May 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to our Autumn 2022 newsletter. Our program of events has been somewhat smoother to run than compared to the last two years, even if we’d had the odd problem or two to overcome. This means there is a lot more for you to read about in this newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it and of course looking at the fabulous photos of native plants seen on our excursions and in our members’ gardens. Our featured photo is a Grevillea beadleana from Ray and Eva Turner’s garden, taken late January.

New Year Treats

To kick off this newsletter here’s a photo collection from members, Ray and Eva Turner, who sent me these photos of what was flowering in their garden over the Christmas/New Year period.

Hibbertia scandens
Diplarrena moraea
Pileanthus aurantiacus
Epacris longiflora
Prostanthera saxicola


Ray also sent me some shots of their beautiful Verticordias. They are visually delightful and Ray says they are the “Turner of Hearts’! Like many Western Australian plants you need the right conditions and a bit of luck to have a display like this so it’s nice Ray and Eva are happy to share.

Verticordia mitchelliana
Verticordia plumosa
Verticordia lindleyana ssp purpurea
Verticordia galeata
Verticordia pityrhops
Verticordia monadelpha

January – Plant of the Month

This Grevillea shiressii from Ray and Eva’s garden is our January Plant of the Month. Just stunning.

All About Banksias

To kick off our year, member Ross Shepherd spoke about his passion for Banksias at our meeting on February 17th. Unfortunately we were away and technological difficulties meant we were unable to attend via Zoom but all reports from those who did attend were highly complimentary. Here’s a couple of shots from Ross’ talk.

Ross is also kicking off a passion project to create a Banksia Arboretum in Seaford. Keep reading for an update on progress of this project later in this newsletter.

February Excursion

Following his enthusiastic talk Ross Shepherd opened up his garden for members to visit on our February 20th excursion. Here’s a sample of what Ross had on show.

February Flowerings

Ray Turner sent me these lovely photos of what was flowering in their garden during February. Ray was sad to tell me that due to lack of rain they had lost a number of plants over the summer. Our garden similarly lost a few so it was just as well we could restock at our Plant Sale. More about that later on. Here’s a few beauties to admire.

Eucalyptus rhodanthe
Ixodia achillaeoides dwarf
Lambertia formosa
Beaufortia aestiva
Verticordia grandis

Last one is this Rhododendron lochiae which they have growing a pot.

Rhododendron lochiae

February – Plant of the Month

Our native Pelargonium was in flower during February and is Plant of the Month. It is perennial in nature and after a good cutback each flowering season comes back well. Karen’s bees enjoy it too.

Western Plains of Melbourne Flora

Our guest speaker for our March 15th meeting was current APS President, Chris Clarke. He was an enthusiastic and clearly knowledgable speaker. The grasslands of Victoria’s Western Plains and similar plant communities in the Northern Plains contain the highest proportion of threatened plant species in the state.  Grasslands now cover less than 1% of their former extent on the Keilor-Werribee Plains and less than 1% in Victoria. Some of Chris’ photos were amazing.

March Excursion

A small group of six members drove up to Balwyn to the delightful Maranoa gardens on Sunday 20th March to enjoy a good look around. Here’s Robyn Tyson’s review.

“Maranoa Gardens is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. Six of us ventured to Balwyn for a stroll around these beautifully laid out gardens.

They are broken up into sections, heathland, arid, rain forest etc.

The gardens were established early last century and has some impressive older trees, including some extremely tall Agatha robusta,( not one for the home garden).

There were a lot of flowers out, Epacaris, Acacias, Callistemon, and Grevilleas, so lots of bird activity.

The paths meander around, through, behind and under giving you a really good perspective of the plants size and habit and all had labels  family/ genus and state of origin.”

Robyn also included this photo. It’s a black pine Prumnopitys ladei. They can grow to 25m.

Thanks also to Brenda Martin for this lovely photo. As you can see they are well established gardens and well worth a visit.

March – Plant of the Month

Our Plant of the Month is a lovely Hemiandra species from Verena Reich’s garden, – sourced from Friends of Cranbourne Botanic Gardens plant sale in 2019. It’s growing happily in dry sand at her place in Rosebud.

Hemiandra sp.

Urban Trees

Our April meeting was held via Zoom. Dr Greg Moore was our guest speaker. Firstly he spoke about the benefits of trees to our lives and the health benefits trees offer us. He also focused on the effect of climate change and showed us slides relating to Eucalyptus displacement. The final part of his presentation highlighted the advantages of growing natives which will handle increased aridity and warmer temperatures.

April Virtual Plant Table

Here’s a short video of the photos sent in by members of their favourite flowering plants in April. Thanks to Verena Reich for compiling it.

It’s not all flowers

Yes, we love our trees and shrubs, especially when they are in flower but from time to time there are other things of interest in our gardens. We had a visitor to our compost pile in January – not a mouse. It’s one of a few blue tongue lizards which frequent our garden in Dromana.

In Rosebud Verena Reich had Eastern Rosellas enjoying a feed. This is what happens when the weeds get away from you (the plant is Fleabane).

Ray and Eva Turner had visitors of the feathery kind over the summer also. The yellow tailed black cockatoos were helping themselves to a feed and a magpie enjoyed a bath instead of taking a drink.

