December 2022 Newsletter

It’s been a busy few months since our previous newsletter. In this edition you’ll find lots to read and some fabulous flowers to enjoy looking at over the holiday season. Hope you enjoy reading as well as spending time in your garden and any parks you may visit. (Featured photo is a Leptospermum ‘Rudolph’ which the bees love at the end of the year.)

October Meeting

Our speaker was Robyn Tyson who spoke about the ANPSA Conference. Every 2 years, our “peak group”, the Australian Native Plants Society Australia (ANPSA) holds a conference, hosted by one of the State Australian Plants Societies. This year, the conference was held in Kiama NSW, with the title Australian Flora – Past, Present and Future.  Our Leader, Robyn Tyson and Treasurer, Chris Long both attended.  Robyn spoke enthusiastically about the conference and what it achieved, but also about the two days of excursions to various significant places such Mt Annan and Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens and the Illawarra Grevillea Garden.   

October Plant Table

Here’s a few shots from the October meeting plant table.

This Grevillea flexuosa caught my eye.


Many thanks to Austplant Native Plant Nursery in Arthurs Seat for providing plants for raffle prizes every time we hold a meeting at Bentons Square Community Centre. Not only do they have a good range of native plants but their display garden is a lovely place to walk around.

Plant of the Month – October

Greatly pleased to see our Acacia glaucoptera in bloom to mark the beginning of October. The red tinge on the flat spiky leaves is a feature as well we think. It’s on a retaining wall on the south west of our property.

October Excursion – The Gurdies

On Sunday 23rd October a very small group headed off to the Gurdies. Here’s our leader, Robyn Tyson’s review.

In October our excursion was to the “Gurdies”, situated on the eastern side of Westernport Bay, this mountainous outcrop is mostly sand, left over from an earlier ocean inundation and then pushed upwards as the fault lines collided.

It hosts a very diverse range of plants from tall forest to heath-like colonies.

Four of us carpooled and had an enjoyable morning doing one of the walks finding (and trying to) identify the flowers and trees we encountered.

After lunch we went to visit a local garden. Owner, Liz McDonald, graciously showed us around her extensive mixed garden. We enjoyed an afternoon tea, some of us coming home with bags of cuttings.

The top picture is potato orchid, Gastrodia procera, and the bottom picture is Dampiera stricta

October Visitors

It’s not all plants this edition. Here’s a brown tree frog in a barrel in Robyn Tyson’s garden. She noted that 18 bundles of eggs had been laid.

In our garden we have seen three different sized blue tongue lizards recently. Here’s one of the smaller ones taking it easy on the retaining wall.

November Meeting

Our speaker was Verena Reich and due to Bentons Square Community Centre being closed because of flooding the meeting was presented on Zoom.

November Excursion – St Albans University and garden visit

Here’s our leader, Robyn Tyson’s report about the November excursion, held on November 26th.

On the last weekend of November, Chris and Glenys Long, Jackie Oldham and I attended the state APS committee of management meeting, being hosted by Keilor Plains APS.

It was held in the grounds of the St Albans Vic Uni campus.

The friends of Iramoo grasslands have a nursery onsite for growing indigenous plants to put back into the grassland. We were invited to purchase old stock. (At the end of the day Jackie and I came home with a boot load of plants).

After a tour of the garden where they grow the stock plants we headed out to the grasslands. It is fenced and locked only accessible with a ‘friend’. The area under restoration is 30 hectares and they have done a great job, removing thistles and serrated tussock grass and replanting indigenous plants. There were flowers to be seen in amongst the grasses, Convolvulus, Geranium, Chrysocephalum and Craspedia, Brachyscome.

We then went to a private garden in Essendon for afternoon tea and a look as some unusual plants. This member of APS Keilor plains has a backyard nursery, hence the car load of plants.

When a COMM (Committee of Management) meeting is held anybody can attend the meeting as an observer and then attend activities. As a member of the state committee (well done on becoming Vice President Robyn!) I will be attending and happy to take any body interested in seeing outside your back door.

Plant of the Month – November

This local Senecio odoratus is our pick for November. We purchased it at the Mornington Peninsula Shire nursery and it has gone really well, although its long branches have been pushed around by the wind. (It is still flowering beautifully as I edit this newsletter.)

Seaford Banksia Arboretum

We’re pleased to report that we’ve passed 500 banksias planted out and growing nicely now across the sites. Most are in Lot 2 which has the most exposure to Seaford Rd. The unseasonal wet has taught us a lot about the way rainfall is distributed about lot 1 in particular now and plantings have been adjusted accordingly. Banksia Occidentalis is loving the wet conditions and most planted (about 15) have doubled or tripled their size and are sticking out high above their 450mm plant protectors now. Banksia marginata has been used at edge markers and they are all up, over a metre high already in lot 2 despite the long grass about them. While we have had some losses its been a very low percentage of plants that have succumbed which is good news. In Lot 1 the majority of plants are in the embankments abutting the roads which afford great drainage for the mainly WA Banksia species planted in them, towards Wells Rd heading towards the beach a striking Banksia grandis is waving at you along with a similar sized Banksia speciosa. At VicRoads request, most plantings are on 3m centres to each other and in rows of 3-8 similar species, so when seen in flower will present themselves nicely. VicRoads are delivering free of charge several loads of hardwood mulch. That will signal a call out for another volunteer’s day too.  Lastly we have been successful in obtaining a grant from Frankston City Council to be used in doing protective works around the swamp section of Lot 1 where recently a rare and vulnerable species of Wallaby grass (Amphibromus fluitans ) has been identified; this news taking our plans in a different direction for that area now too.

Merry Christmas everybody, Ross Shepherd  co-ordinator.

This Banksia coccinea is going so well it’s out of its bag.

Christmas break up

Thanks to Verena Reich for opening up her home and garden for our end of year break up lunch – greatly enjoyed by those in attendance. Here’s a snap of a few taking it easy whilst others walked around Verena’s garden.

Plant of the Month – December

Hard to choose just one plant for December as Robyn sent me two spectacular photos. The first is a Leschenaultia biloba and the second one is a Veronica arenaria. They are part of a ‘pot’ garden Robyn is creating to try to achieve a suitable micro climate for some Western Australian plants she loves. She has the soil made very sandy; the pots are all sitting on a gravel courtyard in full sun.

Christmas Message

Hello members, just a final wish to you all for a safe, healthy, Merry Christmas and New Year, from myself and the committee.

There will be some changes to the calendar next year, the biggest being altering our excursion day to a fortnight after the meeting, so last weekend of each month, and adding some weekday excursions.

We have an exciting list of potential speakers for next year, and there will be several zoom meetings, due to school holidays making Bentons Community Centre unavailable.

 The plant sale will be Saturday 29th April at the Briars so please put this in your diary and support the group.

If you have any speaker suggestions or excursion destinations don’t hesitate to contact a committee member.

Please seriously consider putting your name forward for a subcommittee – everyone has something to contribute, and many hands make light work.

If you’re down Seaford way check out Ross’ Banksia Arboretum.

Robyn Tyson, Leader.

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