Week 4 September 2011: Rain = 54 millimetres.  Let joy be unrestrained!  The garden is refreshed and our tank has overflowed. It is many months since our tank has filled to overflowing.

This was a busy week. We travelled to Tamworth, south of Yallaroo, and visited areas further west.

Our first stop was Tamworth where we spent two nights staying with good friends. On Friday night we spoke to the local group of the Australian Plant Society. We spoke about Acacias and brought specimens from our garden. On Saturday and Sunday we attended the Sustainable Garden and Outdoor Expo at Tamworth Botanic Gardens. We talked and walked twice on Saturday and once on Sunday. We talked briefly about cutting propagation and walked around the Gardenís water feature, on each occasion, describing the native plants growing there.

There were a number of nurseries selling plants, at the Expo, including the Native Plant Group. A local nursery was selling native plants in tubes and we were pleasantly surprised by the range of Hakeas they had produced. We bought 12 tubes of assorted species.

At the Expo we talked to a chap who is the local agent for Ezybreeze Wind Turbines. These may be an alternative to solar panels for electricity generation. We will seek further information.

After the talking and walking on Sunday morning we headed west to Coonabarabran where we stayed for three nights in a self-contained unit.

On the first day of our visit we travelled to the Pilliga Forest Discovery Centre run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. There was plenty of information on the vast Pilliga Forest area.  From there we headed into the forest along the Number One Break, one of the major fire trails in the area. We stopped a few times along the road to view the vegetation. There were many interesting plants along the road including Acacia cheelii, Westringia cheelii and Grevillea floribunda.

Then we drove to the Dandry Gorge picnic area. After lunch we walked along the circular track that goes along the rim of the Gorge and returns through the Gorge. Along the rim there are a number of Sculptures depicting either the original indigenous inhabitants or the Pilliga environment.  Collectively they are known as Sculptures in the Scrub and are well worth seeing. We also viewed plenty of plants along the way including a mass flowering of Calytrix tetragona shrubs with their white and pink blooms. Allocasuarina gymnanthera was also common along the Gorge rim.

From there we travelled back towards Coonabarabran with a stop at the Sandstone Caves in the Pilliga Nature Reserve. The spectacular caves and overhangs are well worth a visit. There is also some protected evidence of Aboriginal occupation of the caves. An interesting plant, along the Caves circular walking track was Prostanthera granitica.

The next morning we visited the Crystal Kingdom. Here there is an interesting and well-displayed exhibition of minerals and fossils from the local Warrumbungle Range including those from the impressive Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran.

In the afternoon we drove down the Newell Highway, which passes through the Pilliga Forest, and stopped at a Rest Area to explore the local flora. At this spot there were hectares of a shrubby native pea, probably a species of Bossiaea. Amongst the pea plants there were other eye-catching species including an upright form of Grevillea floribunda and the prostrate Isopogon petiolaris. The plants, of this species, were covered in large yellow flower heads. We spent an interesting afternoon wandering through the Bossiaea plants.

We headed home the next morning with a stop at the Forestry Nursery in Gunnedah, between Coonabarabran and Tamworth. We purchased some tubes and a Grevillea New Blood in a 15 centimetre pot.

There were a number of interesting plants lining the street opposite the Nursery. Two that caught our eye were flowering specimens of Eucalyptus landsdowneana and Eucalyptus kruseana.

After arriving home we spent some time preparing and putting in the cuttings that we collected. Hopefully we will have some propagating successes.

Since our return we have had some welcome rain and not so welcome strong winds. These two events combined to bring down a large dead tree just inside our entrance. Unfortunately the tree fell across our road so some chainsaw work was required. We cut up enough of the fallen tree so that the road was clear. The rest will be cut up later. On the positive side the tree probably contains enough firewood to fuel our heater through next winter. There are a number of large dead Eucalypts on our hill. They were killed by a previous owner for unknown reasons. Whilst still standing they are used as perching sites for birds and when they fall they become firewood.


Garden Diary