George Pentland Botanic Gardens, Frankston

Our April excursion was to the George Pentland Botanic Gardens in Frankston. A small group had a good wander around lead by Chris Long. Thanks to Rob Powell for these photos.

Grevillea ‘Peaches and Cream’
Crowea sp
Brachychiton rupestris (Queensland Bottle Tree)

April – Plant of the Month

This Banksia occidentalis from Raw Rawlins’ garden is Plant of the Month for April. Sometimes known as Swamp Banksia it doesn’t have to be in a swamp to do well.

Clearly, it’s popular with the bees too!

Banksia occidentalis

Seaford Banksia Arboretum

Here’s a report from Ross Shepherd on the early progress on this project.

“Vic roads are constructing two foldable roadside signs forewarning motorists of our works when on site. As well they are providing a quantity of Hi-vis vests to wear when attending, I’ll be storing them for as and when required.

Over the past 3 weeks or so I’ve been attending the Lot 2 site to remove clumps of NZ mirror bushes, today Chris Long came with me and one whole clump was knocked off as per the photo below.

We brought about 40 banksia from Royal Botanical Gardens Cranbourne Growing Friends Plant sale too a week or so ago, but without any rain the grounds are too dry at present to contemplate planting any out yet. So they reside in my back yard till they can be planted.

President of the local Rotary Group visited with some others on Friday and they took photos too to show the five various groups associated in our area as to what is needed to be done by way of clearing etc. Hopefully we can move on that soon. They also spoke of a grants program that I may be able to apply for in addition to the APS one and with the ticket to the lecture on Wednesday I may be able to get something from them too, here’s hoping.”

Land being cleared

Plant Sale

Bad weather, great success. That sums up our annual Plant Sale, for the first time at a new venue, the Briars in Mt Martha. Here’s a quick report.

“Now that we’ve had a chance to recover from the Plant Sale, we are delighted to report that, despite the daunting weather, it was a great success on many fronts.

We recorded attendance of around 250, and obviously some people would have slipped past our assiduous counters; but most importantly nearly all of them were buyers.  The growers and the sculptor all sold more than they did last year, and left very happy with their day and the enthusiastic request to return next year.

The venue was a winner with easy access for both the growers and the public, plus an onsite coffee outlet – something we’ve been trying to achieve for many years!  The site also allowed us to promote the Sale the week prior with our wonderful new banner, and this, plus access to the publicity channels of the Mornington Peninsula Shire, makes it an ideal venue.

The talks presented by Ruben Buttigieg, Daavid Turnbull and Verena were popular and well attended; nearly 50% of the books were sold; Robyn’s  “touchy feely” table attracted lots of participation from the younger brigade; and last but not least we recruited 19 new members!  Having the Neutrog banner and membership offer on display was very helpful in stimulating interest in joining APS.  Members also brought along lots of examples of native plants flowering at the moment which provided lots of interest.

Having a Plant Sale Sub-Committee this year was a great move, as it provided new ideas, expertise, and the labour to do the groundwork to increase the spread of our publicity – a big thank you to Rob Powell, Helen Stephens, Marg Rogers, Jill Sanders, Kathy Cooper and Roo Rawlins.  Your efforts on the day itself were all also much needed and appreciated. 

Thank you also to Daavid and Ruben for their willingness to present the demonstrations – you’re booked for next year!   Thanks to our volunteers on the day who helped out in so many ways – Sue Tatton providing sustenance for the growers; Marg Knee, Jackie Oldham, Georgie Rutter, Eileen Dalrymple, Ian Cooper and Glenys Long for being there to lend assistance in any capacity,  and of course our wonderful committee members who are always on hand.  One volunteer isn’t (yet) a member – thanks to Viv Baker for helping decorate the marquee and grower hospitality.  Apologies to anyone we’ve missed!

This event has helped promote our organisation and native and indigenous plants generally to a wider audience than previously, and continues to grow from strength to strength.  We hope that you were able to come along and purchase lots of plants, and support the growers.”

Now, here’s a visual report from Verena who was happy to take snaps despite the weather.

Setting up
Our stand
Time to find something unusual for the garden
Finding something special
Sales are good, just adding a few more plants to the table
Briars Nursery stand
Books for sale
There’s always something new to find out

Gardens For Wildlife

Our May meeting was held on Tuesday 17th May at Bentons Square Community Centre. The meeting was well attended by members old and new. A very informative presentation was given by Verena Reich working in tandem with guest presenter Carolyn Savage. Initially they spoke about how to make your garden more attractive to wildlife. They then talked about the recently started Gardens For Wildlife program on the Mornington peninsula. Carolyn has also worked on a similar program in Frankston. Here is a short movie of the key points from their presentation as well as links to the program in both Frankston and on the Mornington Peninsula.

May Plant Table

Many members brought samples for the plant table. Here’s a selection that caught my eye.

Hakea drupacea
Hakea ‘Burrendong Beauty’
Eremophila cuneifolia x fraseri (grafted)
Acacia podalyrifolia
Banksia baueri – easily turned into a furry echidna for kids to appreciate!

That’s all for now.

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