drains and is eventually carried into waterways, releasing a nutrient load which likely feeds algal growth and may means lakes are closed. The ACT Government has engaged researchers from Griffith University develop a campaign to reduce leaf litter entering waterways. You can help inform this work by taking a short survey (six questions) at

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