aps mornington peninsula

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

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Winter 2020 newsletter

Hello members and other readers,

What a disrupted year we have endured so far due to the covid-19 situation. The vast majority of the events, activities and walks our committee had planned have sadly ended up on the cancellation scrapheap. Unfortunately our plant sale also had to be abandoned. We managed one meeting and one excursion before all this happened. You’ll be able to read more about these below. Once restrictions eased the committee managed to organise some walks, some originally planned and some now more recently planned. More about them later in this newsletter too. Unfortunately at the time of publication we are now back in lockdown and waiting for restrictions to ease again.

The only good thing to result from this situation is that many of us have spent a lot of our time in our gardens. Karen and I have been able to further develop our garden and I have included photos of our garden expansion.

If you have done likewise I would be keen to show off your garden improvements too so do contact me via email at mornpenaps@gmail.com, marking the photos or items Attention: Mark Allison. Thanks.

Members’ Presentations – Tuesday 18th February

Back on Tuesday 18th February we held an evening meeting and four of our members made short presentations about their gardens.

First up was Rob Powell. Rob showed us plans he had drawn up before commencing a redevelopment of his garden. He was able to show us before and after photos too. He has used an App to detail all these developments. It is called Gardenize. Rob has also begun propagating in a small hothouse.

Yours truly spoke next. I focused on the development of garden, starting with infrastructure, the value of our garden to the birds, bees and other wildlife before showing some photos of groundcovers and other favourite shrubs.

Next Roo Rawlings shared her passion for Banksias, showing photos of some wonderful species including Banksias occidentalis, prionates, spinulosa and Mini Marg.

Our final presenter was Sue Gilbert who shared her interest in the Woolemi pines growing in her garden. She originally started with one but a second self sown one has grown in her garden. She has also grown one from a cutting which she brought in a pot. Sue also handed out seed to members interested in growing one themselves. Thanks Sue.

The evening continued with a look at cuttings on our plant table. Here are a few that caught my interest.

Banksia burdettii

Eucalyptus sinuosa

Veronica perfoliata

Kawarra Australian Plant Garden – Saturday 22nd February

Nearly twenty members drove into the Dandenongs to Kawarra Australian Plant Garden for our Saturday afternoon excursion on the 22nd February. This magnificent Eucalyptus cinerea (Argyle Apple) guarded the entrance.We were lucky to have one of the former staff members, Lindy Harris-Molyneux as our guide for the afternoon. After she related a brief history of the garden, as we sat in the shade, we wandered around the garden.

Here is a selection of the plants in bloom that we admired as we walked around.

Acacia linafolia

Grevillea insignia subspecies. elliotii

Crowea exalata

In one of the meeting rooms we could also browse the wonderful Banksia drawings by Ian Wallace on display.At the conclusion of the visit many members took advantage of the opportunity to purchase plants from Kawarra’s nursery at very reasonable prices.Plant of the Month- February

During February our Brachyscome multifidas were on show. We have mostly purple flowers but a few white ones too. However this purple one decided it would be a bit of both. Not sure what caused this unusual look.

Plant of the Month- March

Our Banksia occidentalis (Swamp Banksia) has been in bloom since March. It has continued to bloom until now, with a couple of hundred cones on show over the time. It is now over two metres tall and wide. Suspect all the rain we’ve had has helped.

Hanging Basket

Sadly the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show didn’t go ahead this year. Here is a shot of the hanging basket entry prepared by Robyn Tyson to represent our group. “It contains a poa grass, sedge, thryptomene payneii in flower and acacia cognata, with a  scleranthus. Concept was a creek bed with the scleranthus as a pond but it’s a bit overgrown now.” Thanks Robyn.

Plant of the Month- April

For the first time our Melaleuca lateritia flowered this Autumn. Although still only about half a metre tall it had more than twenty blooms. Sitting on a sloped site near the front drive it was certainly stunning.

Main Ridge Conservation Reserve walk – Saturday 30th May 

After many weeks of isolating ourselves from each other, when covid-19 restrictions on group sizes were eased this enabled our APS group to embark on the first of a series of walks. Meeting at 1:00pm we sprayed our shoe soles and headed off to explore this reserve.

