Author Archives: John

July Bushcare – Back to the Trad

The second month back after the COVID-19 break started with a session of Trad work near the Eucalypt Rd entrance.

Meticulous Trad work in the gully

A whipbird, eastern spinebill, and butcher bird passed by to give us encouragement, but there was no sound from the usual bell miners.

After morning tea the group went for a tour of the outer perimeter to check on the deanei plantings and the drainage issues by the highway.

Most of the deanei seemed to be growing strong, although cobblers peg (Bidens pilosa)  was growing in abundance. It was also good to see that work had started on resolving the drainage problems up by the highway, which will be of great benefit for the local ecosystem.

June Bushcare – We’re Back!

The long COVID-19 enforced break ended on 27 June when the team regrouped under new rules designed to keep the virus at bay.

Physical distancing, no sharing of morning tea, and cleaning of equipment were new habits to learn in this strange new world… but the shared love of the environment remained.

The lengthy layoff meant that a tour of the reserve was required to see what had changed and where the issues were.

Starting off at Lawson Rd, the happy gang went down through the Fitzgeralds Creek gully and wound back up to the “stockpile” site, with evidence of bandicoot presence.

February Bushcare – Potting them up

The Deanei Reserve team transplanted themselves to Else-Mitchell Park for a hands-on session of potting.

Thanks to Mike, there was a great variety and quantity of young native plants that were replanted in pots and good soil. The park shelter kept us dry from the rain.

The plants included Eucalyptus deanei, Bleeding Heart (Omolanthus populifolius), Acacia parramatensis, and Doodia aspera (prickly rasp fern).

Thanks to Monica and Richard for taking the potted plants into safe keeping, and to all the team for a wonderfully productive morning.

December Bushcare – Danger in the Deanei?

Bushcare cancelled, and “danger tape” at the Lawson Rd entrance – the big dry was having a scary impact on the Deanei Reserve.

With recent plantings obviously suffering, Mike and co were able to do some emergency watering, and hope that conditions improved soon…

Closed due to bushfire risk

December Bushcare – A Seedy Sunday

It was an awesome foursome that rocked up to Deanei Forest on a Sunday morning for some watering, but found excitement in seed collecting.

Seriously seeking seeds

Liz, Mike, Richard and John did some emergency watering at the “stockpile site”, focusing on the many new plantings.

But then the fun started when authorised seed collector Liz found numerous seeds easily accessible thanks to wind and birds.

November Bushcare – Ending the year on a high

The last session for 2019 covered a wide area with many activities and a good turnout of volunteers.

Starting at Lawson Rd, the group checked on the recent plantings and delivered much-needed water. Monica’s fab new 100-litre water tank looked good but wasn’t quite ready for the big time yet.

Getting down to work…weeding and watering

The Xmas morning tea was a tasty combination of fudge, hommus, Tim Tams, and fruit, including Frank’s marvellous mulberries.

Feasting off the forest floor

Then it was over to the stockpile site for some serious re-staking and re-guarding of the young deanei and turpentines, and admiring some of the very healthy young trees.

And amongst all this action the team helped a school student with his project about volunteering. He came to the right place!

A camera shy bushcarer shows off Wendy’s beautiful calendar of her Blue Mountains photos
And it’s good bye to 2019….bring on 2020!

October Bushcare – More Changing of the Guards

The stockpile site was again the focus of the group’s efforts, with a wary eye kept on the gusty winds blowing through the trees.

The tree plantings were checked, watered, and new guards added where necessary. A general clean-up also occurred.

Wire and water for the young deanei
Weed wagon

One interesting observation was a gall on a eucalypt leaf, made by some kind of parasite, probably an insect, identified by Liz from Else-Mitchell Park Bushcare Group. More info can be found at

Plant gall

September Bushcare – On Guard

Two sites were the focus of the session: the new planting area by Lawson Rd and the more established tree plantings by the Highway.

At Lawson Rd the tasks included watering, fixing old guards and installing new ones. While some plants were suffering from lack of water and the attentions of the hungry swamp wallaby, most appeared to be bouncing back and showing more life. The recent good soaky rains obviously helped.

By the Highway, the young trees were looking green and healthy. However, the wallaby was still trying its hardest to limit their growth, so Monica brought along some fancy new wire guards which should prove robust enough to deter macropod mouths.

Helping the deanei grow…sorry, wallabies

A true team effort combined to fashion the wire guards, hammer in the new stakes, and weed and water the trees.

And to top it all off, a “toolbox talk” informed us about glyphosate and its usage.

Admiring the good health of the “25th anniversary” E. deanei

August Bushcare – Dealing with the Dry

It was all hands to the pumps (and watering cans) for an emergency watering session focused on the new plantings from the previous month’s Schools Tree Planting Day.

The spell of dry and windy weather had affected some of the plants, and the hungry swamp wallaby didn’t help either. Hopefully, the weather forecast of showers ahead comes true.

A Bleeding Heart – wind-proof, wallaby-proof, and wet

Mike had earlier watered the deanei plantings on the other side of the reserve and reported that they were doing well.

I spy… way up high

The watering was followed by a search for Trad but the group was pleasantly surprised at the impact of the recent spraying by the contractor, with hardly any found.

Anybody home?

Other observations of note included a nice burrow belonging to some resident, and various interesting marks on trees caused by birds. A nasty Cat’s Claw was also spotted.

Not wanted here…. Cat’s Claw Creeper (Dolichandra unguis-cati syn.Macfadyena unguis-cati)

July Bushcare – Nature ninjas bring new life to Deanei Reserve on Schools Tree Day

The Deanei Reserve was buzzing with youthful enthusiasm as students from Winmalee Public School got busy on Schools Tree Day.

The “nature ninjas” enjoyed an action-packed morning learning about the reserve and planting 100 ferns, grasses, shrubs and trees. 

Preparing 100 plants for a busload of nature ninjas

The event was the initiative of the students from the Blue Mountains City Council Youth Council, who also attended.

The successful morning was a combined effort by council officers, teachers, bush regeneration staff, and bushcare volunteers. 

Educating under the eucalypts
Nathan from the council discusses the original indigenous people of Springwood

The event was summed up by one happy student: “That was the best fun I’ve had in years!”

Thanks to Jenny, Monica, Melanie, Nathan, Matt and his crew, the teaching staff, and Mike, Rob, RIchard, Madeline and John.

Working together
And last of all, planting the E. deanei

Species planted on Schools Planting Day (tubestock from Wildplant Rescue):
Pittosporum revolutum, Maidenhair Fern, Blechnum nudum, Doodia aspera, Gahnia clarkei, Lomandra longifolia, Dianella sp., Hydrocotyle pedunculata, Viola hederacea, Veronica plebaie, Goodenia billedifolia, Oplismenus, Hardenbergia violacea, Pandorea pandorana.

Plants donated by Mike Purtell, bushcare volunteer:
Eucalyptus deanei, Homalanthus populifolius (Bleeding Heart)

A Bleeding Heart in the sun