aps mornington peninsula

APS Mornington Peninsula is a local member group of Australian Plants Society Victoria.

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October 2019 Newsletter

Spring is here. Yes, it is changeable and we still have the odd day that reminds us of Winter but we only have to look in our gardens to see plants bursting into bloom, like our gorgeous Isopogon formosus, to know it is now Spring.

Here’s a rundown on the events that helped us make it through Winter.

July 20 – Trevor Blake – Banksias

This afternoon meeting was well attended and our speaker Trevor Blake left a lasting impression with those in attendance. To quote our Secretary Jenny Bolger, “Trevor gave us a really interesting talk on banksias, including diagrams of flowers, fruits and leaves to aid in identifying members of the banksia family.  He had a terrific array of photos of banksias from both Western Australia and the eastern seaboard. We all came away much more knowledgeable about this beautiful species. Or is it genus – will leave that one with you!” Thanks also for these photos of our plant tables too Jenny.

Plant of the Month – July

Banksia coccinea from Verena’s garden.

“In the winter of 2014, I planted 3 small Banksia coccinea (8cm square pots) and watched them grow steadily, pinching out the tips to make them bushy.  Now the books say that B. coccinea is “shy to flower in Melbourne” so when no flowers appeared, I resigned myself to accept the attractive foliage as a nice screen.  Until last year, when two of the plants bore a couple of flowers each.  Then there was an anxious watch for the impact of a swamp rat who decided to make some tunnels underneath.

But – but – in May of this year, the same 2 plants started to show so many flower buds that I stopped counting.  Now I’m doing the happy dance whenever I see the multitude of flowers held so high that I can see them from afar!   I did tell the third plant that unless it flowered, I would use its space for something else. And the third plant now has 1 flower bud, so I think it can stay. And the swamp rat disturbance doesn’t seem to have affected them in any way.
Who says Winter is dull in the garden?”
Devilbend Reservoir
Ranger Sam Pollard again offered our group and other groups of like minded, interested people the opportunity to participate in Planting and Weeding days at Devilbend Reservoir. Held on July 27 and August 24 respectively, several of our members were able to help out at the planting day on July 27. Thanks.
Vale- John Rawlins
APS Mornington Peninsula is sorry to pass on the sad news that John Rawlins, one of our founding members, died suddenly a short time ago.   John had had MND for the past 8 years, but still managed to be active in Birds Australia, PROBUS and APS Mornington Peninsula.  With a strong environmental interest, he participated in water testing activities for the Balcombe Estuary Reserves Group and monitoring of Hooded Plovers.  John attended most of our meetings, contributing to many a Plant Table.  Those of us on the recent BERG excursion in May enjoyed morning tea hosted by him and Roo.
Another interest was golf, so it was fitting that a celebration of his life was held on Saturday 31 August at the Peninsula Kingswood Country Golf Club, Skye. A number of members attended and we were pleased to provide flowers also. Our condolences to Roo.


August 20 – Mornington Peninsula Shire Ranger, Gerard Cook

– Mornington Peninsula Bushland Reserves: Revegetation and Biodiversity

August 20 was another afternoon meeting at Bentons Square. Gerard Cook from the Mornington Shire Council gave a talk on the parks, reserves and sundry lands that his team manage on the Peninsula. This is carried out with aid from friends’ groups, green army and other community input. They manage in the region of 2000 hectares, but their jewel in the crown, so to speak, is Peninsula Gardens in Rosebud. The talk covered the history of acquisition, the different types of weed control and non native tree eradication, some conservation plans and techniques used. They have large stands of grass trees, Xanthorrhoea Australis, which they are cultivating at the shire nursery to re introduce into the area. There is a rainforest plant found there, common name Muttonwood(Rapanea howtitteana) which is recolonising quite vast areas.

Thanks to Robyn Tyson for this report.

Plant of the Month – August

After returning from warm Queensland we were pleased to see our two Phebalium squamulosum in bloom. The flowers are small and delicate looking but clump profusely as you can see.

Don’t forget if you have a plant that is in bloom that you would like featured in one of our newsletters just send an email to mornpenaps@gmail.com with a photo attached. Keep file sizes below 1Mb please. Include a short blurb about where it is growing, how old it is etc in the subject line and mark it – Attention to Mark Allison. Thanks.

