Spring is here. Well, so they tell us, but at times it has seemed more like the return of winter. Fortunately spring flowering plants have lifted our spirits when we can be out and about. There’s lots to read about our meetings and excursions over the colder months in this newsletter as well as some spring happenings. Hope you enjoy reading and looking at some of these amazing Aussie native plants we have to share with you.
Endeavour Fern Gully walk – May 22
A small group ventured out to Red Hill to walk the trail at Endeavour Fern Gully. From all reports it wasn’t easy to follow. Amongst the plants and ferns to see there were also some fungi. Here’s a spectacular fungi photo taken on the trail by Robyn Tyson.
Willum Warrain – June 21
As Karen and I were away up in sometimes sunny Queensland over June and July a number of committee members have provided reports and photos to help. Here’s a report from Jenny Bolger.
Our June meeting was an excursion to Willum Warrain Aboriginal Gathering Place in Hastings which provided us with an opportunity to learn more about the cultural, medicinal and culinary uses of Indigenous plants. Their Chief Executive Officer, Peter Aldenhoven, gave us an excellent guided tour of the area, explaining the effort that went into the clearing of weeds, and the planting out with indigenous plant varieties. The centre also has developed their own indigenous plant nursery, so we took advantage of that opportunity – there’s always space for another plant! Anyone is welcome to drop into the Gathering Place and nursery – it’s well worth the visit. https://www.willumwarrain.org.au
Seawinds Gardens Excursion – June 26
A small group of six members headed up to the Seawinds Gardens for our June excursion. They were able to wander around the Indigenous Gardens and were treated to Hakea sericeas in full bloom. Thanks to Robyn Tyson for this lovely photo.
Plant of the Month – June
You will quickly realise that Karen and I do not have one of these growing in our garden. However after seeing amazing Boab trees (Adansonia gregorii) in Western Australia a few years ago we were equally impressed to find similar looking bottle trees whilst visiting Roma whilst up in Queensland in our caravan. They may look similar but aren’t related. Here I am standing in front of the Largest Bottle Tree in Roma, a massive specimen of Brachychiton rupestris which stands at 15m high. It has a girth of 9.62 metres and the crown measures 23 m.
Banksia Arboretum Working Bee – July 17
Many of you will be aware that one of our members, Ross Shepherd, has been instrumental in developing a Banksia Arboretum in Seaford. It’s in the early days of development, but the project has been assisted by APS Victoria awarding a grant of $5000 to help fund its progress. A working bee was held on July 17th. Here’s a report from Ross.
‘We met on Lot 1 entrance at about 1-30 pm on a sunny afternoon and were delighted to see some new faces there which turned out to be APS Mornington folks and friends along with a couple of other regular volunteers. We had Ruth Marriot who, upon seeing how big the site is, has decided to donate half a dozen of E. Ovata she’s growing and needing a home. Also there was Marti Savasaiti (not sure I’ve got her writings spelling correct along with a friend Sally Laurence) and Louise Koraman. We planted rows of B. speciosa, petiolaris, repens, lehmaniana, ornata and media along with a few occidentalis and grandis, a single menziesii (replacing one which had died.) Three E. ovata were planted into lot 2 as well and a tray of swamp plant seedling donated by Robin Tyson’s son were also planted along the swamp section in lot 1. Weeding was done on many along with those on the big bank of lot 1 having weed killer sprinkled nearby. 62 new plants were added taking us to over 250 Banksias on site now. Inspection of all plants is showing that most are shooting now which is great, the last planting of many robur, serrata and occidentalis are all moving away quickly too.
Rain and cold came late in the day, so I brought back about 15 plants for next time.
Thanks to APS Mornington Peninsula for their help in promoting the session which yielded such a hand. Its a bit difficult for me to store too many plants at a time and so when I reach 50 or more I like to get them into the lots asap especially with spring being here now, but I’ll reference the groups calendar more closely next time to avoid conflicts.’
Weed Control & Native Grasses – July 19
Our guest speaker for this meeting was Kyle Robertson from the Conservation Collective. Considering it was the middle of winter it was great to have more than twenty members in attendance. It was also good that, apart from her presentation, Kylie was happy to field a range of questions relating to invasive weed grasses.
