FoG has been working in the grassy woodland block surrounding Hall Cemetery since 2008, removing a large number of woody weeds such as briar rose and hawthorn. In 2010 we were given permission by the ACT Government to do some plantings in the woodland surrounding the cemetery. Our first suggestion was that we put in some Bursaria spinosa to replace the bird habitat lost by the removal of the briars. In December that year the government supplied 50 plants, rather more promptly than we were prepared for. However we managed to get the plants in within a month and had few losses.
Later FoG was given about eight chocolate lilies (Dichopogon fimbriatus) grown by Greening Australia, and once the Government was happy with the provenance of the seed, we were allowed to plant these in the woodland in March 2011. Unfortunately our success rate with the lilies was not as good because we could only find about three of them there in January 2012.
A series of wet seasons up to 2012 produced some wonderful flowering generally. One of the forbs that we had never seen in the 3 years we had been working at the site was the blue grass-lily (Caesia calliantha) and in 2011 it was out in huge numbers. Early Nancy (Wurmbea dioica) is another pretty forb which made a strong appearance. On the negative side, common centaury (Centaurium erythraea) had a very good season and was in the cemetery proper in surprising numbers, as was a swathe of fog and sweet vernal grass (all weeds).
In December 2011, Emma Cook, Research Support Officer with the Department of Environment and Sustainability, contacted FoG. She requested FoG’s assistance with the process of planning and implementing tree succession in the cemetery. The Department proposed that a program of tree management be put in place ‘to ensure the continuing survival of the eco-tone of Yellow Box Red Gum woodland and Natural Temperate Grassland as well as preserving the aesthetic of the site for historical and community reasons’.
In the past FoG has removed all eucalypt regeneration within the cemetery to protect the Tarengo Leek Orchid (Prasophyllum petilum) as well as for the management of the cemetery generally. The 2011 proposal was that FoG selects up to 20 trees in total (no fewer than 15) within the designated eucalypt regeneration areas on the perimeter of the cemetery and mark them with wooden stakes and/or tree guards and flag them for retention. The ratio of species would be predominantly Eucalyptus blakelyi and then a mix of the other eucalypts present. For eventual succession of the mature eucalypts overlooking the graves area, specific replacement species will be planted once ideal locations have been selected. Eucalypt regrowth management will continue to be part of our main focus as well as removing woody shrub regrowth and managing the thistles and exotic grasses in surrounding woodlands.
Working parties are held at the Cemetery from time to time. The one in November 2013 was to continue the control of regenerating woody weeds and exotic grasses and possibly start to prepare the future garden site near the entry gate. Herbicide is provided but please bring gloves and your favourite small cutting tool. Morning tea is provided. Please dress for the weather and the tall dry grass.
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See also the Hall Cemetery entry in https://ginninderralandcare.org.au/1-some-notable-remnant-areas/.