Sep 10, 2012

Conservation Volunteers in action

Last week we got some useful help from Conservation Volunteers Australia. This was organised through Dawn Heath and Alex Kennedy of the Adopt-a-Patch program. 
The volunteers were eight enthusiastic young people from Japan, Taiwan and France, with an English supervisor. It proved to be a challenging week for them, removing asparagus vine and cat's claw, and encountering some of our local wildlife in the form of a dead Burton's snake-lizard, a carpet snake and an eastern brown snake, as well as a large [possibly a wolf] spider.

Trish, George and Lee visited them during the week then Lee took them out to lunch. 
Their efforts will make a big difference to the scrub this summer.
The Adopt a Patch project is made possible through funding by the Australian Government's Caring for Our Country program.
Thank you George for the photos.

Aug 29, 2012

Spring is on the way

It was a fine morning at the scrub and although it has now been dry for quite a while, the place is looking good, being more sheltered in the gully. The Wonga vine was the most obvious flower but others are on their way and it will be worth a visit in the next few weeks. Asparagus vine continues to germinate and is starting to climb once again, so we will need to be vigilant and not allow it to regain the canopy.
Our efforts in controlling it have made such a difference to the place with some nice views through, and into it, now with the interesting variety of plants. Bamboo grass is doing well on the ground level and you will find interesting seedlings growing in it as well. Birds and butterflies are also busy.

Jun 8, 2012

Flowering at present

Yellow buttons Chrysocephalum apiculatum  were found to be flowering in the scrub in the first week of June.

May 30, 2012

May gathering

It was good get-together this morning. After working on cats claw and fruiting asparagus vine, we stopped for morning tea and discussion. Kristie Jenkinson came along. She brought along Darryl Kruger, who will be doing some of her work from next month, to meet us. (Kristie is expecting a baby in September.)
Kristie has such a busy schedule that - although she is the person in charge of volunteer groups, like ours, which work with the Toowoomba Regional Council - we rarely get to see her. It was particularly good to be able catch up, and to talk about our concerns. Her best news is that it seems very likely that Steve Plant will be working with us at our monthly working bees again. That will be a worry off our minds!
Dawn Heath of Condamine Alliance, also came to talk about joining the "Adopt-a-patch" programme. We had a thorough discussion of what sort of help she would be able to give us, and the decision was that we weren’t really keen on any of the original proposed ideas (bird boxes, root blades, and toad netting). However, we agreed that it would be helpful if Dawn could organise some more volunteers to work with us. At present we think this will begin in spring, probably on our regular working bee days. The project we thought we’d like help with is getting the cats claw back to a manageable level, but they might help with asparagus fern as well. The aim is to have just a small number of adult volunteers - 3 to 6 people - who would work closely with our members so we could get the weeds removed with minimal impact on other vegetation. The programme would all be administered by Dawn, so there would not need to be any
management of grant money by us.
Thanks very much to Gary Alcorn, who was the one with the get up and go to put the thing in train. 

Apr 21, 2012

Bad luck

This year the last Wednesday of April falls on Anzac Day so we are unlikely to have any takers for a gathering at Franke Scrub. We will be meeting again on May 30th, but the place is always open for a visit.

Mar 30, 2012

A large caterpillar

The large caterpillar we found on open day has been identified for us by Don Herbison-Evans. It is the "common anthelid moth", Anthelida canescens.
Like so much of Australian wildlife, it is not completely studied, with the only known host plant being Cadarghi, Corymbia torreliana. In Franke Scrub, it probably breeds on the gum-topped box, Eucalyptus moluccana - the only Eucalyptus in the scrub.
The caterpillars turn into large moths, with the females having a 7cm wingspan.
see also Brisbane moths

Mar 28, 2012

Open Day

It is nearly six years since we formed the Friends of Franke Scrub and we proved ourselves a vibrant group with our second open day on Sunday. The team set up from 8 am with visitors turning up from before 9 until after midday - estimated at over 80 people. The plant sale was very popular and people also took the opportunity to join a tour through the scrub and around our new signs on the perimeter. With a lovely morning and the scrub looking so lush after recent rain, we put on a great show.

 Legless lizard

Feb 29, 2012

Open Day at Franke Scrub Sunday 25 March

To celebrate the installation of our new signs, we are having an open day from 9-12 on Sunday morning 25th March. We will be setting up from 8 am if you would like to come and help with this, then manning a display, answering questions and showing people around. Bring along a chair and smoko and we can have a chat in the shade or check on progress.
We will have trees, which are represented in our scrub, for sale from Crows Nest Nursery - $2.50 and $5.00 [some larger ones]. This is a chance to obtain very good quality local natives which are ideal for our local gardens, being most attractive to birds and butterflies as well as to us.
See also Open Day at Franke Scrub at Toowoomba Plants

Free Tree Day

We are closely associated with Peacehaven Botanic Park in nearby Highfields. They are having a free tree day in early March. At Peacehaven, you can see specimens of many of the trees which used to cover this area and are now reduced to small remnants of vegetation, such as our road reserve in Franke Road.
We now have a greater appreciation of the value of the diversity of species that occurs in rainforests and their drier related vine scrubs. Unfortunately many remnant patches of original vegetation have become smothered by invasive weeds such as lantana, privet, prickly pear, asparagus fern and cats claw creeper. We are fortunate at Franke Scrub that this weed invasion has been minimal and that our efforts over recent years have reduced the impact so that we can enjoy this accessible sample of  how things once were.

New signs are up

It was a lovely morning in the scrub for our first meeting for 2012. We now have 8 new signs around the perimeter to provide a pleasant informative stroll. With all the rain, the vegetation is looking fresh and lush. We picked up pink flowers which had fallen from Pandorea vines which are climbing happily through the canopy. They are a vivid reminder of how suitable many of our local native plants are for home gardens.

See also New Sign Trail at Toowoomba Plants

Bower Vine flowering in our canopy

We were pleased to find pink flowers on the ground while wandering in our reserve at our February meeting.
Bower Vine or Pandorea jasminoides is a popular and attractive garden plant and it is native to our area. A root-climbing woody twiner, it flowers from spring to summer. It is common in the rainforests and wet Eucalypt forests along the Dividing Range. They also grow naturally in the drier environment of Gowrie Junction.
They have shiny green foliage and their large, trumpet-shaped flowers are light pink with a ruby red throat.
As the name suggests, they are substantial vines with woody stems,suitable for training over an arch or pergola to make a lovely shady bower. Alternatively, they are popular on fences and trellises.
More information on growing these local natives in your own garden can be found at Toowoomba Plants

Feb 16, 2012

Birdwatching at Franke Scrub

This year we are inviting birdwatchers to join us on the last Wednesday of each month when we meet at Franke Scrub from approximately 9-11. You might like to get there earlier although it is still peaceful even when we are tackling weeds. Bring smoko and a chair and we can compare notes on plants and animals in our special patch of remnant vegetation.