23rd March - Introduction

Wirrapunga is approximately 1 hectare (2.5 acres) of remnant grassy woodland situated in the Aldgate Valley, Adelaide Hills, South Australia. It slopes gently to the north. South of the house it is skeletal clay loam over sandstone rock. The rock shelf surfaces just north of the house. North of this is deep sandy soil. This gives a number of habitats and potentially, a rich plant diversity.

Up until 1970, it was part of a cattle grazing paddock. Except for about 0.2 hectares on the northern end, which was once a cultivated garden, the block was not cleared or improved. In 1980 a house was built causing a great deal of damage to the remnant grassy woodland. In 1996 the block was purchased by the present owners who now live in the house and care for the land.

Since grassy woodland is one of our most endangered habitats, the decision was made to attempt to restore the site. Since the restoration has been so successful it was decided to commence a log of the work and hence this blog.

Over the next few years we plan to document the story of this amazing hectare we have called Wirrapunga. Wirra is aboriginal for bush and Apunga is the Goddess of small plants.

There are a number of reasons for this attempt to document the work:

Firstly to show what can be achieved by restoring remnant bushland to its former glory. We will do this by publishing photographs and paintings of the plants as they flower on Wirrapunga. Hopefully this will encourage others to understand that it is possible to “garden” in a way that works with evolution rather than opposing it. It is indeed a rewarding pastime bringing a piece of bushland back to what it was meant to be.

Secondly to attempt to give guidance to others who decide to develop their own “wirra”. We will do this by a series of articles on matters that we feel deserve some discussion. I, myself, would have appreciated more informed assistance as I developed Wirrapunga.

We are setting this project up in the form of a diary where each day will introduce a plant growing at Wirrapunga or an article about what we have learned. Time allows me to make an entry or two each week. That way I will finish my story after a few years.

This entry is on the first spare day I have had following the March equinox. Now! The March equinox is probably the most important time in the southern Australian bush. However I will discuss this in another article called “Seasons”.

If you wish to read through this log in a systematic manner, then starting at this introduction just move through by moving on to the next article.

And! I cannot finish an introduction to Wirrapunga without a tribute to Wal Bushman, Author of "WIRRA - THE BUSH THAT WAS ADELAIDE". I will reprint the first chapter of this under the article titled "The Adelaide of 1836" later.

Please feel free to join in the forum if you have something to add. It would be good to build up the knowledge on bush-care.