Weed all about it
Atlassian, the company I work for, allows its staff members six days per year for volunteer work. You can choose where you donate your time, and still receive your usual salary. Impressive, huh.
My pet cause is conservation, and in particular bush regeneration. I spend a lot of time just in my own garden, hauling out nasties like agapanthus and asparagus fern and putting in native plants. A couple of days ago, my neighbour looked on in horror as I uprooted yet another hank of agapanthus. “Are you a greenie?” she asked. I started to say, “No”, then thought about it. I guess I am. Not a dyed-in-the-wool greenie. But becoming more and more convinced that we need to do something about climate change and the homogenisation of our environments.
So, today was my first “volunteering” day. Volunteering is a big thing in Australia. It’s part of the national culture. Try googling it, if you dare. The most well-known volunteers are the fire fighters. But there are lots of other opportunities. I chose Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA). They go out in groups of ten to twelve people every day, and tackle a patch of bush that’s under pressure from non-indigenous plants or other threats.
Our group was interesting. There were three new people, including me. The others were all regulars. Some of them volunteer with CVA two or three days every week! One person had brought her daughter – at three years old, the youngest member of the team.
Above: The smallest, eager to get started.
One of the regulars is Anna (not her real name). It was Anna’s birthday, so the CVA team leader had baked her a cake complete with candles. We had it for morning tea. One of Anna’s birthday presents was a pair of gardening gloves. That’s dedication for you.
We targeted an area near the Curl Curl lagoon. A week before, people had been hard at work removing the noxious lantana. Here’s what the patch looked like when we started:
Above: Lantana massacre.
And here’s the spot I decided to make my own:
Above: My patch before I started.
Everyone got stuck in, pulling out the last remaining roots and preparing the ground:
Above: Hard at work.
Here are the plants we put in:
Above: Pigface (Carpobrotus). Info. Evidently this one grows fast and furious – a good ground cover for difficult terrain. We made sure we planted it in one particular area only.
Above: Porcupine grass (Spinifex). Info.
Above: Pelargonium. Info. This is a native variety of the popular pelargonium/geranium family.
Above: Hibbertia. Info. They say this one is quite hardy too, and makes very good ground cover.
And here’s my own little patch after a couple of hours’ work:
Above: My patch done.
It’s a good feeling at the end of the day, to have made some sort of difference in the world out there.
To remember for next time: Take some insect repellent!
Posted on 24 October 2007, in atlassian, environment, trees and tagged atlassian, australia, bush regeneration, conservation, environment, foundation, ozzie plants, plants. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.