APS Alice Springs

If you are like us and plan on exploring more of our wonderful country you may like to consider Alice Springs. If so APS Alice Springs has produced some excellent brochures to help you identify some of the plants they have and also those further north in Katherine. Here’s the details on their advertising flyer.


September 21

It was an early start for the September 21 excursion to the Peninsula Gardens Bushland Reserve led by Mornington Peninsula Shire Ranger, Gerard Cook. This walk was a follow up to the talk on August 20. Sadly only a few of our group braved the inclement weather. There was Bearded heath, (leucopogon) in flower and several egg and bacon pea flowers(Pultanea and Bossiaea). We found a couple of Orchids in flower(glossodia) and both white and pink sundews (drossera). It is quite heath like being on sand dunes, low understory and several types of eucalypt canopy trees. One even with a mistletoe.

Flowering Xanthos

Thanks to Robyn Tyson for the words and Ruben Buttigieg for the photos.

Plant of the Month – September

Robyn was also pleased to send me a success from her garden as our September plant of the month.

“Hidden cleverly amongst the leaves are the flowers of this Eremophila serpens. I’ve grown it in a hanging basket as they tend to disappear in my garden.”

Robyn also reported to me that after no success with last year’s ‘plant out’ seeds she tried what the Rawlins had done and sowed this year’s seeds into a pot. Some success but when hit by a cold weather snap that was the end of it.

More luck with her Kunzea baxteri though Robyn reports, “Earlier on in the year, on a visit to Verena’s garden, she was showing me a flower. I knew it wasn’t a Kunzea but some tricky western Australian thing. ‘Regelia,’ she said, ‘Ahh yes,’ I said.

At our next meeting a red flower was labelled as purchased Kunzea baxteri. It was the misleading Regelia popping up its head again. They are from the same family but have definite different characteristics. I can’t grow a Regelia, but my Kunzea Baxterii is doing just fine.”
Here are a couple of photos of her much loved Kunzea baxteri.
Thanks Robyn for your contributions.
October 5 – Bob and Dot O’Neill – Garden excursion.
Twenty lucky members made the drive out to Narre Warren South to 2005 Gardening Australia winners, Bob and Dot O’Neill’s magnificent garden. We started with the Correas 
and other gems along the driveway

before touring the rest of the garden.

Banksia undata var. splendens (formerly Dryandra praemorsa v splendens)

Dot’s standard Grevilleas certainly are a feature of the area around the front door.
Some of our group even checked out Bob’s propagating set up and learnt a few of his propagating secrets.
It was tempting to keep exploring but we did find time for a lovely morning tea and chat. I’m sure a few of our group found a few last flowering treasures
on their way back along the driveway after a wonderful morning.
Plant of the Month – October
Only planted this year, we were excited to have our Verticordia chrysantha erupt into flower. It needs soil with good drainage and as parts of our garden are mostly clay we had to be careful where we planted it but so far so good.
October 15 – Mark and Karen Allison – Floral and other highlights of north Western Australia.
Karen and I had the pleasurable task of presenting a talk and slideshow of floral and landscape highlights of our 2018 caravanning trip to Western Australia to about 20 members who attended. We focused on the Kimberley, Broome, Pilbara and Cape Range regions.

Solanum lasiophyllum with small spider

Thanks to those who provided samples from their garden to the plant table. Robyn Tyson took us through them in plant families. Here are a few that caught my eye-

Verticordia ovalifolia

Grevillea intricata

plus this mixed bunch of Alyogyne huegelii of varying shades from several gardens.

Alyogyne huegelii

Coming Up
Hope to see you at one or both of these events coming up on our calendar.
Saturday 9th November 
10:30am Garden Visit – Sue Gilbert’s garden, Mt Eliza

Tuesday 19th November

7:00pm for a 7:30pm start at Benton Square Community Centre

Speaker – Royce Raleigh – Lesser Known / Small Plants in the Garden

plus Annual General Meeting.

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June Newsletter

Hello readers,

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.

Eremophila mackinlayi

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.

Eucalyptus caesia ‘Silver princess’

Banksia coccinea

Hakea lissocarpha

Banksia baueri

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.

