Sunday, 1 April 2012

Natives and newcomers

I met the corellas when I went off to Victoria Park on Friday evening, to take part in a City of Ballarat community consultation about its future.

The park is a huge and beautiful grassy space in the city, and as a former gold mining site has been torn up, planted  with pines, oaks and other exotics but still retains remant native grasses and trees.
It  has a thriving population of native birds including magpies, crows, kookaburras and the seasonal visitors - corellas, cockatoos and galahs among others.

I'd love to see more planting of the native vegetation supporting local birds and insects and beasties in Victoria Park. It's a big park, there's lots of room for us all.

Down in North Melbourne a day or two earlier, I'd found this old, grey, cocoon among the fallen leaves and berries of some peppercorn trees.

Hope you can see where the moth has broken its way out at the top. It got a bit squashed when it fell to the footpath.
It feels like silk mixed with papier mache.

It's the outgrown cocoon of an Emperor Gum Moth.
This huge and beautiful moth has amazing blue-green, pink tufted caterpillars. When I was a child my friends and I would keep the caterpillars in shoe-boxes, rear the moths and release them. The caterpillars ate enormously, and as well as eucalypt leaves, they happily munched on peppercorn tree leaves. Peppercorn trees were imported from South Africa and grown in every 19th century school yard, railway station yard and country town in Victoria.

And here is the old peppercorn tree in the Carlton cemetery, that grows near Yin's great grandma 's grave.

I walked around Victoria Park that evening  with my head full of peppercorns and Emperor Gum moths, thinking how we might all, natives and newcomers,  look after each other.


Suzanna said...

I really enjoy seeing the cemeteries...those nice old stones. Also, that beautiful moth. Hope you manage to persuade the park folks to favor the native growing things. Oftentimes here there is grumbling about the eucalyptus trees which aren't native, and have replaced the oaks etc...things have become a little backwards! Oh, and that is such an interesting picture inside the temple...I followed the link...has he slain the dragon? I'm not familiar with the deities, but his expression seems quite unique.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Suzanna, yes I've heard that our gum trees havebeen planted overseas - and that in the US and India they are in the space that belongs to the native trees of those countries.
So much mucking around with things!
Ballarat dug out most of its natural bush to mine and farm and now to build suburbs of houses. I often feel people care more for the imported trees (which are indeed beautiful) than for the local plants and creatures which are at home nowhere else in the world.