The reserve is well forested with areas of ferns. Along the way we spotted quite a few fungi.

A number of fallen trees were well covered in moss and lichen. Quite a few of the Eucalypts were hosting mistletoe. We even managed a splash of Epacris impressa on the final leg of the circuit.Thanks to Chris and Glenys Long for supplying hot drinks at the end of the walk while we chatted at a safe social distance from each other.

Plant of the Month- May

This Grevillea iaspicula from Eva and Ray Turner’s garden has been in glorious bloom. It’s quite rare so its lovely to be able to feature it here. Apparently there are only about 100 plants left in the wild near Wee Jasper in NSW.

Grevillea iaspicula

Seaford Wetlands walk – Saturday 13th June

Photo – Verena Reich

Treasurer Chris Long met the group in his ‘back yard’ and gave us a brief history of the wetlands and the current revegetation development of the woodlands area. Initially our walk was in the woodlands area. Mosquitoes were noticeable. So we mostly kept moving.Areas of recent plantings were evident.Some more established plants from previous plantings were in bloom like this Acacia suaveolens.

Photo – Verena Reich










Some more established Banksias and Eucalypts were also flowering.

Eucalyptus camaldulensis

We did two small circuits around the wetlands. Like our previous walk some fungi were also spotted by the more observant in our group.An enjoyable afternoon tea at Chris and Glenys’ house was a convivial way to finish the walk. They have made good use of their nature strip area.

Photo – Chris Long

The back yard is a lovely haven.

Photo- Chris Long

This Eremophila glabra ‘Shark Bay’ was a mass of flowers.

Photo – Chris Long

Acacia photo feature

Much of our recent weather has been reasonably sunny for this time of the year but some have been downright dreary. So the bright yellow of our Acacia baileyana prostrate has been a real bright spot in our garden.Over at the Turner garden they have been spoilt with quite a display. Here’s some lovely snaps. Not sure who took them, Ray or Eva, but I believe they’ve been taken on Eva’s mobile. Thanks again for sharing.

Acacia denticulata

Acacia wildenowiana

Acacia jibberdingensis

Acacia continua

Acacia guinetii

Acacia suaveolens

Plant of the Month- June

In Ray and Eva Turner’s garden this unusual Grevillea jephcottii is another star. It’s found in the wild in north east Victoria but is doing very nicely in their garden. From a photographic point of view I like the detail Eva’s new phone is producing.

Warringine walk – Saturday 27th June

About twenty members gathered at the Jack’s Beach carpark for this walk on June 27. After checking in and spraying our shoes we took a quick look at a patch of nodding green hooded orchids (Pterostylis nutans)

Photo -Verena Reich

before setting off north along the trail in smaller groups. It was a bit muddy in spots.So the sections of boardwalk through the woodland area were better to walk on.Leaving the Swamp paperbark (Melaleuca ericifolia) woodland behind the view opened up as we came into the actual wetlands.

Photo – Mark Allison

Samphire (Salicornia quinqueflora subs. quinqueflora) was prevalent along the boardwalk.A lot of seeds from the white mangrove (Avicennia marina) could be seen in the water (alongside the crab holes), with quite a number of newly sprouted plants making their mark.

Photo – Verena Reich -Avicennia marina

Photo -Verena Reich

Further along we passed an area of grasslands.After stopping at the bird observation deck for a look

Photo- Mark Allison

we made our way back along the same route before stopping for a socially distanced cuppa and a chat. Thanks again to Glenys and Chris Long for providing it.

Plant of the Month- JulyAnother striking specimum found in Eva and Ray Turner’s garden is this Beaufortia squarrosa. From the next photo you can see how prolifically it flowers and how well it spreads.Social distanced walk

Although we are pretty much locked down if you live near to Devil Bend, then member, Robyn Tyson, recommends taking a walk there. The paths may be a bit muddy in placesbut the spectacular Epacaris impressa is there to be enjoyed.