APS Victoria Impressa Awards, one presented to Philip Robinson

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

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

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February Update

Melaleuca nesophila

Hello members and other readers,

Our committee has been busy organising another interesting and varied program of speakers, workshops and excursions for the upcoming year. To kick the year off they have volunteered to do a show and tell of their personal gardening experiences with Australian Natives on the evening of February 19th. At the start of March, member, Charles Saffroy, will again offer a small workshop opportunity for those who would like to learn about using Australian Natives as a bonsai. Then on the 16th of March a bigger opportunity for members to experience a variety of propagating methods is on offer up at Seawinds Nursery in Arthurs Seat. At this point the committee is still waiting to confirm the full program. Click on the Calendar tab to see the most up to date version of the 2019 program.

Plant of the Month – January

A Crinum lily from member Robyn Tyson’s garden has been giving her a lot of pleasure too as you can read about here.

Crinum pedunculatus

‘Last year as part of Verena’s rearrangement of her pond area, she needed to rehouse a couple of lilies. She asked me if I wanted one, I said yes without really knowing what I was getting. It took a tarp, a wheel barrow and lots of newspaper to move the metre high plant. Verena said it did best in full sun and didn’t mind get wet. So this wrapped up plant sat in my carport while I tried to work out where to put it. One son said that it doesn’t fit into the garden, but I’m a sucker for plants being given away, half my garden is made up of these. So it was planted near the frog bog in full sun, watered, given a feed of Seasol and fed with Bush Tucker. Fingers crossed it lives. So at Christmas I was pleasantly surprised to find 2 flower buds, so I think it must like the sunny spot it’s in. Thanks Verena for my Crinum lily.’

Garden Visitors

As our garden develops we are pleased to welcome a variety of fauna into it. Over the summer we have had our usual family of magpies greeting us at the start of the day. We have also enjoyed visits by some King Parrots, Crimson Rosellas and Kookaburras, except the one who flew in and tried to steal a burger cooking on the barbecue.









Most recently I was surprised by this Blue Tongue Lizard when I moved a piece of black plastic lying on the ground. Actually it was equally surprised and quickly moved off into the safety of our ground covers.

Plant of the Month – February

Without a lot of rain one our focuses has been watering shrubs that have been planted in the last twelve months or so to keep them alive. Sadly a few only shrubs have died. This tough little plant, Eremophila ‘Augusta Storm’ has given us a good show of delicate purple flowers.

Early notice

Our annual plant sale will be held on Saturday 4th May this year. Keep the date free!

This is another great opportunity to find that special plant for your garden or perhaps buy several and expand.

Look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming meetings, workshops or excursions.

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Spring/Summer 2018 Newsletter

Better weather is returning and with it lots of plants are in bloom. Well, in our garden plants certainly have been blooming so I hope your garden looks good too. Apologies for the long gap between newsletters. During the winter we were away, caravanning up through South Australia, around the Northern Territory before heading over to Western Australia and travelling down the coast to Perth. From there we made the trip back across the Nullabor. Along the way there were lots of highlights, especially in the national parks we visited. One highlight early on was our visit to the Arid Botanical Garden in Port Augusta. More about that at the end of this newsletter.

Thanks to several members of the committee and other members of the group I will give you a quick rundown on what our APS group has been up to over the winter and spring meetings and excursions.

Plant Sale – May 5

As usual our plant sale was held up at Seawinds. As well as our our own APS Mornington Peninsula stand there were several plant sellers offering a wide range of plants in tubes and larger pot sizes. Many of our members were able to source special plants for their gardens and we had a steady flow of other people coming to look and buy. The weather was certainly better than some other recent years.

May 19 – Main Ridge

Those who attended the guided walk through the property of Dr Greg Holland and his wife Christine at 10:30am on May 19 were able to see the ongoing project at Main Ridge that they are working on to revitalise their land. Greg is a member of the local Landcare group and was a very interesting guide and speaker. Here are a few snaps of the property.

This fallen tree has adapted and continues to grow.

Now that’s a compost pile!

Fungi – just one of many factors helping the environment.

