Week 1 January 2003:  Happy New Year. This year we hope to spend more time at home. Last year we were away for nearly three months. We will undertake some trips in 2003. When the drought breaks we will visit inland New South Wales. When the rains come there will be a proliferation of plants in these low rainfall areas. Eremophilas, Grevilleas and native daisies will be of particular interest.
We will be undertaking more planting in 2003. Our propagation efforts (with plants) have been very successful in 2002. We have about 600 plants ready for the garden.
Our family is still visiting so horticultural activities are still taking a back seat. Have spent some time on family outings visiting areas of interest. Firstly we walked to the junction of the Gwydir River and Booroolong Creek. This junction is south west of Yallaroo. There is still some water in both the Gwydir and Booroolong. Both watercourses are lined with ancient Casuarina cunninghamiana (River Oaks). The foliage of these graceful trees makes beautiful music when the wind is blowing. We found some extensive old mining works near the Gwydir. Gold was the target of the activities and mining probably took place in the late 1800ís.
We also visited New England National Park, east of Armidale. We were rangers in this beautiful Park about 25 years ago. Every visit is a rather sentimental journey. On the way we looked at the World War II Tank Trap now protected in Cathedral Rock National Park. In New England National Park we visited two lookouts, ate a picnic lunch and strolled down a fire trail. This area, of the Park, used to support a large population of Banksia spinulosa. Over the years the Banksias have been smothered by Coral Fern (Gleichenia dicarpa). See Banksias vs. Coral Fern.
On the way home we visited a roadside population of Hakea eriantha. This population consists of about ten plants and has very narrow leaves. These are the only plants we have observed with this type of foliage. We collected woody fruits from these plants so the seeds may be extracted. We are propagating this unusual form to ensure its survival.
Angophora floribunda is a large tree closely related to the Eucalypts. We have many mature specimens growing on Yallaroo. At present they are covered in large cream flowers. They are common throughout Northern New South Wales. This is the best Angophora flowering for nearly 30 years. This blooming event was probably triggered by the drought.

Garden Diary