Week 4 December 2001: We were hoping that everyone would have a Happy Christmas. Unfortunately this was not to be. From Christmas Day onwards there have been horrific bushfires north, south and west of Sydney. Homes and business have been destroyed and people’s lives have been disrupted. We feel for the people who have lost their homes and possessions. Full credit must be given to the volunteers who have saved hundreds of homes.
Thousands of hectares of bushland have been burnt. Royal National Park, south of Sydney, has been burnt again. The last time was in 1994. Environmentally this is a short time interval and many plant and animal species may not have had time to recover. Other burnt bushland areas have not been burnt for decades. It will be interesting to see how these areas recover and what species return. Some native plants will reappear that have not been recorded for many years.
We will be surveying some burnt areas near Mittagong (our son Lachlan lives there) in the Southern Tablelands of NSW.  We have a reasonable idea of the pre-burn species composition. One area of particular interest supported a population of the rare Banksia paludosa subsp. astrolux. We will be observing how this species regenerates.
Fortunately we are free from fires and were able to spend a pleasant Christmas period at home with our family.
Spent some time rearranging the propagating bench. There were some differences in level. Water pooled in some spots and this had a detrimental effect on some cuttings.
We spent a pleasant day at New England National Park, east of Armidale. We have a sentimental attachment to this beautiful Park. Over twenty years ago we lived and worked in the park as rangers. There will be an image and description of New England National Park in our environment section in the near future.
Also visited Dutton Trout Hatchery. It is just down the road from the Park. Saw some very impressive Brown and Rainbow Trout. Fish are bred here for release in local streams.
A Blue-banded Native Bee has been supping the nectar from Plectranthus and Goodenia flowers near our patio. Honey Bees compete with native bees for nectar and it was comforting to see this native species.
One of our water lines developed a leak and required repair. We use poly pipe for all our water lines and feel that it is one of the greatest inventions since sliced bread.

Garden Diary