June – Plant of the Month

Our Grevillea lanigera flowers over a long period of time but is at its best in June. This one is at the top of our driveway and handles the less than brilliant soil conditions.

Remember, if you have a special plant in bloom in your garden that could be feature in the Plant of the Month section send an email to mornpenaps@gmail.com with a photo attached. Keep file sizes below 1Mb please. Include a short blurb about where it is growing, how old it is etc In the subject line mark it – Attention to Mark Allison. Thanks

June 19 – Wildflowers Tour of SouthWest Western Australia 2017

The 7:30 pm meeting on June 19 allowed a couple of our committee to do a presentation. Five APS Mornington Peninsula members are also Friends of Cranbourne, and participated in the Western Australia Wildflower Tour arranged by Cranbourne Friends, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria August/September 2017. Ruben Buttigieg spoke to photos taken by Verena Reich, and with a lot of discussion from the floor, managed to get as far as day 7 of the 22 day tour.  Which leaves plenty of material for another talk! Here are a few slides from the presentation from Verena’s collection.

Saturday 21st July – 10:30am at Melton Botanic Gardens

Whoever said winter was a dreary time for flowers in the garden didn’t join those intrepid members of our group who headed out to Melton to their Botanical Gardens on Saturday 21st July. Some spectacular specimens were seen as the group walked around the gardens – banksias, eucalypts, thryptomene and even a rare Qualup bell. Thanks to the Friends of Melton Botanical Gardens for providing guidance. Thanks also to Rod and Jill Sanders daughter, Katherine Cooper, who accompanied her parents and took some lovely photos.

Thryptomene strongylophylla

Qualup Bell (Pimelea physodes)

Banksia praemorsa (wine red version)

I suspect many of our members also visited the nursery after their walk to make some purchases.

July – Plant of the Month

Sturt Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa) – We spotted this beautiful specimen at the entrance to the caravan park at Tom Price, growing in red gravel.

August 21- Native Planting at Devilbend Golf Course

The guest speaker for this meeting was Laurie Leyden who gave a presentation about the use of native plants at nearby Devilbend Golf Course.

The plant table was awash with beautiful cuttings with some beautiful acacias being a feature.

Brenda Martin also bought along a lovely arrangement with some beauties from her garden.

Planting and weeding mornings at Devilbend

The annual planting and weeding days at Devilbend Reservoir on July 28 and August 25 were attended by four of our group and quite a few from other local groups involved in gardening and environmental activities. Thanks to those who represented us.

August – Plant of the Month

Lambertia orbifolia subsp. Scott River Plains

At the start of August we were in Perth and visited Kings Park. Lots of native plants took our eye. As this one is endangered, due to land being cleared for agriculture or being mined for mineral sands, and not many people are able to see one in the wild it is worth highlighting here.

September 8 – Bonsai Workshop

Thanks to member Charles Saffroy for sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for bonsai with a small group of 5 members in his garden. Here’s a report and photos from committee member Ruben Buttigieg.

The workshop was held at Charles Saffroy’s new place in Carrum on a beautiful sunny day, starting at 10:30. Only five members attended – a tinygroup which at the time, I mused, was quite appropriate seeing we were dealing with Bonsai. Bonsai derives from the Japanese: bon tray, bowl; saicultivation.

All the paraphernalia required: growing medium, tools, pots, fertiliser etc. were already laid out for us under a budding jacaranda tree. We wasted no time and got straight onto it.

Charles’ interest in growing Australian plants as Bonsai dates back to the late ninetees. As is well known, Charles has led a lotus-eater existence for a long time – working spring and summer in Australia and then jetting off to France to catch up with the hastening spring and summer over there. In France he would grow some Australian plants and he kept an eye out for anyone else who may share this interest.

Hearing of a plant nursery about half an hour from where he lived he called in to discover that it was a vast, well-established nursery, the largest Bonsai pépinièrein France*, covering many hectares. Seeking out Jacques Galinou, the owner and head of the nursery, he was engaged to work there on his return from Australia. This formed the foundation of Charles’ horticultural training.

After another six months in Australia he worked at the nursery for two full years learning every aspect of nursery work. He also carried out trials to assess the viability of new species for Bonsai culture. Another of his duties involved overall responsibility for watering the massive number of plants. This he found physically exhausting and very stressful, especially in summertime; an experience which must still give him nightmares, from his telling.

