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Journeys : Feb March 2011
February / March 2011 47 Mark Fountain has been involved in horticulture for over 36 years, initially in commercial horticulture and horticultural education. For the last 15 years he has been actively involved in the world of botanic gardens in a broad range of roles. Mark is currently the Deputy Director Collections and Research at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and he remains endlessly fascinated by all aspects of the plant world, especially Tasmanian f lora and the development of gardens over time. In Tasmania today plant’s germination requirements as par t of a long-term plan to rebuild the wild population. The Tasmanian Seed Conservation Centre also links the Gardens to Tasmania’s special spaces. A memorable field tr ip in early 2010 saw staff and volunteers from the RTBG, the Tasmanian Herbarium (Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery) and the Biodiversity Conservation Branch, working together from a base at Liawenee in Tasmania’s beautiful Central Highlands. From there we were able to collect seed amongst rich fields of wildflowers near the Vale of Belvoir. We also made a number of significant seed collections from L ake Augusta’s alpine sand dune system, including Planocarpa nitida, the black cheeseberry, a plant that is endemic to this habitat. Alpine dune systems are globally very rare and fragile landforms. Tasmania’s most famous example of this landform was the now-vanished original Lake Pedder, which, slightly circuitously, brings me to another intriguing Tasmanian plant, the alpine purple star Isophysis tasmanica. Descr ibed recently in a French magazine as “quasi-mythical!” this primitive member of the iris family was photographed flower ing on the slopes of the Sentinel R ange overlooking Lake Pedder during a weekend spotting trip for the Seed Conser vation Centre. To bring this story home, I can walk out to the Greater Hobart Garden in the RTBG’s northern section. This garden displays plants from around Hobart’s immediate urban fringe, and there, planted en-masse is a display of Craspedia glauca, a beautiful yellow button daisy grow n from seed I collected some 50 metres from where I live in a blue gum forest on Hobart’s Eastern Shore, with a clear view back to the Botanical Gardens. JamesWoodDavidReidMarkFountainMarkFountain Jim Cane
Apr May 2011