Spring!

The first day of spring, calm and fine, demanding a trip into the bush, and the box/ironbark country of Heyfield and Glenmaggie was calling. First stop was the flora reserve adjacent to the old landfill site that is now a transfer station. This locality has a population of the uncommon Grey Scentbark, Eucalyptus ignorabilis, formerly known as E. aromaphloia. In the years before the tip was extended the area was richly endowed with wildflowers, many species of orchid, Golden Grevillea, and the best small shrubs of Showy Parrot Pea that I’ve ever seen. Sadly they are all gone, obliterated by excavation and the dumping of garbage. It is capped now and the only native plants to be seen are a few Golden Wattles that are attempting to re-colonise the unfriendly site.

golden wattle

Many notable shrubs of the grevillea were to be found on the access track to the reserve, but following the last bushfires the best were bulldozed out when re-fencing and firebreak work were carried out. A number of smaller shrubs persist in the bush beside the track and were the subject of the first photos. Grevillea chrysophaea is sometimes described as rare, but it is widespread locally, and varies from a procumbent form at Holey Plains to the common taller form. The flowers vary too, from near glabrous and pale yellow, to this Heyfield form that is characterised by a thick rusty indumentum shown to advantage here.

golden grevillea

I had hoped to find native bees on flowering parrot pea, but only found Hardenbergia in flower with the odd honeybee buzzing around.

hardenbergia

Oh well, on into the reserve to check out the Fairy Wax, Philotheca verrucosa, and it was showing up nicely. It was pleasing to see that it had regenerated well in the areas where the fires had burnt before being extinguished. Colours varied from white to near pink.

fairy wax


fairy wax


fairy wax

Two more wattles in addition to the golden were in full flower, A. brownii, and A. genistifolia. The latter is often a low shrub as the common name Spreading Wattle suggests, but some in the reserve were spindly shrubs to three metres tall.

heath wattle


spreading wattle


spreading wattle

Apart from the wax, wattles, eucs, and burgan, the forest floor was virtually bare as can be seen above, one reason could be the very numerous resident macropods seen in the distance. On the way to the Glenmaggie bush block a stop was made for a picture of the first flowers on the outstanding Gold Dust Wattle, A. acinacea.

gold dust wattle

Not much was in flower at Glenmaggie at this early stage, mainly Nodding Blue-lily, Stypandra glauca, and the odd small White Marianth, Rhytidosporum procumbens, with an interesting bonus of a small colony of a Drosera species.

stypandra


marianth


drosera


drosera


drosera

Day-flying moths were absent, with two Common Grass Blue Butterflies the only Lepidoptera species sighted, and they comprehensively outwitted the photographer. That situation will change soon as the weather warms however, looking forward to it…

Click to enlarge.

A few things.

In the early days the local Gippsland Red Gums were heavily utilised for fencing and milling, consequently big old trees with ages numbered in hundreds of years are now mainly found on roadside reserves, with the odd individual found on farming land, where in many cases their days are numbered. When I visited a friend’s property recently one such tree caught my eye and I knew that I had to return on a good day with camera and wide angle lens to photograph it. Good days, for photographs that is, have been few and far between, reflected in the lack of recent posts, but finally one with blue sky and clouds arrived and the deed was done. It is a magnificent healthy tree that drops limbs occasionally as red gums will, and that means hollows for nesting birds. Here are two shots from different angles. Just magnificent….

red gum


red gum

The Snowy River Wattle, Acacia boormanii is a beauty for the garden, reliable in heavy soil, with a pleasant perfume, fine foliage, and attractive to native bees. Ours is now in full flower and being visited for pollen by honey bees and the season’s first native bee species to appear,
Lasioglossum Parasphecodes hiltacum.

snowy river wattle


snowy river wattle


native bee

And while we’re in the garden, Bill Cane’s Heyfield double wax is coming into flower,

Philotheca verrucosa

and an outstanding grevillea that the honeyeaters love, a G. rhyolitica hybrid is growing nicely on the edge of a raised bed and flowering well.

grevillea hybrid


Click to enlarge.

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