Education and Research

Education

Information brochures, lists and fact sheets are available free to all visitors.

Lists include: birds, invertebrates, mammals, retained plant species, amphibians and reptiles.

If you are interested in botanical artwork see here.

Local school children studying floral structure

Local school children studying floral structure

 

Seed collection - Photographer Allan Carr

Seed collection for study – Photographer Allan Carr

Research

The Garden conducts a number of research projects annually.

Recently the projects have  included: eradication of mother of millions (Bryophyllum delagoense and its hybrids), reducing the number of cactus species on site, a search for new varieties of indigenous plants,  an invertebrate survey (spiders),  propagation of the threatened Acacia wardellii, and a longitudinal study of birds observed on site.

A small team of specialists visited the Garden early this year but sudden flooding forced them to retreat before completing their survey of moths, butterflies and mistletoe species.  They will be back later in the year.

Another project commenced in June this year (2022) is all about soil microbes.  Our soils lack humus and appear to be compacted in places.  Plants sometimes “fail to thrive” and there are several large patches of bare soil which bake hard in the sun so that any water applied to that soil (rain or irrigation) just lies on the surface and evaporates.  A new member purchased several soil microbe mixtures and has trialled several different methods of application.  

Now that the Glass House or “Misting Shed” is completely restored, focus needs to be directed towards the history of the Garden and the purpose for which this building was built.

Dave Gordon loved the wild, unkempt bush of the Australian outback and he wanted to inspire others to love and protect it.

Len Miller and Alf Gray were nursery men who worked with Dave at Myall Park for many years.  Len and his wife, Ivy, went on the first of many collecting trips to WA.  They collected samples of plants and carefully labelled them, showing seed, flower, fruit, bark and leaf where possible and noted the location, collector’s name and genus and species of each plant.  Many of the plants growing at Myall Park now grew from these cuttings carefully carried all the way from the place of origin.

The samples that were collected on these trips formed the beginnings of the herbarium collection at Myall Park.  The collection grew and grew and eventually numbered almost 3000 samples.   As time passed and the Garden was gifted to a Trust to continue Dave’s work, the herbarium samples gathered dust and insects and geckoes began investigating the folders.

Lyn and Peter Rielly, who were an active part of the committee at the Garden, made a decision to record all of the information on these samples and pack them into plastic boxes to preserve them from insect and rodent attack.

After many many hours of work the task was completed and the list of herbarium samples are now included on this website https://myallparkbotanicgarden.files.wordpress.com/2022/07/mpbg-herbarium-data-160403-2.xlsx, with the photos of each sample soon to be added.  What a monumental task!  The photo below shows the stack of boxes and the two dedicated Members of the Garden.

 

Much later, these two packed up the caravan and set off on a trip around Australia. On returning they described a part of their trip for our newsletter:

In the footsteps of Dave’s collectors

During our recent trip around Australia Peter and I retraced some of the paths taken in Western Australia by Dave Gordon and his collectors Len Miller and Alf Gray in the 1950s. We had recently photographed and catalogued some of the boxes of the Garden’s herbarium specimens and locations such as Three Springs, Jurien Bay, Mullewa and Geraldton came readily to our minds. I made up a list of possible destinations from our records.

First we travelled down the Three Springs to Perenjorie Road, looking for living specimens. Success came with Grevillea amplexans flowering happily by the roadside just as described in the herbarium record. It was good to see that, sixty years on (herbarium specimen taken October 1954) the species survives in its original habitat. As usual, there were lots of other species in flower where we stopped, so we spent an enjoyable time photographing them. Flowers seem to be like birds – where you find one, there are often others.

A few other herbarium specimens that came to life in our wanderings were:

Golden blooms of Lambertia inermis in the Stirling Range (Len Miller in October 1954) while Alf Gray found them near Ongerup in January 1956 – and so did we, in both locations.

Alf Gray found Verticordia plumosa at Badgingarra. We found its pink plumed beauty there and in the Fitzgerald River National Park. Verticordia habrantha with its pale fringed-petticoat sepals underlying its smooth petals was there too.

Mirbelia dilatata’s pink pea flowers and spiny leaves appeared to order for us in the Stirling Range area (Alf Gray) as did his Verticordia grandiflora (yellow fringed petals and sepals turning red after fertilisation).

We loved the wonderful red blooms of Lechenaultia hirsuta that Alf noted in the Dinner Hill area near Badgingarra.

Time and again as we drove, we recognised localities from the herbarium records and were guided to spectacular flowers.

We had limited ourselves to one crate of flower ID books in our little caravan, but can recommend two more books we bought along the way – Hakeas of WA by J A Young and Plants of Inland Australia by Philip Moore. Just as well we enjoy the identification process as well as the photography, or our thousands of pictures would never have been named.

What joy to go flower-hunting in Australia.

Lynette Reilly