Spectacular Epacris impressa

Say hi to some Hibiscus

Robyn Tyson sent me some photos of a couple of Aussie Hibiscus flowering in her garden. Even though we can’t visit her garden currently due to the lockdown the next best thing is a virtual look at these couple of beauties.

“The first is a pink Hibiscus splendens, interesting grey hairy leaves and vibrant large pink flowers which unfortunately only last a day, a quick growing tallish shrub from NSW and Qld. Mine is in fairly shady spot.
The second is a yellow flowering Hibiscus heterophyllus with sandpaper dark green leaves. These are in the Malvaceae family.”Thanks Robyn. They are both stunning.


Whilst we are unable to meet or walk together feel free to send photos or articles of interest to our email account mornpenaps@gmail.com marking them Attention:Mark Allison so that we can enjoy seeing them in our next newsletter. Stay safe, fit and healthy until next time.

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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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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.

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Newsletter 3 – 2016


Welcome to this summer edition of our newsletter. Hope you are having a wonderful time in your garden with family and friends over the festive season.

Since the last newsletter Karen and I have spent time walking and travelling around Japan. Whilst there we had the opportunity to visit many beautiful gardens.

This means that we have missed seeing plants in our garden in bloom over October and the early part of November. So it was a pleasure to have a member of our group, Brenda Martin send in some photos and a report about her garden. Thanks Brenda.

October – Plant of the Month – Brenda Martin’s garden

After all the rain we have had, and all the cold and windy weather, my garden has excelled itself this year!
I moved to Frankston South about 4 years ago and promptly ripped out all the lawn (no mowing for me!) and all the roses and most of the exotic plants. Replaced by some large rocks and mulch, dotted with native grasses, wattles, westringias, grevilleas and a few eucalypts as a basis.
Over the past few years I have bought any natives that appealed to me and put them in wherever I fancied. Somehow it seems to have worked and when, finally, we had a sunny day this October, I went out to the garden and was amazed and delighted. All the shrubs were in full bloom, bees, hover flies and butterflies were everywhere, and even the clown-like New Holland Honeyeaters, Spinebills and Wattlebirds were busily collecting nectar –  a ‘living’ garden. It made my day.
Some of my favourite plants in flower at the moment are:

Alyogyne  huegelii (mauve blue), several Correas, including Chef’s Cap and Fat Fred,
Eremophila nivea

Grevillea ‘Ned Kelly’, G. Intricata, G. ‘Superb’, and others.

A brilliant pink Leptospermum, flowers covering the whole bush (don’t know which one), Myoporum floribundum, weeping over the pond, Thomasia pygmaea (a delight, especially after our talk recently) 
and Ricinocarpus pinifolius (Wedding Bush) – pictured below.

Give me Aussie plants any day!


Plant of the month – November

Returning home from Japan it was exciting to see what was flowering in our garden as in Japan autumn colours were all the go. A relatively new section of our ever developing garden was flowering well. Many plants for the first time. Well done to our Melaleuca wilsonii, M. armillaris, Isopogon cuneatus, Hymenosporum flavum (native frangipani), Dampiera trigona and Banksia blechnifolia but one other stood out. Also flowering for the first time since we planted it was an Eremophila makinlayi, from friends in Melton, so it was an easy choice as my plant of the month. (Not so easy was the removal of many weeds that had sprung up in our absence however!)


Plant of the month – December

Many are excited about their Christmas tree in December but we were excited by the beautiful white flowering of two of our plants. The first was Melaleuca linarifolia (Seafoam) which is at the the bottom of the driveway in a heavy clay situation, surviving where previously two other less hardy plants had failed to their detriment. The second was a Myoporum floribundum (struck from a plant table cutting by Karen) with its lovely weeping branches. Sadly the hot spell has knocked out the flowers of the Melaleuca seafoam so here is a picture of the tougher weeping Myoporum floribundum.


Meetings and excursions

During our absence in October we missed two activities. The first was a visit to Gidja Walker’s in Rye on October 1st. Fortunately Ray Turner has sent me some photos. Here are a few of the photos for those who also may have missed this excursion. Thanks Ray!




