Greening Moorooka Pollinator Link

Lifetime Service Award 2 - 17 June 2018 lowres

(l-r) Steve Griffiths, John, Maureen, Barbara, Mark Bailey MP

By: Michael Fox

 

Today I had the honour of meeting the Greening Moorooka [Bushcare] Group who have been building a Pollinator Link between the western section of Toohey Forest and Moolabin Creek.

Today’s event was a community planting in Moolabin Park to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Greening Moorooka Group’s work restoring and protecting a chain of parkland forming a wildlife corridor linking Toohey Forest with Moolabin Creek which feeds into Oxley Creek.

The chain of parks: Mayfield Gardens, Peggs Park, Koala Park, Moolabin Park, follow the line of a creek that originally rose in Toohey Forest.

In 1998 the Group started planting in Mayfield Gardens then progressively move through restoring Peggs and Koala Parks to Moolabin Park.

This has been a real community partnership with Brisbane City Council with the Group taking anonymous green spaces and bringing them to life with names for the individual parks. In the process approximately thirty parcels of land have been protected from development as housing. The Group have also been instrumental in facilitating the enhancement of the parks for community use with:

  •  creation of a pond and viewing platform in Pegg’s Park;
  • installation of a half-court basketball court, interpretative signs and playground equipment; and
  • bike paths.

Maureen is particularly proud of the way the bike paths have helped open the parks as safe community space.

Bushcare Family - 17 June 2018 lowres

A special family: John, Maureen, Rachel and Ryan

“The bike paths have made a huge difference for community members. I was a really pleased when one day I saw a woman drop off an elderly man at the entry to one of the parks and then drive around to the other end to pick him up. The bike paths have created a place where he can get his exercise.”

John and Maureen have a special story of their own. Two of the original founding members of Greening Moorooka Group they have been joined first by Rachel then Ryan. The smiles tell the story of a special family proud of what they have achieved for their community.

Jean and Catherine Rousseaux, two other founding members are no longer involved. However, Barbara, Helen and MaryAnne were there to celebrate.

Pollinator Link fence sign - 17 June 2018 lowres

Register to receive your Pollinator Link fence sign.

A beautiful sunny morning in the park, what a great opportunity to introduce Pollinator Link  to community members who really understand the importance creating habitat for our urban wildlife.

I fielded a lot of questions about building Habitat Tripods to provide food and shelter for small birds, the importance of Planting Local to Feed Locals, using GroNative app and where to get local south-east Queensland plants: Community Nurseries.

Congratulations to the Greening Moorooka Group on 20 years of valuable visionary contribution to our wildlife and community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Planting Habitat Tripod Crosby Road Bushcare

Group co-leader Nick - 27 May 2018

Group Co-leader Nick beside Habitat Tripod

By: Michael Fox

I joined the Crosby Road Bushcare team last Saturday to plant up the Habitat Tripod with vines and shrubs that will create safe habitat for small birds like Fairy Wrens to nest.

 

 

 

Climbing Guinea Flower - Hibbertia scandens - flower - 13 Oct 2016

Climbing Guinea Flower

Vines and creepers were planted to climb the legs of the tripod create an attractive garden feature that is also scrubby habitat for small birds.

Climbing Guinea Flower Hibbertia scandens with its large bright yellow flowers in Spring and Summer is popular with native bees like the Great Carpenter Bees genus Xylocopa

 

Native Sarsaparilla - Hardenbergia violacea - seed pod - 12 Sept 2016

Native Sarsaparilla

 

Native Sarsaparilla Hardenbergia violacea producing purple flowers in Winter and Spring is caterpillar food plant for the Common Grass-blue Zizina labradus butterfly and provides for for seed eating and seed eating birds.

 

 

 

 

Group co-leader Cori planting - 27 May 2018

Group Co-leader Cori planting

 

The Bushcare team also did infill planting to complement past planting.

 

 

 

Mulching new plants

Mulching new planting

 

 

Mulch was spread around new plants to retain water and keep the soil cool.

