6 Planting garden2 16 7 19We have converted some unused space in our backyard at 2 Lee St Brunswick East into a Seed Production Area (SPA). Victorian Indigenous Nurseries Cooperative (VINC) kindly provided the plants which were installed into rows of drip-watered beds in mid-July 2019. The SPA will help ensure a steady supply of Merri-provenance seed is available for propagation by VINC, and for direct sowing by Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) into the Merri Creek grasslands.

Two species have been planted so far in our backyard Seed Production Area (SPA) – the Large-flower Crane’s-bill (Geranium sp.1) and Running Postman (Kennedia prostrata). The Large-flower Crane’s-bill is endangered nationally. It was considered extinct for 97 years until it was rediscovered around 2000 along a rail line in Melbourne’s north. This species has since been found holding on in several locations, but the population from which the SPA plants are descended, has been destroyed. Our SPA will help preserve these genetics into the future.

Running Postman is not uncommon throughout Victoria, but in the Merri catchment this pea is now restricted to a handful of locations, most of which are difficult to access and produce seed erratically. Our backyard Running Postman crop should lead to a reliable supply of seed for this species.

This backyard orchard is one of several SPAs that Merri Creek Management Committe has helped establish. All are aimed at conserving the genetics of Merri plants and re-establishing them throughout the catchment. Friends of Merri Creek (FoMC) volunteers have been caring for pots of six of the seven species targeted under FoMC’s Secret Seven Seeds project and harvesting their seed. You can read more about that project on the front page of the August edition of FoMC's newsletter, Merri Growler.