DAY 258: Swamp forest floor restoration

16 May

THE bush pirate is working on a property that’s in the middle of a clear fell — a brutally overlogged area that he’s trying to restore to its full foresty glory of 150 years ago.

He’s thinned the paperbark swamp forest of dead trees to create light and reduce fire hazard, and cleared out the undergrowth of blackberry bushes, nettles, logs and dead branches. Now he’s in the process of putting in braces of myrtle beech around the boggy patches, and an understory of four species of ground ferns and man ferns.



He piles up some of the detritus he’s cleared around the ferns, where fronds will keep the muck moist so that they grow moss which accelerates their delay, which in turn feeds the ferns. That’s clever.

Artful mulching.

Already, within the existing paperbark forest, he’s created two areas of rainforest, a blackwood forest and a eucalypt forest – all on this four-acre property.

Today we’re propagating ground ferns. When fronds of the ferns die, new buds and leaves grow at the end. These are pulled off and replanted in clusters. He grabs the last specimen from his pile of tagged man-ferns and shows me how it’s done. Muddy work, to be sure, but nowhere near as hard as transplanting man ferns, which can grow up to 22-feet tall and have to be manhandled by the bush pirate up and down steep slopes. I never knew gardening could be so sexy.

Getting the dead fronds with green tips.

Planting em. And so on it goes.

Keeper? Could actually do this without supervision, should I stumble across any ground ferns. 

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