aps mornington peninsula

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

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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.

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Newsletter 3, 2017

Here it is, the final newsletter for 2017. Lots to share since our last newsletter. Thanks to many of our membership group who have supplied me with ‘words and photos’ to cover for the time when Karen and I were away in Spain. We even saw quite a few Eucalpyts in our travels such as here in the hilltop ‘white village’ of Arcos de la Frontera. It appeared they were being used to help with erosion.

We loved walking in the mountains of Andalusia, visiting the magnificent gardens of the Alcazar in Seville and the Alhambra in Granada and admiring their beautiful patio gardens but to come home to magnificent Australian natives flowering in the gardens of the Mornington Peninsula is truly wonderful. Here’s a photo of our Melaleuca linearis “Sea Foam” which is so fluffy. It’s a shame you can’t touch it.

Grevilleas with Neil Marriott – Saturday 15th July

We have been treated to many excellent presenters over the last few years but Neil Marriott’s talk about ‘Grevilleas in the Garden’ was near the top of the tree. Even though not our regular time many members came to this session. Accompanied by a detailed Powerpoint photo presentation Neil covered a multitude of sub-topics. From my notes I have tried to cover most in my report that follows.

In his introduction he mentioned that Grevilleas are not keen on sandy soils but like gravel, loam or clay soils. They also like nutrients in the soil and germinate well after bushfires. They are the third largest genus in Australia, two thirds naturally occurring in South West Western Australia.

Neil went on in depth to discuss Grevilleas that could grow well in sandy soils commonly found on the Peninsula. These included-

G.magnifica subsp. magnifica, G. Magnifica subsp. remota, (found at Cave Hill in WA), G. Bipinnatifida, G. Bronwenae (near Busselton and is critically endangered) which only lives 3-5 years but grows from seed or cutting, G. confertifolia (Grampians), G. crithmifolia tolerates alkaline soils, G. curviloba (Swan coastal plain – groundcover with soft foliage) is sadly confined to roadsides now, G. fililoba (South of Geraldton critically endangered), G. nivea 2x3m, G. olivacea thrives on sandy soils, G. excelsior (large gold blooms, better when grafted on G. robusta), G. thelemanniana,

There are over 1000 Grevillea cultivars and hybrids and Neil highlighted –

G. New Blood, G. Colloroy Plateau (G. speciosaxsericea, G. Gilt Dragon, G. Red Sunset. g. Lemon Supreme, G. poorinda Hula, G. Canning Classic (grafted with gold blooms), G. Canning Gold, G. Desert Flame, G. superb (great bird attracter), G. peaches n Cream, G. Majestic (red hybrid), G. Bush Lemons (tropical hybrid about 1m that needs to be sprayed for bud mites), G. Tirari Sunrise plus G. Wendy Sunshine, one he has bred and named.

Grevillea ‘Superb’

Next Neil showed us a few Grevileas which grow well as standards –

Grevillea Gaudi Chaudi, grafted on to G. Robusta, G. thyrsoides, G. Wakati Gem, G. tenuiloba quite often flowers better as a standard.

Finally he discussed and showed us some new species yet to be published. These included -Grevillea aspera subs nova Gawler Range, G. johnsonii subs johnsonii, G. nudiflora and G. nudiflora subsp nova Mid Mt Barren,

Needless to say Grevilleas were also well represented on the plant table that day.

Devilbend Planting

The Annual Planting Day with Ranger Sam Pollard at Devilbend Reservoir was held on a cold day with blue skies on Saturday 29th July. Along with several others our group was involved again. It’s amazing how quickly you can plant a tray of tube stock using one of the Hamilton planting tools. Thanks to those who helped out.

