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Bangor Rainforest construction abandoned

Thursday, August 13, 2015  at 8:26 PM 0 comments
The attempt at creating a rainforest on the Bangor property has been cancelled due to new people moving into the property and the introduction of cows and sheep to the paddock in question. My hands are officially tied and I have had to cease all planting activity approximately 2 years ago. The new people who moved in had other ideas for the paddock. As a result the entire property, now minus at least 3-4 large trees and reduced amounts of underbrush, has become hotter and drier. With the invasion of more snakes, including migrating Tiger snakes that have set up home on the property, at the going rate of progress, the habitat of Bangor will continuously decline to one of a hot, dry habitat.

With that said and done, I am now focusing my attention on my own garden and trying to create a subtropical garden but on a much smaller scale. I have a blog just for that here.

Inspiration has hit me

Sunday, March 17, 2013  at 3:34 PM 0 comments
Whilst browsing the internet on more ideas for revegetating the Tenterfield Creek, and trying to find ways to prevent seedlings from being washed away in floods I came across this article:

It mentioned how they planted seedlings deeper than normal, almost burying the entire seedling into the ground. Apparently this technique, called "The long stemmed planting technique" has a really high success rate of seedlings not being washed away in times of floods. The next time I buy seedlings I will try it out.

If it doesn't work then I will be at a loss on how to revegetate the Tenterfield Creek successfully. But I have to keep my hopes up. Something has to work!!!

Water still flowing into creek

Friday, March 8, 2013  at 10:57 PM 0 comments
It has been a few days since the rain has stopped but when I was taking photos of the creek yesterday I noticed the creek was still flowing. The water level was up pretty high still and water is still flowing over the top of our other neighbour's driveway. The water is coming down from MT. McKenzie still. During even a major flood this does not happen as the water subsides quickly.

Here are a few pics from yesterday of the creek.

After view: Creek from the Douglas Street bridge looking south.
Australian Wood Ducks in the foreground.
When I enlarged the image above I noticed how high the sand had been backfilled on that corner. As you can see the sand is much higher in this area than any other point lower down near the water itself. Also the slope of the creek bank has been altered from a steep slope to a gradual decline then it flattens out near the water. There was a build up of sand in the immediate area on that corner beforehand but nothing like it is now. The forces of nature needed to create such a restructure of the creek and bank is beyond the power of us mere mortals.

Before view: photo taken 28 January 2013. Before all the sand and rock
debris was relocated along the Tenterfield Creek.
Where one of the seedlings was planted.
As this section of the creek has altered since the last flood occurred I cannot tell if these bamboo sticks were where the remaining gum tree seedling was planted or whether it was where the bush was planted. They were both planted within 5 feet of each other. I was surprised the bamboo sticks were still in the ground.

Water still flowing across the driveway.
Yesterday's pic of the water still flowing into the creek at the back of my neighbour Carol's property. When overflowing the water rushes over this driveway. I am surprised to still see water going over the driveway. The water on the other side of the driveway is where the water comes from MT. McKenzie which you can see in the distance behind the gum trees at centre and centre left of this photo.

Close up of the water flowing across driveway.
Currently it is still trying to rain. The sun came out today making me believe all the clouds were clearing up but apparently not as it is overcast again and sort of raining as I write this post. I very much doubt that the creek's water level is going to drop any time soon.

Seedling death toll is grim

  at 7:57 PM 0 comments
Yesterday I was able to do a death toll of all the seedlings I had planted in the creek or within 6 feet of it. Out of the 13 seedlings I planted within this zone only 2 have survived. The 2 survivors are Flooded Gums which have not escaped injury. They have been bent over and slightly uprooted from the strong current and rocks washed over them. Their future survival is not promising.

On a further note, the island which was forming in the middle of the creek that I had planted 2 gum trees and a bush has been destroyed by this last flood. I discovered a self-seeded gum tree seedling had also started growing on that island but it was also washed away.

The left view of what used to be the island.
Centre view of what used to be the island.
Right view of what used to be the island.

