Skip to content

Plucking weeds from the wildflowers

Published 30 Oct 2019 by Rosemary Harper and the weeding team

Charles Darwin Reserve has once again celebrated its annual spring weeding session. A group of enthusiastic weeders donned their armor and attacked the inevitable, but diminishing crops of Patterson’s Curse, Double Gees and Brassicas (to name the most prominent) with a vengeance. Years of work around the old watering sites from sheep station days is generally paying off but the front paddocks still have more than their fair share of weeds.

It's not all work and no play. New weeders on the scene were amazed at the variety and colours of the wildflowers and birds on the property and cameras had a good work-out along with their owners.

Being close to the ground while weeding we were able to spot some amazing invertebrates including a grub camouflaged by a bundle of tiny sticks on its back. There are also some amazing creatures living in the various rock holes on the property.

Situated on the edge of the north-eastern boundary of the South Western Australian Biodiversity hotspot, the only internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot in Australia, the scene changes throughout the property as does the variety of flowers over a period of at least several months.

At the moment there are great expanses of white, yellow, orange and pink everlastings dispersed with shrubs with flowers ranging through the colours of the rainbow.

Whilst we were there a group of 4WD car owners and citizen scientists were filling in some of the tracks with rocks and brushing. Several members were also undertaking bird-banding, so we were fortunate to see some beautiful birds, including a Splendid Wren of unbelievably spectacular plumage. Out in the woodlands some of us were also lucky enough to see, and be totally blown away by, the unbelievable colouring of the Mulga Parrots.

This year we were also fortunate to have the chance to check-out the operations of a group from TERN (Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network). This government-backed company travels Australia mapping various aspects of the country such as soil and vegetation cover. The results help assess vegetation change; detecting the impact of invasive species together with undertaking soil carbon analyses. They also measure particular nutrients in the soil and assess fuel load. Leaf samples are collected for assessing genetic variabilities.

Back in the accommodation building at night there were indirect competitions of whose meal was the most delicious, games of Scrabble and the highlight, night walks to check out the sky where the Milky Way stretched in a complete arc of zillions of stars and planets.

As most of us are getting on in years, some having done around 15 years of weeding, it would be great to have some more young people (that is under 70 or over if you are fit!) to join the group.

Participants will be changed by the experience. Also, it’s great exercise so that you can enjoy all the cakes and treats people bring without feeling guilty about it!

Some of this year's wildflowers. Some of this year's wildflowers.
Weeding amongst the wildflowers. Weeding amongst the wildflowers.
A great haul! A great haul!
Weeding the front paddock. Weeding the front paddock.
Tracy ensuring that everyone does a good job! Tracy ensuring that everyone does a good job!
It's not all hard work! It's not all hard work!

Related stories

Buckrabanyule landscape. Photo Stu Heppell.

BUSHTRACKS 14/01/2022

Beyond the cactus

Together with Dja Dja Wurrung Traditional Owners we are walking to Dhelkunya Dja (heal Country) at one of Victoria’s most heavily infested Wheel Cactus sites.

Read More

BLOG 15/09/2020

Weed management at Tarcutta

This year has been a volunteer year like no other. As we slowly begin to move back into our new normal, our volunteers are able to move back into the field in their home states. Volunteer Stephen Gye has written about his recent trip to our Tarcutta Hills Reserve to help with weed management.

Read More

BLOG 28/08/2020

Removing Paterson's Curse

With its vibrant purple flowers, Paterson’s Curse is often mistaken for a native wildflower but is in fact one of the most conspicuous weeds in paddocks and roadsides throughout Australia. Supposedly named after the Paterson family of Cumberoona, New South Wales - who planted it in their garden in the 1880s – the weed is now highly competitive in disturbed land, competing with agricultural crops and pastures, and unique and fragile native species. It was introduced to Australia from Europe.

Read More

BLOG 26/08/2020

Siaming solo in 2020?

Annual 'siaming' at Yourka Reserve took on a whole new look in 2020. This year, for the first time in 11 years, we faced the daunting prospect of siaming solo. With travel restrictions in place to prevent the spread of covid-19, it was impossible to recruit a team of volunteers to help with the annual survey and treatment.

