Hello members and other readers,
Happy New Year! Hopefully your garden is surviving this very mixed bag of weather that the summer is providing. Since our last newsletter we have finished 2019 off with our end of year lunch and garden wander at our leader, Verena Reich’s garden.
Now our committee is planning 2020’s calendar of events. More about that later.
Here’s a quick review of the last excursion and final speaker of the year for 2019.
Garden Visit – Saturday 9th November
On a grey Saturday 9th November thirteen plucky and lucky members had the pleasure of visiting member, Sue Gilbert’s garden in Mt Eliza.
The garden is a mix of native and exotic plants but Sue has an ever increasing passion to add more native plants as she and her husband develop the garden. Just near the front gate is one of Sue’s pride and joys, a thriving Wollemi pine.
Another obvious feature are the two large rocks in the very front of the garden.Sue has made use of a variety of pots to show off more recent additions to the garden.I quite liked this sculpture too.The garden wander continued to the back gardenbefore we had a chance to look at Sue’s bonsai collection.Our visit concluded with a lovely morning tea inside.
Speaker – Royce Raleigh – Lesser Known / Small Plants in the Garden – Tuesday 19th November
We were fortunate to have Royce Raleigh as our speaker for our November meeting. He was indeed able to show us some lesser known but very beautiful plants that he has growing in his garden in Wartook in the Grampians. His talk dealt with the plants in alphabetical order. Many were WA plants. Some are grafted but many are on their own roots. The Raleighs garden is based on a sandy shale clay soil at Wartook. They use scoria as a mulch. Here are a few of the beautiful plants he shared with those present. The photos are from our leader, Verena’s photo collection from a trip to WA plus she is lucky enough to have the last one, the Verticordia grandis in her garden.
After Royce’s presentation there was an opportunity to buy plants Royce had propagated. If you missed this presentation a complete list of the over 100 spectacular plants can be obtained from either myself or Verena. Requests can be made to our email address, email@example.com
Following that we had many lovely samples on our plant table. Here are a few that caught my eye.
Plant of the Month – November
Verena was pleased to send me this photo of her Pileanthus rubronitidus which was at its peak blooming in November. It was one of many Royce Raleigh featured in his presentation to our group. It loves sandy conditions which is why it loves Verena’s garden!
Plant of the Month – December
Even though it isn’t very big we were again pleased to see our Banksia ashbyi come into flower with two cones just in time to show it off to relatives and friends over the festive season. It does prefer sandier soils but so far is handling our Dromana soil.
Our new calendar of events for 2020 is now taking shape. For an early sneak peek click on the Calendar tab at the top of this page. As events are finalised the calendar will be updated. Our first evening meeting on Tuesday 18th February will feature five of our members giving you an insight into what is happening in their gardens. Following that our first excursion for the year will be on Saturday 22nd February with a 1pm visit to the wonderful Kawarra gardens at 1190-1192 Mount Dandenong Tourist Drive, Kalorama in the Dandenongs.
You also need to reserve a place in your 2020 diary for our fabulous plant sale which will be held on Saturday 2nd May at Seawinds Gardens in Arthurs Seat.
Plant of the Month – January
This stunning Verticordia monodelpha can be found in our leader, Verena’s garden. Almost looks unreal but obviously likes the conditions in Rosebud. The tiny but delicate flowers make quite show, although not as magnificent as in previous years – hard to believe.
Remember, if you have a special plant in bloom in your garden that could be featured in the Plant of the Month section send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo attached. Keep file sizes below 1Mb please. Include a short blurb about where it is growing, how old it is etc. In the subject line mark it – Attention to Mark Allison. Thanks.
Spring is here. Yes, it is changeable and we still have the odd day that reminds us of Winter but we only have to look in our gardens to see plants bursting into bloom, like our gorgeous Isopogon formosus, to know it is now Spring.
Here’s a rundown on the events that helped us make it through Winter.
July 20 – Trevor Blake – Banksias
This afternoon meeting was well attended and our speaker Trevor Blake left a lasting impression with those in attendance. To quote our Secretary Jenny Bolger, “Trevor gave us a really interesting talk on banksias, including diagrams of flowers, fruits and leaves to aid in identifying members of the banksia family. He had a terrific array of photos of banksias from both Western Australia and the eastern seaboard. We all came away much more knowledgeable about this beautiful species. Or is it genus – will leave that one with you!” Thanks also for these photos of our plant tables too Jenny.
Plant of the Month – July
Banksia coccinea from Verena’s garden.
“In the winter of 2014, I planted 3 small Banksia coccinea (8cm square pots) and watched them grow steadily, pinching out the tips to make them bushy. Now the books say that B. coccinea is “shy to flower in Melbourne” so when no flowers appeared, I resigned myself to accept the attractive foliage as a nice screen. Until last year, when two of the plants bore a couple of flowers each. Then there was an anxious watch for the impact of a swamp rat who decided to make some tunnels underneath.
August 20 – Mornington Peninsula Shire Ranger, Gerard Cook
– Mornington Peninsula Bushland Reserves: Revegetation and Biodiversity
August 20 was another afternoon meeting at Bentons Square. Gerard Cook from the Mornington Shire Council gave a talk on the parks, reserves and sundry lands that his team manage on the Peninsula. This is carried out with aid from friends’ groups, green army and other community input. They manage in the region of 2000 hectares, but their jewel in the crown, so to speak, is Peninsula Gardens in Rosebud. The talk covered the history of acquisition, the different types of weed control and non native tree eradication, some conservation plans and techniques used. They have large stands of grass trees, Xanthorrhoea Australis, which they are cultivating at the shire nursery to re introduce into the area. There is a rainforest plant found there, common name Muttonwood(Rapanea howtitteana) which is recolonising quite vast areas.
Thanks to Robyn Tyson for this report.
Plant of the Month – August
After returning from warm Queensland we were pleased to see our two Phebalium squamulosum in bloom. The flowers are small and delicate looking but clump profusely as you can see.