Surprise, surprise. Guess what's growing in what used to be the island? A Melaleuca! The Melaleuca is just off centre toward the top of this third photo above. It's branches are curving up and to the left, and are a yellowish green colour. The Melaleuca in this photo was in the direct path of the flood water's flow and current, unprotected by boulders yet it somehow survived when all else was washed away. This Melaleuca must has some super strong roots to not have been uprooted by the flood. It looks like it will survive despite it being fairly young still.

My 2 Flooded Gums again. Notice the plant right on the water's edge
in the background - this side of the water?

I'm not entirely sure what species of plant the dark green leafed plant is but I believe it might be some sort of Jasmine. This plant has survived flood after flood for years on end, including the worst flood Tenterfield had seen in 60 years. And it is still there minus some leaves, stems and flowers. It just looks like it has been moved with a lawn mower actually. This "Jasmine" is actually growing in the creek itself, in the creek's water. It is also growing on the west side of one of the bends in the creek.

There were a few other specimens of this plant, seedlings of this main plant I'm guessing, but they were washed away or buried underneath sand/rock debris from this last flood.

This "Jasmine" is a tough plant to kill via flooding. I've always wanted to get cuttings of this plant to see if I can establish more of them along the west and south sides of the creek banks. The Jasmine is even tougher to wash out than the reeds that grow in the creek.

Myself (red tshirt), my daughter and neighbour's dog. Photo by Daniel C. Hardy.
Reeds and grasses where the creek's water normally is. Photo taken in
first week of December 2012.
When a major flood comes along all but a few mature reeds are washed away by flood waters. The grasses usually are the only things left in the creek. Over the course of several years of flooding the reeds and grasses have all but disappeared from within the creek itself. They always seem to grow back though, as new seedlings emerge to replace the mature plants that get washed away.

Nature is always trying to revegetate the creek with what flora is currently available in the creek itself. However, with the last 3 floods it has endured there is very little flora left that could possibly survive. Seeds get washed away so too do the seedlings. It has become a fight against nature now, to help the vegetation (native) to survive and prosper. It is the young seedlings that need all the attention, not what I could possibly do to revegetate the creek. Growing Melaleucas in between boulders or in cracks between boulders is now sounding not as silly as when I first came up with that idea (about a week ago).

Fighting the forces of nature

Monday, March 4, 2013  at 3:57 PM 0 comments
In the passed 3 months the Tenterfield Creek has undergone a major change to it's layout by 2 minor and 1 semi major floods. In all the time I have been watching this section of the creek never have I seen so much change happening in such a short period of time. Ironically, the placement of sand and rocks has been only on the topside of the creek (north and west sides) - the same sides of the creek in which I have been planting trees and shrubs.

It may be a coincidence but it looks like mother nature is working with me to rebuild the creek and to transform it into something that prevents erosion on my neighbour Carols side of the creek. Its like nature is back building the creek bank for me. I can't explain this any other way but I'm sure a scientist could.

The downside to all of this is I have lost quite a few tree and shrub seedlings to the floods these passed few months. I have not done a seedling dead toll of this last flood but will do so when the water subsides. The previous flood saw the death of 10 seedlings.

The dumping of the sand occurred in just a few days during the peak of the flood, around Friday, the 1st March. There is no possible way any human could shift this amount of sand with their bare hands in just a few days and the intricate details of the placement of the sand is marvellous.

This last flood has created sand dunes in places where the Dam water comes into the creek, and another sandbank that has turned into a channel for the water coming from a westerly direction which curves into the stretch of water which also runs toward the Douglas Street bridge. This formation where the 2 sections merge suspiciously looks like the creation of a river or a river's mouth.

It is hard to describe in mere words what nature has done to the creek recently so I will add some photos as a visual aid. The aftermath of this last flood has to be seen to be believed. Photos can only do so much justice to the marvels of nature of this flood.

As far as I am aware, no animals were harmed in the making of this flood-induced reconstruction of the landscape.

The sand buildup on the left was not there before. The ground used to dramatically slope down half
way then flatten off to the water's edge. It was all covered in grass.

A huge amount of sand has been dumped on this bend of the creek. The water flows in a curve (from the right in this image) now as it merges into the flow of the water coming from the Dam (center top).

This particular section is interesting. Where the water meets the trees on the left, a dangerous swell now
has formed in that area. The creek used to bend here but it looks like it is forming a straight line.