Plant of the Month – August

This month Verena has sent me two photos of her spectacular Acacia denticulosa (Sandpaper wattle). Verena says it was planted as a small tube specimen in mid 2014, in extremely poor water-repellant yellow sand but in the sunniest spot in the garden. It has received infrequent small amounts of water in Summer for 2 years. Spindly to start but with judicious tip pruning has grown many more branches.  Flowers from July to September, best in August.  Have seen it growing well in Maranoa Gardens in well-drained clay soil. Difficult to make a photo of its intense bright yellow that lifts the gloom of Winter.

It certainly looked great on the plant table too.

August meeting 

Lake Eyre – Verena Reich

Due to a last minute cancellation our leader Verena stepped into the breach and gave us an entertaining and informative talk about her trip to see Lake Eyre in flood. Now all we need is for the lake to be flooded again and to have the time and money to go and see for ourselves.

Warrangine Walk

Just under 20 of our members gathered just before 10:30am at Warragine Reserve on Saturday 16th September for a post burn walk with Mornington Peninsula Shire Ranger Matt Stahmer, plus Anthony Fennel from Nature Links. Back in early January 2015 a blaze burnt through the area along the Warrangine walk so this was a good chance to see how things had recovered.

Lots of burnt trees remain but new growth was very evident.

We were certainly in the hands of two knowledgable men, passionate for their local environment.

It was a good walk enhanced by the opportunity to learn more about the local environment.

Plant of the Month – September  

After being planted from tube nearly two years ago we were delighted to see not only a spurt in growth but some lovely yellow flowers erupting from our Hibbertia racemosa this spring. It is growing in quite heavy soil/clay but seems to be doing well now and stands at about 40cms so far.

Frankston gardens – Saturday 7th October

Members had a double delight when they were able to visit the garden of one of our members, Brenda Martin, as well as Frankston’s George Pentland Botanic Gardens on Saturday 7th October. Thanks to member, Sonya Bunting for her thoughts. Sonya was a bit restricted for time and couldn’t go on from Brenda’s garden with the group but managed to return to see the botanic gardens later.

“Brenda’s garden was compact but beautifully laid out, and made quite an impression on her visitors. It was a surprise package of private spaces which were beautiful to meander through and also must be a delight to view from within her home, at the front, side and back. She has made excellent use of the slope of the block with large rocks in her landscaping, layered planting and a charming rock water feature trickling into a pond. Brenda also made great use of pots on her paving. She had a stunning example of one of my favourites ‘Eremophila Nivea’ in full bloom with its elegant silver foliage. Brenda’s garden showed how beautiful an Australian native garden can be with sympathetic landscaping, good planning and an interesting selection of flowering trees, shrubs and ground covers. Further around the back we found the productive part of the garden with citrus and veggies, then the hub of the garden – the potting table. Brenda was a wonderful host for the open garden, and is an inspiration to me as a native garden novice.”

Plant of the Month – October  

Pileanthus nitidus (Copper Cups) was providing Verena with a beautiful display during October. Thanks for sharing Verena. Remember, if you have a plant in your garden providing a great show then email me a copy (less than 1Mb please), let me know a few details and I’d love to include it in one of our newsletters. Email to- mornpenaps@gmail.com marking it Attention:Mark Allison

Tuesday 17th October

Topic: Fire Reduction Burning

On Tuesday 17th October Damien Sayer ranger in charge of fire and emergency operations at DWELP for the south East Melbourne district, talked to a substantial, interested audience about his job. Thanks to member, Robyn Tyson, for this report and for the photos from the plant table.

“The area covers up to Churchill Park in Lysterfield, Braeside at Keysborough, Mornington Peninsula parks,  French island as well as all the smaller council run parks. He liaises with all parties involved, MFB, CFA, Parks Victoria, and councils as well as private land holders who adjoin crown lands.
He is governed by strict legislation that prioritises human life, homes, fauna and lastly, flora.
A burn has a risk matrix attached with a rotation of years depending on those priorities, he exampled the burn at Red Hill, with roads running through that had to be closed, private properties abutting and private enterprise, eg chairlift and restaurants. The weather has to be just right, correct wind,  temperature and humidity. Extensive preparations took place, fire breaks, exit tracks as well as liaising with all the personnel. It needed to be a slow burn, easily controlled so started at the top and burnt down hill, with containment lines on all four sides.
There followed many questions, a really enjoyable informative talk.”