Our guest speaker for the meeting on October 18th was Trevor Blake. Despite having what was described as ‘technical difficulties’ he delivered an informative talk about the Malvaceae family. If like me you weren’t sure of Malvaceae family members think Hibiscus and Alyogyne and you’ll be starting down the right garden path!

On November 15th, just after returning home we were lucky enough to attend a talk by the entertaining and informative Cathy Powers. In her ‘Grasslands and their Flora’ talk she was able to make many comparisons between grasslands in her native USA and Australia. Her talk was supported by a lovely PowerPoint presentation. Fortunately she didn’t have any technical difficulties!

APS Victoria update

Committee of Management restructure
After three years of various proposals and some degree of upset we have finally decided to leave the structure as it is.  This will help in reducing tension and unifying all members.

60th birthday

Next year we (APSV) turn 60, a notable milestone.  We will be having a celebration afternoon tea at Melton on Saturday June 17th.  It would be good to see some MornPen members there.

Quarterly Gatherings

In the past we have had quarterly gatherings associated with the Committee of Management meetings – Mornington Peninsula hosted the September 2013 one. For those attending there is the opportunity to visit gardens and natural areas of interest and to meet with some of the wider APSV family.  We have found them very enjoyable.

Recently we have been unable to get hosts volunteering but I am pleased to say that Wangaratta will be hosting the September gathering and that more opportunities are likely to follow.  Why not come along to a gathering and see how much you get out of it.

Chris Long

APSV President


Our committee is meeting on January 9th with the aim of finalising our calendar of events for 2017 so stay tuned. Remember you can click the Like button or make a Comment if you wish. In the meantime Happy New Year and enjoy your garden during summer.

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Newsletter 2 – 2016

Hello again fellow members and other readers,

It’s a great time to be out in the garden during spring, well on the sunny days when it’s not raining at least!


Again I’ll start off things in this newsletter with my favourite plant for September. I am keen to feature some of your favourite plants too so do you have a specimen from your garden that is in magnificent bloom right now?   Send a photo, date of flowering and a brief description and I’ll aim to include some next newsletter. Email to me, ‘Attention Mark Allison’ at mornpenaps@gmail.com

What’s your favourite flowering Australian plant?


Much as we have a number of Grevilleas that are flowering beautifully at present, as well as first time flowerers like our little local Hibbertia sericea and a Melaleuca incana, my favourite at the moment is our lovely Eremophila nivea. I just love its velvety foliage and the way it contrasts so well with plants nearby with green foliage. However the delicate little flowers are the highlight. We have it in an open position and even though it can be quite windy at times it has been growing steadily and flowering well for over a year now.


My wife Karen on the other hand would nominate our long flowering Leptospermum ‘Pink Cascade’ as her favourite right now. (Although she did admit my choice was a good one too.) We have two at the front of our property and given they are low growing they have spread out well and now soften the retaining wall edges. Plus Karen’s bees love them.


Planting day at Devilbend Reservoir

A group of just under twenty volunteers joined ranger Sam Pollard for the annual planting day at Devilbend Reservoir on Saturday 30th of July. APS Mornington Peninsula comprised about a third of the group.


Using about 600 plants supplied by Friends of Seawinds and the easy to use Hamilton tree planters supplied by Sam we were able to work in pairs and by late morning had completed filling in a section over on the south side of the reservoir. Thanks to those who were able to participate. (Photo – Verena Reich)

Plants for a Dry Climate

Our guest speaker for our Annual General meeting was to have been John Arnott from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne. Sadly he was ill on the day. A more than adequate replacement in Warren Warboys filled in. Using John’s Powerpoint presentation as a basis Warren was able to inform and entertain us on many ways we can droughtproof our gardens. A timely talk with a hot summer predicted. Warren covered five areas that we need to be aware of to maximise our chances of having a beautiful, thriving Australian garden. Firstly, knowing what can grow in our soil and ways to improve the soil in our garden. Secondly, being aware of the climate specific to your area. This led to making wise plant selections. Next Warren detailed practical ideas for mulching. Finally he spoke about the importance of irrigation and watering depending on all the previous aspects.


