News & Events

An Update From Tegwen

May 30, 2022

The Banyule Council Community Grant-funded project to restore the bank adjacent to the dry creek bed at the entrance to Leith Park is now underway. The aim of the project is to reintroduce native plant species to the area. Once established, the plants will provide a habitat for local native fauna and will make the experience of the area more enjoyable for residents and their families. 


The first stage of the project involves the removal of the agapanthus, dietes and African daisy from along the bank. All originally from South Africa, these plants have been a popular choice for gardeners because they are hardy and low maintenance. However, their success in adapting to most soils and climates and their capacity to reproduce enables them to outcompete native species. Removing these plants will make way for the 2040 indigenous tube stock currently growing at the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary Indigenous Nursery. 


The plants will be available late August – early September. To create a diverse planting, the staff at the nursery compiled a list that reflects the indigenous plant profile of the area. These include trees, shrubs, small herbs, ground covers, lilies, creepers, climbers, grasses, and sedges. Mulch will be applied to manage the weeds after planting. 


In addition to the plants providing a new habitat for native animals, we have included a few more structures into the project to encourage life onto the bank. New bird nesting boxes will be installed in the existing trees. The careful placement of mud rocks, otherwise known as ‘lizard lounges’, will provide our healthy population of skinks and blue tongues both shelter and a place to sunbake on our cooler days. And to provide a source of water, PVC water fountains will be constructed from a plan developed by the Arid Discovery Conservation Initiative and installed. Lastly, for our human inhabitants, we have three new bench seats ready to be placed along the path and a display board identifying the plants we have planted. The project will be completed in September but please take a stroll along the path and watch the progress.  


Gardens and Grounds – what’s happening around Leith Park? 


Winter is coming, but it’s not all bleak. Summer flowers have been replaced with Autumn hues, delicate camellias and chrysanthemums, bird attracting grevilleas and ripening pomegranates. Crepe myrtles had a great flowering season this year. Now they’re giving us vibrant colour as the green chlorophyll breaks down in their leaves and fades revealing the other coloured chemicals which ordinarily wouldn’t be seen. Nandinas are also a standout as the days shorten and the night time temperature drops. However, just as things decay, new plantings have begun. 


Bed of Brassicas and spring flowers


Replacing the ‘three sisters planting’ (corn, beans and zucchini) in the large bed across from Liscombe House, is a winter veggie bed of purple, green and white Brassicas – cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Start looking for recipes for slaws, soup, sauerkraut, and salads.  


If you venture into Liscombe House, have a look at the newly planted bed in the Children’s Courtyard. It contains some classic winter annuals – sweet peas, primula, delphiniums, lobelia and a new cultivar – a pink nasturtium. These plants should be in flower from late winter – to early spring. Something to look forward to as we move through winter. 


Habitat trees


You may have noticed that some dead eucalypts on the property have been removed by arborists. Some of these trees were cut down to ground level. However, in the dry creek bed we have purposely only removed the dead tree’s limbs, leaving a standing habitat trunk. Hollow and decaying parts of trees create important homes for local fauna in urban settings. 


Pruning roses 


Pruning roses too early can stimulate growth and you run the risk of frost burning the new shoots.  Although we don’t live in an area that suffers from heavy frosts, it’s good practice to wait until the roses are completely dormant before you grab a pair of secateurs. July is a good time to start the process. Please contact us then if you’d like help with your roses. 

I love the ‘magimix’ of people who make up the community and that it is a safe and happy place to live. - Jo Portlock

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