Featured items from the plant table-

Eremophila Mackinlayi


Grevillea insignis ssp elliotii

A Trip To Pomonal Native Flower Show

 The Pomonal Native Flower Show was, as usual, absolutely stunning in the sheer number and variety of species (more than 300) picked from private gardens in the local area. The mind boggles at the amount of work the committee must have to do to put on the show each year. Our thanks go out to them. Alongside the show was an excellent selection of books for sale relating to native plants and in the immediate area of the hall where the wildflowers were displayed several growers of Australian native plants had stalls. These included two of Australia’s most expert growers in Phil Vaughan and Neil Marriott, so yes of course we came away with a few unusual Grevilleas to help attract honeyeaters to our garden.

Our stay was in a cottage overlooking a paddock and when we arrived a flock of fifty or more sulphur crested cockatoos were grazing close by and in and amongst them were a dozen or so roos, one or two with joeys in their pouches and early next morning there were roos all over the paddock, again numbering at least fifty.

Over the weekend we were particularly pleased to greet a couple of other APS members from our Mornington group, one of whom was first sighted kneeling on the ground with her posterior in the air. It turned out that she was taking a close up photo of a spider orchid and since photography was also one of our objectives we were soon also similarly recumbent.

At this time of year the Grampians offer the most amazing number and variety of wild flowers, particularly orchids. The accompanying photos and many many more were all taken close by Lake Fyans in an area no larger than a tennis count. Over the weekend there are also several Wildflower walks guided by locals. Our identification of the orchids is pretty well guess work so if you have a go yourself you’ll be just as accurate.

Spider orchid (Caladenia sp.)

Wallflower orchid (Diuris sp.)

Wax lip orchid

Chamaescilla corymbosa – Blue Stars

We unreservedly recommend The Pomonal Native Flower Show as one of the great APS Victoria events of the year.

–  Philip and Moira Robinson

Tuesday 21st November

Topic: Landscape Architecture

Our speaker was Barrie Gallacher, MA Landscape Architecture, who presented us with an informative talk about the role of a landscape architect and in particular he detailed to us some of the projects he has been in charge of over the length of his career. He started with a major project for a middle eastern monarch and continued showing us several Australian projects, some using indigenous  plants as well as Australian natives of a broader origin. Barrie was happy to answer questions from a full meeting room of members.

Here are a couple of photos of specimens that were on the plant table.

Brunonia australis (indigo)

Bird’s eye view of Banksia baxteri

Plant of the Month – November  

This month’s featured plant is from Sue Gilbert’s garden. Sue says, “this picture of one of my favourite small plants in my garden. It’s a Thelionema caespitosum, (tufted lily) and it probably keeps flowering for about a month. I just love the colour of the flowers. They really are an electric blue. It’s now quite rare on the Mornington Peninsula. Mine’s growing in dappled to full sun, and l tend to water it regularly during the summer, as it prefers moist soils.”

Link to Inverawe Gardens newsletter

Several of our members have visited Inverawe Gardens in Margate whilst holidaying in Tasmania. They are a wonderful example of a large Australian garden open to the public. The owners, Bill and Margaret Chestnut, produce an interesting newsletter. If you’d like to check them out here’s the address – http://www.inverawe.com.au/newsarchive.html

Surprise development

Ray and Eva Turner had some surprises in their garden recently. Here is Ray’s report of the discovery with some photos.

