Week 4 June 2002: Traveling again this week although the journey is much shorter than our last trip. This time we spent a week visiting our son Lachlan who lives in Mittagong on the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. The Southern Highlands is an area of great horticultural and botanical contrasts. On one hand we have the very formal suburban gardens that concentrate on Cypress and Box hedges with boring regularity. These formal, regimented areas are surrounded by large areas of natural bushland bulging at the seams with a host of interesting native plants. Many of these bushland areas are protected in National Parks, State Forests and other Reserves. We spent the week exploring a number of these areas.
The Box Vale Tramway Reserve was the first place we visited. The Reserve, near Mittagong, preserves both an area of interesting sandstone vegetation and the remains of a tramway that was used to carry coal from a mine to the main Southern Railway. The tramway and mine were closed in the late 1800ís. Grevillea raybrownii is a rare species and the Reserve is one of its strongholds in southern New South Wales. It is a medium shrub with prickly foliage and sprays of white spring flowers. On a previous visit, to the Reserve, we only saw a few specimens and were keen to see if the species was present in other, previously unvisited, sections of the Reserve. We were pleasantly surprised to find large areas where G. raybrownii was almost the dominant understorey shrub. The species needs to be brought into cultivation both because it would make an interesting horticultural specimen and to ensure its survival.
Meryla State Forest, near Moss Vale, was another area visited. This is an area that we have not visited before. Banksia paludosa and Telopea mongaensis are two species we observed in Meryla State Forest. Telopea mongaensis was a Waratah we saw flowering in Kew Gardens near London. We have not seen this species in the wild before.
Of course no trip is complete without visiting a few nurseries. On this trip we bought Grevillea williamsonii, a rare plant from Victoria and a semi-prostrate, pink flowering form of Correa alba also from Victoria. Both plants come complete with lots of new growth so we will be taking plenty of cuttings.