This area used to be severely eroded by previous flood waters, but nature has backfilled this entire
section with sand and rocks, creating a minature beach.

Looking west you can see the path of rocks that had been swept into the area by the flood. Two of my Flooded Gum trees are barely visible near the top of the photo.

The two Flooded Gums hanging in there, after numerous floods. Bent over by the force of water, and probably by the rocks rolling them over as they were swept through the area.

A Melaleuca survivor. I didn't know this fellow was even there. It survived by growing behind a large boulder, protected from the severity of any flood's current.

Boulders that were disturbed by Council workers last year seem to be still in place. The ground around them may have been washed away though.

Topsoil, plants, and fencing has been removed by the power of this minor flood. The debris ended up where I am trying to plant trees along the creek.

Observing through photographs, the strongest native plants to survive these monor, and major, floods are Melaleucas. They seem to be conviently placed in pockets where their roots are not fully exposed to the strongest currents that a flood creates.

Keeping this is mind, I have decided to plant gum trees and Meleleucas in small pockets that will also be protected from the stronger currents. I believe that this might be the only way to get the seedlings to survive future floodings. With their guaranteed survival in the creek, I will be able to add future plants in similiar locations.

However, the main problem will be revegetating the main stretch of the creek where the 2 water flows merge and flow together. I think revegetating the top of the creek bank on the west side is a possible starting point, as that is where the sand is back building - along that sloped area. I'll have to use any existing plants as a barrier to the strong currents, though, which is very sparse in this area. In the main section of the creek there are a few willow tree stumps which I will also use as protection for more gum trees and Melaleucas. If I can get any of these 2 species to establish whilst being shielded from the strong current of the water, I will be extremely happy.

Revegetating the creek is more complicated that I first thought. It has to be a slow process, a process that will allow nature to create whatever it is creating with the creek, be it river or river mouth. Moving the future seedlings to locations directly in the path of the strongest of water currents is a top priority now. Nature has shown me where trees and bushes are surving during floods - I only need to manually do the same and in several years time flora will begin to florish as their roots will help bind the soil together to help future seedlings' roots bind amongst their roots.

It's simple logic really but complicated and disheartening by man's desires to revegate a creek without thinking of how or where plants survive in the extremes of floods.

My next task - to build a foundation network of plants whose roots will merge together in sheltered pockets of the creek.

Update on tree plantings

Monday, December 17, 2012  at 2:43 PM 0 comments
To date a total of 31 trees and shrubs have been planted along the Tenterfield's creek edge, including 3 in the creek itself, on a self made island formed by the last flood. However, a heatwave has struck Tenterfield, making it impossible to plant anything during the day. So, I spent my day yesterday creating a new garden bed for my neighbour, Carol, out the front of her house. The existing garden bed that was there had very poor soil, and the moisture-retaining ability of the soil had disappeared. The garden bed is partially finished due to the heat and trying to figure out what to keep in the way of existing plants and what to get rid of. The main plants I am getting rid of are the flowers/plants that create a dead underlayer, with new growth on top of the dead layer.

The redesigned garden bed with Bottlebrush planted.
So far I have planted a crimson bottlebrush in the newly designed garden bed and will be planting 2 prostrate grevilleas in it too. As leaf litter I am using Eucalyptus leaves plus the dirt underneath the gum leaves. The leaf litter is brought in from a nearby area at close proximity to a gum tree.

This garden bed is adjacent to the paddock in which the Bangor Rainforest will be grown in so it's important to extend the flora to Carol's front garden to help create additional food sources for the native birdlife, as well as creating extra shade. Not only will birds be attracted to the front garden bed once the plants are established but it will also help to create even more shade for the skinks that hang around Carol's front verandah. An entire family of skinks lives on, under and around Carol's house. Creating a habitat for the skinks is just as important as it is for the birds. What is more important is creating a leaf littered area where insects dwell which the skinks can eat in peace.

Foraging through Carol's garden I found some more plants which will be added to the rainforest. The plant's seeds were dropped there by birds (droppings) and self-seeded and fortunately for me most of them are tree seedlings that have germinated from 2 trees out the front of Carol's place. There are about 6 self-sown seedlings of these trees around various areas of carol's garden.