Don’t forget if you have a plant that is in bloom that you would like featured in one of our newsletters just send an email to mornpenaps@with a photo attached. Keep file sizes below 1Mb please. Include a short blurb about where it is growing, how old it is etc in the subject line and mark it – Attention to Mark Allison. Thanks.
APS Alice Springs
If you are like us and plan on exploring more of our wonderful country you may like to consider Alice Springs. If so APS Alice Springs has produced some excellent brochures to help you identify some of the plants they have and also those further north in Katherine. Here’s the details on their advertising flyer.
It was an early start for the September 21 excursion to the Peninsula Gardens Bushland Reserve led by Mornington Peninsula Shire Ranger, Gerard Cook. This walk was a follow up to the talk on August 20. Sadly only a few of our group braved the inclement weather. There was Bearded heath, (leucopogon) in flower and several egg and bacon pea flowers(Pultanea and Bossiaea). We found a couple of Orchids in flower(glossodia) and both white and pink sundews (drossera). It is quite heath like being on sand dunes, low understory and several types of eucalypt canopy trees. One even with a mistletoe.
Thanks to Robyn Tyson for the words and Ruben Buttigieg for the photos.
Plant of the Month – September
Robyn was also pleased to send me a success from her garden as our September plant of the month.
“Hidden cleverly amongst the leaves are the flowers of this Eremophila serpens. I’ve grown it in a hanging basket as they tend to disappear in my garden.”
Robyn also reported to me that after no success with last year’s ‘plant out’ seeds she tried what the Rawlins had done and sowed this year’s seeds into a pot. Some success but when hit by a cold weather snap that was the end of it.
More luck with her Kunzea baxteri though Robyn reports, “Earlier on in the year, on a visit to Verena’s garden, she was showing me a flower. I knew it wasn’t a Kunzea but some tricky western Australian thing. ‘Regelia,’ she said, ‘Ahh yes,’ I said.
before touring the rest of the garden.
Thanks to those who provided samples from their garden to the plant table. Robyn Tyson took us through them in plant families. Here are a few that caught my eye-
plus this mixed bunch of Alyogyne huegelii of varying shades from several gardens.
Tuesday 19th November
7:00pm for a 7:30pm start at Benton Square Community Centre
Speaker – Royce Raleigh – Lesser Known / Small Plants in the Garden
plus Annual General Meeting.
Welcome to our Winter newsletter. Hope you have finished your Autumn planting and your garden is ready for the winter rain. Here’s the news about our meetings and excursions that have taken place in the early part of this year.
February 19 – Committee Members’ Gardens
Several of the committee gave brief reports about their gardens and other experiences with cultivating native plants. Ranging from Robyn and Karen reporting on how they have developed their gardens since moving to their current houses to Jenny and Chris explaining how they have renovated parts of their established gardens plus Rueben who gave a brief presentation about working at Cranbourne Botanical Gardens. All very interesting and a varied range of presentations supported by slideshows made it an interesting meeting.
Plant of the Month – February
We liked it, but our bees liked it even more when our Scaevola albida ‘Mauve Clusters’ were in bloom. There are four scattered around our garden and even though they did like a drink of water during the hot weather they spread out and burst into bloom.
Seen in a member’s garden
The item in last year’s member questionnaire that got the least enthusiastic response was the topic “formal gardens”. But formality has some uses. Now if you found a self-seeded Coastal Tea Tree ( Leptospermum laevigatum) growing at the corner of your house, you’d be likely to growl and pull it out, wouldn’t you? Well, this is how one of our members, Ruth Caple, has dealt with just this situation – Ruth likes a touch of formality and has a great sense of humour!
March 9 – Bonsai Workshop
This session was a follow up for those lucky members who participated in Charles’ previous Bonsai workshop. Thanks to Charles for again sharing his expertise. Thanks to Ray and Eva Turner for these photos taken at the workshop.
March 16 – Propagation Workshop
Thanks to our Secretary Jenny Bolger for this report about our Propogation Workshop.
“What a great propagating workshop!” That was the general response to the hands-on experience of the 13 APS members who attended the workshop held at Seawinds Nursery on Saturday 16 March. Participants could bring along cuttings, seeds and plants for division, but there was also plenty of material available to practise on. Three workstations were set up with Charles Saffroy in charge of seeds, Ruben Buttigieg doing the divisions, and Seawinds volunteer Tony Thake passing on his great expertise in cuttings. We spent about an hour at each station, and it was amazing how the time just flew by. As usual morning tea had a lovely spread of delectable edibles brought along by the participants, and it kept us going as we learnt and practised the tips passed on by our instructors. A huge thank you to Seawinds Nursery for hosting this terrific morning, and to Trish Allen for helping set it up. And for those who missed out, watch this space for next year!
Plant of the Month – March
After only planting it last year our Alyogyne huegelii has been in constant flower most of the year but was at its best in March. Even though our soil isn’t sandy so far it is handling being in our garden.
April 23 – Balcombe Creek Conservation
The guest speaker at this afternoon meeting was Liz Barraclough who shared with members her experiences with BERG (Balcombe Estuary Rehabilitation Group). They have been responsible for the restoration and preservation of the Balcombe estuary and the creek upstream since 1987.
Plant of the Month -April
Even though it suffered a bit during the summer this Goodenia Ovata ‘Gold Cover’ has shown a good recovery and gave a lovely yellow splash to the garden in April. We only have one so far but it lends itself to being in a row or group of three or so.
May 4 – Annual Plant Sale
Our Annual Plant Sale was again held at Seawinds Gardens in Arthurs Seat but in a different, and from all reports, better location. Many thanks to the nurseries who attended, those who helped and of course those members of our group and the public who came and purchased the odd one or ten plants. A steady flow of about 200 people visited the sale on the day. Most were locals but a few were from Melbourne. Obviously purchasing plants from the growers was the main activity but Glen from AustPlant had a range of garden sculptures available, selling quite a few. The weather was generally kind with a few brief showers only. Best of all a number of the visitors took membership forms so we may see some new faces at future meetings and excursions. Hope you found a bargain or two or perhaps purchased a special plant for your garden.
