Looking At Landcare – 21/4/2017

Hi Landcarers

Did you get out into one or some of the many activities happening over the long weekend or just enjoy some time to yourself? Maybe a bit of both….

Vegetation, in its many forms, whether native or cropping, is always of interest to me, due to the important role that it provides to our countryside.

In the lead up to ANZAC Day, I thought I would have a look into some of the vegetation and plants that we recognise as having a connection with remembrance and sacrifice.

The Lone Pine that we see photographed at the Lone Pine Cemetery at Gallipoli strikes a sombre mood and sets a tone of seriousness and for me, a protective cover for the graves that it accompanies.

Before the landing at Gallipoli Cove in 1914, the Turkish soldiers felled the lone pine to make shelters for their trenches that they had dug into the hills and ridges.

Sergeant Keith McDowell, of the 29th Battalion collected a pine cone from the remains of the Lone Pine (Pinus brutia) and popped it in his ruck sack as a souvenir. He brought the cone home and gave it to his Aunt, Emma Gray, who lived near Warnambool. Not until 12 years later, did Mrs Gray plant a few seeds and four seedlings survived. In 1933, one of those seedlings was planted at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance. There is also a story of Lance Corporal Benjamin Charles Smith, 3rd Battalion AIF, who collected several pine cones from the branches used to cover the Turkish trenches. Check out his story here.

The Flanders Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) flower in spring, but can be planted in autumn on ANZAC Day! What a wonderful way to talk about ANZAC Day with the kids or to just have your own quiet moment of remembrance.

The Poppy is worn on Remembrance Day, which is recognised on 11 November (the date that marks the Armistice of 11/11/1918). The poppies which have blood-red flowers grow naturally in disturbed soil. They grew and flowered in and around the battlefields of France. Flanders poppy grows naturally along roadsides and in wheat fields in Europe and has the common name of corn poppy or field poppy. It has red flowers with a black dot on each petal.

For me, Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), dried or fresh for cooking or even if you brush past the bush, always reminds me of ANZAC Day. It is a wonderful herb that is a beautiful ornamental plant as well as a seasoning. They are one of those plants that just about grow anywhere. The Latin name means dew of the sea.

The Gallipoli Oak grows along the ridges and valleys of the Gallipoli peninsula, in modern south-west Turkey. This is significant as the location of the first major battle undertaken by the ANZACs (Australian New Zealand Army Corps) during the First World War (1914-18).

Acorns were collected by several soldiers during the campaign and sent or brought back to Australia where some were subsequently planted. One of these soldiers was Captain William Lempriere Winter-Cooke, who planted them in his family property near Hamilton in western Victoria.

There are many websites with information about vegetation that is not only significant to remembrance, but native to many of the areas that Australian troops have served.

Whether you commemorate ANZAC Day by yourself or are up at the Dawn Service and make the rounds with the community, you can’t help but grow in appreciation for the freedom that we and many other countries appreciate because of those that have made sacrifices for us through their service. Lest We Forget.

For further information, follow the links on our website blog at centralwestlachlanlandcare.org or on facebook or ring 02 6862 4914.

Until next week, happy Landcaring!

Are you interested in a bit more information about vegetation significant to ANZAC Day?

Gallipoli Battlegrounds Unearthed – ABC 

Natural History – Australian War Memorial

Flanders Poppy – Australian War Memorial

Rosemary – Register of War Memorials in NSW