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