Charles introduced our group to the processes of Bonsai cultivation by demonstrating al vivowith a self-sown Banksia marginatawhich had germinated in a corner of his garden. The spade is held vertically and a semi-circle cut to spade-depth about 20cm out around the trunk. This allows for tiny rootlets to sprout from the incised roots, while still allowing the tree to absorb nutrients via the remaining uncut roots. While the tree continues to grow naturally, the remaining semi-circle is cut in the same manner a few months later. Eventually, and through this method, the tree will develop a thick trunk above ground and a root-ball of bristling tiny roots below which is the sought-after result essential for Bonsai. The tree is then carefully lifted and after judicial pruning it is placed on the shallow Bonsai tray. This has already been prepared with the appropriate mix of ingredients which include top quality potting mix, sand, coir or peat and fine gravel. Good drainage is essential. The medium is dibbled-in to exclude any air pockets and then watered thoroughly.

There are many different schools of thought on how the branches and even leaves should be contorted and displayed once the plant is in place. Charles gave us a broad explanation of the concepts behind these. He did insist that we hold another two workshops between now and his annual migration when the next steps of Bonsai culture will be covered. These dates will be announced soon. Àbien tôt!

We broke up past 1:00pm having spent over two very pleasant hours being instructed by a very knowledgeable master who, at all times, was what President Emmanual Macron may describe as ‘delicious’.

*Check their website: www.galinou-bonsai.fr/la-pepiniere










September 22 – Pines Flora and Fauna Reserve spring walk

About a dozen members took advantage of a nice day to enjoy a guided walk through the Pines Flora and Fauna Reserve on Saturday 22nd September. Thanks for these photos goes to Jenny Bolger.

Thanks also to Robyn Tyson for these close up shots of some of the beautiful flowers seen.

Pultanae gunnii

Ricinocarpos pinifolius

Diuris orientis (Wallflower orchid)

Plant of the Month – September

After being away for three months there was lots of growth in everything in our garden, weeds included. However our Eremophila Mackinlayi exceeded all else, including Karen! The bees loved it and into December are still foraging in the flowers.

October 6 – Dromana Garden Visits

Grevillea semperflorens

On Saturday 6th October we were very pleased (and proud) to welcome 36 visitors to our garden and the garden of our near neighbours, Norma and David Baud. (Norma is a member of Friends of Seawinds.) After a brief slide presentation about the history of our garden and some yummy morning tea – thanks to those who brought something to share – we headed out to enjoy the sunshine and look at the plants in bloom. Fortunately many were at their best. As those who came can attest we have done our best to choke back the weeds by the successful use of many ground cover plants. After a while the group moved up to the Baud’s garden, which starts out on the nature strip!

It is more established and looked lovely too. Karen and I have admired their garden since we came to Dromana seven years ago and it was lovely for our group to stroll around it. I especially like the water features and the old cart near the gazebo.

Thanks to those who came and an invitation to any members who missed out to come another time.

Eucalyptus macrocarpa

Committee member, Robyn Tyson was proud to send me this report and photos of her Eucalyptus macrocarpa. Yes, even though it has a straggly growth I’m jealous!

“In 2010 I assisted my daughter in a thesis on nectar that possums eat. We went To Aranoa Gardens in Balwyn and found the spectacular Eucalyptus Macrocarpa in flower, I had to have one.

Found in Western Australia it is typical of those eucalyptus, often straggly growth, thick leaves covered in a powdery reflective coat.
Mine is 8 years old and flowered at the end of last year and the beginning of this year for the first time. Below are photos of buds, flowers and seed pods, also how it grows, I have propped mine up so I can mow with out damaging it.”
That sure is impressive!
October 16 – Boronia megastigma – Chris Long
APS President (and APS Mornington Peninsula Treasurer) Chris Long gave us an interesting insight into the development process needed for setting up a new horticultural/chemical product – Boronia megastigma oil – when he worked for a large multi-national company and was heavily involved in the project.
Chris took us on his journey from initial trials in growing the plants and extraction of the oil,
to creating reference standards, olfactory evaluation of the product, larger scale trials and ultimate failure of the large area planted and termination of the project. It was a fascinating talk and interesting to hear and see some of Chris’ professional career.
The plant table had many lovely specimens.
Here are a few that caught my eye.

