Bush Tucker


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November 2011

By: Michael Fox

2011 Our first Community Gully Day, two years ago, saw the removal of six cubic metres of rubbish, poisonous Yellow Oleander Thevetia peruviana and Madeira Vine Anredera cordifolia, stabilised the banks with logs leaving the ground bare and storm water pipes a visual blight.

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November 2012

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2012 Between Gully Days restoration work continues with regular Tuesday Bushcare events. Mirandha, Griffith University Bushcare Club, feeds Chinese Elm branches into out chipper.

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August 2013

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Coin-spot Treeferns Cyathea cooperi are thriving, bush foods like Native Mulberry Pipturus argenteus will growing and the storm water pipes are disappearing under branches creating ideal habitat for lizards and improving visual amenity.

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Living mulch - 11 Aug 2013

Living Mulch reducing erosion and creating mico-habitat

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2013 8am The team getting to work, Scott, Barry, Carol, Don and Marshal in background, with Matt and myself delivering hollow logs for habitat.

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November 2012

Note the amazing mico-habitat created by the Living Mulch of native grasses – Rainforest Grass Oplismenus aemulus, Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima, and self-sown herbs like Native Hawksbeard Youngia japonica.

Even without the tree cover this area was several degrees cooler than the area just a little down the gully.

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Marshal Carol Scott removing weeds - 11 Aug 2013

Clearing weed regrowth

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A huge change from November 2012 when the gully was still bare.

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Madeira Vine tuba - 5 Mar 13

Madeira Vine tuba removed from gully

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8:30am Scott, Carol and Marshal have been busy clearing Mother-in-law’s Tongue Sansevieria trifasciata and Madeira Vine regrowth.

Matt Mike hollow log (low) - 11 Aug 2013

Matt and I install habitat log

Matt Russ Shawn placing logs 2 - 11 Aug 2013

Matt, Russ and Shawn positioning logs

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Eradicating Madeira Vine in the gully is a long term project. The most effective removal approach for this fast growing invasive weed is simply digging out and immediately bagging the tubers. Madeira produced hundreds of tubers along the vine. Those tubers are viable for a long time and sprout like potatoes when they land in a suitable environment. The size of these tubers mean that using poison is often not an effective particularly in a vulnerable water course.

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9am Matt and I install one of the hollow logs donated by Scott at Tree Bracers (eco-friendly) Tree Removal Specialists.  Scott contacted me asking if we could use the logs as he did not want to simply chip this valuable habitat resource. Roger Medland and I collected the logs in Rogers ute.

Marshal splitting logs - 16 Jul 2013

Marshal splitting logs for stablising banks

Hollow logs are valuable habitat for wildlife and installing these logs will provide Possums and Gliders safe escape from Foxes and cats.

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9:30am Matt, Russ and Shawn are positioning logs on the bank further down the gully. Logs reduce erosion, allow mulch and leaves to collect retaining water and keeping weeds down. Restoration work is also much faster and safer as the logs create a working platform for removing weeds and planting grasses, vines and trees.

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The logs were recycled from a tree removed after the January storms. Dale from Climb n Grind returned to safely remove the tree leaving the trunk cut to useful lengths. Marshal and I then used a chainsaw and steel wedges to split the logs into manageable quarters ready for the Gully Day.

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Len Kann with Stingless Bee hive

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10:30am Time for a break. Genevieve has organised a sausage sizzle, coffee, tea, cake and fruit … mmmm.

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Teddy Bear and Blue Banded native bees

While we eat, native bee expert and Mt Gravatt Environment Group member, Len Kann shares his passion for this fascinating wildlife we can bring to our backyards to pollinate our Queensland Nut trees and vegetables.

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Stingless bee hive (low) - 11 Aug 2013

Inside the hive – Stingless Bees

Len explained that there are over 2,000 native bee species in Australia with many providing farmers with unique pollination services not provided by European Honey bees.

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Rebecca planting

Len has put together a bee presentation box using one of his own empty hive boxes, specimen boxes with Blue Banded and Teddy Bear bees that we have collected in the Reserve, and excellent macro photos taken by member Alan Moore.

Len has generously provided one of his Stingless Bee hives on secondment in the gully and for his talk he bought along a hive he could open to let us see inside. For an ex-beekeeper like me it was fascinating to see the very different structure for storing honey and pollen, and, yes, it is nice not to collect the dozen of stings I received when robbing my European bee hives.

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11am Rebecca is back to work planting the bank behind her property.

I am proud to live in a community that can come together on a long term project like this. Currently the owners of twenty properties are committed to restoration of their backyards as a wildlife corridor down Fox Gully and importantly work together to eradicate Madeira Vine.

We had twenty people participate in the 2013 Community Gully Day including people like Marshal and Carol who live beside Firefly Gully, Nancy who has propagated most of the Lomandras in the gully and Len who shared his passion for native bees.

Three hundred grasses, herbs, vines, shrubs and trees have been planted this year. Save Our Waterways Now (SOWN) generously gifted $400 worth of plants with other plants and resources purchased with over $200 in tax deductible donations from neighbours.

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Imperial Hairstreak - 23 Mar 2013

Imperial Hairstreak butterfly on Early Black Wattle

By: Michael Fox

We welcomed the Griffith Uni Bushcare Team back to Fox Gully on the Saturday before Easter.