Our current committee members are the same as last year with the exception of Trish Allen and Pam Sayers who has retired from the committee after giving excellent service to the group whilst on the committeee. Thanks Trish and Pam. The committee was very pleased to be able to welcome Karen Allison to their ranks.

Weeding day at Devilbend Reservoir

A small group of our about 6 APS members as well as the Seawinds Volunteers, Fly Fishers, Friends of Dangean and Landcare joined Ranger Sam Pollard at Devilbend Reservoir on Saturday 27th August, armed with loppers and other tools helped remove unwanted vegetation and weeds. In our Secretary Jenny’s words “they attacked the boneseed and were rewarded by some of Ranger Sam’s yummy chocolate cake”.

Jaede Garden visit

Sundays are not our usual excursion day but on Sunday 18th September John Jaede and his wife Cate welcomed 16 members of our group to their garden, Mirrumbeena. The garden is located on the hill, overlooking Safety Beach, in Mt Martha. Proceedings started with a lovely morning tea. After a brief word of introduction from John detailing the history of his garden we headed out to wander the paths and look at his garden.


Given the garden is on quite a slope John has been able to create a dry creek bed through the garden with a couple of water features and sculptures to compliment the many beautiful native plants.


He even encouraged cuttings to be taken. Hope you enjoy the photos from myself and Verena if you weren’t able to be present.



Isopogon formosus





Banksia blechnifolia


These pictures are only a taste of the garden. You can see for yourself by coming to …….

Open Native Garden

38 Ellerina Rd Mt Marthadscn7339

Sat. 5th. and Sun. 6th. November

10 am to 4 pm.

Light refreshments available

Richard Anderson from Merricks Nursery will be present to give advice and sell his plants.

Entry $5

All proceeds to Kwaya Uganda to help with volunteer work in the slums.

Enquiries :  Cate Jaede  0404857827

Bright idea

When I was in the Army doing what was then known as National Service, painting rocks white along the roadside was a popular make work way of occupying soldiers who might otherwise be idle. And now after all these years I’ve again been painting stones white, and  it’s not the Army but Jane Edmanson who is responsible. Many of you, I’m sure will have seen on Gardening Australia recently, Jane showing us a way of marking the name of plants without having an unsightly label attached.  She demonstrated a flat stone painted white on one side with the plant name written on in pencil and the stone then placed white side down with perhaps a little mulch covering or semi-covering it. It works really well. If you feel a little classy you can actually print the plant name on a label and attach it.

Thanks to long time member Philip Robinson for this item.

New President of APS Victoria

Our own Chris Long is now the new President of APS Victoria, swapping his previous role as Treasurer of APS Victoria for the top job. Congratulations Chris!

That’s all for this edition as I am off to admire Japan and its beautiful but different gardens during October.

Remember to send in your favourite flowering plants for September/October/November to our email address – mornpenaps@gmail.com and be sure to mark them Attention: Mark Allison. Also hit the Like button or make a Comment if you wish. In the meantime happy reading and enjoy your garden during spring.



Newsletter 1 – 2016

Hi fellow members,

Much has happened this year and now that the weather is not that inviting outside it’s a good chance for me to prepare this bumper edition newsletter and in turn a chance for you to sit and have a good read about the goings on of our group. Hopefully you’ve managed to attend a meeting or go on one of our Saturday excursions sometime this year. If not read on and you can catch up. (Note : If you click on the title Newsletter 1 – 2016 you will be able to see an even bigger and grander version of this newsletter!)

What’s your favourite flowering Australian plant?


I hope to feature some photos and descriptions of your favourite flowering Australian plants as a regular feature each newsletter. To kick things off here’s a couple of photos from Karen’s and my garden. It’s a Banksia occidentalis, sometimes called red swamp banksia. What we love about it is that it gives you double the joy when it flowers. That’s because it starts out this beautiful greyish-green


and transforms into a lovely spear of red and gold.


We have it growing on a slope and in reasonably free draining soil. It was one of the first shrubs we planted at this property just over four years ago and it is frequently in flower, greeting visitors as they come up our driveway.

