Revel in the rain, but keep the drought in mind when planting

Green takeover: (From right) Matt Sing and John McCormack help Greg Graham select some native plants for a new hedge, now that the rains have come. Photo: Donna Ward.
Green takeover: (From right) Matt Sing and John McCormack help Greg Graham select some native plants for a new hedge, now that the rains have come. Photo: Donna Ward.

The rains are turning the thoughts of keen gardeners towards renovating their drought-ravaged gardens, and why not include some natives given their water-hardy reputation?

Matt Sing of the Moonbahlene Local Aboriginal Land Council-backed up in Railway Street has seen an increase in business, but has plenty of stock on hand to meet demand. The nursery continues to expand with more shade structures and shelving going up and new stock being added to the inventory, as long as it's suited to the district.

The Land Council is also seeking grant opportunities to source new varieties.

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As the shire reaches from Drake and its rainforest-type climate across to the Mole which is desert-like in places (especially recently), the nursery endeavours to have plants to match.

The wattles continue to prove popular, along with strawberry gums, the lemon-scented gum and lemon myrtle.

Mr Sing said all plants in stock have at least some part of them that's edible, and there's plenty of advice on hand in that regard. Native turnips, native bush tomatoes and kangaroo apples can be grown for the table.

Mick Badham continues to be a reliable source of advice and of seed stock. While the drought may have knocked around the trees and bushes from which he collects seed, he already had plenty of supply available and predicts a couple of good seasons are on the way.

While Mr Badham has a roster of properties from which he can collect plant material, he said it never hurts to add new locations.

"For the genetics, it's best to collect off as many parent plants as you can," he said.

Mick Badham and Moonbahlene Aboriginal Land Council's Helen Duroux and Matt Sing at the new indigenous nursery.

Mick Badham and Moonbahlene Aboriginal Land Council's Helen Duroux and Matt Sing at the new indigenous nursery.

Available are several options also known for their pain relieving qualities, such as the hook leaf gumby (also known as the weeping pittosporum) and the eurah, both of which are available at the nursery.

If specific species aren't in stock, Mr Sing said he is happy to chase requests. At the moment he's sourcing the native sandalwood (also known as the quondong) for a western client.

The nursery is open each Wednesday from 9am to 3pm, and the first Saturday of each month from 8.30am to 12noon. While it's been operating for a while Gunnima will celebrate its official opening on March 7.

Plants are also being marketed through Local Aboriginal Land Councils south to Tamworth. Mr Sing said the business is in the process of creating a brand that will allow product to the sold through Bunnings and other retailers.

Gunnima is also participating in the Plant for the Planet program with a target of a million new trees for the shire. Each purchaser receives a flyer encouraging them to take a photo of their newly-planted tree(s) and register it through the program's app.

With that many trees going out the door, staff will be kept even busier than they already are.

With a target of a million new trees for the district, the nursery will be busy.

With a target of a million new trees for the district, the nursery will be busy.

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