aps mornington peninsula

APS Mornington Peninsula is a local member group of Australian Plants Society Victoria.


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Newsletter 2, 2017

Welcome to our second newsletter for the year. Much has happened since March. Later on in this newsletter you can read about our excursion to Tootgarook in May and also the wonderful guest speakers who visited our meetings in April and June.

Our next meeting is on Saturday 15th July  at 2:30pm at Bentons Square Community Centre. Our speaker is Neil Marriott and the topic is Growing Grevilleas. Don’t miss out on this special event.

Also coming up is the Annual Planting Day with Ranger Sam Pollard at Devilbend Reservoir on Saturday 29th July at 9:30am.

Location: 277 Derril Road Tuerong,  Melways page 152 F6

Parking at the swing gate along Derril Road as there is no parking on the block we are planting.

Remember you can click on the Calendar tab at the top of any page on our website for details of all this year’s upcoming events as well as details of previous 2017 meetings and excursions.

As you know I like to feature plants that are catching our attention each month in the garden as they flower, so here are a few that I hope appeal to you as much as they did to Karen and I.

Plant of the Month – May

Our Corymbia is a late flowering form but it certainly lit up the garden and attracted many bees during May and right through June too.

Plant of the Month – June

There’s nothing like a Hakea laurina for its beautiful pincushions

but we were really excited to see the blaze of colour when our Hakea ‘Bundenong Beauty’ flowered for the first time in June.

What do you think? Perhaps you have another Hakea which wins your vote. Remember I am always on the lookout for member plant inclusions in this section of our newsletter so if you have something flowering in your garden you are fond of why not share your love of it with us. Just send a photo (less than 1Mb in size) with a brief description of where it is growing, preferred soil conditions and why you like it, to our email – mornpenaps@gmail.com marking it Attention:Mark Allison

Our final Plant of the Month is a lovely Banksia baueri (Woolly banksia) from our leader Verena Reich’s garden. Well suited to the sandy soil in Rosebud its huge woolly cones are fantastic to touch. Thanks Verena.

Plant of the Month – July

Tuesday 18th April Meeting

Our speaker was Chris Long, APS Victoria President, who also doubles as our group’s Treasurer. His chosen topic: Gardens, Gardeners and APS Victoria. Chris began by highlighting the benefits of being involved as members of APS Victoria. From there he spoke about ‘grand’ gardens, ably supported by some wonderful photos in his PowerPoint presentation. Chris also talked about health benefits of being in our gardens before talking about the need for diversity in gardens. He concluded with some wonderful photos of some spectacular Australian native specimens.

Annual Plant Sale on Saturday 29th April

Our annual Plant Sale was held at Seawinds on a day of mixed fortunes weatherwise.

However we attracted three local growers (Seawinds Nursery, Merricks Nursery and Local Native Flora) as well as Vaughan’s from the Grampians and The Plant Hut from Glenmaggie in Gippsland.

Many members as well as locals patronised the various plant stalls.

We certainly found a few plants to embellish our garden and we trust you did too. Thanks to the committee members and other members who helped make this a successful event again.

Photos – Verena Reich

Saturday 20th May Excursion

Our excursion on this day was to Tootgarook Wetland Reserve for a ‘Walk in the Swamp’. Guided by Maayan Rousso, a Friend of Tootgarook Wetland Reserves 15 members attended. The wetlands lived up to their name and made it tricky for some of our group to move around. Here’s Ruben Buttigieg’s report and photos. Thanks Ruben.

All 15 excursion participants were assembled and ready to go by 10:30 when Maayan Rousso introduced herself to our group. Maayan, in Hebrew, means ‘Rain’ – a rather welcome event in that part of the Middle East – and, I mused, most appropriate for someone so involved with a wetlands environment.

Fortunately the weather was kinder than the showery morning offered by the B.O.M.. Maayan came fully equipped to meet any eventuality, wearing a tools-belt which carried an array of implements ready to dig, trim, slash or pluck out anything vegetable or mineral as required. Included too was a snake-bite kit. But the greatest resource was in her head: her detailed knowledge of every aspect of this environment: the flora, the fauna and the unique delicate fabric of the swamp.

A general physical view of the Tootgarook* Wetlands was illustrated in all its details by a massive aerial photograph that Maayan unrolled, pointing out all the different features. A swamp such as the Tootgarook Swamp is defined as land subject to inundation overlay. The Swamp, which once covered more than 800 hectares is now half that size and much of it in private hands. Actions by some irresponsible landholders in the past caused damage to some areas; these are now being restored. Nevertheless, the Wetland retains its classification as an HBD area (Highest Bio-diversity). There are many government authorities and conservation groups involved in caring for the Tootgarook Swamp, balancing countervailing interests.

