Community spirit builds the Portland community display garden

Community spirit builds the Portland community display garden

From Rose Thompson –

Last Sunday 25 volunteers, thankful for the blue sunny skies, planted more than 1000 grasses, rushes, wildflowers, shrubs and trees at the Native Plant Display Garden in Henty Street, Portland. The indigenous plant garden, which features a wetland area and edible ‘bush tucker’ garden bed, is part of the Portland Community Garden site, managed by the Portland Community Garden Landcare Group.

The planting progress at Portland – thanks for the photos Margaret Milich!

Nature Glenelg Trust’s Community Nursery manager Yvonne Riley selected plants for the site based on their natural range (are they indigenous to the area?), their protection status (are they rare?), and other values (are they culturally significant?).More than forty species were chosen for the site, ten of which are rare in Victoria. Three of these rare species are also listed as Vulnerable in Australia – Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica), and Wrinkled Cassinia (Cassinia rugata) – and are protected under the national Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Other plants were selected for their value to indigenous people such as the Rush Sedge (Carex tereticaulis) which was traditionally used to make eel traps. Portland is famous for its Correas and several varieties were planted in the garden, both for their aesthetic value and as a food source for birds and insects.

Indigenous plant display gardens such as this one can play an important role in environmental education and the preservation of threatened species. Interpretive signage and plant labels will be added to the site in the coming weeks, which will help visitors identify the plants. It is envisaged that following the construction of a multi-purpose meeting room/shed at the site, the Community Garden will become a community hub, attracting a diverse range of visitors and spreading knowledge of indigenous plants far and wide. Some of the plants in the garden may be used as seed sources for future revegetation work.

Planting in the clay soil was not an easy job, but the volunteers remained enthusiastic and worked incredibly hard all day. Spirits were also buoyed by refreshments and a barbeque lunch provided by the Landcare Group. We would like to say a huge thank you to all the hardworking volunteers for their time and effort. We hope you enjoy seeing the garden grow and change over the coming years – as a public garden we encourage you to come and visit to learn about some of the beautiful plants that grow in your backyard!  The Garden is on Henty Street in Portland, west of the footy oval (down the hill) – just behind the new community garden.

The Portland Observer came out to cover the event and took some great photos – click on the photos below to read the article.  For more photos see our other blog this week showing the before and after photos!

Cath Dickson