Scottsdale groundskeepers

By Max Bourke AM 
on 11 Aug 2016 

It is way too early to call spring at frosty Scottsdale with snow still on the high peaks to the west but quite a lot has been achieved over winter.

The first of the seed increase plots in the driveway have been installed and will be planted up come September. We're using a technique developed on the Southern Tablelands Ecosystem Park site at the National Arboretum to intensively plant up selected under-storey species, carefully protect from ‘roo predation and add an attractive feature to the entrance driveway.

The general idea is that because there are now so many ‘drop-in’ visitors at Scottsdale, it's important to have a way of showing them what we (Bush Heritage) are trying to achieve over the whole site, even on a quick visit.

So gardens have been planted up around the wool shed with labelled species and luckily we have the wonderful Sue driving an active nursery producing seedlings. We'll now set in place selected ‘seed increase’ plots around the site so we can harvest bulk seeds for distribution over the rest of Scottsdale as well as beautification and education.

Along the way we've also got stuck into the old orchard on site. Volunteer Fence Removal Team Leader Justin Kell and his team of volunteers have pulled up the old fences and volunteers have helped by hand slashing along with some tractor slashing where accessible to start to bring what was a productive orchard near the old woolshed into shape.

Some hard pruning this winter, plus sucker removal, to be followed by a little re-introduction of sample trees should see the historic orchard part way ‘restored’ to its former glory. A major bonfire of prunings and sucker removal on a particularly cold grey snowy day in August got rid of a lot of the dead wood, and warmed a few frozen hands.

With the cattle yards and fencing gone this will be a delightful ‘welcome to Scottsdale’ that preserves some of its heritage past.

First Monday every month, except this October (when it will be Tuesday) a small band of willing workers gather for groundkeeping at Scottsdale. Very happy to have new starters with interested people contacting our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer@bushheritage.org.au.