Member Garden Visit – July 24
Our July excursion was a visit to Ruth Marriott’s bush garden in Mt Eliza. Thanks again to Jenny Bolger for the report and photo.
We scored a beautiful July day to visit Ruth Marriott’s bushland garden in Mt Eliza. Ruth has lived on the block since the early 1980s and has maintained it as a bush garden, with swathes of native grasses (couldn’t spot any invasive grasses at all!), rare grevilleas, beautiful correas, acacias, eucalypts, and some wildlife (spot the tawny frogmouths). We were a little early for the varieties of orchids that Ruth has coming up in her driveway, but her photos of them looked spectacular. It was interesting to see what that whole area of Mt Eliza may have looked like prior to housing developments.
Plant of the Month – July
As we were still escaping Melbourne’s cold weather in July we can share with you a spectacular specimen we saw in the Tyto Wetlands in Ingham, northern Queensland. It’s a Golden Penda (Xanthostemon chrysanthus) and yes the birds love them. It is a fabulous rainforest tree that thrives in sub-tropical and warm temperate conditions. It’s an Australian native that is related to eucalypts which can grow 7-15m depending on conditions.
AGM and Member Presentations – August 16
This meeting started with our AGM. Our leader, Robyn Tyson giving her report which was followed by Committee elections. Sadly we are still looking for a new Secretary. Huge thanks to Jenny Bolger for taking on this role for many years. There is also a general committee member vacancy on the committee created by the retirement of Karen Allison who we also thank for her commitment. If you feel you could take on either position contact our leader Robyn Tyson. Thanks to Vice President Verena Reich who has been temporarily fulfilling the secretary tasks.
The remainder of the evening saw us take a virtual tour of two members’ gardens. Firstly Eileen Dalrymple shared the creation of a wonderful native garden at her previous home in the Coffs Harbour region. Our second virtual tour was nearer to home. Jill Sanders shared the progression of a restructure of the garden at her new property in Hastings.
Member Garden Visit – August 21
Following on from our meeting on August 16 we had the chance to visit Jill Sanders new property in Hastings. Here’s a quick report from Jenny Bolger.
‘Jill moved to a 5 acre block in Hastings several years ago, after selling the Drum Drum farm in Red Hill (the organic blueberry farm she and Rod established). She took on a major project with the help of her family to renovate a property which had been home to a number of horses, and owners with a penchant for agapanthus. We were all very impressed with the range of new plantings which had been done over this time, and look forward to seeing how it develops over the next few years. Not content with doing a complete makeover of the driveway and paddocks, plans are underway for a new house on the block as well.. no retirement for this woman!’
Plant of the Month – August
You hope winter is ending when the Acacias are out in full bloom, don’t you. Clearly the weather is a mixed bag still but Robyn Tyson was pleased with the golden array in her garden. Here’s one of her Acacias.
Member Garden Visits – September 11
Thanks to Rob Powell for this report and the photos from our member garden visits to Dian Crosling and Barrie and Beth Wilson’s gardens on Sunday 11th September. Thanks to Dian, Barrie and Beth for allowing members the chance to visit their gardens too.
On 11th September we had a double garden visit to Dian Crosling’s and Barry & Beth Wilson’s. Seven members plus our hosts met at Barry’s under a bright blue, sunny sky and walked to Dians where we saw a variety of plants. Dian likes her grevilleas and has quite a few varieties amongst other native plants.
We then walked back to Barry & Beths to explore their garden which had quite a mix of natives. As the weather clouded over and the wind turned chilly, we sat around the table to be treated with hot drinks and afternoon tea, ending a very lovely afternoon.
Cape Schanck Excursion
Due to several of our committee members being interstate at the ANPSA conference in Kiama, this excursion was cancelled. In the future it may well appear on our calendar of events.
Plant of the Month – September
We were pleased to return home when we saw our Acacia glaucoptera in bloom. We love the ornamental foliage but the little golden globules of colour make it stand out even more. It enjoys its position on the top of a small retaining wall which allows all the rain we’ve recently received to drain off.
That’s all for this edition. Happy gardening!