May 18 – Balcombe Estuary Walk
Members again had the opportunity to tap into Liz Barraclough from BERG as she guided a walk upstream and shared her knowledge about the main features of the Balcombe Estuary and its flora and fauna.
We don’t usually include ads in our newsletter but this came via BERG’s newsletter and if you become involved you’re not only helping someone in need but helping the environment. The quality isn’t great but you can hopefully read it.
Plant of the Month – May
Over the years we have had a Hakea laurina in each of our last three gardens however this one is the first to survive not being blown over by strong winds. It’s not that our property isn’t in a windy position it’s just that this time this one has been able to establish itself because we planted smaller plants and ground covers near it to offer good protection. The pincushions are lovely but when it is in pre-bloom like this it looks other worldly.
June 18 – Plant identification with basic botany
Tony Thake, who many of our members met at the propagation workshop at Seawinds earlier in the year, was the guest speaker. He began by telling us of his working life in horticulture. His studies and research brought him into contact with the work of early Australian botanists, most notably Baron von Mueller. Tony showed some historical plant pressings before sharing resources he refers to in helping him identify plants. These included Plant Keys, Botanical dictionaries and reference books as well as plant samples from his own garden. Tony then highlighted a few plants from the well laden plant table.
Plant of the Month – June
Yes, I know they flower for most of the year, but when not much else was flowering at the start of the month our Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’ was one of the stars in our garden. It can handle just about any soil type and flowers year round so the birds love it.
Vale – Phillip Robinson
We are very sad to relate that our beloved founder and former secretary Philip Robinson died peacefully at home on June 10. Philip was the prime mover in the re-establishment of the Mornington Peninsula District Group in October 2010. He was our secretary for the first few years as well as Newsletter Editor. Before that, he was the APS Victoria Editor of Growing Australian. In 2014, he was awarded the APS Victoria Impressa Award for Outstanding Service.
Because of his declining health, we haven’t seen much of him recently, but his cheerful enthusiasm and challenging ideas have always been a stimulus for the committee. His funeral was held at Tobin Brothers, Mt Martha on June 18. Thanks to member, Sonya Bunting, for the photo of the lovely flowers which were supplied by APS Mornington Peninsula as a tribute to Philip’s contribution to our group.
Membership renewals are due as of July 1st so please contact our Treasurer, Chris Long to arrange for your renewal. The good news is that they haven’t increased in price.
Coming up –
Saturday 20th July
2:00pm for 2:30pm start at Benton Square Community Centre
Speaker – Trevor Blake – Banksias
Saturday 27th July
Devilbend Reservoir 9:30am
Planting morning – Ranger Sam Pollard
Hello members and other readers,
Our committee has been busy organising another interesting and varied program of speakers, workshops and excursions for the upcoming year. To kick the year off they have volunteered to do a show and tell of their personal gardening experiences with Australian Natives on the evening of February 19th. At the start of March, member, Charles Saffroy, will again offer a small workshop opportunity for those who would like to learn about using Australian Natives as a bonsai. Then on the 16th of March a bigger opportunity for members to experience a variety of propagating methods is on offer up at Seawinds Nursery in Arthurs Seat. At this point the committee is still waiting to confirm the full program. Click on the Calendar tab to see the most up to date version of the 2019 program.
Plant of the Month – January
A Crinum lily from member Robyn Tyson’s garden has been giving her a lot of pleasure too as you can read about here.
‘Last year as part of Verena’s rearrangement of her pond area, she needed to rehouse a couple of lilies. She asked me if I wanted one, I said yes without really knowing what I was getting. It took a tarp, a wheel barrow and lots of newspaper to move the metre high plant. Verena said it did best in full sun and didn’t mind get wet. So this wrapped up plant sat in my carport while I tried to work out where to put it. One son said that it doesn’t fit into the garden, but I’m a sucker for plants being given away, half my garden is made up of these. So it was planted near the frog bog in full sun, watered, given a feed of Seasol and fed with Bush Tucker. Fingers crossed it lives. So at Christmas I was pleasantly surprised to find 2 flower buds, so I think it must like the sunny spot it’s in. Thanks Verena for my Crinum lily.’
As our garden develops we are pleased to welcome a variety of fauna into it. Over the summer we have had our usual family of magpies greeting us at the start of the day. We have also enjoyed visits by some King Parrots, Crimson Rosellas and Kookaburras, except the one who flew in and tried to steal a burger cooking on the barbecue.
Most recently I was surprised by this Blue Tongue Lizard when I moved a piece of black plastic lying on the ground. Actually it was equally surprised and quickly moved off into the safety of our ground covers.
Plant of the Month – February
Without a lot of rain one our focuses has been watering shrubs that have been planted in the last twelve months or so to keep them alive. Sadly a few only shrubs have died. This tough little plant, Eremophila ‘Augusta Storm’ has given us a good show of delicate purple flowers.
Our annual plant sale will be held on Saturday 4th May this year. Keep the date free!
This is another great opportunity to find that special plant for your garden or perhaps buy several and expand.
Look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming meetings, workshops or excursions.
Better weather is returning and with it lots of plants are in bloom. Well, in our garden plants certainly have been blooming so I hope your garden looks good too. Apologies for the long gap between newsletters. During the winter we were away, caravanning up through South Australia, around the Northern Territory before heading over to Western Australia and travelling down the coast to Perth. From there we made the trip back across the Nullabor. Along the way there were lots of highlights, especially in the national parks we visited. One highlight early on was our visit to the Arid Botanical Garden in Port Augusta. More about that at the end of this newsletter.
Thanks to several members of the committee and other members of the group I will give you a quick rundown on what our APS group has been up to over the winter and spring meetings and excursions.
Plant Sale – May 5
As usual our plant sale was held up at Seawinds. As well as our our own APS Mornington Peninsula stand there were several plant sellers offering a wide range of plants in tubes and larger pot sizes. Many of our members were able to source special plants for their gardens and we had a steady flow of other people coming to look and buy. The weather was certainly better than some other recent years.