While we readied to take off on our walk a harrier and a kestrel could be observed effortlessly gliding and circling in the middle distance, using air currents in their seemingly dilatory but purposeful way, on the alert for prey. Over 150 bird species have been observed over time, deriving benefit from the Swamp’s natural resources. During our excursion, our resident ‘eagle-eyed’ bird observer, David Ap-Thomas, spotted 19 species.

We started off from Elizabeth Street, next to Chinaman’s Creek which is, in fact, not a natural creek but an excavated drain. In its waters a waterfowl floated serenely, ducking its neck occasionally (see photo). During our walk Maayan pointed out a vast diversity of plant-life and their varying roles in the life of this unique eco-system: from Poa to (native) Parsnip; from sedges to Shield Pennywort to Sea parsnip. Many species of Melaleuca and Tea-trees and tall grasses such as Phragmitis australis, among whose large drifts black swans safely nest. There are many species of fish, frogs and also tortoises.

The ground was overall not as wet as I had anticipated but some spots were very soft indeed, with areas which remain saturated all-year-round, except in extreme drought conditions we were told. For our next excursion to this fascinating site (and we definitely must go again) we must ensure that all participants equip themselves with appropriate waterproof footwear. Otherwise, some of the habitats will be out of reach and their full enjoyment of this almost-secret jewel will be lessened.

Further reading: There is a wealth of information on a number of well-resourced websites: I recommend starting with http://www.monash.edu.au/dangerousground/ramsar-can-it-save-one-of-australias-last-wetlands/

*Tootgarook is an aboriginal word from the Kulin group of languages meaning ‘place of the croaking frogs’, clearly onomatopoeic.

Tuesday 20th June Meeting

Speaker Mark Adams, Local Native Flora, spoke on the topic: Frog Ponds and Small Wetland establishment. Some of you will have met Mark at our plant sale. Mark isn’t a regular speaker but due to his knowledge and enthusiasm spoke to the group, supported by a well planned PowerPoint presentation. Mark worked his way through various aspects – picking a good location, (whether that be above or below ground level), soil requirements, suitable plants and creature habitats finishing with how to maintain a healthy pond.

That’s all for this newsletter. Keep warm and hope to see you at one of our upcoming meetings or excursions.

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Newsletter 1 -2017

Here’s our first newsletter for 2017. Hope you enjoy reading it over the Easter break.

Our Annual Plant Sale is coming up very soon. Hope to see you at Seawinds on Saturday, April 29th anytime from 10am until 3:30pm.

First up my regular feature highlighting what it is growing in our area each month.

Plant of the Month – January

Our Callistemon ‘Pink Champagne’ was certainly in beautiful bloom and very attractive to the bees back in January. It was planted about twelve months ago in quite heavy clay soil but is doing well so far.

Plant of the Month – February

During February very few plants in our garden were flowering. However a number of Grevilleas were the exception. This Grevillea semperflorens easily reinforces the nickname ‘spider’ that many Grevilleas are renowned for. It is in a very heavy clay soil, along with two other Grevilleas and a couple of Callistemons on the south-west side of our property.

Plant of the Month – March

Robyn Tyson, one our Committee members, has provided our newsletter with the March Plant of the Month from her garden. Here’s what she had to say.

About 9 years ago I decided to have a Banksia garden. I bought things that might grow in my Mt Martha soil and cope with late frosts. Nothing happened flower-wise but everything is growing nicely. One in particular got to a size and stayed there.  Upon reading my Banksia book it said it may take 10 years to flower in cultivation. Patience is a virtue. My  Banksia Pilostylis has 3 flowers this year.  They are green with a black eye.

Thanks Robyn.

Plant of the Month – April

Now here’s a prostrate Goodenia ovata which we have flowering for the first time. We planted it last year and already it is spreading well and is a lovely splash of gold in our garden right now.

Don’t forget I am always on the lookout for member plant inclusions in this section of our newsletter so if you have something flowering in your garden you are fond of why not share your love of it with us. Just send a photo (less than 1Mb in size) with a brief description of where it is growing, preferred soil conditions and why you like it, to our email – mornpenaps@gmail.com marking it Attention:Mark Allison

Tuesday 21st February meeting

Our committee has been hard at work organising the program for this year but at times securing speakers has proven problematic. So when we had a late cancellation for our February meeting we were fortunate our own leader, Verena, was able to step in. She had been with the Friends of Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne to Mt Hotham over the summer. Her informative talk, suitably supported by an excellent PowerPoint presentation was well received and enjoyed by those in attendance.

Alpine scenery and plants surround Hotham Village: Celmisia pugioniformis, Stylidium armeria, E. pauciflora ssp apuciflora, Olearia phlogopappa

Certainly the Mt Hotham area offers a lot to plant lovers and hikers during the summer when it isn’t snow-covered. Later in this newsletter you will find a written report of Verena’s time at Mt Hotham with some accompanying photos.

