Wildflower restoration at Honeycomb Bushland Reserve
In 2017 we sought and received funding from the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning to establish a wildflower demonstration area. We were able to create two, one of which is located on Mount Alexander Shire’s part of Honeycomb Bushland Reserve, right near the trail feeder track (the other is in Castlemaine Landcare’s area near Forest Creek).
The site is very vulnerable to trampling, so we request people to observe from outside the fence or take a virtual tour via this gallery. We’ll keep adding more photos to the album as more species come into flower. You can also read more about the plants that are present.
In 2019, with help from Loddon Prison’s Landmate team, we fenced a small area to exclude grazing animals. Since then, we‘ve attempted to re-introduce over 110 understorey and ground flora species by sowing or planting. The site is a challenge as it dries out quickly in spring. It was damaged by gold mining and not much topsoil remains. There’s even a couple of collapsed mine shafts!
We chose this site for the shade provided by existing trees. We’d learnt that in open sunny areas, wildflower seedlings get destroyed by red-legged earth-mite. This is an introduced invertebrate species that becomes abundant in spring. It then feeds on soft vegetation when most native germinants are tiny and very vulnerable.
Our choice has paid off as we now have many wildflowers emerging from seed. Nowhere is perfect though: our revegetation must cope with competition from the trees, several of which are very large.
While it’s too early to tell which of the planted species will go on to self-seed, this site demonstrates what can be achieved in a short time. Our success is due to maintaining very low weed cover. We dealt with the infestations of gorse, Phalaris and many other weed species prior to the revegetation. Luckily, the site is of low fertility, so keeping the weeds at bay doesn’t require too much work.