Mind you, it took a while to get them onsite as we found some Imperial Hairstreak butterflies, Jalmenus evagoras, beside the track. It is always a pleasure to find someone else who can be totally fascinated by a few of butterflies, caterpillars and ants.

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Imperial Hairstreak chrysalis protected by Small Meat Ants

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Silt 100mm deep behind mulch filter

Imperial Hairstreak butterfly caterpillars and chrysalis are protected by native Small Meat Ants Iridomyrmex sp. referred to as Kropotkin ants. Read my article in Southside Community News.

The Early Black Wattle Acacia leiocalyx are interesting with their distinctive triangular stems.

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The main project for the day was restoration and improvement of the “mulch filters” that keep silt from the dirt maintenance road flowing into the gully. The filters have proved very effective in reducing erosion and keeping the water in the gully clean.

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Mirandha and Sheamus installing mulch filter

The mulch filter is designed to slow the water flow at key runoff points on the track, allowing the silt to settle out. Silt is already 100mm deep behind one filters and starting to support natural regeneration of native grass.

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The original filters were made by simply mounding mulch at the runoff points as an experiment. Now that the effectiveness has been established logs are being installed to make the filters more permanent and allow mulch to be piled higher.

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Sheamus and Mirandha - 23 Mar 13

Bush food snack

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Of course after all the hard work a snack is in order. Mirandha try out the sweet roots of Blady Grass Imperata cylindrica.

 

By: Susan Jones

Checking out a native bee nest

Today we had the pleasure of welcoming Holland Park Kindergarten families to Gertrude Petty Place for a bush adventure. The children were excited about catching up with their friends after two weeks holiday and were brimming with energy.

We checked out a  termite’s nest in an old ironbark gum where kookaburras nest each year  and then headed off to search for native bee nests (Trigona carbonaria)in a nearby hollow tree trunk.

Bush tucker – food tastes better in the bush

The children have a native bee nest in a box at school, but they were fascinated seeing nests in the wild.

After a walk through the bushcare site everyone was feeling tired and ready to tuck into a picnic morning tea before heading off home.

Our young friends left with some local native ground cover plants that will be planted in the school grounds to attract butterflies, birds, bees and frogs.

Thanks Amanda for organising this outing and we hope to see Holland Park Kindergarten back in the bush soon.

By Michael Fox

I am always learning something new about our extraordinary local environment. Until recently I had never heard of Finger Lime Citrus australasica or any of the other native citrus.

Finger Lime surprise capsules

I discovered these fascinating plants when researching species for use in building Pollinator Links through our suburbs. Finger Limes are native to rainforests in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales, where they typically grow as an understory plant.

White Chocolate Finger Lime Cheesecake

Finger Limes have come out of the rainforest and into commercial orchards growing in the full sun. Chris Bourke of Tamborine Native Citrus can supply Finger Limes grafted onto commercial citrus root stock which will promote rapid growth and produce smaller trees suited to backyards. Finger Limes can also be successfully grown in pots so even unit dwellers can join in the fun. What colour will you grow?

Orchard Swallowtail laying her eggs
Photographer – Jude Fox

The lime juice comes in tiny surprise packs that stay intact when cooked in a cheesecake, ready to explode in your mouth as you eat. If you would like to make your own bush tucker cheesecake you can find the recipe at Marvick Native Farms. Substitute Finger Lime for Desert Lime and of course use Queensland Nut Macadamia integrifolia instead of Hazelnuts. Don’t whiz all the limes. Fold some juice capsules into the mix before pouring into the cake tin.

Better still you can grow your own Finger Limes and bring beautiful Orchard Swallowtail butterflies to your backyard. Be patient with the butterfly caterpillars, they will do very little damage to your lime tree. Eating the citrus leaves allows the caterpillars store toxins that transfer through to the butterflies making them taste unpleasant to bird predators.


Echidna Magic Kiosk opended for MEG’s Clean Up Australia on Sunday … thank you to the First Contact team.

Trish Williams was obviously very proud as she told the planned opening times for Echidna Magic:

Kiosk

  • opens today – Monday 8th
  • opening times – 9am to 7pm Monday to Sunday

Restaurant

  • planned opening Monday 15th
  • opening times – 9am to 9pm Monday to Sunday

Personally I’m planning Sunday breakfast on the deck. Good food, strong coffee and a view to die for.

Congratulations and best wishes to Trish and her team.

We in MEG look forward to building a strong partnership: sharing our environmental knowledge and experiencing indigenous culture and history, as we recreate Mt Gravatt as one of Brisbane’s iconic community and tourist attractions.

Mike Fox

I added a special bush tucker plant to our Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Reserve today – Austromyrtus dulcis Midgen, Midyim Berry.

I am honoured to be given these bush tucker berries by my MEG collegue Sue. We have French visitors coming for dinner and we are planning an Aussie food experience: Kangaroo steak on the barbie followed by Pavlova topped with Midyim Berries.

Midyim Berries are growing in our Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare site. If you want to grow these in your own backyard the B4C Nursery has plants available.

Do you have any other bushtucker ideas we can use with our French foodies?

Mike