Saturday 18th March Excursion to Merricks Nursery for a Propagation Workshop

Twenty-four members attended the Merricks Nursery for an extremely detailed talk and workshop demonstration by nurseryman, Richard Anderson. Firstly Richard revealed a few of his preferred books for propagation information. Following that he shared his experiences in growing Australian plants from seed, cuttings and division. The early part of his talk dealt with growing plants from seed, whether to pre-treat seeds or not, how to create a smoke water environment and what medium to plant the seeds into. His preferred medium is coconut peat and perlite. So now there’s a secret for us all! Next he showed us his smoker and his hothouse/shade-house set up for growing plants from cuttings. We were even misted along with the cuttings whilst checking it out. Back in his worksheet he showed how to prepare cuttings from samples brought from member’s gardens. Finally he demonstrated how to subdivide a kangaroo paw. Autumn is an ideal time of the year to do this. A delicious morning tea and the opportunity to purchase plants concluded the morning.

 

Plants seen in the Mt Hotham Region, 13-16 January 2017

In January this year, I joined the Friends of Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne who organised a 4 night stay at Hotham Heights. Over 3 days, a pleasantly-sized group of 18 were led by the inimitable Rodger Elliott and a local guide, ambling about in different regions – Little Mount Higginbotham, up the side of Mount Hotham, Dinner Plain and JB Plain, the Mount Hotham to Mount Feathertop Razor Back track, and a short trip further down the mountainside on the Dargo High Plains Road. And when I say amble, it was a joy to be amongst those who took their time to inspect plants and take many photographs.

An orgy of identification at start of Little Mount Higginbotham walk. From left to right: Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp. pauciflora, Chrysocephalum semiapposum, Podolobium alpestre, Pimelea ligustrina ssp. ciliata

Our walks were made in delightful weather, even the high winds and rain on the first day didn’t arrive until we were all safely inside Kalyna Lodge. The cool late summer had delayed the flowers, some early plants were still in bloom, while later ones had only just started.

Seen on the Mount Hotham to Mount Feathertop Razor Back track: ubiquitous False Dandelion, dead trees from several bushfires on the mountainside, with the Mt Buffalo range in the distance

So there were no “fields of flowers” other than the ubiquitous Cats’ Ear or False Dandelion.   But that didn’t hinder an orgy of identification. Most of the alpine plants were new to me, but thanks to the experts in the group, I’ve been able to put names to nearly all of my photos. In all, about 170 species were recorded (not including rushes, reeds, sedges, many of the grasses, lichens, mosses and fungi).

Caladenia alpina

In the evenings there was much discussion of plants seen that day. We were also entertained by illustrated talks given by some of the Friends, ranging from previous Alpine trips, Grassland of West Melbourne, The Kimberleys and the history of the historic house Harewood.

My overall impression of the plants in this region is the large variety of herbaceous perennials and the adaptation of shrubs to the harsh Alpine environment. Here are some highlights:

  • There are Alpine species of many of the common families and genus – Myrtaceae (Eucalyptus, Baeckia, Callistemon, Kunzea), Proteaceae (Grevillea, Hakea), Asteraceae (Brachyscome, Chrysocephalum, Microseris, Olearia, Ozothamnus, Senecio, Xerochrysum), Fabaceae (Acacia, Bossiaea, Hovea, Podolobium, Pultanea), Ericaceae (Epacris), Thymaelaceae (Pimelea).

    Hovea montana – last flower of the late Spring

  • Snow Daisies (Celmisia) and Billy Buttons (Craspedia) are common sights in Alpine summer scenes, as are the Trigger Plants (Spyridium).
  • Some Alpine plants will grow quite happily in warmer, drier non-Alpine gardens – Olearia phlogopappa, Grevillea australe, Tasmannia lanceolata, Wahlenbergia gracilis.
  • Unusual species – Orites lancifolius (Proteaceae)
  • The usual name change confusion – Mountain and Snow Beard-heath are now called Acrothamnus not Leucopogon because their flowers do not have “beards”
  • Unusual families – Apiaceae – Aciphylla glacilis (Mountain Celery), Oreomyrrhis eriopoda (Australian Caraway)

    An unusual plant – Aciphylla glacilis

  • Unusual forms – the flowers of Velleia montana (Mountain Velleia) and Trachymene humilis (Alpine Trachymene) have much shorter stalks than other species of these genus.
  • Inevitable orchids – Caladenia alpestris, Chiloglottis valida (Bird-orchid), Prasophyllum alpestre and tadgellianum(Leek-orchids), Pterostylis cycnocephala (Alpine Swan Greenhood)
  • Simply beautiful – Wahlenbergia gloriosa

To conclude, I can recommend a trip to the Alps in the summer – it’s easy walking and lots to see. The experience is even better when you go with a friendly group, particularly when some of them are already familiar with Australian Alpine plants.

Photos and words – Verena Reich

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 18th April at 2:30pm at Benton Square Community Centre. Our speaker will be our very own Chris Long, APS President, and he will present on – Gardens, Gardening and APS Victoria. It promises to be an interesting afternoon.

