This plan of the Park shows the 9 distinct plant communities which guide us as to plant siting. (See also Flora tab at top menu for the illustrated alphabetical list of over 250 plant species and their locations.)
As the site has been drastically altered through it’s colourful history and vast amounts of varied soil, including clay, were brought in to establish the park. That, together with the steep hills created in forming the park, made impossible any notions of revegetating the park as the sandy swampland it had been 200 years ago. To accommodate these conditions it was decided to plant vegetation areas which would have been found within a 5 – 10 km radius of the park. The diversity of vegetation areas allows us to work with the varied soils and landscapes and to create locally indigenous habitats, many of which had already disappeared from this part of Melbourne.
The Friends have planted 260,000 plants and weeded and mulched a vast area of this 64 ha. park over the last decade. In the last five years 64,000 hours of volunteer time have been invested in the Park. Despite this enormous effort, we estimate that around 75% of revegetation work remains to be done to achieve our vision of transforming the Park into a bushland setting for locally indigenous plants and animals.
Our oldest plantings are near the Yarra River and north of the Freshwater Lake. As these plantings mature we find that we can introduce rarer species which appreciate the protection and the microclimate provided by established planting. With one of our goals is to establish large populations of plants that are all but extinct within the region. We find that our work in any given area is never complete!
We usually start by ‘spot’ planting larger trees in an area, and once these have matured for a few years we ‘blanket’ mulch the area and plant a diversity of shrubs, grasses, wildflowers and groundcovers that appreciate the protection of the larger trees. Much of the south eastern part of the park such as the area surrounding the salt lake is currently undergoing ‘spot’ planting and will be planted over the coming decade.
All vegetation areas within our plan are currently represented within the park. Areas of note are the northern red gum woodland, the coast banksia woodland by the bank of Yarra River, the heath on the north west corner of the Freshwater Lake, the grassy woodland on the hill west of the Freshwater Lake and the grassland just north of the Westgate Bridge crossing. These areas show the potential of revegetation works to be species rich, provide habitat for a diverse range of fauna, as well as being an attractive floral display in spring and summer.
Unfortunately much of the original planting of the park was not locally indigenous. Many of the original plantings died due to not being suitable for Melbourne’s climate, and many of those that survived were ‘weedy’ native species. While these species are valuable as habitat, their invasive tendencies do not allow for the diversity of habitats which we are aiming for. As our revegetation is progressing we are beginning to remove or contain the non local native species in order to encourage a species rich local landscape.