Star Bush plants can be difficult to see, especially out of flowering season, so the Project team are placing blue stakes next to each plant, to help protect them. These stakes are there as markers for the team to easily locate plants for survey purposes and for residents to be able to know where they are to work around when gardening. Please do not remove any of these stakes.
In April, two of our project team, Non Blair and Lee Fuller proudly joined principle Mark Carver and some of the Grade 6 children for a newspaper photo shoot. The Ranges Trader Mail published the photo and article on the front page showing the Grade 6’ers wearing their jumpers which feature the Star Bush. They had a chance to choose whatever they wanted for their jumpers and chose the Emerald Star Bush. It’s great to see the kids getting on board with local environment issues.
We are thrilled to announce that Emerald Primary School are proudly displaying the Emerald Star Bush on the Grade 6 jumpers for 2014. It looks fantastic and helps to strengthen community awareness of our special little flower. A big thanks to Lee Fuller who helped coordinate this with the school and for all involved in making it happen.
A local resident lives on property where the Star Bush was first identified in Lakeside Drive in the 1920’s. He is currently researching its history and we hope to have a contribution from him soon.
The Emerald Star Bush grows well from cuttings, but so far, no one has cracked the secret of making the seeds germinate. Seed is currently being collected from a number of locations, with which an number of germination tests will be conducted. What we know is that the Star Bush is often found on steep slopes, and it is speculated that the flow of groundwater may be instrumental in getting the seeds to sprout. Fire or the lack of it may also be a factor, as may the Ph of the soil.
Recently, two of our field workers visited the HeHo nursery in Yellingbo to consult with them about Star Bush propagation. HeHo are currently our main source of seedlings and have been extremely helpful, instructing us on the best methods for taking and propagating cuttings, which media to grow them in and the best timing for striking and transplanting. Our heartfelt thanks to Michelle and the HeHo team.
Some Star Bushes were regrettably destroyed as a consequence of the recent installation of crash barriers on the Belgrave-Gembrook road. Sometimes this cannot be avoided if works are being undertaken to make our roads safer, but following contact from one of our volunteer field workers, VicRoads have expressed a willingness to liaise more closely with the Star Bush Partnership and Cardinia Shire Council about future works to minimise impact on roadside plants.
Currently, the roadside populations that were marked with pink tag tape in the Spring are being staked to protect them from mowing. The stakes are blue and between 30-45cm high. If you see one, there will be a Star Bush growing next to it so take care when weeding or mowing your verge!
At the same time as the Star Bushes were surveyed, environmental weeds were also surveyed and documented, and Council contractors will proceed to remove weeds in Star Bush habitat in the coming weeks and months.
During September, October and November, our field-work volunteers conducted surveys of Star Bush populations throughout Emerald and surrounding areas. Sadly, some roadside populations that were documented in 2008 have been lost. On a more positive note, due to residents making contact with us at Emerald market, we were able to identify and document significant colonies on private land which were previously unknown. Due to the generosity of these residents, we now have access to cutting material, which will help us preserve and restore populations on public land.
Following the Star Bush surveys discussed above, Cardinia Shire Council has been contacting residents, offering advice and distributing showbags containing information and Star Bush goodies produced by the Emerald Star Bush Partnership such as stickers, bookmarks and coasters.
If you think you might have Star Bushes on your land and would like to have them properly identified, please email us on email@example.com. Please note that heavy fines apply for destroying Star Bushes, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater nursery are currently growing stock for local residents to plant in their gardens. All going well, plants will be available in Autumn and will cost $5 each. All proceeds will go to preservation of the Star Bush. We will announce here when the plants are ready for those of you who wish to purchase one and they may also be available at the Emerald Market.