The 2 mature trees in Carol's front garden.
One of the seedlings of the same tree.

It's top has been chopped off but still growing.
An unusual plant like no other in Carol's garden self-germinated, probably also deposited there by a passing bird. It has dark green leaves and looks like nothing I have seen in Carol's garden as yet. When the temperature cools down a bit I will pot it up. I found it at the base of the far left mature tree (see above left photo).

I am very curious to see what this particular plant will grow into. At this young seedling stage it looks like it could grow into an actual tree of some sort. Perhaps a rainforest tree even?

The flower from one of Carol's vines.
Two of my favourite plants in Carol's garden are a bit of a challenge to get seedlings of, as they both reproduce by lateral suckers, and probably by seed. I have managed to cut off a lateral sucket from the lovely white flowering vine. It has a gorgeous 5 petalled windmill shaped flower. The honeyeaters and other smaller birds eat the nectar from the flowers. The other plant grows lateral suckers straight from the base of the trunk and is proving unsuccessful at getting a sucker from it. The vine, however, will eventually be planted somewhere near the creek or transplanted next to one of Carol's existing semi-mature trees at the edge of the rainforest area. I love finding free plants especially tree seedlings.

10 more trees/shrubs planted today

Wednesday, December 5, 2012  at 8:47 PM 0 comments
Having been sick for nearly 2 weeks after my lasting posting I finally was well enough to plant some more trees and bushes today. I decided to plant more trees down the other end of the creek close to where the Eastern Water Dragons are usually located. There was way too much talking going on and not enough planting happening but at least I got some work done today. I was really surprised by how much the tree roots had grown that were still in the containers and to see new growth on the plants I had already planted in the ground. I really have to pick up my speed at planting these 50 trees/shrubs up because the 40 I bought from the ERA Nursery have started growing roots outside their little containers and are a bit hard to get them out. With a bit of patience I'm getting them out, one by one. On Friday, 7th December, I'm expecting 40 more trees/shrubs from the ERA Nursey.

The hardest part to planting all these plants is the initial hard work of digging the holes and then hand watering them. I'm now using a pick to speed things up. I'm carrying a bucketful of water at a time from the creek, less than 50 metres away, but it is an all uphill climb which is slightly steep. I added handmade tree guards to the plants as well but finding the right sort of sticks was difficult. I really have to search hard for the right sort of stick. Can't have them snapping in half too easily otherwise it would be pointless using them as sticks to hold the tree guards around the tree in the first place.

The really good thing I've found doing all this tree planting is I sleep better at night, especially getting to sleep. I don't toss and turn for hours on end before I fall asleep now. I fall asleep pretty much straight away - within a few minutes actually, as my body is too exhausted to toss and turn. However, tree planting and carrying bucketfuls of water kills my back. It's a small sacrifice to pay for actually falling asleep pretty much straight away. Besides, my back feels much better after a good nights' sleep.

I'll post some photos of my progress in a few days as it was too dark to take photos by the time I finished tonight. I started around 4PM and finshed when the last rays of sunlight (from the sun) were visible just before it started getting dark. I wanted to plant just one more tree but I was too exhausted. I'm going to start tree planting much earlier than 4PM tomorrow, to see if I can get most of the remaining trees and shrubs planted. I really want to plant out the remaining 5 Flooded Gums and the other Eucalypts before Friday comes.

One thing I do know for certain is I will need a lot more than 100 trees and shrubs to plant along the creek bank. I will also need a huge concentration of plants just at the junction of where the two parts of the creek merge at the corner. The creek bends to the left but coming from the right and which merges into the creek is another runoff area that comes from the Tenterfield Dam. That area and down toward the Douglas Street bridge receives the higest water flow speed in the immediate area. That stretch of the Tenterfield Creek needs a lot more vegetation than other parts of the creek adjacent to Carol's property.

FOOTNOTE: Before I got sick about 3 weeks ago I planted 8 of the original 40 trees and shrubs. Why I didn't mention it here I do not know. A total of 18 out of 40 plants have now been planted along the creek.
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Tenterfield's Bangor Rainforest

This is a blog about the man-made construction of the privately owned Bangor Rainforest in Tenterfield, NSW Australia.

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