May 19 – Main Ridge
Those who attended the guided walk through the property of Dr Greg Holland and his wife Christine at 10:30am on May 19 were able to see the ongoing project at Main Ridge that they are working on to revitalise their land. Greg is a member of the local Landcare group and was a very interesting guide and speaker. Here are a few snaps of the property.
June – Plant of the Month
Our Grevillea lanigera flowers over a long period of time but is at its best in June. This one is at the top of our driveway and handles the less than brilliant soil conditions.
Remember, if you have a special plant in bloom in your garden that could be feature in the Plant of the Month section send an email to email@example.com with a photo attached. Keep file sizes below 1Mb please. Include a short blurb about where it is growing, how old it is etc In the subject line mark it – Attention to Mark Allison. Thanks
June 19 – Wildflowers Tour of SouthWest Western Australia 2017
The 7:30 pm meeting on June 19 allowed a couple of our committee to do a presentation. Five APS Mornington Peninsula members are also Friends of Cranbourne, and participated in the Western Australia Wildflower Tour arranged by Cranbourne Friends, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria August/September 2017. Ruben Buttigieg spoke to photos taken by Verena Reich, and with a lot of discussion from the floor, managed to get as far as day 7 of the 22 day tour. Which leaves plenty of material for another talk! Here are a few slides from the presentation from Verena’s collection.
Saturday 21st July – 10:30am at Melton Botanic Gardens
Whoever said winter was a dreary time for flowers in the garden didn’t join those intrepid members of our group who headed out to Melton to their Botanical Gardens on Saturday 21st July. Some spectacular specimens were seen as the group walked around the gardens – banksias, eucalypts, thryptomene and even a rare Qualup bell. Thanks to the Friends of Melton Botanical Gardens for providing guidance. Thanks also to Rod and Jill Sanders daughter, Katherine Cooper, who accompanied her parents and took some lovely photos.
I suspect many of our members also visited the nursery after their walk to make some purchases.
July – Plant of the Month
Sturt Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa) – We spotted this beautiful specimen at the entrance to the caravan park at Tom Price, growing in red gravel.
August 21- Native Planting at Devilbend Golf Course
The guest speaker for this meeting was Laurie Leyden who gave a presentation about the use of native plants at nearby Devilbend Golf Course.
The plant table was awash with beautiful cuttings with some beautiful acacias being a feature.
Brenda Martin also bought along a lovely arrangement with some beauties from her garden.
Planting and weeding mornings at Devilbend
The annual planting and weeding days at Devilbend Reservoir on July 28 and August 25 were attended by four of our group and quite a few from other local groups involved in gardening and environmental activities. Thanks to those who represented us.
August – Plant of the Month
Lambertia orbifolia subsp. Scott River Plains
At the start of August we were in Perth and visited Kings Park. Lots of native plants took our eye. As this one is endangered, due to land being cleared for agriculture or being mined for mineral sands, and not many people are able to see one in the wild it is worth highlighting here.
September 8 – Bonsai Workshop
Thanks to member Charles Saffroy for sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for bonsai with a small group of 5 members in his garden. Here’s a report and photos from committee member Ruben Buttigieg.
The workshop was held at Charles Saffroy’s new place in Carrum on a beautiful sunny day, starting at 10:30. Only five members attended – a tinygroup which at the time, I mused, was quite appropriate seeing we were dealing with Bonsai. Bonsai derives from the Japanese: bon tray, bowl; saicultivation.
All the paraphernalia required: growing medium, tools, pots, fertiliser etc. were already laid out for us under a budding jacaranda tree. We wasted no time and got straight onto it.
Charles’ interest in growing Australian plants as Bonsai dates back to the late ninetees. As is well known, Charles has led a lotus-eater existence for a long time – working spring and summer in Australia and then jetting off to France to catch up with the hastening spring and summer over there. In France he would grow some Australian plants and he kept an eye out for anyone else who may share this interest.
Hearing of a plant nursery about half an hour from where he lived he called in to discover that it was a vast, well-established nursery, the largest Bonsai pépinièrein France*, covering many hectares. Seeking out Jacques Galinou, the owner and head of the nursery, he was engaged to work there on his return from Australia. This formed the foundation of Charles’ horticultural training.
After another six months in Australia he worked at the nursery for two full years learning every aspect of nursery work. He also carried out trials to assess the viability of new species for Bonsai culture. Another of his duties involved overall responsibility for watering the massive number of plants. This he found physically exhausting and very stressful, especially in summertime; an experience which must still give him nightmares, from his telling.
Charles introduced our group to the processes of Bonsai cultivation by demonstrating al vivowith a self-sown Banksia marginatawhich had germinated in a corner of his garden. The spade is held vertically and a semi-circle cut to spade-depth about 20cm out around the trunk. This allows for tiny rootlets to sprout from the incised roots, while still allowing the tree to absorb nutrients via the remaining uncut roots. While the tree continues to grow naturally, the remaining semi-circle is cut in the same manner a few months later. Eventually, and through this method, the tree will develop a thick trunk above ground and a root-ball of bristling tiny roots below which is the sought-after result essential for Bonsai. The tree is then carefully lifted and after judicial pruning it is placed on the shallow Bonsai tray. This has already been prepared with the appropriate mix of ingredients which include top quality potting mix, sand, coir or peat and fine gravel. Good drainage is essential. The medium is dibbled-in to exclude any air pockets and then watered thoroughly.
There are many different schools of thought on how the branches and even leaves should be contorted and displayed once the plant is in place. Charles gave us a broad explanation of the concepts behind these. He did insist that we hold another two workshops between now and his annual migration when the next steps of Bonsai culture will be covered. These dates will be announced soon. Àbien tôt!
We broke up past 1:00pm having spent over two very pleasant hours being instructed by a very knowledgeable master who, at all times, was what President Emmanual Macron may describe as ‘delicious’.