“Recently we had our first kangaroo sighting.  It was kind enough to give me time to get my camera and then hop up towards the house and stop so I could get a couple of photos. Whilst out I noticed a dead branch on the drive. On it was some mistletoe, Amyena pendular.  It was just a stroke of luck that I noticed them when I picked up the branch on the drive.  I have been trying to get some information since about transplanting as they would have no hope on a dead stick.  I can’t find anything on Google about it and with my enquiries to some learned people, they all have different and conflicting ideas. The only thing I’ve learnt so far is don’t use honey as it’s an antiseptic and it will probably kill them quicker. Anyway, amazingly the photos I took of the two baby stages turned out pretty good and I think fairly interesting with the green growing tips. Now I guess the challenge is to find a live branch to try to relocate them and give them a fighting chance to survive.”

Coming up – Christmas break up lunch

Sunday 10th December at our leader, Verena Reich’s, house and garden – 24 Mashie Court, Rosebud. Bring a plate of food to share and a chair to sit on. Dessert, wine, water, tea and coffee provided. BYO other drinks. Hope you can be there.

Happy Christmas to all. May you and your garden prosper in 2018.

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Newsletter 2, 2017

Welcome to our second newsletter for the year. Much has happened since March. Later on in this newsletter you can read about our excursion to Tootgarook in May and also the wonderful guest speakers who visited our meetings in April and June.

Our next meeting is on Saturday 15th July  at 2:30pm at Bentons Square Community Centre. Our speaker is Neil Marriott and the topic is Growing Grevilleas. Don’t miss out on this special event.

Also coming up is the Annual Planting Day with Ranger Sam Pollard at Devilbend Reservoir on Saturday 29th July at 9:30am.

Location: 277 Derril Road Tuerong,  Melways page 152 F6

Parking at the swing gate along Derril Road as there is no parking on the block we are planting.

Remember you can click on the Calendar tab at the top of any page on our website for details of all this year’s upcoming events as well as details of previous 2017 meetings and excursions.

As you know I like to feature plants that are catching our attention each month in the garden as they flower, so here are a few that I hope appeal to you as much as they did to Karen and I.

Plant of the Month – May

Our Corymbia is a late flowering form but it certainly lit up the garden and attracted many bees during May and right through June too.

Plant of the Month – June

There’s nothing like a Hakea laurina for its beautiful pincushions

but we were really excited to see the blaze of colour when our Hakea ‘Burrendong Beauty’ flowered for the first time in June.

What do you think? Perhaps you have another Hakea which wins your vote. Remember I am always on the lookout for member plant inclusions in this section of our newsletter so if you have something flowering in your garden you are fond of why not share your love of it with us. Just send a photo (less than 1Mb in size) with a brief description of where it is growing, preferred soil conditions and why you like it, to our email – mornpenaps@gmail.com marking it Attention:Mark Allison

Our final Plant of the Month is a lovely Banksia baueri (Woolly banksia) from our leader Verena Reich’s garden. Well suited to the sandy soil in Rosebud its huge woolly cones are fantastic to touch. Thanks Verena.

Plant of the Month – July

Tuesday 18th April Meeting

Our speaker was Chris Long, APS Victoria President, who also doubles as our group’s Treasurer. His chosen topic: Gardens, Gardeners and APS Victoria. Chris began by highlighting the benefits of being involved as members of APS Victoria. From there he spoke about ‘grand’ gardens, ably supported by some wonderful photos in his PowerPoint presentation. Chris also talked about health benefits of being in our gardens before talking about the need for diversity in gardens. He concluded with some wonderful photos of some spectacular Australian native specimens.

Annual Plant Sale on Saturday 29th April

Our annual Plant Sale was held at Seawinds on a day of mixed fortunes weatherwise.

However we attracted three local growers (Seawinds Nursery, Merricks Nursery and Local Native Flora) as well as Vaughan’s from the Grampians and The Plant Hut from Glenmaggie in Gippsland.

Many members as well as locals patronised the various plant stalls.

We certainly found a few plants to embellish our garden and we trust you did too. Thanks to the committee members and other members who helped make this a successful event again.