That’s all this time. Happy gardening!


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Upcoming Events for 2017

echidna-drinking

Hello members and other readers.

It’s time to jump aboard your car and make your way to one of our meetings or excursions. Here are the details for remaining events in the first part of the year. Thanks to Ray Turner for the photo of the thirsty echidna who was actually having a drink from the back of the pottery ute in his and Eva’s garden!

Saturday 18th March

10:30am at Merricks Nursery

Topic: Propagation Workshop

Speaker: Richard Anderson

 

Tuesday 18th April

2:30pm at Benton Square Community Centre

Topic: TBA

Speaker: TBA

 

Saturday 29th April

Annual Plant Sale at Seawinds, Arthurs Seat State Park

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Details of other upcoming events during 2017 can be found by clicking on the Calendar menu.

 


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Newsletter 3 – 2016

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Welcome to this summer edition of our newsletter. Hope you are having a wonderful time in your garden with family and friends over the festive season.

Since the last newsletter Karen and I have spent time walking and travelling around Japan. Whilst there we had the opportunity to visit many beautiful gardens.

This means that we have missed seeing plants in our garden in bloom over October and the early part of November. So it was a pleasure to have a member of our group, Brenda Martin send in some photos and a report about her garden. Thanks Brenda.

October – Plant of the Month – Brenda Martin’s garden

After all the rain we have had, and all the cold and windy weather, my garden has excelled itself this year!
I moved to Frankston South about 4 years ago and promptly ripped out all the lawn (no mowing for me!) and all the roses and most of the exotic plants. Replaced by some large rocks and mulch, dotted with native grasses, wattles, westringias, grevilleas and a few eucalypts as a basis.
Over the past few years I have bought any natives that appealed to me and put them in wherever I fancied. Somehow it seems to have worked and when, finally, we had a sunny day this October, I went out to the garden and was amazed and delighted. All the shrubs were in full bloom, bees, hover flies and butterflies were everywhere, and even the clown-like New Holland Honeyeaters, Spinebills and Wattlebirds were busily collecting nectar –  a ‘living’ garden. It made my day.
Some of my favourite plants in flower at the moment are:

Alyogyne  huegelii (mauve blue), several Correas, including Chef’s Cap and Fat Fred,
Eremophila nivea

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Grevillea ‘Ned Kelly’, G. Intricata, G. ‘Superb’, and others.

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A brilliant pink Leptospermum, flowers covering the whole bush (don’t know which one), Myoporum floribundum, weeping over the pond, Thomasia pygmaea (a delight, especially after our talk recently) 
and Ricinocarpus pinifolius (Wedding Bush) – pictured below.

Give me Aussie plants any day!

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Plant of the month – November

Returning home from Japan it was exciting to see what was flowering in our garden as in Japan autumn colours were all the go. A relatively new section of our ever developing garden was flowering well. Many plants for the first time. Well done to our Melaleuca wilsonii, M. armillaris, Isopogon cuneatus, Hymenosporum flavum (native frangipani), Dampiera trigona and Banksia blechnifolia but one other stood out. Also flowering for the first time since we planted it was an Eremophila makinlayi, from friends in Melton, so it was an easy choice as my plant of the month. (Not so easy was the removal of many weeds that had sprung up in our absence however!)

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Plant of the month – December

Many are excited about their Christmas tree in December but we were excited by the beautiful white flowering of two of our plants. The first was Melaleuca linarifolia (Seafoam) which is at the the bottom of the driveway in a heavy clay situation, surviving where previously two other less hardy plants had failed to their detriment. The second was a Myoporum floribundum (struck from a plant table cutting by Karen) with its lovely weeping branches. Sadly the hot spell has knocked out the flowers of the Melaleuca seafoam so here is a picture of the tougher weeping Myoporum floribundum.

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Meetings and excursions

During our absence in October we missed two activities. The first was a visit to Gidja Walker’s in Rye on October 1st. Fortunately Ray Turner has sent me some photos. Here are a few of the photos for those who also may have missed this excursion. Thanks Ray!

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Our guest speaker for the meeting on October 18th was Trevor Blake. Despite having what was described as ‘technical difficulties’ he delivered an informative talk about the Malvaceae family. If like me you weren’t sure of Malvaceae family members think Hibiscus and Alyogyne and you’ll be starting down the right garden path!

On November 15th, just after returning home we were lucky enough to attend a talk by the entertaining and informative Cathy Powers. In her ‘Grasslands and their Flora’ talk she was able to make many comparisons between grasslands in her native USA and Australia. Her talk was supported by a lovely PowerPoint presentation. Fortunately she didn’t have any technical difficulties!

APS Victoria update

Committee of Management restructure
After three years of various proposals and some degree of upset we have finally decided to leave the structure as it is.  This will help in reducing tension and unifying all members.

60th birthday

Next year we (APSV) turn 60, a notable milestone.  We will be having a celebration afternoon tea at Melton on Saturday June 17th.  It would be good to see some MornPen members there.