Daviesia latifolia (indigenous to Arthurs Seat)

Banksia formosa (formerly Dryandra formosa)

Banksia coccinea

Phymatocarpus maxwellii

Grevillea dielsiana

October Plant of the Month
At the end of October our Melaleuca wilsonii was in magnificent pink bloom. It handles the clay conditions well and after being planted four years ago has flowered the last two years really well.
Australian Arid Botanical Gardens

This article was posted on my blog, Born To Travel Australia, and I have included it here as I hope you will find it interesting and informative. Karen and I certainly enjoyed exploring these gardens. (www.borntotravelaustralia.wordpress.com)

Arriving early afternoon in Port Augusta from Gawler allowed us the opportunity to visit and spend some time walking around the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens on the outskirts of town. As we drove in we noticed some wonderful iron sculptures of native Australian flora and fauna on the gateposts. After driving about a kilometre we reached the car park. After parking our car we collected a brochure detailing a few of the walking trails in the gardens. From there it was a short walk to the pedestrian entry gate. Here one can read the history of how these Botanic Gardens came to be. (More details at the conclusion.) We collected a walks brochure and read it for a few minutes. As two of the walks overlapped for a bit we decided to start the Highlights Walk.

Soon we noticed some Eremophilas in flower

Eremophila recurva

Eremophila macdonnellii

as well as a ‘wild tomato’.

Solalnum orbiculatum ssp orbiculatum

Near the Visitors Centre we spotted a beautiful Sturt Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa) in bloom.

Along the way there were some sculptures interspersed in between the plants. This one caught our attention. Entitled Bush Flies, it was created by Anna Small.

Informative information boards kept us informed and entertained at times.

Absolutely loved the gumnuts on this Eucalyptus youngiana

and the flowers on this Eucalyptus kruseana were spectacular

and the trunks on the Eucalyptus salicola were lovely.

One of our favourite sections were the Arid courtyard gardens. An information board at the entry to each showed a plan and gave a plant list.

As we completed our circuit we were lucky enough to see two more tough but delicate Eremophilas

Eremophila subteretifolia

Eremophila pterocarpa (Silver Poverty Bush)

as well as an information board about Robert Brown, the botanist who had travelled with Explorer Navigator, Matthew Flinders in 1802 when they mapped and visited Spencer Gulf. Brown had collected and named many of the Eremophilas.

As we exited the gardens we saw a Flinders Ranges wattle in bloom.

Very apt as across the gulf we could see the Flinders Ranges in the distance too

and the red cliffs along the edge of the Spencer Gulf certainly stood out as we drove back towards the caravan park.

For garden and plant lovers, especially native Australian plant lovers such as our members this garden is a must if you are in this part of South Australia.

A Brief Timeline History of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens in Port Augusta
1981 First proposal to set up the gardens on its current site.
1988 To commemorate Australia’s Bicentennial the entrance gate was built.
1991 – 1994 WMC Ltd, Australian Federal Government and Port Augusta City Council jointly fund and develop the gardens.
1996 Eremophilas were planted out.
2004 A new entrance gate with sculptures was created, the gardens were upgraded and the walking tracks were made.
2008-9 Sculptures were added

Plant of the Month – November

At the bottom of our driveway, ready to welcome visitors in late November/early December, is our Melaleuca linearis ‘Seafoam’ – such a shame this newsletter isn’t tactile as it is so soft to touch.

Tuesday 20th November – Mad about Moths

This entertaining talk was delivered by guest speaker Cathy Powers. The accompanying slideshow with some amazing close up photos of moths, taken by Cathy, opened up a whole new world for many of us.

Over thirty members attended, along with a few guests. As a result the plant table was overflowing. Three tables were needed.

Robyn detailed some information about categorising plants and how some of the cuttings were grouped before Ruben highlighted a few special plants.

Chamelaucium X Verticordia ‘Paddy’s Pink’

Grevillea juncifolia hybrid (grafted)

After that members spent quite a while looking at and discussing the plants before supper.

