After donning stout shoes and insect repellent our intrepid group visited the Narooma property of member Joan Lynch. Joan issued a disclaimer – “There is no garden. What we have is 100 acres of forest, mostly untouched, except for logging in the 1890’s - early 1900’s”. Wagonga Scenic Drive zig-zags through her land, dividing it into four sections but we could access the 50 acres that form a promontory jutting into Wagonga Inlet.
Above: Joan accepting a present in appreciation of our visit
The part of the property we saw may not be a manicured garden but it was cared-for bushland revealing myriad specimens of native plants for members to find.
The soil is poor (a shallow layer on decomposed Ordovician shale) and steep, dropping from the 50 metres above sea level at the front gate to sea level on the waterfront.
As it is unsuitable for clearing there remains an intact example of Wagonga Inlet flora. On the block there have been over 100 different plants identified.
One interesting specimen which is flourishing on the property is Myoporum bateae which was named after Miss Mary Bate who, from the age of 14, lived on the family property “Mountain View” at Tilba Tilba. She collected specimens from 1881 to 1884 for Botanist Ferdinand von Mueller between the Tilba coast and Mt. Dromedary (Gulaga).
Miss Bate was only one of von Mueller’s at least 220 female collectors although she was one of the more prolific and the National Herbarium of Victoria in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens still retains 361 of her plant specimens including the rare shrub Myoporum bateae.
After roaming the bush members enjoyed lunch amongst the trees and thanked Joan for the opportunity to view such a unique property. www.southeast.austplants.com.au