For a list of Eucalypt species in the arboretum -> click here
Version 1 of the booklet Eucalypts of MBG Eucalyptus Arborteum has been released (3MB download - higher quality version available on request at 15MB)
To download the Eucalyptus Arboretum brochure -> click here
A Dryland Eucalyptus Arboretum (eucalypt species from areas of less than 450mm of rainfall) is the first major project in the development of the Melton Botanic Garden. It is a partnership between the Australian Plants Society Melton and Bacchus Marsh Group, Friends of the Melton Botanic Garden (FMBG) and Melton Shire Council. The Arboretum area involves approximately 4 hectares located in the northern section of the Melton Botanic Garden.
The first meeting of the working party to get the project moving was held on 26th March 2010. Three sub groups were formed to handle funding, site preparation, and plant selection. Regular meetings of the whole working party with Melton Council and Western Water representatives are held, the 12th meeting being in August 2011.
David Pye is the project leader and is involved in both APS and FMBG groups. It is most fitting that he has taken on this role with his prior experience in project management and his horticultural knowledge.
Funding has been forthcoming first from the Bjarne Dahl Trust grant of $15,000 in December 2010 which enabled path construction and other works to be started. Recently we received a major grant of $130,000 from the Vision for Werribee Plains which enables us to complete path construction, build fences, procure signage and other works.
Ripping of the surface soil was carried out on 27th February 2011 by Ian Barrie, a relative of the family who once farmed the land that the Melton Botanic Garden is situated on. This was necessary to break the hard crusted ground to improve water penetration and moisture retention to make planting of the seedling trees easier and assist their establishment. Follow up spraying of weeds, particularly large areas of spreading Galenea was carried out by Western Land Services in early April and again by FMBG volunteers on April 27th 2011.
In the selection of plants a decision was made by the plant group to change from the original plant list for the Arboretum to dryland eucalypts. A donation from an APS Melton and Bacchus Marsh Group member enabled seeds for the propagation of these trees to be purchased. Excess and some inappropriate eucalypts raised $372 at a combined APS and FMBG plant sale at Bacchus Marsh.
This has been a great effort in organisation and preparation and was achieved by excellent planning by David and Barb Pye. The tubes were laid out in accordance with future growth in areas where the best possible showpiece can be seen. Thanks to all who helped but especially to Barb and David who propagated the seedlings and organised the plantings.
More than fifty species of eucalypt mostly from areas having less than 450 mm of rainfall per year were chosen. When established these trees will have a very low water requirement and should do quite well in the relatively dry climate in the Melton region which experiences significantly less rainfall than most of the greater Melbourne area, particularly the eastern suburbs.
The trees chosen are small to medium eucalypts which are much more suitable for small suburban gardens and the large choice of attractive species is to encourage the growing of more Australian plants including a variety of eucalypts. Next year it is intended to mass plant about 22,000 small ground cover species and shrubs throughout the arboretum which will give a more natural bushland aspect and be a unique feature of the Melton Botanic Garden.
The secondary paths in the arboretum have been mapped using GPS and their ground location painted yellow and will be bark. Cutting of the primary paths and spreading a layer of road base has been done. We will add Tuscan Toppings over the road base once we have finished planting, constructing the secondary paths and finishing fencing. The primary paths are now being used by people visiting the Melton Botanic Garden (and unfortunately by trail bikes).
The CVGT Work Experience Activity Team with team leader Andrew Traczynski commenced in June. They have been doing a great job in the Arboretum through planting, weeding and constructing fences. They will soon be commencing construction of the secondary paths. The Melton Shire Council are now regularly dropping off mulch which the Work Experience Activity Team have been using to put around each tree in the arboretum and spread around their plantings under the established trees along the main Melton Botanic Garden path.
Contributions to the arboretum development have included large rocks for seating from the Anthonys Cutting Realignment Project (ACRP). They are going to place a plaque on the rocks to indicate their contribution to the arboretum. Thanks to Melton Home Timber and Hardware for providing space for the Work Experience Activity Team to store our tools in a convenient location close to the Melton Botanic Garden.
Western Water have recently connected a water main and hydrant point for FMBG to use and will also donate some volcanic rocks for use in landscaping. Some existing eucalypt trees have had botanic garden type tree labels attached thanks to a small environmental grant by the Shire of Melton.
The project still requires site preparation building pathways, construction of an information shelter, a drystone wall, artwork, information signage, rock placement, weeding plus associated materials and equipment.
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