Winter 2020 newsletter

Hello members and other readers,

What a disrupted year we have endured so far due to the covid-19 situation. The vast majority of the events, activities and walks our committee had planned have sadly ended up on the cancellation scrapheap. Unfortunately our plant sale also had to be abandoned. We managed one meeting and one excursion before all this happened. You’ll be able to read more about these below. Once restrictions eased the committee managed to organise some walks, some originally planned and some now more recently planned. More about them later in this newsletter too. Unfortunately at the time of publication we are now back in lockdown and waiting for restrictions to ease again.

The only good thing to result from this situation is that many of us have spent a lot of our time in our gardens. Karen and I have been able to further develop our garden and I have included photos of our garden expansion.

If you have done likewise I would be keen to show off your garden improvements too so do contact me via email at, marking the photos or items Attention: Mark Allison. Thanks.

Members’ Presentations – Tuesday 18th February

Back on Tuesday 18th February we held an evening meeting and four of our members made short presentations about their gardens.

First up was Rob Powell. Rob showed us plans he had drawn up before commencing a redevelopment of his garden. He was able to show us before and after photos too. He has used an App to detail all these developments. It is called Gardenize. Rob has also begun propagating in a small hothouse.

Yours truly spoke next. I focused on the development of garden, starting with infrastructure, the value of our garden to the birds, bees and other wildlife before showing some photos of groundcovers and other favourite shrubs.

Next Roo Rawlings shared her passion for Banksias, showing photos of some wonderful species including Banksias occidentalis, prionates, spinulosa and Mini Marg.

Our final presenter was Sue Gilbert who shared her interest in the Woolemi pines growing in her garden. She originally started with one but a second self sown one has grown in her garden. She has also grown one from a cutting which she brought in a pot. Sue also handed out seed to members interested in growing one themselves. Thanks Sue.

The evening continued with a look at cuttings on our plant table. Here are a few that caught my interest.

Banksia burdettii
Eucalyptus sinuosa
Veronica perfoliata

Kawarra Australian Plant Garden – Saturday 22nd February

Nearly twenty members drove into the Dandenongs to Kawarra Australian Plant Garden for our Saturday afternoon excursion on the 22nd February. This magnificent Eucalyptus cinerea (Argyle Apple) guarded the entrance.We were lucky to have one of the former staff members, Lindy Harris-Molyneux as our guide for the afternoon. After she related a brief history of the garden, as we sat in the shade, we wandered around the garden.

Here is a selection of the plants in bloom that we admired as we walked around.

Acacia linafolia

Grevillea insignia subspecies. elliotii
Crowea exalata

In one of the meeting rooms we could also browse the wonderful Banksia drawings by Ian Wallace on display.At the conclusion of the visit many members took advantage of the opportunity to purchase plants from Kawarra’s nursery at very reasonable prices.Plant of the Month- February

During February our Brachyscome multifidas were on show. We have mostly purple flowers but a few white ones too. However this purple one decided it would be a bit of both. Not sure what caused this unusual look.

Plant of the Month- March

Our Banksia occidentalis (Swamp Banksia) has been in bloom since March. It has continued to bloom until now, with a couple of hundred cones on show over the time. It is now over two metres tall and wide. Suspect all the rain we’ve had has helped.

Hanging Basket

Sadly the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show didn’t go ahead this year. Here is a shot of the hanging basket entry prepared by Robyn Tyson to represent our group. “It contains a poa grass, sedge, thryptomene payneii in flower and acacia cognata, with a  scleranthus. Concept was a creek bed with the scleranthus as a pond but it’s a bit overgrown now.” Thanks Robyn.

Plant of the Month- April

For the first time our Melaleuca lateritia flowered this Autumn. Although still only about half a metre tall it had more than twenty blooms. Sitting on a sloped site near the front drive it was certainly stunning.

Main Ridge Conservation Reserve walk – Saturday 30th May 

After many weeks of isolating ourselves from each other, when covid-19 restrictions on group sizes were eased this enabled our APS group to embark on the first of a series of walks. Meeting at 1:00pm we sprayed our shoe soles and headed off to explore this reserve.

The reserve is well forested with areas of ferns. Along the way we spotted quite a few fungi.

A number of fallen trees were well covered in moss and lichen. Quite a few of the Eucalypts were hosting mistletoe. We even managed a splash of Epacris impressa on the final leg of the circuit.Thanks to Chris and Glenys Long for supplying hot drinks at the end of the walk while we chatted at a safe social distance from each other.