*Check their website: www.galinou-bonsai.fr/la-pepiniere
September 22 – Pines Flora and Fauna Reserve spring walk
About a dozen members took advantage of a nice day to enjoy a guided walk through the Pines Flora and Fauna Reserve on Saturday 22nd September. Thanks for these photos goes to Jenny Bolger.
Thanks also to Robyn Tyson for these close up shots of some of the beautiful flowers seen.
Plant of the Month – September
After being away for three months there was lots of growth in everything in our garden, weeds included. However our Eremophila Mackinlayi exceeded all else, including Karen! The bees loved it and into December are still foraging in the flowers.
October 6 – Dromana Garden Visits
On Saturday 6th October we were very pleased (and proud) to welcome 36 visitors to our garden and the garden of our near neighbours, Norma and David Baud. (Norma is a member of Friends of Seawinds.) After a brief slide presentation about the history of our garden and some yummy morning tea – thanks to those who brought something to share – we headed out to enjoy the sunshine and look at the plants in bloom. Fortunately many were at their best. As those who came can attest we have done our best to choke back the weeds by the successful use of many ground cover plants. After a while the group moved up to the Baud’s garden, which starts out on the nature strip!
It is more established and looked lovely too. Karen and I have admired their garden since we came to Dromana seven years ago and it was lovely for our group to stroll around it. I especially like the water features and the old cart near the gazebo.
Thanks to those who came and an invitation to any members who missed out to come another time.
Committee member, Robyn Tyson was proud to send me this report and photos of her Eucalyptus macrocarpa. Yes, even though it has a straggly growth I’m jealous!
“In 2010 I assisted my daughter in a thesis on nectar that possums eat. We went To Aranoa Gardens in Balwyn and found the spectacular Eucalyptus Macrocarpa in flower, I had to have one.
This article was posted on my blog, Born To Travel Australia, and I have included it here as I hope you will find it interesting and informative. Karen and I certainly enjoyed exploring these gardens. (www.borntotravelaustralia.wordpress.com)
Arriving early afternoon in Port Augusta from Gawler allowed us the opportunity to visit and spend some time walking around the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens on the outskirts of town. As we drove in we noticed some wonderful iron sculptures of native Australian flora and fauna on the gateposts. After driving about a kilometre we reached the car park. After parking our car we collected a brochure detailing a few of the walking trails in the gardens. From there it was a short walk to the pedestrian entry gate. Here one can read the history of how these Botanic Gardens came to be. (More details at the conclusion.) We collected a walks brochure and read it for a few minutes. As two of the walks overlapped for a bit we decided to start the Highlights Walk.
Near the Visitors Centre we spotted a beautiful Sturt Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa) in bloom.
Along the way there were some sculptures interspersed in between the plants. This one caught our attention. Entitled Bush Flies, it was created by Anna Small.
Informative information boards kept us informed and entertained at times.
Absolutely loved the gumnuts on this Eucalyptus youngiana
and the flowers on this Eucalyptus kruseana were spectacular
and the trunks on the Eucalyptus salicola were lovely.
One of our favourite sections were the Arid courtyard gardens. An information board at the entry to each showed a plan and gave a plant list.
As we completed our circuit we were lucky enough to see two more tough but delicate Eremophilas
as well as an information board about Robert Brown, the botanist who had travelled with Explorer Navigator, Matthew Flinders in 1802 when they mapped and visited Spencer Gulf. Brown had collected and named many of the Eremophilas.
As we exited the gardens we saw a Flinders Ranges wattle in bloom.
Very apt as across the gulf we could see the Flinders Ranges in the distance too
and the red cliffs along the edge of the Spencer Gulf certainly stood out as we drove back towards the caravan park.
For garden and plant lovers, especially native Australian plant lovers such as our members this garden is a must if you are in this part of South Australia.
A Brief Timeline History of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens in Port Augusta
1981 First proposal to set up the gardens on its current site.
1988 To commemorate Australia’s Bicentennial the entrance gate was built.
1991 – 1994 WMC Ltd, Australian Federal Government and Port Augusta City Council jointly fund and develop the gardens.
1996 Eremophilas were planted out.
2004 A new entrance gate with sculptures was created, the gardens were upgraded and the walking tracks were made.
2008-9 Sculptures were added
Plant of the Month – November
At the bottom of our driveway, ready to welcome visitors in late November/early December, is our Melaleuca linearis ‘Seafoam’ – such a shame this newsletter isn’t tactile as it is so soft to touch.
Tuesday 20th November – Mad about Moths
This entertaining talk was delivered by guest speaker Cathy Powers. The accompanying slideshow with some amazing close up photos of moths, taken by Cathy, opened up a whole new world for many of us.
Over thirty members attended, along with a few guests. As a result the plant table was overflowing. Three tables were needed.
Robyn detailed some information about categorising plants and how some of the cuttings were grouped before Ruben highlighted a few special plants.
After that members spent quite a while looking at and discussing the plants before supper.
Christmas break up lunch
Our regular Christmas break up lunch will be at leader, Verena Reich’s home, 24 Mashie Court, Rosebud at 12 noon on Sunday 9th December. Bring a small plate of food to share. Look forward to seeing many of you there at this busy time of the year.
I’ll leave you with a photo of a recent ‘lunch’ visitor to our garden. He was keen on the ants, of course, but I like the Banksia blechnifolia and the Callistemon ‘Candy Pink’ in the photo too. (Thanks to my son Todd’s girlfriend Cindy for the photo.)
Happy Christmas to everyone and hope your garden provides lots of pleasure over the summer. The first meeting next year will on Tuesday 19th February at Benton Square Community Centre at 7:30pm.
Hello and welcome to our Autumn Newsletter.
My featured image is one of several red flowering plants presently in bloom in our garden. Masses of red flowers have the bees really interested in our Hakea ‘Burrendong Beauty’.
Next up on our 2018 calendar of events is our annual plant sale, a golden opportunity to find that special plant or two for your garden. Spread the word and bring along a friend or neighbour.
Already our group has enjoyed a variety of speakers and activities this year, practical and informative.
