Getting familiar with plant families

Farmers, gardeners and native plant enthusiasts came from as far away as Morawa to attend NACC’s Growing Gardens workshop in Moora recently.

Permaculture expert, Julie Firth of Drylands Nursery, lead a very interactive and hands on workshop kicking the day off with a walk through the beautiful Candy’s Bush Reserve.

Participants looked at examples from each major Western Australian plant family, such as Asteracea (daisy) and Fabaceae (peas, Senna and wattle), while Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos watched from their hollows overhead.

Field learnings were reiterated in the classroom where participants could look at plants under hand lenses and dissect and illustrate the characteristic parts from each plant family.

Joy Sanderson and Ruth Bateman finding flowers fascinating when having a closer look.
Joy Sanderson and Ruth Bateman finding flowers fascinating when having a closer look.

Julie explained characteristics which defined each family, shared which collection techniques could be used, and common mistakes that are made with each family such as accidentally collecting from a male plant with families that have separate male and female plants.

Participants were very excited to see magnified flowers and learn that what often looks like one flower is actually hundreds of tiny flowers.

Julie also demonstrated different techniques to sort out seed from nuts and the best ways to safely store seed.

Heather Legge, local NRM officer for NACC said: “Julie’s delivery style was fun and very educational.”

“It was great to see the participants get really excited when they saw the flowers under the eye lenses. They were absolutely fascinated!” She said.

One of the participants, Lyn Phillips from the Wongan-Hills area said: “The workshop has given me more confidence to grow native plants myself.”

The event was supported by Northern Agricultural Catchments Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

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