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The brook area
Crystal Brook Energy Park
A suggestion for more plants
What needs attention

Bowman Park

Crystal Brook's greatest asset

In a conversation with one of the many people who use the free-camping at Bowman Park a woman told me that she was talking about visiting Crystal Brook but was almost put off by being told that there was nothing to see there. Having got to Bowman Park she realised that this advice was far from true.

Bowman Park is about five kilometres up the Crystal Brook from Crystal Brook township. The Management Committee has a Web site dedicated to the park and there is a Facebook page by Bowman Park Management and Friends.

This page is about my personal involvement and views on Bowman Park, in particular regarding the further development of the Old Homestead Garden. I've had an involvement with Bowman Park for many years, including controlling hoarhound, boxthorn and feral pepper trees, and for several years the Bowman Park Astronomical Association (no longer active).

After a period of less involvement for some years I took a more active interest again in mid 2018 following four years involvement in the development of Gleeson Wetlands in Clare. The experience gained in developing the multi-award-winning Gleeson Wetlands gardens can be of great value in developing the Bowman Park Old Homestead Garden.

This page was written 2018/07/25, modified 2019/01/01
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David K. Clarke) – ©

Work in progress This is a work in progress

Google search Ramblings

I, David Clarke, the author of this page, am greatly concerned about climate change and associated problems. The changing climate is a threat to all I hold dear, including Bowman Park. For that reason I do what I can to end the use of fossil fuels and support solar and wind power.

Homestead garden area of Bowman Park, June 2018
Drone photo, 2018/06/16
Homestead garden area after mulching, November 2018
Drone photo, 2018/11/05
The first mulch pile, 2018/07/25
Newly spread mulch, 2018/07/25
An area that is very much in need of weed control, 2018/07/25
An area where I had sprayed the weeds, image 2018/07/25
Flowering wattle (Acacia notabilis?) in an area that needs mulching; 2018/07/25
In June 2018 I started inquiring about again taking part in the development of the Old Homestead Garden at Bowman Park – pictured in the drone photo on the right (the ruins of the main building of the old homestead are on the lower right of the photo).

It seemed to me that what was most needed was heavy mulching, primarily for weed control, but also for moisture retention. I emailed Port Pirie Regional Council on 2018/06/11 asking if they would be willing to provide a truck load of mulch at no cost – as Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council has done many times for the Gleeson Wetlands project in Clare. A load of mulch was delivered by late July.

Council delivered four or five more loads of mulch over the next few months and I spread them. The second drone photo on the right, taken 2018/11/05, shows the garden after mulch had been placed in most of the places where it was needed.

In June and July 2018 I went back to poisoning feral pepper trees on the Crystal Brook at Bowman park; I had done quite a bit of work on this fifteen years earlier. I intend to continue with this when convenient.

What is most needed? Money or voluntary work?

Obviously grants have been obtained and used to place signage, obtain native plants, build paths and carry out limited stabilisation work on the ruins.

Council resources are limited and it seems that the Port Pirie Regional Council has decided that the Bowman Park Homestead Garden had too low a priority for them to provide gardeners, even occosionally.

With the township of Crystal Brook being only five kilometres from the park and with the park being the town's greatest asset it is a great pity that a few more of the towns-people are not willing to put in some volunteer time in the garden.

As of 2019/01/01 it seemed that no one other than me had done any work in the garden apart from some weed spraying from the time I renewed my interest in June 2018. My apologies if I am mistaken on this point.

How best to control weeds?

My experience with Gleeson Wetlands in Clare, where both poisoning and mulching have been used to control weeds has convinced me that, while both are to some extent necessary, mulching is by far preferable, because it is much safer. If you accidentally cover a plant with mulch, you can easily uncover it; if you accidentally spray it with poison it will die. Mulch also conserves soil moisture and prevents successful germination of weed seeds.

The garden situation in June 2018

When I again took an interest in the Bowman Park garden in June 2018 a number of natives were established, but weeds were threatening to take over. There had been recent planting of many seedlings and some natural regeneration of other natives. There was no indication of any other recent or consistent work.

Early mulching of the garden area, July 2018

As mentioned above, Port Pirie Regional Council delivered a load of mulch in July. I discovered this when I visited the park on 2018/07/24. I started spreading it the next day and finished spreading the available mulch on 27th. Much more is needed; I would estimate at least another four loads.

Most of the photos on the right are an attempt to show how mulching can improve the appearance and weed control in the garden area.

September 2018

Someone else had sprayed some of the many weeds in the garden area since June. That seems to be all that has been done apart from my work. It is a pity that with such a valuable park so few people make an effort to look after it. At least the council, and the contractors doing tree trimming, have been obliging in providing mulch for me to spread.

The brook area

In the first few days of January 2019 I sprayed most of the thistles and artichokes and some of the African box thorns and remaining Peruvian pepper trees in and near the brook adjacent to where the snake house used to be. It was not as big a job as I expected.

The thistles and artichokes may have got a start because of the gaps left after I killed the feral pepper trees. Maybe the best news is that there are a lot of young gums showing up in the same area.

The proposed Crystal Brook Energy Park will be a boon for Bowman Park

In mid 2018 there is a question about whether or not the proposed Crystal Brook Energy Park will be built. If it is built, Neoen, the owner, has promised $80,000 per year for community funding. Plainly Bowman Park would be very well placed to apply for a part of this money, especially given its proximity to the proposed wind turbines.

Unfortunately, there is a determined and quite dishonest opposition campaign underway. I hope, for the sake of Bowman Park, Crystal Brook, the community, the region, the state, the nation and the planet, that the Energy Park will be built.


A suggestion for more plants

Carpobrotus glaucescens, a native pigface
Native pigface
Photo taken at Armagh, near Clare, 2015/09/26
This native pig face has been very successful at the Clare Gleeson Wetlands. It can be easily propagated using cuttings. I suggest that it could be useful in the Bowman Park Homestead Garden, but I'd like other people's opinions. (My email address is at the top of this page.)

I have planted a number of pig face cuttings of two species. As of the beginning of 2019 a number of these have taken successfully.

Myoporum parviflorum, Creeping boobialla
Myoporum parviflorum
Photo taken in Gleeson Wetlands, 2015/04/04
Creeping boobialla is another native plant that could be good for filling in some of the many empty spaces in the garden.

It can be grown from cuttings.

This suggestion was added on 2018/11/06.

I planted about fifty creeping boobialla rooted cuttings. Perhaps half of them had survived up to the beginning of 2019.

What needs attention?

Beginning of 2019

  • The garden area
    • More mulching;
    • Weed control (spraying, hoeing, hand-pulling);
    • Planting of ground covers;
    • Occasional watering of recent plantings;
  • Along the creek
    • Control of box thorn, pepper trees (and probably scotch thistles and artichokes in spring 2019;