Seasons come and go


The traditional four seasons don’t really figure when you live in an area such as Flowerdale. With an early summer coming on and the grass curing very quickly, we’ve had a very short orchid season. These beautiful gems of our roadsides and un-grazed open bushland have all but finished for the year.tiger orchid1

One of my favourite roadside sites that contains tiger orchids, nodding greenhoods, onion orchids and small sun orchids is on an embankment in an area that was given some attention by the Shire this year.IMG_5948 Last month for the first time in many years the roadsides were slashed here which would be welcomed by some who worry about potential fire fuel load with hot dry days upon us. For others, it was disappointing to see many small shrubs and herbaceous plants such as Narrow- leaf Bitter Pea and Austral Indigo reduced to mulch. A conversation with the Shire worker suggested that putting up signage or other indicators of significant areas known to locals would greatly assist their approach. With that in mind our group contacted our Upper Goulburn Landcare Co-ordinator Chris Cobern, who assisted me in putting in place a sign that may help protect an area of diverse ground flora and encourage other locals to look more closely at what they may have on their roadsides. In 2013 I counted 120 Tiger orchid individuals on this site, this year I counted 118. I also noticed the Tiger orchid in a number of other sites around Flowerdale.

Significant roadside site

Recently I have been fortunate to work with volunteers alongside Chris  Cobern  on fence building in the Mickleham/Kilmore fire affected areas (Feb. 2014) of Willowmavin/Kilmore assisting landholders in the South West Goulburn Landcare Network area. As with Flowerdale after the 2009 fires, I have noticed prolific flowering of orchids, in particular Golden Moths (Diuris chryseopsis) along the roadsides in the fire affected areas of the Mitchell Shire.DSC_0043

On a recent walk through the bush at Dixons Creek I photographed a beautiful orchid commonly called the Wax lip Orchid (Glossodia major). Definitely a gem.IMG_5963


Flowerdale Landcare Launched with a Flotilla of Ducks

What started as a cool overcast morning quickly cleared to a warm day in the mid twenties. A perfect day for some 27 Flowerdalians who gathered at the Community House in Silver Creek Road for the Launch of Flowerdale Landcare.


Native plants for small gardens

Community House provided us with a wonderful venue of well manicured, shady grounds, play equipment, and a BBQ. Participants were soon engaged in conversations about the marvel of bees and the art of beekeeping. The Playground was the first stop for Max and Connor. Others perused and purchased vegetable seedlings.  Native plants suitable for small gardens  were displayed by Rick (proprietor of RAW Plants a native nursery located in Flowerdale). John and Ellen put on a feast of sausages and onions  for those who had missed breakfast and kept up supplies for lunch as well

Sue, Steve and David wandered  down to the Silver Creek at the back of the house for some serious water creature investigation with Connor and Max. Armed with pocket magnifying glasses  several water nymphs were observed as well as a fresh water crayfish Euastacus armatus (listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee as threatened). Greater fun was had by seeing who could throw the biggest rock and make the biggest splash.

Whirligig Beetle Larvae


Look Mum!


Talking Compost!

While these children were engaged at the creek, Derek was discussing permaculture and composting in one of the meeting rooms, with a focussed audience. 

After lunch there was a short walk to the King Parrot Creek for the much anticipated Great Flowerdale Duck Race. Although there were only 30 entrants in this years field, the ducks were soon strung out over the course. With the first 4 ducks under the bridge to be awarded a prize, there were some pretty excited duck owners urging their chances along. DSC_0108The race was all but won when a swirling breeze blew straight upstream taking the ducks with them. To make matters worse, the ducks that were lagging behind then forged to the front with ducks belonging to Jenny, Carol, Deb and Paul claiming the prizes of organic moisturizers, a nest box, a rustic watering can and some gardening magazines.DSC_0110 Onlookers on the bridge also observed a fresh water crayfish (identifiable with it’s whitish claws) before heading back to the Community House for birthday cake to celebrate the second anniversary of the formation of the Group.DSC_0125


Duck Retreivers

Thanks to everyone who assisted and participated in the day, including Joe who helped set up and Claude for cutting a safe walkway through the long grass to avoid snake surprises.The feeling amongst the participants was that the day was very entertaining and will most likely be an annual event fitting in with our objective of encouraging more people to enjoy and appreciate the King Parrot Creek. The water was very refreshing too for our duck retrievers Wayne, Paul and Steve. The turnout on the day was a great response considering the event was only advertised through our blogsite, the Flowerdale Flyer, Parrot Chatter and an email.  If you want to keep in touch with what is happening in Flowerdale Landcare, just click on the Follow button to join 66 other followers.

Upcoming Community Event:

Remembrance Day will be observed at the Flowerdale Community Hall on the 11th of November with the involvement of the Primary School and the Men’s Shed Choir. Everyone is invited to join in this observance. Flowerdale Community House will be running a bus for those who need assistance with transport. Arrive by 10;50 a.m. for an 11;00 a.m. start


Broom Busters II

It’s a  fact of life that we march steadily to an age where our capacity for physical activity declines. In rural areas across  Australia the reality of the need for young people to head towards cities and regional centres is perennial. This migration of young people out of the region has implications for all volunteer groups in rural areas. For many Landcare Groups the average age of participants is rising. I noticed with our last Insurance renewal that volunteers with Landcare are now covered up to the age of 90. This is fantastic recognition that there are people in our communities of advanced years still involved and making a contribution.

Being less than half an hours drive from Whittlesea,  ( no longer a sleepy country town on the edge of Melbourne’s northern suburban sprawl), is a great advantage for Flowerdale Landcare. New faces in our local community are welcome and will keep the average age of our group down. One of the ways forward for Landcare Groups will increasingly be partnerships and engagement with corporate groups. A variety of businesses and other organisations are keen to involve staff in the volunteer and community service ethos. What better place to spend a day volunteering than in the little bit of paradise that is the Flowerdale Valley!

One such group recently joined with us to tackle the Cape Broom infestation along our King Parrot Creek. Unfortunately we weren’t able to turn on great weather and we often sought shelter in the barbeque area of Moore’s Road Reserve, during a passing shower. The Certificate III in Environment Studies group that worked with us on the 17th of September, put in 7.5 hours between them to pull out broom, cut down larger plants and paint the stumps with glyphosate. The small group were given a hearty lunch of real sausages (from our Yea Meat Supply) in appreciation of their efforts. There are many advantages to this interaction. Apart from being an educational experience for all involved, it also makes often tedious tasks enjoyable, a social occasion. Flowerdale Landcare will continue to engage with groups such as this to help us achieve our objectives along the Creek