No word from us for weeks but we are still here! The weather has been fine and sunny and we’ve been very busy with lots of different jobs.
Last week I thought about writing a blog entitled ‘perspectives’ as I pondered the many hours I have recently spent removing a vine called Scindapsus aurea (Devil’s Ivy) from the gully below our rental cottage that Allen is currently renovating.
When I was a student at Burnley Horticultural College in the mid ’70s I learnt to propagate this same vine which we grew carefully in the controlled environment of the greenhouse. I remember being astounded when I first visited Port Douglas (also during the mid ’70s) and observed it growing rampantly outside over the ground as well as climbing nearby trees. I was overawed by the wonders of growth in the tropical environment …… and I still feel the same way although a little daunted when the plant in question is not so desirable.
So, back to the one of the Burnley standards “a weed is a plant out of place” and I will continue on my mission to remove Scindapsus from this gully so that the native plants have a chance to flourish and the birds can scratch on the forest floor.
And, having got all that off my chest ………… this is a story about wild rice. I am aware that Oryza (wild rice) is one of many food plants favoured by Magpie Geese and we have been keen to try and establish some in our wetlands. Eventually, with a little help from nearby friends, we were able to source seed of the perennial Oryza australiensis a somewhat loose panicle of which is pictured below.
It is quite difficult to distinguish in the next photo where it is growing amongst Persicaria subsessile with the edible water fern Ceratopteris thalictroides in the background. We aim to encourage a diversity of species in order to provide food and shelter to a range of different creatures.
We have also successfully established an annual species, Oryza meridionalis, which forms a sturdy clump and produces wonderfully strong seed heads with extraordinarily long awns which have minute uni-directional barbs that catch on to anything.
Its hard to capture an accurate impression of the rice
in a photo but I like the seed heads blowing in the wind.