Happy New Year to all our readers. We hope you are enjoying Mount Majura in the cool early mornings and evenings of summer. If you are feeling relaxed and energised after some seasonal holidays you can join us on Monday mornings, weekday evenings and one Sunday in January to give something back to the beautiful nature park in our neighbourhood.
Native flowers thriving after an area is cleared of St John’s Wort!
St John’s Wort
Our current target is St John’s Wort (Hypericum perfatorum) which is proliferating at The Fair site in Watson, thanks to the plentiful rain and sunshine. St John’s Wort (StJW) is a perennial which was introduced as a garden plant in the 1870s because of its medicinal properties. It is an aggressive invader, each flowering plant dropping hundreds of seeds which can stay viable in the soil for many years. Its roots also sucker to form new plant growth. Parts of The Fair are rich with native wildflowers which are also enjoying the La Nina conditions and we are concentrating on hand- removing StJW in these patches of native vegetation before it sets seeds.
While the sea of StJW may seem overwhelming, in areas which have been previously treated either through hand-weeding or spraying with herbicide, the weed hasn’t returned. So our efforts do make a difference.
Last week we made an exciting new find, the rare Emu-foot (Cullen tenax) known to occur only on a few sites in the ACT.
The fan-shaped leaves of the Emu-foot (Cullen tenax) are the inspiration for the common name of this slender native pea.
With the continuing summer rain, it is easy to pull StJW from the moist soil. We now cut off the flowering heads to bag them, as they are beginning to develop seeds. The bags will be collected and treated to make compost. We work in shaded areas and have enjoyed light breezes and, so far, experienced none of the predicted rainstorms.
For all sessions in January, we will meet at the nature park entrance near Tay and Ian Nicol Streets North Watson. No experience is necessary, the company is convivial; and you can stay for only as long as you have time to give. Use sunscreen, wear a hat; sturdy shoes and clothes which cover your limbs. Bring drinking water and your own gardening gloves if you have them. We provide tools, gloves and hand sanitiser.
Weekday Evening Weeding at The Fair
Throughout January we will be working on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 7.30pm
Sunday Working Party 23 January 9.00am to noon
For the Sunday working party you can also enjoy a delicious home-made cake when we break for morning tea.
Mondays at The Fair 9.30am to 12.30pm
Over recent months we’ve cleared large quantities of StJW from an area near Yellow Box (Eucalyptus melliodora) trees on the north-east of the site. It is lovely to see native geranium and the unfortunately named Stinking Pennywort (Hydrocotyle laxiflora), an attractive groundcover, proliferating in the cleared area. Regular weeders have differing opinions as to whether the common name is deserved – you be the judge!
FoMM is supported by the Molonglo Catchment Group, an umbrella organisation for Landcare and other natural resource management groups within the catchment. Subscribe to theFoMM mailing listto stay informed on FoMM events.