Weather wise it was a miserable weekend with very strong winds and quite a bit of rain. Cosequently, campers were at a minimum but much was achieved.
On the Saturday we had 11 people present, Bren and Elizabeth, John and Reiko, John S, David, Tom R., Tom B., Barbara, Margaret and me.
The overgrown track leading to the old campsite was cleared and the track itself repaired. (The problem with the track is water running down and eroding it. Banks have been formed to direct the water away from the track.) Lots of false caper was pulled up from the roadside and in our property nearby and the northern fence line was repaired and kangaroo “runs” blocked where they gave access to sheep. Some 40 odd plants were put in the ground, some guards removed and others replaced. Several of the young Casuarinas had been damaged by kangaroos as they grew above the smaller guards. Larger guards, those made by Ross several years ago, were put over these. Lots of veldt grass plants were removed at and near the campsite. This is an area where the veldt grass is not so prolific and provides an opportunity to manually remove it. Marg’s wish is that everyone who goes to Rockleigh makes a point of removing at least 6 plants in this area each visit. The campsite area is looking really good with native grasses now predominant.
Lunch on the Saturday was a sausage sizzle and salads which was enjoyed by all as we sat around out of the wind. There was plenty of discussion as we also enjoyed tea and a variety of cakes. Many thanks to our small Rockleigh Management Group for their supplies and preparation.
On Sunday we had 5 on deck; new member Michelle, Janet, Andrew, Marg and me.
Andrew had 14 Accacia argyrophylla plants which we put in on the sandy rise at the back of the old camp site. We spent the rest of the morning removing the remaining false caper plants from the roadside.
After lunch, eaten while sheltering from the rain, we spent the time removing guards, weeding seedlings and upgrading guards where possible.
Many thanks to all who helped out. Despite not being able to do the spraying of the Veldt grass as planned because of the inclement conditions, I think everyone was pleased with just how much was accomplished.
Figure 1: E. fasciculosa (pink gum)
Those of us who helped at the working bee at Rockleigh on the wintry weekend of July 29-30 were well rewarded by seeing the results of all the hard work that had gone before. In particular, the sustained revegetation of the previously cleared cropping land along the road is now a delight. The range of species planted over many years, their recovery from the bushfire, and the appearance of spontaneous seedlings show how worthwhile it has been. Two standouts were eucalypts in full bloom, the pink-flowered blue gum (Eucalyptus leucoxylon ssp.leucoxylon), and the white-flowered pink gum (E. fasciculata). The blue gum drops a carpet of pink blossoms from mature trees along the roadside just to the east of our block, and it is great that it is natural in the area. Such coloured forms are sold in nurseries as E. leucoxylon ‘Rosea’. The pink gum is close to the northern limit of its range at Rockleigh. It is “almost” a South Australian endemic, with a few stands in the Little Desert of western Victoria, just over the border from the South East population. Its name E. fasciculata comes from the bundles (“fascicles”) of terminal flowers so prominent when it is in flower (see photo). The lack on anthers on the outer long stamens is also characteristic of this species.
Figure 2 : Pittosporium ‘invading’ the veldt grass