February 20th – The Ties that bind – the role of fungi in the ecosystem
Our guest speaker, Sapphire McMullan-Fisher, a mycologist from the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne and the coordinator of Fungimap, gave an entertaining and informative talk about the role of fungi in various ecosystems. Her talk was enthusiastically presented and supported by a wonderful set of PowerPoint slides. We even learnt some very new difficult words associated with fungi! More information can be found at – https://fungimap.org.au
Our plant table was well covered. A few specimens that caught my eye included a Lomandra ‘Frosty Top, a Banksia prionotes and a lovely Eremophila macdonellii.
March 17th – Garden maintenance workshop
Our March excursion was to AustPlant Nursery at Main Ridge for a workshop on garden maintenance. Daavid Turnbull, one of our members is also a staff member at AustPlant. Using a number of plants within their display garden Daavid demonstrated a number of techniques to revitalise plants, some as simple as tip pruning and others more harsh, such as cutting back kangaroo paws to the ground when they have finished flowering.
With our climate constantly changing David felt timing of these activities was also important.
Following the workshop members had the chance to further explore the plants and unique sculptures
in AustPlant’s display gardens or browse and purchase plants from their extensive range.
Thanks to David for his presentation and for AustPlant’s ongoing support of our monthly raffle with plants.
Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show
Our group was represented in the hanging basket display created by Brenda Martin and Robyn Tyson. The ladies started back at the end of last year planning and planting their basket with more than twenty local plants. They were able to show us at our February 20th meeting how the plants in the basket were progressing. The emphasis was on foliage texture as most of the plants would not be flowering during the period of the garden show.
Even though our basket was not the eventual winner it was however ‘placed’ next to the winner when on display in the Carlton Gardens. Well done Robyn and Brenda.
Plant of the Month: March
Our plant of the month is a Banksia burdettii. This beautiful specimen can be found in our leader, Verena’s garden. She planted it in 2016 from a 10cm tub. It is in a sheltered position in full sun away from the roots of other plants. As this is the first time it has flowered we are lucky to see it. Verena waters it about once a month and so far it is handling the dry weather we have been experiencing. Thanks Verena. (Your newsletter editor is impressed and jealous!)
Don’t forget to send me photos of any plants you particularly like that are in bloom in your garden. Alternatively let me know and a photographer can be arranged. Email to mornpenaps @gmail.com, marking the email Attention:Mark Allison.
April 17th – Tootgarook Swamp
Cameron Brown, President of Save Tootgarook Swamp was our speaker for our afternoon meeting. Cameron informed us the swamp is the largest remaining shallow freshwater marsh in the Port Phillip and Western Port region, 590 hectares in size. Some 29 ecological classes of vegetation are found within the swamp. Over 150 species of birds and 8 frogs species have been observed in the swamp also. Cameron was pleased to inform us the Council has recently purchased a large parcel of land in the area in Capel Sound with a view to restoring the area. Of concern is the fact that VicRoads has some of this area designated for future road developments. Save Tootgarook Swamp and SPIFFA are hoping that this area can be reclassified and an alternative route be found for future freeway extensions. More information can be found at – https://www.savetootgarookswamp.org
As usual there were lots of lovely specimens on our plant table. Those that caught my eye included- a Lamberti orbifolia,
a Grevillea ‘Yamba Sunshine’,
an unusual Crinum pedunculatum
and a lovely bonsai specimen that member, Sue Gilbert has been creating using a coastal tea tree, Leptospermum laevigatum. Well done Sue.
Plant of the Month – April
A more than suitable plant flowering in our garden presently is a Callistemon Anzac White. It doesn’t mind the slightly clay conditions. This is its second year in our garden and it has delicate white bottlebrushes. Sadly they are soon gone when the wind blows. The plant is spreading horizontally well but we are waiting for a bit of vertical growth as it could reach a metre and a half in height whilst having the potential to spread out as far as three metres wide.
Members of APS Mornington Peninsula are again able to order Bush Tucker or other Neutrog products in bulk quantities. This year there is a handling cost of $2 per item meaning 20kg Bush Tucker would be $32 inclusive. If you are interested send an email to mornpenaps.gmail.com, marking it Attention:Jenny. Deadline for orders is Friday 11th May so be quick.
As Karen and I will be away during the period from June to August I would appreciate anyone attending our excursions, planting/weeding days or our meetings to hear a guest speaker writing a brief report and/or sending me some photos for our web newsletter. Mark them Attention: Mark Allison and send to our email address – firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming Up – Saturday 19th May
Our next excursion is to Main Ridge to hear from Dr Greg Holland from Landcare. Arrive at 10:15 for a 10:30 start. As well as an informative discussion there is an inspection of the property which is within the Greens Bush to Arthurs Seat biolink meaning walking is involved so come in suitable footwear. If you are coming look for the yellow APS marker at 356 Baldrys Rd, Main Ridge. You can park in the paddock to the left, just off the main driveway. Hope to see you there.
Hello members and other readers,
Even though our garden tends to look its best in Spring it has been able to showcase a few plants in bloom during the Summer. One of our favourites, Banksia occidentalis is in lovely bloom now
and our Banksia serrata has given us an ongoing display.
We even had an unexpected visitor to our garage. I relocated him to the driveway near our garden and he was soon off to explore. Since then he has been seen in various parts of the garden over the Summer.
2018 Calendar of Events
Our committee took a well earnt rest for a while but has been busy sorting out the details of our 2018 program, which again features some excellent speakers and some interesting excursion venues. The details of our first few meetings and excursions plus our Annual Plant Sale are as follows. If you have something in bloom make sure you take a cutting and bring it along to the plant table at any of our meetings.
