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Working on the weeds

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

Whenever I walk through Barrm Birrm, I enjoy what's there, but I always think about what needs doing next. It's a tricky balance, not letting that long list get in the way of the pleasures of being there in the natural world.

It came as a shock to me a few years ago when I realised that the biggest weed problem in Barrm Birrm is not blackberry or gorse, but exotic native acacias.

Exotic means that they haven't grown up in Barrm Birrm. They are trees from other places in Australia. They have escaped from the gardens of Riddells Creek, where they are much loved because they are , to a species, beautiful flowering plants. Just what you want to look at through your living room window.

But boy, do they change things in Barrm Birrm. They crowd out the locals. More specifically, they shade out the lovely grassy, flowery, herby ground cover that is the grassland system of Barrm Birrm.

For that simple reason, they have to go.

The fourth Saturday of each month, Riddells Creek Landcare runs its 'Wildflowers and Weeds' walk, and for the last three walks it's been killing season for exotic acacias near the Cemetery.

We have pretty well cleared the lots that run along Royal Parade, and now it's the Shire's job to clean up the lot it owns right beside the Cemetery. That's a very weedy lot, so we wish them well.

Our work there is done, and we will watch as the grasses recover, which will take years.

While we were there, we trimmed the cassinia that had grown into the track that begins at the Cemetery. It's a pretty walk, and we thought to name it The Cassinia Trail. As you can make your way along that sunny slope, pause and see how the bush breaths easier now that it is less crowded with exotic acacias. They have their place, just not here.

You can follow the Cassinia Trail a long way, running roughly parallel to Gap Road right to the northern end of Barrm Birrm. You're walking through what's called Grassy Forest, but that's another story....

After we'd done our duty with weedy acacias, we went walking up to Prince Alfred Road, enjoying the sunshine, and chatting. Not idle chatter of course: there's as much happens in those conversations as in the work on acacias.

L to R: Lindsay Mero, Matt Mero, Julie Macdonald, Sean McConnell

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