Quarterly Gatherings

In the past we have had quarterly gatherings associated with the Committee of Management meetings – Mornington Peninsula hosted the September 2013 one. For those attending there is the opportunity to visit gardens and natural areas of interest and to meet with some of the wider APSV family.  We have found them very enjoyable.

Recently we have been unable to get hosts volunteering but I am pleased to say that Wangaratta will be hosting the September gathering and that more opportunities are likely to follow.  Why not come along to a gathering and see how much you get out of it.

Chris Long

APSV President

2017

Our committee is meeting on January 9th with the aim of finalising our calendar of events for 2017 so stay tuned. Remember you can click the Like button or make a Comment if you wish. In the meantime Happy New Year and enjoy your garden during summer.


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Newsletter 2 – 2016

Hello again fellow members and other readers,

It’s a great time to be out in the garden during spring, well on the sunny days when it’s not raining at least!

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Again I’ll start off things in this newsletter with my favourite plant for September. I am keen to feature some of your favourite plants too so do you have a specimen from your garden that is in magnificent bloom right now?   Send a photo, date of flowering and a brief description and I’ll aim to include some next newsletter. Email to me, ‘Attention Mark Allison’ at mornpenaps@gmail.com

What’s your favourite flowering Australian plant?

September

Much as we have a number of Grevilleas that are flowering beautifully at present, as well as first time flowerers like our little local Hibbertia sericea and a Melaleuca incana, my favourite at the moment is our lovely Eremophila nivea. I just love its velvety foliage and the way it contrasts so well with plants nearby with green foliage. However the delicate little flowers are the highlight. We have it in an open position and even though it can be quite windy at times it has been growing steadily and flowering well for over a year now.

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My wife Karen on the other hand would nominate our long flowering Leptospermum ‘Pink Cascade’ as her favourite right now. (Although she did admit my choice was a good one too.) We have two at the front of our property and given they are low growing they have spread out well and now soften the retaining wall edges. Plus Karen’s bees love them.

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Planting day at Devilbend Reservoir

A group of just under twenty volunteers joined ranger Sam Pollard for the annual planting day at Devilbend Reservoir on Saturday 30th of July. APS Mornington Peninsula comprised about a third of the group.

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Using about 600 plants supplied by Friends of Seawinds and the easy to use Hamilton tree planters supplied by Sam we were able to work in pairs and by late morning had completed filling in a section over on the south side of the reservoir. Thanks to those who were able to participate. (Photo – Verena Reich)

Plants for a Dry Climate

Our guest speaker for our Annual General meeting was to have been John Arnott from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne. Sadly he was ill on the day. A more than adequate replacement in Warren Warboys filled in. Using John’s Powerpoint presentation as a basis Warren was able to inform and entertain us on many ways we can droughtproof our gardens. A timely talk with a hot summer predicted. Warren covered five areas that we need to be aware of to maximise our chances of having a beautiful, thriving Australian garden. Firstly, knowing what can grow in our soil and ways to improve the soil in our garden. Secondly, being aware of the climate specific to your area. This led to making wise plant selections. Next Warren detailed practical ideas for mulching. Finally he spoke about the importance of irrigation and watering depending on all the previous aspects.

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Our current committee members are the same as last year with the exception of Trish Allen and Pam Sayers who has retired from the committee after giving excellent service to the group whilst on the committeee. Thanks Trish and Pam. The committee was very pleased to be able to welcome Karen Allison to their ranks.

Weeding day at Devilbend Reservoir

A small group of our about 6 APS members as well as the Seawinds Volunteers, Fly Fishers, Friends of Dangean and Landcare joined Ranger Sam Pollard at Devilbend Reservoir on Saturday 27th August, armed with loppers and other tools helped remove unwanted vegetation and weeds. In our Secretary Jenny’s words “they attacked the boneseed and were rewarded by some of Ranger Sam’s yummy chocolate cake”.

Jaede Garden visit

Sundays are not our usual excursion day but on Sunday 18th September John Jaede and his wife Cate welcomed 16 members of our group to their garden, Mirrumbeena. The garden is located on the hill, overlooking Safety Beach, in Mt Martha. Proceedings started with a lovely morning tea. After a brief word of introduction from John detailing the history of his garden we headed out to wander the paths and look at his garden.

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Given the garden is on quite a slope John has been able to create a dry creek bed through the garden with a couple of water features and sculptures to compliment the many beautiful native plants.

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He even encouraged cuttings to be taken. Hope you enjoy the photos from myself and Verena if you weren’t able to be present.

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Isopogon formosus

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Banksia blechnifolia

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These pictures are only a taste of the garden. You can see for yourself by coming to …….

Open Native Garden

38 Ellerina Rd Mt Marthadscn7339

Sat. 5th. and Sun. 6th. November

10 am to 4 pm.