Read More

BLOG 08/04/2020

Buffel grass surveys

In 2018 and again in 2020 Dave and Sue Akers travelled to Pullen Pullen Reserve - our Night Parrot sanctuary - as volunteers to undertake buffel grass surveys.

Read More

BLOG 30/03/2020

Winning the war on weeds

Long-term volunteer and renowned 'King of Cactus', Ian Haverly, describes how we're winning the war on Goonderoo Reserve's sword cactus infestation.

Read More

BLOG 30/10/2019

Plucking weeds from the wildflowers

Charles Darwin Reserve has once again celebrated its annual spring weeding session. A group of enthusiastic weeders donned their armor and attacked the inevitable, but diminishing crops of Patterson’s Curse, Double Gees and Brassicas.

Read More

BLOG 04/10/2019

Weeds working bee at Boolcoomatta

In the second week of September 2019 I took the long road across the Barrier Highway and out to South Australia for 12 days of African Boxthorn control on Boolcoomatta Station Reserve.

Read More

BLOG 06/02/2019

Weed control at Wunambal Gaambera

Uunguu Rangers have been doing weed control for many years and their hard work is paying off.

Read More

BLOG 19/10/2018

Woody weeds at Reedy Creek

The dry winter experienced by much of Queensland, including Reedy Creek Reserve, has had at least one positive outcome - perfect conditions to stomp into the swamp. In this often-difficult-to-access country there were some woody weed outbreaks that we needed to address. This past September their time was up.

Read More

BLOG 26/09/2018

The king of Sword Cactus

I'd like to introduce you to Ian Haverly, committed Bush Heritage volunteer and undisputed King of Cactus up here in the northern region.

Read More

BLOG 08/02/2018

Gorse & thistle on Tassie's east coast

Tasmania's east coast was hard to beat as a location for a working bee, so maybe our volunteers got more than a little inspiration from the stunning location. Our team of nine volunteers removed over 800 thistle plants and seedlings, hundreds of gorse plants, and helped with erosion control and South Esk Pine monitoring. Volunteer Helen Tait explains how our working bees are not just about hard work.

Read More

BLOG 30/10/2017

Killing cactus at Goonderoo

Volunteers play an important role in weed control projects across the country. On Goonderoo Reserve in Central Qld, the target species is Sword Cactus (Acanthocereus pentagonus) a tall, columnar cactus that reaches a height of 2-7m. Sword cactus is multi-stemmed and highly spiky. It has the ability to form dense thickets and will dominate a vegetation community to the exclusion of many other plant and animal species.

Read More

BLOG 15/10/2017

Volunteers vs weeds at Boolcoomatta

In September we had an amazing group of 11 volunteers make the long trek to our Boolcoomatta Station Reserve to help with vital weed management. The group were focused on our long-term management strategy to control the African Boxthorn and Pepper Trees in the beautiful Oonatra Creek system.

Read More

BLOG 09/07/2017

Long-term weed management

Bush Heritage volunteers have been running an amazing weed removal effort at Charles Darwin Reserve in Western Australia for around 10 years. The Charles Darwin weeds working bee is run twice a year by volunteer leader and weed expert Janet Dufall.

Read More

BLOG 24/05/2017

Paddy Melon picking at Hamelin

Volunteer Richard McLellan can now add 'Paddy melon picker' to his qualifications after spending a week at Hamelin Station Reserve in Western Australia for some annual leave and a bit of volunteering.

Read More

BLOG 18/05/2016

A weed herbarium for Hamelin

Valued volunteer Charlie Nicholson has provided important help in the West for over 10 years. Charlie's just completed his second stint at Hamelin Station Reserve helping us prepare a weeding manual for volunteers. We're extremely lucky to be able to tap into Charlie's knowledge of the region and his great knowledge of plants and weeds of the Rangelands.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 21/09/2015

Battling buffel to protect our desert jewel

Bon Bon Station Reserve in South Australia is a true outback marvel, an expansive landscape dotted with shimmering salt lakes, red dune sands supporting mulga trees, open ironstone plains studded with stately myall trees and stunningly beautiful expanses of pearl bluebush. Our challenge is to protect it from invasive Buffel Grass.

Read More
{{itemsInCart}} Items - {{formatCurrency(grandTotal)}}