Welcome to Wild at Home Part 3 - Learn about another rare plant for your garden!
Have you ever been walking along and spotted a plant you've never seen before and thought, "Wow, what is that?" You're not alone! There are many plants out there that are rare and unique, so when you chance upon one it can be a thrill.
Some of the most fascinating plants are those we rarely or never see. We will learn about one very rare and unique species in Part 3 of Wild at Home.
I had the chance to interview Caitlin Gray, who discusses her work with some of the rare Victorian plants she is trying to protect.
You can watch the video above!
A cornerstone of the Raising Rarity program is horticultural specialists observing and monitoring for specific characteristics of rare and threatened Victorian species. If something grabs their attention, the next question is, why isn’t this available to the public?
One such species is the endangered Ovens Everlasting (Ozothamnus stirlingii). Hailing from montane forests (mountain ecosystems) in North Eastern Victoria, this medium-sized shrub is considered at risk of extinction. Caitlin describes how she first saw it at Mount Hotham and how it is being researched so you can add it to your garden. A stunning combination of bold and glossy foliage and clusters of creamy white flowers.
The flowers are papery, similar to paper daisies, they make beautiful long-lasting cut flowers, and research shows that if kept pruned, it makes a beautiful garden plant that is guaranteed to give you months of joy.
Since collecting samples and growing it in the Cranbourne Gardens, they have learned that it has a narrow habitat, growing up to 1.5 m, likes full sun, can handle frost, and unlike many other Ozothamnus, responds really well to pruning. These are all highly desirable traits in a garden plant, making it the perfect plant for Raising Rarity.
Many of Australia’s rare plant species are restricted to ecosystems that are severely threatened by habitat loss. Sadly, when plant numbers decline in the wild, so does the genetic diversity within these populations, leading to an overall decline in species richness.
Conservation strategies for the protection of rare and threatened plant species requires a multi-tiered approach, involving organisations across government, botanic gardens and industry bodies.
The team's goal is to make the public aware of these rare plants and the benefits of adding them to your garden. From collecting cuttings in the wild, finding variations and sharing what works, they are trying their best to ensure that everyone knows about them so they don’t go extinct.
So, the next time you're out in nature and see something that you haven’t seen before, take a closer look! If you find something cool, be sure to let me know! Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a rare plant or unknown species, or maybe your discovery will inspire someone else to go out and find their own new variety of plants.
Help me raise funds for Raising Rarity by buying one of these prints!
You get a beautiful artwork and Raising Rarity get a donation, doesn't that give you all the good feels :)
Rare plants are often under threat, but not for long if you help save them! The program Raising Rarity has an innovative approach that uses horticulture to acquire knowledge about rare species. They also engage with communities to increase awareness and understanding so everyone can work together on protecting these delicate ecosystems.
You can learn more here: www.fame.org.au/projects/raising-rarity
I loved getting to know Caitlin and I'm sure you will to! Caitlin has been at RBGV Cranbourne Gardens for 2 years. Previously she studied Horticulture with Melbourne Polytechnic and CERES, and completed an internship with RBGV Melbourne. Caitlin curates the Stringybark Garden at Cranbourne Gardens which is a collection of fire adapted and responsive flora. Many species within Stringybark are wild collected through a series of field trips following the 2019/2020 Bushfire season that devastated much of south-eastern Australia.
Caitlin is a proud New South Welshwoman, "Give me sandstone any day!"
Her previous career was as chef working in Melbourne’s trendy restaurants, but as a kid she wanted to grow up to be a race car driver, park ranger or sports photographer.
Mark your calendars for the next instalment of our series on Raising Rarity. It's sure to be interesting! I will be speaking to a very special guest, Dr Meg Hirst, Post Doctoral Fellow, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (RBGV) at Deakin University.
As Founder of Raising Rarity she will be sharing all the interesting information about the program and how you can get involved.
In the meantime, stay tuned as there's lots more to come and a big announcement with Part 4 😉
If you like to learn more about the montane region mentioned I found some interesting info on Forest network which includes data on old growth tree logging in the area - http://www.forestnetwork.net/Docs/NE.htm
**This is not a paid collaboration, the project was my idea, and I am volunteering my time, energy, and art.
Thanks so much for following along! You support means so much, please like, comment and share with other gardening enthusiasts, nature lovers and plant lovers so they learn about this wonderful native species.