Unique bush­land to be pre­served

Midwest Times - - FRONT PAGE - Stan Ma­ley

Won­thella Bush­land is now of­fi­cially in the hands of the friends of Ger­ald­ton Gar­dens, com­monly known as Froggs.

This small piece of nat­u­ral bush­land just op­po­site Flores Road and next to the clay-pi­geon shoot­ing club is an area of just over 3ha that has mostly been pre­served in its orig­i­nal state.

Froggs has signed an ev­er­last­ing agree­ment with the City to care for this valu­able slice of bush­land.

It is mostly pop­u­lated by wat­tle, Aca­cia ros­tel­lif­era, which is com­monly known as sum­mer-scented wat­tle or skunk tree. This is a coastal tree or small tree in the fam­ily Fabaceae.

En­demic to WA, it oc­curs along the west coast as far north as Kal­barri in the sa­van­nah ecore­gion, and along the south coast as far east as Is­raelite Bay.

This wat­tle gen­er­ally re­pro­duces by suck­ers from un­der­ground stems. Be­cause of this suck­er­ing, the species of­ten forms thick­ets that ex­clude all other species and it has done that here.

I met Irene Ghan­nage at the re­serve, she is chair­woman of Froggs and we went there to work with two pris­on­ers and a guard who had vol­un­teered to come along and clear out the path­ways and set up some form work for small shade and seat­ing the City of Greater Ger­ald­ton had given to the park.

Wendy Payne from the City met us there and the men were do­ing a good job of clean­ing up.

Irene told me that even though wat­tle is dom­i­nant in most of the park, it does die and cre­ate un­der­storey which in turn helps fauna to es­tab­lish them­selves.

The fauna can trans­port seeds of other bush­land va­ri­eties, so eco­log­i­cally, the bush­land, if left alone will re­gen­er­ate it­self in a va­ri­ety of species.

That is what makes this park im­por­tant to Ger­ald­ton as it is and will be­come more so, close to de­vel­op­ment.

There are some banksias on the eastern end of the land and orchids in sea­son.

Once the paths and fire­breaks are cleared, it will be a great place to visit on a hot sum­mer’s day as the new per­gola will pro­vide shade.

Some of the ex­ist­ing seat­ing is shaded by the wat­tle. Come along to have a rare bush­land ex­pe­ri­ence in the city.

En­trance on foot is by a gate up near the clay pi­geon shoot­ers club house.

Our ar­bore­tum in Strathal­byn, Won­thella Bush­land and the Chap­man River are some of the amaz­ing na­tive bush­land ex­pe­ri­ences close to where we live. The Friends of Ger­ald­ton Gar­dens hope to en­gage a land­scape ar­chi­tect to de­sign stage one of a botan­i­cal gar­den of Mid West flora in Mait­land Park. To share your Ger­ald­ton gar­den with

Ger­ald­ton Guardian read­ers, call Stan Ma­ley on 0428 230 029.

Irene Ghan­nage and Stan Ma­ley in Won­thella bush­land.

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