So now it’s over to you, our readers, what is your favourite flowering Australian plant right now? Send a photo, date of flowering and a brief description and I’ll aim to include some each newsletter. Email to me, ‘Attention Mark Allison’ at mornpenaps@gmail.com


A large part of the rest of this newsletter will be reports from our meetings and excursions. However keep reading to the end as I have saved a treat for you. Thanks to Ray Turner, a lovely article and beautiful photos about Ray and Eva’s love of Verticordias.

Merricks Nursery Garden Maintenance Workshop

On Saturday 19th March just over 20 members attended a garden maintenance workshop at Merricks Nursery run in two parts by Richard Anderson and his offsider, Michael. Firstly Richard took the group around the property and showed us a couple of ways to maintain and revitalise plants. With his kangaroo paws he waits until flowering is completed then with a brushcutter cuts them back virtually to ground level. Then in early winter new growth from the rhizomes will begin. His treatment of grassy lomandras was even harsher. At his disposal he had a flamethrower and was able to burn the lomandras right back so that they would come back with renewed new growth.

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Next we went into the workshop and Richard’s partner, Michael, demonstrated several ways of sharpening tools starting with shovels and spades.

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Next Michael moved onto secateurs, hedge shears, knives and a variety of other cutting tools.  Whilst doing this he was also able to show us a wide variety of sharpening tools, implements and stones at his disposal. This kept quite a few people busy noting these items and the stores in which they could be purchased. All in all it was an informative talk and demonstration.

After about an hour members were able to browse the nursery and make purchases.

Report – Mark Allison, Photos – Verena Reich


Rodger and Gwen Elliott were the guest speakers for the meeting held on Tuesday 23rd April. Their topic was growing and enjoying Australian bush food plants. They detailed a wide variety which had either edible leaves, flowers, seeds or roots. Plants of interest included –

Lemon scented myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) whose leaves are full of fragrant citrus scented oil. Grows best in slightly acidic soil.

River mint (Mentha australis) which has mint fragrant leaves. These grow well in a slightly shady location.

Round leaf mint bush (Prostanthera rotundifolia) can be used as a herb in meat and fish dishes or in potato salad. It is a quick grower and should be pruned after flowering.

Round leaf mint bush (Prostanthera rotundifolia)

Mountain pepper (Tasmannia lanceolata) has leaves and berries which are edible and can be used as an alternative to traditional pepper, perhaps in a stir-fry. They need acidic soils and a semi shaded site.

Warrigal greens (Tetragonia tetragonioides) can be eaten as a leafy vegetable. Due to high oxalate levels it should be blanched then rinsed in cold water before cooking again. It is carpet like in growth and makes a good groundcover.

Plants whose flowers can be used included Banksia marginata and Viola hederacea. By soaking flowers from banksia marginata in water a honey flavoured drink can result. The flowers from Viola hederacea are suitable for cake decoration.

The next section  of their talk centred on edible fruits. The fruit from the Lilly Pilly can be eaten raw but is a good addition to muesli or can be used in pies or preserves. Davidson’s Plum (Davidsonia pruriens has very tasty and good sized fruits high in vitamin C.

Macadamia integrifolia

Another obvious choice was the macadamia nut (Macadamia integrifolia or M. tetraphylla) and of course wattle seeds can be baked and ground to provide a useful powder that can be used in baking.

Finally plants with edible roots or tubers were touched on. The pale vanilla lily (Arthropodium milleflorium), nodding greenhood orchid, chocolate orchid and murnong (Microseris lanceolata) which provides a tuber which is better cooked than raw, were all mentioned. Probably an acquired taste!

Words – Karen and Mark Allison


Plant Sale

Out second annual plant sale was held again at Seawind in Arthurs Seat. Several local growers, Sun Valley Plants, AustPlant, Friends of Seawinds, Merricks Nursery as well as Vaughans’ Nursery from the Grampians were in attendance and received excellent customerage. Our information stand was also well visited.