Photos – Verena Reich

Saturday 20th May Excursion

Our excursion on this day was to Tootgarook Wetland Reserve for a ‘Walk in the Swamp’. Guided by Maayan Rousso, a Friend of Tootgarook Wetland Reserves 15 members attended. The wetlands lived up to their name and made it tricky for some of our group to move around. Here’s Ruben Buttigieg’s report and photos. Thanks Ruben.

All 15 excursion participants were assembled and ready to go by 10:30 when Maayan Rousso introduced herself to our group. Maayan, in Hebrew, means ‘Rain’ – a rather welcome event in that part of the Middle East – and, I mused, most appropriate for someone so involved with a wetlands environment.

Fortunately the weather was kinder than the showery morning offered by the B.O.M.. Maayan came fully equipped to meet any eventuality, wearing a tools-belt which carried an array of implements ready to dig, trim, slash or pluck out anything vegetable or mineral as required. Included too was a snake-bite kit. But the greatest resource was in her head: her detailed knowledge of every aspect of this environment: the flora, the fauna and the unique delicate fabric of the swamp.

A general physical view of the Tootgarook* Wetlands was illustrated in all its details by a massive aerial photograph that Maayan unrolled, pointing out all the different features. A swamp such as the Tootgarook Swamp is defined as land subject to inundation overlay. The Swamp, which once covered more than 800 hectares is now half that size and much of it in private hands. Actions by some irresponsible landholders in the past caused damage to some areas; these are now being restored. Nevertheless, the Wetland retains its classification as an HBD area (Highest Bio-diversity). There are many government authorities and conservation groups involved in caring for the Tootgarook Swamp, balancing countervailing interests.

While we readied to take off on our walk a harrier and a kestrel could be observed effortlessly gliding and circling in the middle distance, using air currents in their seemingly dilatory but purposeful way, on the alert for prey. Over 150 bird species have been observed over time, deriving benefit from the Swamp’s natural resources. During our excursion, our resident ‘eagle-eyed’ bird observer, David Ap-Thomas, spotted 19 species.

We started off from Elizabeth Street, next to Chinaman’s Creek which is, in fact, not a natural creek but an excavated drain. In its waters a waterfowl floated serenely, ducking its neck occasionally (see photo). During our walk Maayan pointed out a vast diversity of plant-life and their varying roles in the life of this unique eco-system: from Poa to (native) Parsnip; from sedges to Shield Pennywort to Sea parsnip. Many species of Melaleuca and Tea-trees and tall grasses such as Phragmitis australis, among whose large drifts black swans safely nest. There are many species of fish, frogs and also tortoises.

The ground was overall not as wet as I had anticipated but some spots were very soft indeed, with areas which remain saturated all-year-round, except in extreme drought conditions we were told. For our next excursion to this fascinating site (and we definitely must go again) we must ensure that all participants equip themselves with appropriate waterproof footwear. Otherwise, some of the habitats will be out of reach and their full enjoyment of this almost-secret jewel will be lessened.

Further reading: There is a wealth of information on a number of well-resourced websites: I recommend starting with http://www.monash.edu.au/dangerousground/ramsar-can-it-save-one-of-australias-last-wetlands/

*Tootgarook is an aboriginal word from the Kulin group of languages meaning ‘place of the croaking frogs’, clearly onomatopoeic.

Tuesday 20th June Meeting

Speaker Mark Adams, Local Native Flora, spoke on the topic: Frog Ponds and Small Wetland establishment. Some of you will have met Mark at our plant sale. Mark isn’t a regular speaker but due to his knowledge and enthusiasm spoke to the group, supported by a well planned PowerPoint presentation. Mark worked his way through various aspects – picking a good location, (whether that be above or below ground level), soil requirements, suitable plants and creature habitats finishing with how to maintain a healthy pond.

That’s all for this newsletter. Keep warm and hope to see you at one of our upcoming meetings or excursions.