Christmas break up lunch

Our regular Christmas break up lunch will be at leader, Verena Reich’s home, 24 Mashie Court, Rosebud at 12 noon on Sunday 9th December. Bring a small plate of food to share. Look forward to seeing many of you there at this busy time of the year.

I’ll leave you with a photo of a recent ‘lunch’ visitor to our garden. He was keen on the ants, of course, but I like the Banksia blechnifolia and the Callistemon ‘Candy Pink’ in the photo too. (Thanks to my son Todd’s girlfriend Cindy for the photo.)

Happy Christmas to everyone and hope your garden provides lots of pleasure over the summer. The first meeting next year will on Tuesday 19th February at Benton Square Community Centre at 7:30pm.

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Autumn 2018 Newsletter

Hello and welcome to our Autumn Newsletter.

My featured image is one of several red flowering plants presently in bloom in our garden. Masses of red flowers have the bees really interested in our Hakea ‘Burrendong Beauty’.

Next up on our 2018 calendar of events is our annual plant sale, a golden opportunity to find that special plant or two for your garden. Spread the word and bring along a friend or neighbour.

Already our group has enjoyed a variety of speakers and activities this year, practical and informative.

February 20th – The Ties that bind – the role of fungi in the ecosystem

Our guest speaker, Sapphire McMullan-Fisher, a mycologist from the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne and the coordinator of Fungimap, gave an entertaining and informative talk about the role of fungi in various ecosystems. Her talk was enthusiastically presented and supported by a wonderful set of PowerPoint slides. We even learnt some very new difficult words associated with fungi! More information can be found at – https://fungimap.org.au

Our plant table was well covered. A few specimens that caught my eye included a Lomandra ‘Frosty Top, a Banksia prionotes and a lovely Eremophila macdonellii.

Eremophila macdonellii

March 17th – Garden maintenance workshop

Our March excursion was to AustPlant Nursery at Main Ridge for a workshop on garden maintenance. Daavid Turnbull, one of our members is also a staff member at AustPlant. Using a number of plants within their display garden Daavid demonstrated a number of techniques to revitalise plants, some as simple as tip pruning and others more harsh, such as cutting back kangaroo paws to the ground when they have finished flowering.

With our climate constantly changing David felt timing of these activities was also important.

Following the workshop members had the chance to further explore the plants and unique sculptures

in AustPlant’s display gardens or browse and purchase plants from their extensive range.

Thanks to David for his presentation and for AustPlant’s ongoing support of our monthly raffle with plants.

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

Our group was represented in the hanging basket display created by Brenda Martin and Robyn Tyson. The ladies started back at the end of last year planning and planting their basket with more than twenty local plants. They were able to show us at our February 20th meeting how the plants in the basket were progressing. The emphasis was on foliage texture as most of the plants would not be flowering during the period of the garden show.

Even though our basket was not the eventual winner it was however ‘placed’ next to the winner when on display in the Carlton Gardens. Well done Robyn and Brenda.

Plant of the Month: March

Our plant of the month is a Banksia burdettii. This beautiful specimen can be found in our leader, Verena’s garden. She planted it in 2016 from a 10cm tub. It is in a sheltered position in full sun away from the roots of other plants. As this is the first time it has flowered we are lucky to see it. Verena waters it about once a month and so far it is handling the dry weather we have been experiencing. Thanks Verena. (Your newsletter editor is impressed and jealous!)

Don’t forget to send me photos of any plants you particularly like that are in bloom in your garden. Alternatively let me know and a photographer can be arranged. Email to mornpenaps @gmail.com, marking the email Attention:Mark Allison.

April 17th – Tootgarook Swamp

Cameron Brown, President of Save Tootgarook Swamp was our speaker for our afternoon meeting. Cameron informed us the swamp is the largest remaining shallow freshwater marsh in the Port Phillip and Western Port region, 590 hectares in size. Some 29 ecological classes of vegetation are found within the swamp. Over 150 species of birds and 8 frogs species have been observed in the swamp also. Cameron was pleased to inform us the Council has recently purchased a large parcel of land in the area in Capel Sound with a view to restoring the area. Of concern is the fact that VicRoads has some of this area designated for future road developments. Save Tootgarook Swamp and SPIFFA are hoping that this area can be reclassified and an alternative route be found for future freeway extensions. More information can be found at – https://www.savetootgarookswamp.org

As usual there were lots of lovely specimens on our plant table. Those that caught my eye included- a Lamberti orbifolia,

a Grevillea ‘Yamba Sunshine’,

an unusual Crinum pedunculatum

and a lovely bonsai specimen that member, Sue Gilbert has been creating using a coastal tea tree, Leptospermum laevigatum. Well done Sue.

