Park News – June, 2016

Working Bee Report

  • On Sunday, 5th June, ten participants did a great job planting 269  plants in several areas to the north of the Furness Park bridge.  Friend Geoff deserves a special mention for manning the pump and tirelessly carrying buckets of water up the hill for the planting specialists.
  • There must have been a short break or two – the team found some beautiful fungi where  the planting was undertaken.   Friend Ruth took this marvelous shot of a little red fungus:

red fungus

  • She thinks the red fungi looked so glossy because “possibly it was encased in a film of water held to the surface by the fine hairs on the stem or maybe just by fluid dynamics”.
  • Our next Working Bee is planned for Sunday, 3rd July – in Blacks Walk just north of the Garie Street footbridge.  Please click here for details.  In case you can’t make that one, we’ll have another Working Bee in July on National Tree Day, Sunday, 31st July.

Main Street Bridge Railings Completed

  • Council’s work on bringing up the Main Street bridge’s railings to today’s safety standards has been completed.  Committee is delighted with the outcome – the black colour being designed to make the railings blend into the background.
  • The photo below, taken during construction, shows the old and new railings together for comparison:

main street bridge during construction

  • Revegetation work around the “flares” of the bridge will probably be undertaken at a working bee in late August.

Maintenance Team Report

  • The team has been busy in Blacks Walk planting about 450 plants – including planting up two areas where the path was redirected by Council and a small area around a stump near the Laburnum Primary School’s park entrance.
  • Otherwise there has been quite a deal of weeding and infill planting – especially on south side of the path towards the Middleborough Road park entrance.

Other Works

  • Council has mulched and planted up beds in the vicinity of the Guides Hall towards the Derby Street entrance.
  • Temporary fencing was installed on 15th June along the 60 Main Street property boundary – possibly ahead of demolition or in response to complaints about the state of the property.
  • Construction of a two metre high black chain-mesh fence on the Laburnum Primary School’s Blacks Walk and eastern boundaries is about to start.  Impacts on the park are expected to be minimal.

What is this ?

skull

  • Nonagenarian, Friend Bob has a sharp eye – and has sent us something for you to try to identify.  First correct answer wins a fabulous prize:  a hard-copy version of the new(ish) Indigenous Gardening Guide for Whitehorse.
  • Please e-mail your best guess to: blackburncreeklands@gmail.com .
  • Second and third runner-up prizes will be this link to the on-line version of the Indigenous Gardening Guide.

Park Logs Stolen for Firewood

  • Logs, fallen branches, twigs and leaf litter are needed in a bushland park like ours to provide habitat for insects and lizards, to rot down returning important nutrients to the soil and to contribute to the natural look and feel of the park.

thief

  • There have been a couple of highly credible reports of a middle-aged couple cutting up and stealing significantly sized logs from the park for firewood on Sunday, 19th June.  A large builders barrow and professional grade chainsaw were used in the raid.
  • Obviously, only Council staff and contractors are permitted to use chainsaws in the park.
  • Any recurrence should be reported to the City of Whitehorse on 9262 6333 (all hours).

Corridor News

Morton Park destruction

Morton Park destruction underway

  • 650(!) trees are reportedly going in the rail corridor – due to the VicRoads shared user path and LXRA level crossing removal projects.  The Blackburn and District Tree Society and others have been active in alerting the community to the destruction.
  • Vicroads is currently considering options for the Laburnum-Blackburn section of the rail trail – currently mostly on roads south of the rail line: Laburnum Street – Elmore walk – South Parade OR Laburnum Street – Myrtle Grove -The Avenue – Gardenia Street OR Laburnum – Main Streets.  Making streets one-way eg to accommodate Copenhagen bike lanes is also being mooted.
2-Way Copenhagen Bike Lane

A 2-Way Copenhagen Bike Lane

  • While most of the community would have sympathy with the idea of developing cycling assets, we don’t want to see our beloved Blackburn continuing to be destroyed in the process!
  • Unfortunately, the community developed, northern path alignment (see https://www.facebook.com/theblackburnsolution/  ) doesn’t seem to have received a fair assessment from Vicroads even though it mostly stays in the rail reserve (as it should) and is clearly superior and safer for users.

Fungus of the Month – Ghost Fungus

  • Several long-time locals think that this year’s crop of fungi in the park is the best ever! Therefore, we are featuring a “Fungus of the Month” instead of “Plant of the Month”.  As we explained last month, fungi are actually not “plants” – in biology-speak, they belong to their own “kingdom” – as do plants and animals.
  • We’ve awarded Fungus of the Month to the Ghost Fungus Omphalotus nidiformis – probably Australia’s best known luminous fungus.  Not only does it glow-in-the-dark at night, it looks spectacular by day:

ghost fungus

  • Friend Ruth took this photo with a Myki card alongside – again on the day of our last working bee.  These funnel-shaped fungi start out looking like orange-ish toadstools and eventually flatten out with age often reaching a diameter of 200mm.  They are found on both living and dead wood (especially Eucalypts) – often in overlapping clusters.   Once mature, their colour can vary from white or cream with blue-black centres, yellow tinges and tones of purple or pink. Their soft green luminescence is due to a reaction between enzymes inside the fungus and oxygen.
  • Beware!  these fungi may look rather like some edible varieties – but they are quite poisonous!  Just in case – the Poison Information Centre’s phone number is 131 126.
  • Our current Noticeboard display features local indigenous fungi – why not try to use it to help identify the fungi you see?

Weed of the Month

  • Weed of the Month is Fat Hen (Chenopodium album).  It is extensively cultivated and consumed in Northern India as a food crop but is mostly considered a weed elsewhere. In the park, it is a robust and competitive weed which often swamps indigenous plants nearby.

fat hen

  • Our picture shows a dense clump growing in the park near the Middleborough Road bridge in a hard-to-eradicate position. It tends to grow upright at first, reaching heights of 10–150 cm, but typically falls over after flowering – being unable to support the weight of its foliage and prolific seeds unless it is supported by other plants or fencing.
  • We’ve named it Weed of the Month because it seems to be spreading more widely through the park (via birds?).   As its common name suggests, its leaves and seeds are sometimes used to feed poultry.

Sightings and Soundings

  • Fauna Sightings: A Buff-banded Rail has been spotted near the Laurel Grove and Main Street bridges as well as in the Waratah Wetlands.  Hopefully, a mate will show up soon and breeding will resume in the Creeklands.  Other interesting sightings have been:  the Grey Butcherbird and a dozen Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos flying overhead around 4.30pm on the 23rd June.  White-faced Herons are still frequenting last year’s partial nest in our corridor at Linum Street.
  • Soundings:  Frog calls were deafening at the Waratah Wetlands at 6pm on the 21st June – perhaps the full moon and/or winter solstice were something to do with it!
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