 

 

 

Creeping Boobialla - Myoporum parvifolium - flower - Crosby Road Bushcare - 26 May 2018

Creeping Boobialla

 

Effectiveness of the Crosby Road Bushcare team’s planting protocol can be seen in rapid spread of Creeping Boobialla Myoporum parvifolium which has covered large areas beside the steps, flowers winter, spring and summer, and is already producing food for fruit eating birds.

 

Grey Butcherbird - Cracticus torquatus - Crosby Road Bushcare - 26 May 2018

Grey Butcherbird

 

Inspecting the work and having lunch on insects disturbed by the team was a handsome Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus.

Plant Local to Feed Locals.

Find discount local plant species to attract birds, butterflies and bees to your Pollinator Link garden.

 

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Plant Local to Feed Locals

By: Michael Fox

I just read an interesting article in Canadian Geographic: Inside the mysterious decline of Earth’s insects

Why are insects important?

If we want to bring beautiful birds like the Variegated Fairy-wren Malurus lamberti back to our urban gardens we need to provide their preferred Food: insects. As well as Water and Shelter.

The article is Canadian, however, the relationships between insects and our local birds is still relevant:

“We have only half the birds now that we had in the 1960s,” says migratory bird researcher Bridget Stutchbury during the preamble of “Songbird SOS,” a CBC Nature of Things episode that first aired in March 2015. While the investigations into the loss of bird species span everything from habitat loss to light pollution, pet cats and collisions with buildings, severe, long-term declines in insectivorous birds stand out as a possible proxy for a decline in their insect food sources. Such a broad-based factor is suggested in the nose-diving populations of 22 of 26 aerial insectivores that breed in Canada — including swifts, flycatchers, nightjars, swallows and whip-poor-wills.

The best way to preserve insect diversity and abundance is the same as it is for all animals — maintaining habitat and habitat diversity. It’s a subject on which Simon Fraser’s Elle has much to say. “If our farming practices aim to preserve diversity, then it will wind up being good for the farmer. For instance, preserving a hedgerow creates habitat for bees to nest in, and is also habitat for birds and small mammals. Preserving species on this planet can’t just be a thing we do out in the wildest spaces — it also has to happen in human landscapes,” she notes.

Those landscapes include cities, whose less-complex insect faunas reflect an environment of mostly invasive plant species and the monocultures common to landscaping. “In urban areas, the diversity of birds and insects in native trees versus non-native trees is higher. If we’re all living in cities, then we need to make them better,” says Sandy Smith, a forestry professor at the University of Toronto. “Currently we’re reducing things to something that either looks good or is easy to manage. It’s this kind of homogenization that worries me most because you’re creating a vulnerable world.”

Inside the mysterious decline of Earth’s insects. Canadian Geographic

Black-headed Skimmer Dragonfly - Crocothemis nigrifrons - 24 Apr 2018 cropped
Black-headed Skimmer Dragonfly  Crocothemis nigrifrons

Plant Local to Feed Locals is a key to creating a diversity of Food for birds like Variegated Fairy-wren Malurus lamberti and introducing team of free specialist pest controllers to protect your vegetable garden.

You can create habitat for both small bird and insects in your Pollinator Link® based on what we are learning with our small forest bird planting in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

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Give Mum Birds, Butterflies and Bees

Order your Pollinator Link Mother’s Day Gift Pack today.

Gift pack

Pack includes:

  • Pollinator Link® garden certification
  • Pollinator Link® fence sign and Blue-banded Bee on Google maps
  • Gardman Easyclean Cat-safe Birdbath
  • The Brisbane Bird Challenge Game:
    • create a family challenge
  • Pollinator Link® Discount Card
  • Three Easy Steps to vibrant backyards guide

Price: $40 inc GST

Scaly-breasted Lorikeet - 17 Feb 2014

Providing Water, Food and Shelter is the secret to bringing your garden alive with colour and birdsong. The quiet hum of bees in your veggie patch. You leave the city behind as you come home and relax with the peaceful sounds of nature.

Start your Mum’s journey to creation of a thriving Pollinator Link® garden with an attractive, easy to clean, cat safe birdbath.

Orchard Swallowtail - female - 2 Jan 2016

Pollinator Link® is a non-profit initiative of Mt Gravatt Environment Group. All funds raised are used to support the initiative to create a mosaic wildlife habitat across all south-east Queensland urban space.