Light refreshments available

Richard Anderson from Merricks Nursery will be present to give advice and sell his plants.

Entry $5

All proceeds to Kwaya Uganda to help with volunteer work in the slums.

Enquiries :  Cate Jaede  0404857827

Bright idea

When I was in the Army doing what was then known as National Service, painting rocks white along the roadside was a popular make work way of occupying soldiers who might otherwise be idle. And now after all these years I’ve again been painting stones white, and  it’s not the Army but Jane Edmanson who is responsible. Many of you, I’m sure will have seen on Gardening Australia recently, Jane showing us a way of marking the name of plants without having an unsightly label attached.  She demonstrated a flat stone painted white on one side with the plant name written on in pencil and the stone then placed white side down with perhaps a little mulch covering or semi-covering it. It works really well. If you feel a little classy you can actually print the plant name on a label and attach it.

Thanks to long time member Philip Robinson for this item.

New President of APS Victoria

Our own Chris Long is now the new President of APS Victoria, swapping his previous role as Treasurer of APS Victoria for the top job. Congratulations Chris!

That’s all for this edition as I am off to admire Japan and its beautiful but different gardens during October.

Remember to send in your favourite flowering plants for September/October/November to our email address – mornpenaps@gmail.com and be sure to mark them Attention: Mark Allison. Also hit the Like button or make a Comment if you wish. In the meantime happy reading and enjoy your garden during spring.

 


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Newsletter 1 – 2016

Hi fellow members,

Much has happened this year and now that the weather is not that inviting outside it’s a good chance for me to prepare this bumper edition newsletter and in turn a chance for you to sit and have a good read about the goings on of our group. Hopefully you’ve managed to attend a meeting or go on one of our Saturday excursions sometime this year. If not read on and you can catch up. (Note : If you click on the title Newsletter 1 – 2016 you will be able to see an even bigger and grander version of this newsletter!)

What’s your favourite flowering Australian plant?

August

I hope to feature some photos and descriptions of your favourite flowering Australian plants as a regular feature each newsletter. To kick things off here’s a couple of photos from Karen’s and my garden. It’s a Banksia occidentalis, sometimes called red swamp banksia. What we love about it is that it gives you double the joy when it flowers. That’s because it starts out this beautiful greyish-green

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and transforms into a lovely spear of red and gold.

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We have it growing on a slope and in reasonably free draining soil. It was one of the first shrubs we planted at this property just over four years ago and it is frequently in flower, greeting visitors as they come up our driveway.

So now it’s over to you, our readers, what is your favourite flowering Australian plant right now? Send a photo, date of flowering and a brief description and I’ll aim to include some each newsletter. Email to me, ‘Attention Mark Allison’ at mornpenaps@gmail.com

Next

A large part of the rest of this newsletter will be reports from our meetings and excursions. However keep reading to the end as I have saved a treat for you. Thanks to Ray Turner, a lovely article and beautiful photos about Ray and Eva’s love of Verticordias.

Merricks Nursery Garden Maintenance Workshop

On Saturday 19th March just over 20 members attended a garden maintenance workshop at Merricks Nursery run in two parts by Richard Anderson and his offsider, Michael. Firstly Richard took the group around the property and showed us a couple of ways to maintain and revitalise plants. With his kangaroo paws he waits until flowering is completed then with a brushcutter cuts them back virtually to ground level. Then in early winter new growth from the rhizomes will begin. His treatment of grassy lomandras was even harsher. At his disposal he had a flamethrower and was able to burn the lomandras right back so that they would come back with renewed new growth.

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Next we went into the workshop and Richard’s partner, Michael, demonstrated several ways of sharpening tools starting with shovels and spades.

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Next Michael moved onto secateurs, hedge shears, knives and a variety of other cutting tools.  Whilst doing this he was also able to show us a wide variety of sharpening tools, implements and stones at his disposal. This kept quite a few people busy noting these items and the stores in which they could be purchased. All in all it was an informative talk and demonstration.

After about an hour members were able to browse the nursery and make purchases.

Report – Mark Allison, Photos – Verena Reich

Bushfoods

Rodger and Gwen Elliott were the guest speakers for the meeting held on Tuesday 23rd April. Their topic was growing and enjoying Australian bush food plants. They detailed a wide variety which had either edible leaves, flowers, seeds or roots. Plants of interest included –

Lemon scented myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) whose leaves are full of fragrant citrus scented oil. Grows best in slightly acidic soil.

River mint (Mentha australis) which has mint fragrant leaves. These grow well in a slightly shady location.

Round leaf mint bush (Prostanthera rotundifolia) can be used as a herb in meat and fish dishes or in potato salad. It is a quick grower and should be pruned after flowering.

Round leaf mint bush (Prostanthera rotundifolia)

Mountain pepper (Tasmannia lanceolata) has leaves and berries which are edible and can be used as an alternative to traditional pepper, perhaps in a stir-fry. They need acidic soils and a semi shaded site.