Words – Mark Allison, Photo – Karen Allison

Melton Botanic Gardens Excursion

On Saturday 21st May a busload of 24 plus a few in private cars made the trip out west to the Melton Botanic Gardens. Proceedings started with a lovely welcoming morning tea and a brief introduction by David Pye about the history and structure of the gardens. Built along Ryans Creek and the adjoining lake with its bird sanctuary island the garden has an extensive eucalyptus arboretum, indigenous plant section, a children’s garden, a Californian, Central and South American specialising in succulents, an Australian dryland garden, a Mediterranean section, South African section, Victorian Volcanic Plains garden, indigenous grassland section,  as well as South and Western Australian sections.


After that we split up into two groups led by Barbara and David Pye with assistance by other members of the Friends of Melton Botanic Gardens for a tour of the gardens.


It was an excellent time to be there if you are a fan of eucalypts. We were treated to some beautiful specimens in full flower.

Eucalyptus desmondensis

Eucalyptus desmondensis


Eucalyptus albopurpurea (Coffin Bay Mallee)

The Eucalyptus kingsmillii may not have been in flower but its seed pods were equally impressive.


Suitable soils/gravels/sands have been sourced and imported to provide the best possible growing conditions for a number of the other specialised gardens. The next photo is a good example of this.


Signage was excellent and included scannable barcodes for mobile phone users to access further information.



Eucalyptus megacornuta (Warted Yate)

At the far end of the gardens a group of indigenous locals were working on a new project. From there our return walk came along Ryans Creek and its billabong.


The opportunity to make purchases from the attached nursery, managed by Margaret Cook and her fellow volunteers, was appreciated by many members. The Friends of Melton Botanic Garden are certainly keen propagators.

After stocking up a picnic lunch was a peaceful way to conclude the visit before the bus trip back to the Mornington Peninsula.

Perhaps a spring time visit would be enable us to see other sections of the garden in bloom.

Report and photos – Mark Allison

Australian Succulents

Our guest speaker for the Tuesday evening meeting held on June 21st was the knowledgable and entertaining Attila Kapitary. He was ably supported by an extensive PowerPoint slideshow showing photos of Australian succulents spotted on his many ventures into arid and drier parts of Australia. Names such as Adonsonia, Calandrinia, Carpobrotus and Dioscorea and Portulaca may not have been familiar to many of us but given that many of these are edible it was worth hearing and learning about them.

Attila in WA

At the conclusion of Attila’s talk we had the opportunity to admire his wonderful display of succulents, some Australian and some from other countries. Some members availed themselves of the chance to make some purchases. As Attila had pointed out the advantages and ease of growing succulents from cuttings many were keen to have a go themselves.

More information – www.australiansucculents.com

Report – Mark Allison, Photo – Michelle Kapitany

Sweetwater Creek

Saturday 16th July saw our group in Frankston as guests of the Friends of Sweetwater Creek. Proceedings started with a welcoming morning tea

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followed by a brief talk by spokesperson, Sally Hammond, focusing on the history and activities of the Friends of Sweetwater Creek.

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The main action followed with a guided walk along some of the paths within the reserve.

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Plantings and areas of bushland regenerated by burning off were highlighted as we went along.

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Sweetwater Creek Reserve is a very peaceful place and offers several kilometres of walking tracks so if you couldn’t come on the day why not go for a visit next sunny day.

More information – www.sweetwatercreek.org.au

Report – Mark Allison, Photos – Verena Reich

Verticordias – The Turner of Hearts

The following notes and photos may give some members not already growing Verticordias a bit of inspiration to grow some of these beautiful plants in their own gardens.
Although I did have a couple of grafted Verticordias growing in my previous garden at McKinnon, it wasn’t until Eva and I went on the 2004 Friends of the Royal Botanic Cranbourne Gardens trip to Western Australia that I took a little more interest in these beautiful plants.