Tuesday 20th February
7:00pm for a 7:30pm start at Benton Square Community Centre
Topic: The Ties That Bind – the Role of Fungi in Ecosystems
Speaker: Sapphire McMullan Fisher, Coordinator Fungimap/Mycologist RBG Melbourne
Saturday 17th March
10:30am at Austplant, Purves Road, Arthurs Seat
Topic: Workshop on native plant maintenance
Tuesday 17th April
2:00pm for 2:30pm start at Benton Square Community Centre
Topic: Tootgarook Swamp
Speaker: Cameron Brown, President of Save Tootgarook Swamp
Saturday 5th May
10:30am – 3:30pm at Seawinds, Arthurs Seat
Annual Plant Sale
For the full program click on the Calendar tab at the top of this page. Do note that a few dates are lacking some details. As things are finalised the Calendar will be regularly updated.
Plant of the month : February
Although small and delicate we were very pleased to see a recently planted Melaleuca thymifolia in flower on our return from our holiday. The flower is a pale pink and soft to touch. It is handling reasonably clayish soil.
Don’t forget every month I am looking for photos of plants that members have in bloom in their garden. So feel free to email photos to email@example.com and include Attention: Mark Allison in the subject line. Please keep file sizes to less than 1Mb. Thanks.
Look forward to seeing you during the year.
Here it is, the final newsletter for 2017. Lots to share since our last newsletter. Thanks to many of our membership group who have supplied me with ‘words and photos’ to cover for the time when Karen and I were away in Spain. We even saw quite a few Eucalpyts in our travels such as here in the hilltop ‘white village’ of Arcos de la Frontera. It appeared they were being used to help with erosion.
We loved walking in the mountains of Andalusia, visiting the magnificent gardens of the Alcazar in Seville and the Alhambra in Granada and admiring their beautiful patio gardens but to come home to magnificent Australian natives flowering in the gardens of the Mornington Peninsula is truly wonderful. Here’s a photo of our Melaleuca linearis “Sea Foam” which is so fluffy. It’s a shame you can’t touch it.
Grevilleas with Neil Marriott – Saturday 15th July
We have been treated to many excellent presenters over the last few years but Neil Marriott’s talk about ‘Grevilleas in the Garden’ was near the top of the tree. Even though not our regular time many members came to this session. Accompanied by a detailed Powerpoint photo presentation Neil covered a multitude of sub-topics. From my notes I have tried to cover most in my report that follows.
In his introduction he mentioned that Grevilleas are not keen on sandy soils but like gravel, loam or clay soils. They also like nutrients in the soil and germinate well after bushfires. They are the third largest genus in Australia, two thirds naturally occurring in South West Western Australia.
Neil went on in depth to discuss Grevilleas that could grow well in sandy soils commonly found on the Peninsula. These included-
G.magnifica subsp. magnifica, G. Magnifica subsp. remota, (found at Cave Hill in WA), G. Bipinnatifida, G. Bronwenae (near Busselton and is critically endangered) which only lives 3-5 years but grows from seed or cutting, G. confertifolia (Grampians), G. crithmifolia tolerates alkaline soils, G. curviloba (Swan coastal plain – groundcover with soft foliage) is sadly confined to roadsides now, G. fililoba (South of Geraldton critically endangered), G. nivea 2x3m, G. olivacea thrives on sandy soils, G. excelsior (large gold blooms, better when grafted on G. robusta), G. thelemanniana,
There are over 1000 Grevillea cultivars and hybrids and Neil highlighted –
G. New Blood, G. Colloroy Plateau (G. speciosaxsericea, G. Gilt Dragon, G. Red Sunset. g. Lemon Supreme, G. poorinda Hula, G. Canning Classic (grafted with gold blooms), G. Canning Gold, G. Desert Flame, G. superb (great bird attracter), G. peaches n Cream, G. Majestic (red hybrid), G. Bush Lemons (tropical hybrid about 1m that needs to be sprayed for bud mites), G. Tirari Sunrise plus G. Wendy Sunshine, one he has bred and named.
Next Neil showed us a few Grevileas which grow well as standards –
Grevillea Gaudi Chaudi, grafted on to G. Robusta, G. thyrsoides, G. Wakati Gem, G. tenuiloba quite often flowers better as a standard.
Finally he discussed and showed us some new species yet to be published. These included -Grevillea aspera subs nova Gawler Range, G. johnsonii subs johnsonii, G. nudiflora and G. nudiflora subsp nova Mid Mt Barren,
Needless to say Grevilleas were also well represented on the plant table that day.
The Annual Planting Day with Ranger Sam Pollard at Devilbend Reservoir was held on a cold day with blue skies on Saturday 29th July. Along with several others our group was involved again. It’s amazing how quickly you can plant a tray of tube stock using one of the Hamilton planting tools. Thanks to those who helped out.
Plant of the Month – August
This month Verena has sent me two photos of her spectacular Acacia denticulosa (Sandpaper wattle). Verena says it was planted as a small tube specimen in mid 2014, in extremely poor water-repellant yellow sand but in the sunniest spot in the garden. It has received infrequent small amounts of water in Summer for 2 years. Spindly to start but with judicious tip pruning has grown many more branches. Flowers from July to September, best in August. Have seen it growing well in Maranoa Gardens in well-drained clay soil. Difficult to make a photo of its intense bright yellow that lifts the gloom of Winter.
It certainly looked great on the plant table too.
Lake Eyre – Verena Reich
Due to a last minute cancellation our leader Verena stepped into the breach and gave us an entertaining and informative talk about her trip to see Lake Eyre in flood. Now all we need is for the lake to be flooded again and to have the time and money to go and see for ourselves.
Just under 20 of our members gathered just before 10:30am at Warragine Reserve on Saturday 16th September for a post burn walk with Mornington Peninsula Shire Ranger Matt Stahmer, plus Anthony Fennel from Nature Links. Back in early January 2015 a blaze burnt through the area along the Warrangine walk so this was a good chance to see how things had recovered.
Lots of burnt trees remain but new growth was very evident.
We were certainly in the hands of two knowledgable men, passionate for their local environment.
It was a good walk enhanced by the opportunity to learn more about the local environment.
Plant of the Month – September
After being planted from tube nearly two years ago we were delighted to see not only a spurt in growth but some lovely yellow flowers erupting from our Hibbertia racemosa this spring. It is growing in quite heavy soil/clay but seems to be doing well now and stands at about 40cms so far.
