Landcare – a potted history…

Great colour through winter...winter roses.

I was recently contacted by a lovely lady with regard to a Landcare Photography competition that is held each year in the downs area. This year for the first time it is being extended to include Landcare groups in our area.

Knowing very little of the history of Landcare in Australia, I went looking to see when and where it all started. I found that it commenced in Victoria and was an initiative of the then minister for Conservation, Forests and Lands, Joan Kirner and the president of the Victorian Farmers Federation, Helen Mitchell. Landcare was launched in November 1986 in a small central Victorian town.

3 years later on the 20th July 1989, with support from both sides of parliament, the “Decade of Landcare Plan” was launched with considerable Federal funding. Also in this year, the not for profit organisation, Landcare Australia, was formed with the idea of bringing farmers and conservationists together to help solve environmental issues.

Over the last 30 years Landcare has become one of the largest volunteer organisations in Australia with some 6,000 groups and over 100,000 volunteers. It has become so successful it has been adopted by over 20 countries.

The 5th Annual Photographic Competition, organised by the Gomaren and Doctors Creek Catchment Landcare Group, entitled “Focus on Farms” is being held this year. For the first time, the Nicki Laws Perpetual Trophy for the best Visual Presentation Promoting a Landcare Activity in this Region, has been expanded to include all members of Landcare and other environmental groups on the Darling Downs and in the Condamine catchment area. This includes all residents of the Southern Downs Regional Council and Western Downs Regional Council. People in the Texas, Goondiwindi and Inglewood areas are also invited to enter this category.

The theme this year is “Making a Difference”.

With the cancellation of so many of our local shows this year due to the Covid crisis and consequently the photographers in our midst having missed the opportunity to display their photos, this seems to offer the ideal opportunity to rectify that situation. This competition will go ahead regardless of circumstances with entries closing on August 20th.

Having seen some of the entries from previous years I think it is a very worthwhile competition to enter for all the lovers of nature in our area. For further information and entry forms look on the internet on: http//gdccig.wixsite.com/group.

When I lived for a time in the Walcha NSW area I had some Hellebores in a shaded area of my garden. Hellebores, or Winter Roses as they are commonly known, are a group of plants that provide great colour through winter growing in a moist shaded area. It was quite some time ago that I had them growing and the colour range back then was fairly limited. Mine were cream, a purple one and a most unusual shade of green. They are a low growing, clump forming perennial that can be left undisturbed for many years and don’t need a lot of attention. The colour range these days is amazing and there are now also many double and bi colour varieties. They flower all winter with the cup shaped flowers lasting for months.

Recently I saw the remains of some under a tree in my son’s backyard yard. In times past there was quite a garden under a large tree there. As they a problem with it being a harbour for brown snakes and because it was right beside my grandsons sandpit and play area, it was removed and turned to lawn. However, a few things survived in a very small area right against the tree trunk. Hellebores were one even though they had been trimmed by the ride on mower! As my son is not a flower gardener, I suggested he should dig it up and give it to his mother who had a spot for it! I had been dreaming of buying some recently when I was catalogue browsing in my spare time so this may be the spark I need to see what the local nurseries have in stock or get and order in.

My young grandsons wicking garden that he and his dad constructed from a pelacon is still producing and we picked some tomatoes and chillies from it last weekend. I have been promised a similar bed for my back yard before spring so that with limited water I’ll be able to grow some vegetables.

Keep enjoying the benefits of gardening, whether through the beauty of flowers or the nutrition of fresh home grown vegetables!

 

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