Plant of the Month – April

A more than suitable plant flowering in our garden presently is a Callistemon Anzac White. It doesn’t mind the slightly clay conditions. This is its second year in our garden and it has delicate white bottlebrushes. Sadly they are soon gone when the wind blows. The plant is spreading horizontally well but we are waiting for a bit of vertical growth as it could reach a metre and a half in height whilst having the potential to spread out as far as three metres wide.

Neutrog Offer

Members of APS Mornington Peninsula are again able to order Bush Tucker or other Neutrog products in bulk quantities. This year there is a handling cost of $2 per item meaning 20kg Bush Tucker would be $32 inclusive. If you are interested send an email to mornpenaps.gmail.com, marking it Attention:Jenny. Deadline for orders is Friday 11th May so be quick.

Help needed

As Karen and I will be away during the period from June to August I would appreciate anyone attending our excursions, planting/weeding days or our meetings to hear a guest speaker writing a brief report and/or sending me some photos for our web newsletter. Mark them Attention: Mark Allison and send to our email address – mornpenaps@gmail.com

Coming Up – Saturday 19th May

Our next excursion is to Main Ridge to hear from Dr Greg Holland from Landcare. Arrive at 10:15 for a 10:30 start. As well as an informative discussion there is an inspection of the property which is within the Greens Bush to Arthurs Seat biolink meaning walking is involved so come in suitable footwear. If you are coming look for the yellow APS marker at 356 Baldrys Rd, Main Ridge. You can park in the paddock to the left, just off the main driveway. Hope to see you there.

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February 2018 News Update

Hello members and other readers,

Even though our garden tends to look its best in Spring it has been able to showcase a few plants in bloom during the Summer. One of our favourites, Banksia occidentalis is in lovely bloom now

and our Banksia serrata has given us an ongoing display.

We even had an unexpected visitor to our garage. I relocated him to the driveway near our garden and he was soon off to explore. Since then he has been seen in various parts of the garden over the Summer.

2018 Calendar of Events

Our committee took a well earnt rest for a while but has been busy sorting out the details of our 2018 program, which again features some excellent speakers and some interesting excursion venues. The details of our first few meetings and excursions plus our Annual Plant Sale are as follows. If you have something in bloom make sure you take a cutting and bring it along to the plant table at any of our meetings.

Tuesday 20th February

7:00pm for a 7:30pm start at Benton Square Community Centre

Topic: The Ties That Bind – the Role of Fungi in Ecosystems

Speaker: Sapphire McMullan Fisher, Coordinator Fungimap/Mycologist RBG Melbourne


Saturday 17th March

10:30am at Austplant, Purves Road, Arthurs Seat

Topic: Workshop on native plant maintenance

Speaker: TBA


Tuesday 17th April

2:00pm for 2:30pm start at Benton Square Community Centre

Topic: Tootgarook Swamp

Speaker: Cameron Brown, President of Save Tootgarook Swamp


Saturday 5th May

10:30am – 3:30pm at Seawinds, Arthurs Seat

Annual Plant Sale

For the full program click on the Calendar tab at the top of this page. Do note that a few dates are lacking some details. As things are finalised the Calendar will be regularly updated.


Plant of the month : February

Although small and delicate we were very pleased to see a recently planted Melaleuca thymifolia in flower on our return from our holiday. The flower is a pale pink and soft to touch. It is handling reasonably clayish soil.

Don’t forget every month I am looking for photos of plants that members have in bloom in their garden. So feel free to email photos to mornpenaps@gmail.com and include Attention: Mark Allison in the subject line. Please keep file sizes to less than 1Mb. Thanks.


Look forward to seeing you during the year.