2nd February - Annual Report - 2009

Wirrapunga is a Bush Garden of 1.2 hectares (3 acres) situated in the Aldgate Valley, Adelaide Hills, South Australia. The aim is to restore it to what we believe it was before European settlement. We believe there would have been about 300 indigenous species of plants growing on the site 200 years ago. We plan to restore these species to the site.

The main problem we have, in describing our successes and failures, is in identifying species. We do our best. However it is extraordinarily difficult, for us, to separate some species. This report is based on the knowledge base we have at the time of writing.

2009 was a good year. The season broke early. The rains continued and resulted in above average rainfall for the year. This meant that it was a good year for both our indigenous and exotic species. Points of interest were:

We took advantage of the weed germination to get on top of our weeds. Although there were a number of crops, we were able to remove all of them before they set seed except for Aira (silvery hair grass) which is proving to be a problem. We hope to have more time to spend on Aira next season.

The good year also rewarded us with five new volunteers. These were the Annual Bluebell, Fairy Grass, Golden Spray, Lady's Finger and the Tiny Pennywort. Unfortunately we lost two species. These were the Curved Logania and the Blue-spike Milkwort. One each of these turned up as volunteers, a few years ago, but we were unable to entice either one to set seed before they left us.

We were fortunate in sourcing a further eight species. These were the Small-fruited Fan-flower and Self-heal which we grew from cuttings from local plants. We purchased River Mint, Twining Glycine, Lax Marsh-flower, Sticky Boobialla, Small-leaved Raspberry and Twiggy Stinkweed from indigenous nurseries.

This means we now have 222 species of plants, indigenous to the area, growing at Wirrapunga. This leaves us with about another eighty species to find.

We also made improvements to our wildlife habitat over the year. We have a number of piles of sticks and logs dotted around the site mainly for reptile habitat. We were delighted recently, by being rewarded by being lucky enough to watch a bearded dragon laying and burying her eggs. There are at least eight species of reptile at Wirrapunga including brown snakes, blue-tongued lizards, sleepy lizards, bearded dragons, a gecko and three skink species. We also added ten new nest boxes for our birds and possums to nest in.

Finally we commenced this web site to tell the story of Wirrapunga and hopefully convince others what a wonderful hobby bush gardening can be.

Finally, the mower spreads weed seeds as it moves from one area to another. When I came to the Adelaide Hills many of our roads were gravel and it was the council grader spreading weeds from one roadside to another. Now it is the council slasher. Once they are introduced to an area then they are promoted by mowing.