Plant of the Month- May

This Grevillea iaspicula from Eva and Ray Turner’s garden has been in glorious bloom. It’s quite rare so its lovely to be able to feature it here. Apparently there are only about 100 plants left in the wild near Wee Jasper in NSW.

Grevillea iaspicula

Seaford Wetlands walk – Saturday 13th June

Photo – Verena Reich

Treasurer Chris Long met the group in his ‘back yard’ and gave us a brief history of the wetlands and the current revegetation development of the woodlands area. Initially our walk was in the woodlands area. Mosquitoes were noticeable. So we mostly kept moving.Areas of recent plantings were evident.Some more established plants from previous plantings were in bloom like this Acacia suaveolens.

Photo – Verena Reich










Some more established Banksias and Eucalypts were also flowering.

Eucalyptus camaldulensis

We did two small circuits around the wetlands. Like our previous walk some fungi were also spotted by the more observant in our group.An enjoyable afternoon tea at Chris and Glenys’ house was a convivial way to finish the walk. They have made good use of their nature strip area.

Photo – Chris Long

The back yard is a lovely haven.

Photo- Chris Long

This Eremophila glabra ‘Shark Bay’ was a mass of flowers.

Photo – Chris Long

Acacia photo feature

Much of our recent weather has been reasonably sunny for this time of the year but some have been downright dreary. So the bright yellow of our Acacia baileyana prostrate has been a real bright spot in our garden.Over at the Turner garden they have been spoilt with quite a display. Here’s some lovely snaps. Not sure who took them, Ray or Eva, but I believe they’ve been taken on Eva’s mobile. Thanks again for sharing.

Acacia denticulata
Acacia wildenowiana
Acacia jibberdingensis
Acacia continua
Acacia guinetii
Acacia suaveolens

Plant of the Month- June

In Ray and Eva Turner’s garden this unusual Grevillea jephcottii is another star. It’s found in the wild in north east Victoria but is doing very nicely in their garden. From a photographic point of view I like the detail Eva’s new phone is producing.

Warringine walk – Saturday 27th June

About twenty members gathered at the Jack’s Beach carpark for this walk on June 27. After checking in and spraying our shoes we took a quick look at a patch of nodding green hooded orchids (Pterostylis nutans)

Photo -Verena Reich

before setting off north along the trail in smaller groups. It was a bit muddy in spots.So the sections of boardwalk through the woodland area were better to walk on.Leaving the Swamp paperbark (Melaleuca ericifolia) woodland behind the view opened up as we came into the actual wetlands.

Photo – Mark Allison

Samphire (Salicornia quinqueflora subs. quinqueflora) was prevalent along the boardwalk.A lot of seeds from the white mangrove (Avicennia marina) could be seen in the water (alongside the crab holes), with quite a number of newly sprouted plants making their mark.

Photo – Verena Reich -Avicennia marina
Photo -Verena Reich

Further along we passed an area of grasslands.After stopping at the bird observation deck for a look

Photo- Mark Allison

we made our way back along the same route before stopping for a socially distanced cuppa and a chat. Thanks again to Glenys and Chris Long for providing it.

Plant of the Month- JulyAnother striking specimum found in Eva and Ray Turner’s garden is this Beaufortia squarrosa. From the next photo you can see how prolifically it flowers and how well it spreads.Social distanced walk

Although we are pretty much locked down if you live near to Devil Bend, then member, Robyn Tyson, recommends taking a walk there. The paths may be a bit muddy in placesbut the spectacular Epacaris impressa is there to be enjoyed.

Spectacular Epacris impressa

Say hi to some Hibiscus

Robyn Tyson sent me some photos of a couple of Aussie Hibiscus flowering in her garden. Even though we can’t visit her garden currently due to the lockdown the next best thing is a virtual look at these couple of beauties.

“The first is a pink Hibiscus splendens, interesting grey hairy leaves and vibrant large pink flowers which unfortunately only last a day, a quick growing tallish shrub from NSW and Qld. Mine is in fairly shady spot.
The second is a yellow flowering Hibiscus heterophyllus with sandpaper dark green leaves. These are in the Malvaceae family.”Thanks Robyn. They are both stunning.


Whilst we are unable to meet or walk together feel free to send photos or articles of interest to our email account marking them Attention:Mark Allison so that we can enjoy seeing them in our next newsletter. Stay safe, fit and healthy until next time.

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