Frankston gardens – Saturday 7th October
Members had a double delight when they were able to visit the garden of one of our members, Brenda Martin, as well as Frankston’s George Pentland Botanic Gardens on Saturday 7th October. Thanks to member, Sonya Bunting for her thoughts. Sonya was a bit restricted for time and couldn’t go on from Brenda’s garden with the group but managed to return to see the botanic gardens later.
“Brenda’s garden was compact but beautifully laid out, and made quite an impression on her visitors. It was a surprise package of private spaces which were beautiful to meander through and also must be a delight to view from within her home, at the front, side and back. She has made excellent use of the slope of the block with large rocks in her landscaping, layered planting and a charming rock water feature trickling into a pond. Brenda also made great use of pots on her paving. She had a stunning example of one of my favourites ‘Eremophila Nivea’ in full bloom with its elegant silver foliage. Brenda’s garden showed how beautiful an Australian native garden can be with sympathetic landscaping, good planning and an interesting selection of flowering trees, shrubs and ground covers. Further around the back we found the productive part of the garden with citrus and veggies, then the hub of the garden – the potting table. Brenda was a wonderful host for the open garden, and is an inspiration to me as a native garden novice.”
Plant of the Month – October
Pileanthus nitidus (Copper Cups) was providing Verena with a beautiful display during October. Thanks for sharing Verena. Remember, if you have a plant in your garden providing a great show then email me a copy (less than 1Mb please), let me know a few details and I’d love to include it in one of our newsletters. Email to- firstname.lastname@example.org marking it Attention:Mark Allison
Tuesday 17th October
Topic: Fire Reduction Burning
On Tuesday 17th October Damien Sayer ranger in charge of fire and emergency operations at DWELP for the south East Melbourne district, talked to a substantial, interested audience about his job. Thanks to member, Robyn Tyson, for this report and for the photos from the plant table.
Featured items from the plant table-
A Trip To Pomonal Native Flower Show
The Pomonal Native Flower Show was, as usual, absolutely stunning in the sheer number and variety of species (more than 300) picked from private gardens in the local area. The mind boggles at the amount of work the committee must have to do to put on the show each year. Our thanks go out to them. Alongside the show was an excellent selection of books for sale relating to native plants and in the immediate area of the hall where the wildflowers were displayed several growers of Australian native plants had stalls. These included two of Australia’s most expert growers in Phil Vaughan and Neil Marriott, so yes of course we came away with a few unusual Grevilleas to help attract honeyeaters to our garden.
Our stay was in a cottage overlooking a paddock and when we arrived a flock of fifty or more sulphur crested cockatoos were grazing close by and in and amongst them were a dozen or so roos, one or two with joeys in their pouches and early next morning there were roos all over the paddock, again numbering at least fifty.
Over the weekend we were particularly pleased to greet a couple of other APS members from our Mornington group, one of whom was first sighted kneeling on the ground with her posterior in the air. It turned out that she was taking a close up photo of a spider orchid and since photography was also one of our objectives we were soon also similarly recumbent.
At this time of year the Grampians offer the most amazing number and variety of wild flowers, particularly orchids. The accompanying photos and many many more were all taken close by Lake Fyans in an area no larger than a tennis count. Over the weekend there are also several Wildflower walks guided by locals. Our identification of the orchids is pretty well guess work so if you have a go yourself you’ll be just as accurate.
We unreservedly recommend The Pomonal Native Flower Show as one of the great APS Victoria events of the year.
– Philip and Moira Robinson
Tuesday 21st November
Topic: Landscape Architecture
Our speaker was Barrie Gallacher, MA Landscape Architecture, who presented us with an informative talk about the role of a landscape architect and in particular he detailed to us some of the projects he has been in charge of over the length of his career. He started with a major project for a middle eastern monarch and continued showing us several Australian projects, some using indigenous plants as well as Australian natives of a broader origin. Barrie was happy to answer questions from a full meeting room of members.
Here are a couple of photos of specimens that were on the plant table.
Plant of the Month – November
This month’s featured plant is from Sue Gilbert’s garden. Sue says, “this picture of one of my favourite small plants in my garden. It’s a Thelionema caespitosum, (tufted lily) and it probably keeps flowering for about a month. I just love the colour of the flowers. They really are an electric blue. It’s now quite rare on the Mornington Peninsula. Mine’s growing in dappled to full sun, and l tend to water it regularly during the summer, as it prefers moist soils.”
Link to Inverawe Gardens newsletter
Several of our members have visited Inverawe Gardens in Margate whilst holidaying in Tasmania. They are a wonderful example of a large Australian garden open to the public. The owners, Bill and Margaret Chestnut, produce an interesting newsletter. If you’d like to check them out here’s the address – http://www.inverawe.com.au/newsarchive.html
Ray and Eva Turner had some surprises in their garden recently. Here is Ray’s report of the discovery with some photos.
“Recently we had our first kangaroo sighting. It was kind enough to give me time to get my camera and then hop up towards the house and stop so I could get a couple of photos. Whilst out I noticed a dead branch on the drive. On it was some mistletoe, Amyena pendular. It was just a stroke of luck that I noticed them when I picked up the branch on the drive. I have been trying to get some information since about transplanting as they would have no hope on a dead stick. I can’t find anything on Google about it and with my enquiries to some learned people, they all have different and conflicting ideas. The only thing I’ve learnt so far is don’t use honey as it’s an antiseptic and it will probably kill them quicker. Anyway, amazingly the photos I took of the two baby stages turned out pretty good and I think fairly interesting with the green growing tips. Now I guess the challenge is to find a live branch to try to relocate them and give them a fighting chance to survive.”
Coming up – Christmas break up lunch
Sunday 10th December at our leader, Verena Reich’s, house and garden – 24 Mashie Court, Rosebud. Bring a plate of food to share and a chair to sit on. Dessert, wine, water, tea and coffee provided. BYO other drinks. Hope you can be there.
Happy Christmas to all. May you and your garden prosper in 2018.