Every Pollinator Link® garden, whether a large backyard or a balcony garden in a unit block, contributes to bringing birds, butterflies and bees back to our urban habitat.

Order Mother’s Day Gift Pack

 

Supported by

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Australian National Botanic Gardens

Sticky Everlasting - Xerochrysum viscosum - 3 Apr 2018

Golden Everlasting Xerochrysum viscosum

By: Michael Fox

Bright yellow Golden Everlastings provide a cheerful welcome to the Australian National Botanic Gardens (Canberra).

I particularly like ANBG because it recreates habitats ranging from rainforest gullies to central Australian desert, to present a wide variety of Australian plant species.

 

Australian Bluebell - Wahlenbergia stricta - 3 Apr 2018

Australian Bluebell Wahlenbergia stricta

Golden Everlastings Xerochrysum viscosum occur naturally in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Australian National Territory and Tasmania enjoying full sun and attracting native bees and feeding caterpillars of Australian Painted Lady butterflies. These spectacular plants are a great way to create a splash of colour in your Pollinator Link garden and your home as the flower heads can be easily cut, dried and preserved whist retaining colour for floral display.

Australian Bluebells Wahlenbergia stricta make a great show lining a “rocky creek” near the Visitor Centre. Australian Bluebells are widespread in most states and may often be seen flowering alongside highways in all habitats.

Austral Storks Bill - Pelargonium australe - 3 Apr 2018 - M Fox

Austral Storks Bill Pelargonium australe

A special discovery on this visit was Austral Storks Bill Pelargonium australe in flower. This beautiful hardy native geranium is widespread being found in semi arid, alpine areas and along the coast. Easy to propagate it grows well in containers with full sun or light shade so a good choice for Pollinator Link balcony gardens in unit blocks.

 

Native Wandering Jew - Aneilema acuminatum - 3 Apr 2018 - M Fox

 

Aneilema acuminatum Native Wandering Jew is an attractive delicate groundcover that can be used as Living Mulch to control weeds, retain water and keep the soil cool promoting soil health.

 

The most unusual discovery has to be the Banana Bush Tabernaemontana pandacaqui with its banana like fruit. An attractive and interesting plant occurring naturally in coastal Qld, northern NSW, WA and NT.  While its attractive white flowers and fascinating fruit the milky sap is toxic, similar to highly poisonous Oleander, so care should be taken.

Banana Bush - Tabernaemontana pandacaqui - 3 Apr 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cooee Motel: a surprise in country NSW

By: Michael Fox Gigandra

Travelling to Canberra over Easter and planning to visit the Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo, we needed somewhere to stay overnight. We found Cooee Motel, a real gem in the small country town of Gilgandra, three hundred and thirty kilometres north-west of Sydney Harbour and surrounded by farm land.

 

We were just expecting a basic motel suitable for an overnight stay. What we found was an oasis created by our generous hosts Tony and Lois Smolders. After ten hours on the road I was surprised and delighted to be able to explore a large garden that met all the criteria of a Pollinator Link garden #WaterFoodShelter for birds, butterflies and bees.

Almost immediately I spotted a beautiful Australian Painted Lady Vanessa kershawi butterfly. I then had a pleasant thirty minutes checking out mature Casuarina and Cypress pine trees.

Cypress sp. - 30 Mar 2018

Cypress sp. 

 

 

A number of old growth trees with nest hollows providing Shelter have also been retained. Tree branches have not been trimmed close to trunk which means nest hollows are left for birds and possums.

 

 

 

Nest hollows - 30 Mar 2018Talking with Lois and Tony, I asked if the garden was public park land. I could hear the pride in their voices as they explained that the land is part of the Motel site. Rather than develop the whole site they generously chose to retain the habitat for wildlife and in the process create a relaxing space for travellers.

The Water, Food and Shelter available in this special habitat is used by Australian King-Parrots Alisterus scapularis, Western Rosella Platycercus icterotis, Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae and Brushtail Possum Trichosurus vulpecula using nest hollows and visited by Kangroos relaxing on the grass.

