Sunday, November 27, 2011

Merv 's love of Moreton Island keeps growing

IMAGE of the Cape Moreton lighthouse courtesy DERM.
IMAGINE being up there in a cyclone as described below.

THE old term, "green thumb", referring to plant-growing skills, can fit comfortably in the new vocabulary of environmental awareness.
Gardeners must be mindful of propagating the right plants as some nasty pests have gained a toehold on the continent in someone's backyard and spread to threaten nature's balance.
Merv Tyler, of Birkdale, can wear the two-leafed title of "green thumb" as a badge of honour. He has devoted about 30 years of voluntary service to the subtropical wonderland of Moreton Island.
A boilermaker at the Evans Deakin shipyard before it closed in 1976, Brisbane-born Merv started a new career, qualifying with diplomas in horticulture, conservation skills and coastal land management.
In 1980 he answered a newspaper notice seeking volunteers for roadworks on Moreton Island.
"As soon as I saw the island I just loved it," he says. After the road project, Merv applied his growing and gardening skills, working with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

FOR the past four years he has run a nursery at North Point to grow endangered native species for planting where needed. He also looks after the camping grounds and other public areas.
Three years ago Merv received an Arbor Day Award for his plantings on a 500m sand blow where the Cape Moreton lighthouse keepers had thrown their rubbish for about 150 years.
Merv has been propagating pony-tailed casuarinas. He goes to the island often and stays in one of three cottages that formerly accommodated the lighthouse keepers.
With the cyclone season near, Merv recalls wild winds in the cottage high on the northern cliffs: "I have been through two cyclones up there; the winds were 130km an hour; I couldn't walk out the door." He makes a whistling noise to emphasise the point.
Merv says residents' plantings of pest species including cocos palms and umbrella trees continue to threaten the island's ecology, with the seeds spreading into sensitive areas, especially around the southern town of Kooringal and Bulwer in the north.
"The Brisbane City Council is always going over there to try to get people to remove these sorts of trees, but they can only ask," he says.
"The area is very sensitive; it's not good."

MERV's interest in native plants doesn't stay on Moreton Island. Many years ago during a stint in his old trade in the Central Queensland coalfields he developed a liking for the bottle trees of the region.
He has grown some from seed in his backyard and has offered 700mm bottle trees for sale to Redland home gardeners.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

No comments:

Post a Comment