Warrigal greens (Tetragonia tetragonioides) can be eaten as a leafy vegetable. Due to high oxalate levels it should be blanched then rinsed in cold water before cooking again. It is carpet like in growth and makes a good groundcover.

Plants whose flowers can be used included Banksia marginata and Viola hederacea. By soaking flowers from banksia marginata in water a honey flavoured drink can result. The flowers from Viola hederacea are suitable for cake decoration.

The next section  of their talk centred on edible fruits. The fruit from the Lilly Pilly can be eaten raw but is a good addition to muesli or can be used in pies or preserves. Davidson’s Plum (Davidsonia pruriens has very tasty and good sized fruits high in vitamin C.

Macadamia integrifolia

Another obvious choice was the macadamia nut (Macadamia integrifolia or M. tetraphylla) and of course wattle seeds can be baked and ground to provide a useful powder that can be used in baking.

Finally plants with edible roots or tubers were touched on. The pale vanilla lily (Arthropodium milleflorium), nodding greenhood orchid, chocolate orchid and murnong (Microseris lanceolata) which provides a tuber which is better cooked than raw, were all mentioned. Probably an acquired taste!

Words – Karen and Mark Allison

 

Plant Sale

Out second annual plant sale was held again at Seawind in Arthurs Seat. Several local growers, Sun Valley Plants, AustPlant, Friends of Seawinds, Merricks Nursery as well as Vaughans’ Nursery from the Grampians were in attendance and received excellent customerage. Our information stand was also well visited.

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Words – Mark Allison, Photo – Karen Allison

Melton Botanic Gardens Excursion

On Saturday 21st May a busload of 24 plus a few in private cars made the trip out west to the Melton Botanic Gardens. Proceedings started with a lovely welcoming morning tea and a brief introduction by David Pye about the history and structure of the gardens. Built along Ryans Creek and the adjoining lake with its bird sanctuary island the garden has an extensive eucalyptus arboretum, indigenous plant section, a children’s garden, a Californian, Central and South American specialising in succulents, an Australian dryland garden, a Mediterranean section, South African section, Victorian Volcanic Plains garden, indigenous grassland section,  as well as South and Western Australian sections.

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After that we split up into two groups led by Barbara and David Pye with assistance by other members of the Friends of Melton Botanic Gardens for a tour of the gardens.

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It was an excellent time to be there if you are a fan of eucalypts. We were treated to some beautiful specimens in full flower.

Eucalyptus desmondensis

Eucalyptus desmondensis

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Eucalyptus albopurpurea (Coffin Bay Mallee)

The Eucalyptus kingsmillii may not have been in flower but its seed pods were equally impressive.

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Suitable soils/gravels/sands have been sourced and imported to provide the best possible growing conditions for a number of the other specialised gardens. The next photo is a good example of this.

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Signage was excellent and included scannable barcodes for mobile phone users to access further information.

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Eucalyptus megacornuta (Warted Yate)

At the far end of the gardens a group of indigenous locals were working on a new project. From there our return walk came along Ryans Creek and its billabong.

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The opportunity to make purchases from the attached nursery, managed by Margaret Cook and her fellow volunteers, was appreciated by many members. The Friends of Melton Botanic Garden are certainly keen propagators.

After stocking up a picnic lunch was a peaceful way to conclude the visit before the bus trip back to the Mornington Peninsula.

Perhaps a spring time visit would be enable us to see other sections of the garden in bloom.

Report and photos – Mark Allison

Australian Succulents

Our guest speaker for the Tuesday evening meeting held on June 21st was the knowledgable and entertaining Attila Kapitary. He was ably supported by an extensive PowerPoint slideshow showing photos of Australian succulents spotted on his many ventures into arid and drier parts of Australia. Names such as Adonsonia, Calandrinia, Carpobrotus and Dioscorea and Portulaca may not have been familiar to many of us but given that many of these are edible it was worth hearing and learning about them.

Attila in WA

At the conclusion of Attila’s talk we had the opportunity to admire his wonderful display of succulents, some Australian and some from other countries. Some members availed themselves of the chance to make some purchases. As Attila had pointed out the advantages and ease of growing succulents from cuttings many were keen to have a go themselves.

More information – www.australiansucculents.com

Report – Mark Allison, Photo – Michelle Kapitany

Sweetwater Creek

Saturday 16th July saw our group in Frankston as guests of the Friends of Sweetwater Creek. Proceedings started with a welcoming morning tea

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followed by a brief talk by spokesperson, Sally Hammond, focusing on the history and activities of the Friends of Sweetwater Creek.

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The main action followed with a guided walk along some of the paths within the reserve.

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Plantings and areas of bushland regenerated by burning off were highlighted as we went along.

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Sweetwater Creek Reserve is a very peaceful place and offers several kilometres of walking tracks so if you couldn’t come on the day why not go for a visit next sunny day.