The generosity of our hosts was underlined when we entered a motel unit well equipped with the usual kettle, toaster and microwave. We felt really valued as customers when we realised that, unlike the majority of motel rooms we have stayed in, this unit was made welcoming and cheerful with good lighting not the parsimonious minimum low wattage lights.

Excellent habitat for wildlife and human travellers.

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Bushcare nursery thriving in backyard

 

By: Michael Fox

Greg Tasney’s passion for the environment and his generosity means that he has propagated more 1,000 plants for use in restoration of his Rocky Waterholes Bushcare site.

Walking round garden I was amazed by the diversity of plants: vines, grasses, shrubs, trees and wildlife in this standard suburban block. Greg’s effort and skill propagating plants for his Bushcare site and to share with others is an inspiration.

SONY DSC

Joseph’s Coat Moth – Photo: Kerry  Sinigaglia

If you want to learn to propagate natives, Greg’s tip about Silver Plectranthus Plectranthus argentatus is a good start … read the Gardening Australia guide.

Kangaroo Vine, Water Vine Cissus antarctica is an attractive versatile creeper:

Climbing Maidenhair Fern 

Climbing Maidenhair Fern Lygodium microphyllum

Climbing Maidenhair Fern Lygodium microphyllum is an interesting option for shady spaces in the garden.

The Small-leaved Abutilon Abutilon oxycarpum is an attractive yellow flowering shrub 1.5 to 2 metre.

Greg refers to the Small-leaved Lilly Pilly Syzygium luehmannii  as a 7-Eleven for possums, fruit bats and Figbirds Sphecotheres vieilloti.

Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Vine - Pararistolochia praevenosa - flower - 16 Oct 2016

Richmond Birdwing Vine flower

Plant the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Vine Pararistolochia praevenosa in your Pollinator Link garden to be part of the project to save these beautiful butterflies. I received a report just last week of multiple sightings of Richmond Birdwing Ornithoptera richmondia So let’s make sure we are ready to welcome these beautiful butterflies back to our backyards.

Swamp Banksia Banksia robur As the name suggests this shrub will be happy in that wet spot on in your garden or can it will do well in a drier spot if water is provided. In full sun the yellow-green flowers provide food in the difficult Autumn / Winter seasons.

Lemon-scented Myrtle Backhousia citriodora Growing 5m tall and 3m wide in full sun this is an excellent screening tree to ground level. Bonus is the lemon scent from the leaves which can be used to make tea and works as a mozzie repellent. Birds visit the tree for fruit, insects and nectar.

Sweet Morinda Gynochthodes jasminoides

Sweet Morinda

A scrambling climber Sweet Morinda Gynochthodes jasminoides (previously: Morinda jasminoides)  is great for hiding an ugly corner and with pruning it makes an attractive bird sheltering shrub. Shiny leaves and sweet scented butterfly attracting flowers make this an attractive and useful addition to your garden.

Greg’s somewhat untidy gardens with garden waste recycled as lizard habitat obviously work with Eastern Water Skinks Eulamprus quoyii visiting.

Hairpin Banksia Banksia spinulosa is an attractive shrub growing to about 2m by 2m in a sunny position as part of a Verge Garden.

Spiders are not wildlife most people want in their backyard however when you hear the  ‘oop-oop-oop-oop’ of a Pheasant Coucal Centropus phasianinus that is something special.

Creek Mat-rush, Green Mat-rush Lomandra hystrix is typically thought to planted along creek however it also does well in much drier conditions. A useful Security Plant to restrict access for people and cats it is also caterpillar food for Splendid Ochre butterfly Trapezites symmomus.

Creek Satinash Syzygium australe forms an attractive hedge attracting fruit eating birds and providing bush food for people.

Native Mulberry Pipturus argenteus is an interesting bush food addition to Greg’s verge garden. Mothers will like the white fruit which will not stain clothes when kids have a mulberry fight. Fruit eating birds also visit and the tree will provide caterpillar food for Speckled Line-blue Catopyrops florinda, Varied Eggfly Hypolimnas bolina and Yellow Admiral Vanessa itea butterflies.

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