V. chrysantha at Nature’s Window, Kalbarri WA

It was at Natures Window near Kalbarri  when we saw the yellow Verticordia chrysantha growing on rocks with no visible soil or water supply that started me going.
Regeneration of Verticordias on the farm, near Hyden WA

Regeneration of Verticordias on the farm, near Hyden WA

The magic of these plants really hit home near Hyden when we visited an abandoned wheat farm, the native regrowth was absolutely amazing, especially after many years of farming. There were acres of  Verticordias, of course there were other plants like the spectacular Grevillea excelsior. But it was the variety of colour and overall form of the Verticordias that still remains in my mind.
When Eva and I moved to our dream home In Cranbourne South seven years ago I had a vision of replicating this memory on a much smaller scale. We are fortunate to have sandy soil but the drought and a couple of other problems made it bit challenging for my vision to be perfect, but when my Verticordias do burst into flower in spring my memories of our visit to that abandoned farm near Hyden come back.
Our Verticordias at Cranbourne South.

Our Verticordias at Cranbourne South.

Verticordias  have  a reputation for being a bit challenging in the Eastern States unless they are grafted, but I have noticed that some Australian plant gardeners are having success with ungrafted varieties. Some of the most reliable varieties to grow on their own roots in Melbourne are V.chrysanthella,  V. monodelpha, V. plumosa and the beautiful red V. mitchelliana.  I have also been successful with other non grafted varieties
of Verticordia.  You also could have success growing many of them if you give it a go.

V. monadelpha pink form, Cranbourne South

V. mitchelliana, Cranbourne South

V. mitchelliana, Cranbourne South

V chrysantha, Cranbourne South

The very closely related Homoranthus which occur further east than most Verticordia, are equally spectacular and worth a try.  My H.darwinoides is nearly always in flower.
Report and photos – Ray Turner
That’s it everyone. Happy reading and happy gardening. Feel free to click on the Leave a Comment link at the top left of this newsletter then click the ‘Like’ button at the end of this newsletter. I also look forward to receiving some of your photos of your favourite flowering Australian plant. Email to me, ‘Attention Mark Allison’ at mornpenaps@gmail.com

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APS Mornington Peninsula Activities Calendar 2016

Upcoming Events

2017 events will be detailed here in mid January 2017


Previous 2016 Events

Tuesday 16th February

7:30pm at Benton Square Community Centre

Topic : Westernport Mangrove revegetation

Speaker : Ian Stevenson

Background information : http://www.seagrass.com.au


Saturday 19th March

10:30am at Merricks Nursery

Topic : Garden Maintenance workshop

Speaker : Richard Anderson


Tuesday 19th April

2:30pm at Benton Square Community Centre

Topic : Bush foods

Speakers : Rodger and Gwen Elliott


Saturday 23rd April

10:00am – 3:30pm at Seawinds, Arthurs Seat State Park

Annual Plant Sale


Saturday 21st May

8:30 – 16:30 Bus trip to Melton Botanic Garden

Speaker: Friends of Melton Botanic Garden



Tuesday 21st June

7:30 pm Benton Square Community Centre

Topic: Australian succulents

Speaker: Attila Kapitany


Saturday 16th July

10:30 am Frankston – Sweetwater Creek Nature Reserve

Speaker: Sally Hammond, Friends of Sweetwater



Saturday 30th July

9:30 am Planting morning at Devilbend Reservoir

Organised by Sam Pollard

Tuesday 16th August

2:30 pm Annual General meeting 


Speaker : John Arnott

Topic: Plants for a Dry Climate

Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne

Saturday 27th August

9:30 am Weeding morning at Devilbend Reservoir

Organised by Sam Pollard


Sunday 18th September

(Note: Sunday not the usual Saturday)

10:30 am at Jaede Garden,

38 Ellerina Rd, Mt Martha

Host: John Jaede


Saturday 1st October

10:30 am Topic: Indigenous garden, Rye

Speaker: Gidja Walker

Tuesday 18th October

7:30 pm Benton Square Community Centre

Topic: Malvaceae family

Speaker: Trevor Blake


Tuesday 15th November

7:30 pm Benton Square Community Centre

Topic and speaker – tba


Sunday 11th December

Break up lunch

Noon @ Verena Reich’s home

24 Mashie Crt, Rosebud