More information – www.sweetwatercreek.org.au

Report – Mark Allison, Photos – Verena Reich

Verticordias – The Turner of Hearts

The following notes and photos may give some members not already growing Verticordias a bit of inspiration to grow some of these beautiful plants in their own gardens.
Although I did have a couple of grafted Verticordias growing in my previous garden at McKinnon, it wasn’t until Eva and I went on the 2004 Friends of the Royal Botanic Cranbourne Gardens trip to Western Australia that I took a little more interest in these beautiful plants.

V. chrysantha at Nature’s Window, Kalbarri WA

It was at Natures Window near Kalbarri  when we saw the yellow Verticordia chrysantha growing on rocks with no visible soil or water supply that started me going.
Regeneration of Verticordias on the farm, near Hyden WA

Regeneration of Verticordias on the farm, near Hyden WA

The magic of these plants really hit home near Hyden when we visited an abandoned wheat farm, the native regrowth was absolutely amazing, especially after many years of farming. There were acres of  Verticordias, of course there were other plants like the spectacular Grevillea excelsior. But it was the variety of colour and overall form of the Verticordias that still remains in my mind.
When Eva and I moved to our dream home In Cranbourne South seven years ago I had a vision of replicating this memory on a much smaller scale. We are fortunate to have sandy soil but the drought and a couple of other problems made it bit challenging for my vision to be perfect, but when my Verticordias do burst into flower in spring my memories of our visit to that abandoned farm near Hyden come back.
Our Verticordias at Cranbourne South.

Our Verticordias at Cranbourne South.

Verticordias  have  a reputation for being a bit challenging in the Eastern States unless they are grafted, but I have noticed that some Australian plant gardeners are having success with ungrafted varieties. Some of the most reliable varieties to grow on their own roots in Melbourne are V.chrysanthella,  V. monodelpha, V. plumosa and the beautiful red V. mitchelliana.  I have also been successful with other non grafted varieties
of Verticordia.  You also could have success growing many of them if you give it a go.

V. monadelpha pink form, Cranbourne South

V. mitchelliana, Cranbourne South

V. mitchelliana, Cranbourne South

V chrysantha, Cranbourne South

The very closely related Homoranthus which occur further east than most Verticordia, are equally spectacular and worth a try.  My H.darwinoides is nearly always in flower.
Report and photos – Ray Turner
That’s it everyone. Happy reading and happy gardening. Feel free to click on the Leave a Comment link at the top left of this newsletter then click the ‘Like’ button at the end of this newsletter. I also look forward to receiving some of your photos of your favourite flowering Australian plant. Email to me, ‘Attention Mark Allison’ at mornpenaps@gmail.com


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APS Mornington Peninsula Activities Calendar 2016

Upcoming Events

2017 events will be detailed here in mid January 2017

 

Previous 2016 Events

Tuesday 16th February

7:30pm at Benton Square Community Centre

Topic : Westernport Mangrove revegetation

Speaker : Ian Stevenson

Background information : http://www.seagrass.com.au

 

Saturday 19th March

10:30am at Merricks Nursery

Topic : Garden Maintenance workshop

Speaker : Richard Anderson

 

Tuesday 19th April

2:30pm at Benton Square Community Centre

Topic : Bush foods

Speakers : Rodger and Gwen Elliott

 

Saturday 23rd April

10:00am – 3:30pm at Seawinds, Arthurs Seat State Park

Annual Plant Sale

 

Saturday 21st May

8:30 – 16:30 Bus trip to Melton Botanic Garden

Speaker: Friends of Melton Botanic Garden

http://www.fmbg.org.au

 

Tuesday 21st June

7:30 pm Benton Square Community Centre

Topic: Australian succulents

Speaker: Attila Kapitany

http://www.australiansucculents.com

Saturday 16th July

10:30 am Frankston – Sweetwater Creek Nature Reserve

Speaker: Sally Hammond, Friends of Sweetwater

http://www.sweetwatercreek.org.au

 

Saturday 30th July

9:30 am Planting morning at Devilbend Reservoir

Organised by Sam Pollard

Tuesday 16th August

2:30 pm Annual General meeting 

plus

Speaker : John Arnott

Topic: Plants for a Dry Climate

Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne

Saturday 27th August

9:30 am Weeding morning at Devilbend Reservoir

Organised by Sam Pollard

 

Sunday 18th September

(Note: Sunday not the usual Saturday)

10:30 am at Jaede Garden,

38 Ellerina Rd, Mt Martha

Host: John Jaede

 

Saturday 1st October

10:30 am Topic: Indigenous garden, Rye

Speaker: Gidja Walker

Tuesday 18th October

7:30 pm Benton Square Community Centre

Topic: Malvaceae family

Speaker: Trevor Blake

 

Tuesday 15th November

7:30 pm Benton Square Community Centre

Topic and speaker – tba

 

Sunday 11th December

Break up lunch

Noon @ Verena Reich’s home

24 Mashie Crt, Rosebud