aps mornington peninsula

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

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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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Newsletter 1 -2017

Here’s our first newsletter for 2017. Hope you enjoy reading it over the Easter break.

Our Annual Plant Sale is coming up very soon. Hope to see you at Seawinds on Saturday, April 29th anytime from 10am until 3:30pm.

First up my regular feature highlighting what it is growing in our area each month.

Plant of the Month – January

Our Callistemon ‘Pink Champagne’ was certainly in beautiful bloom and very attractive to the bees back in January. It was planted about twelve months ago in quite heavy clay soil but is doing well so far.

Plant of the Month – February

During February very few plants in our garden were flowering. However a number of Grevilleas were the exception. This Grevillea semperflorens easily reinforces the nickname ‘spider’ that many Grevilleas are renowned for. It is in a very heavy clay soil, along with two other Grevilleas and a couple of Callistemons on the south-west side of our property.

Plant of the Month – March

Robyn Tyson, one our Committee members, has provided our newsletter with the March Plant of the Month from her garden. Here’s what she had to say.

About 9 years ago I decided to have a Banksia garden. I bought things that might grow in my Mt Martha soil and cope with late frosts. Nothing happened flower-wise but everything is growing nicely. One in particular got to a size and stayed there.  Upon reading my Banksia book it said it may take 10 years to flower in cultivation. Patience is a virtue. My  Banksia Pilostylis has 3 flowers this year.  They are green with a black eye.

Thanks Robyn.

Plant of the Month – April

Now here’s a prostrate Goodenia ovata which we have flowering for the first time. We planted it last year and already it is spreading well and is a lovely splash of gold in our garden right now.

Don’t forget 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

Tuesday 21st February meeting

Our committee has been hard at work organising the program for this year but at times securing speakers has proven problematic. So when we had a late cancellation for our February meeting we were fortunate our own leader, Verena, was able to step in. She had been with the Friends of Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne to Mt Hotham over the summer. Her informative talk, suitably supported by an excellent PowerPoint presentation was well received and enjoyed by those in attendance.

Alpine scenery and plants surround Hotham Village: Celmisia pugioniformis, Stylidium armeria, E. pauciflora ssp apuciflora, Olearia phlogopappa

Certainly the Mt Hotham area offers a lot to plant lovers and hikers during the summer when it isn’t snow-covered. Later in this newsletter you will find a written report of Verena’s time at Mt Hotham with some accompanying photos.

Saturday 18th March Excursion to Merricks Nursery for a Propagation Workshop

Twenty-four members attended the Merricks Nursery for an extremely detailed talk and workshop demonstration by nurseryman, Richard Anderson. Firstly Richard revealed a few of his preferred books for propagation information. Following that he shared his experiences in growing Australian plants from seed, cuttings and division. The early part of his talk dealt with growing plants from seed, whether to pre-treat seeds or not, how to create a smoke water environment and what medium to plant the seeds into. His preferred medium is coconut peat and perlite. So now there’s a secret for us all! Next he showed us his smoker and his hothouse/shade-house set up for growing plants from cuttings. We were even misted along with the cuttings whilst checking it out. Back in his worksheet he showed how to prepare cuttings from samples brought from member’s gardens. Finally he demonstrated how to subdivide a kangaroo paw. Autumn is an ideal time of the year to do this. A delicious morning tea and the opportunity to purchase plants concluded the morning.


Plants seen in the Mt Hotham Region, 13-16 January 2017

In January this year, I joined the Friends of Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne who organised a 4 night stay at Hotham Heights. Over 3 days, a pleasantly-sized group of 18 were led by the inimitable Rodger Elliott and a local guide, ambling about in different regions – Little Mount Higginbotham, up the side of Mount Hotham, Dinner Plain and JB Plain, the Mount Hotham to Mount Feathertop Razor Back track, and a short trip further down the mountainside on the Dargo High Plains Road. And when I say amble, it was a joy to be amongst those who took their time to inspect plants and take many photographs.

An orgy of identification at start of Little Mount Higginbotham walk. From left to right: Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp. pauciflora, Chrysocephalum semiapposum, Podolobium alpestre, Pimelea ligustrina ssp. ciliata

Our walks were made in delightful weather, even the high winds and rain on the first day didn’t arrive until we were all safely inside Kalyna Lodge. The cool late summer had delayed the flowers, some early plants were still in bloom, while later ones had only just started.

Seen on the Mount Hotham to Mount Feathertop Razor Back track: ubiquitous False Dandelion, dead trees from several bushfires on the mountainside, with the Mt Buffalo range in the distance

So there were no “fields of flowers” other than the ubiquitous Cats’ Ear or False Dandelion.   But that didn’t hinder an orgy of identification. Most of the alpine plants were new to me, but thanks to the experts in the group, I’ve been able to put names to nearly all of my photos. In all, about 170 species were recorded (not including rushes, reeds, sedges, many of the grasses, lichens, mosses and fungi).

Caladenia alpina

In the evenings there was much discussion of plants seen that day. We were also entertained by illustrated talks given by some of the Friends, ranging from previous Alpine trips, Grassland of West Melbourne, The Kimberleys and the history of the historic house Harewood.

My overall impression of the plants in this region is the large variety of herbaceous perennials and the adaptation of shrubs to the harsh Alpine environment. Here are some highlights:

  • There are Alpine species of many of the common families and genus – Myrtaceae (Eucalyptus, Baeckia, Callistemon, Kunzea), Proteaceae (Grevillea, Hakea), Asteraceae (Brachyscome, Chrysocephalum, Microseris, Olearia, Ozothamnus, Senecio, Xerochrysum), Fabaceae (Acacia, Bossiaea, Hovea, Podolobium, Pultanea), Ericaceae (Epacris), Thymaelaceae (Pimelea).

    Hovea montana – last flower of the late Spring

  • Snow Daisies (Celmisia) and Billy Buttons (Craspedia) are common sights in Alpine summer scenes, as are the Trigger Plants (Spyridium).
  • Some Alpine plants will grow quite happily in warmer, drier non-Alpine gardens – Olearia phlogopappa, Grevillea australe, Tasmannia lanceolata, Wahlenbergia gracilis.
  • Unusual species – Orites lancifolius (Proteaceae)
  • The usual name change confusion – Mountain and Snow Beard-heath are now called Acrothamnus not Leucopogon because their flowers do not have “beards”
  • Unusual families – Apiaceae – Aciphylla glacilis (Mountain Celery), Oreomyrrhis eriopoda (Australian Caraway)

    An unusual plant – Aciphylla glacilis

  • Unusual forms – the flowers of Velleia montana (Mountain Velleia) and Trachymene humilis (Alpine Trachymene) have much shorter stalks than other species of these genus.
  • Inevitable orchids – Caladenia alpestris, Chiloglottis valida (Bird-orchid), Prasophyllum alpestre and tadgellianum(Leek-orchids), Pterostylis cycnocephala (Alpine Swan Greenhood)
  • Simply beautiful – Wahlenbergia gloriosa

To conclude, I can recommend a trip to the Alps in the summer – it’s easy walking and lots to see. The experience is even better when you go with a friendly group, particularly when some of them are already familiar with Australian Alpine plants.

Photos and words – Verena Reich

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 18th April at 2:30pm at Benton Square Community Centre. Our speaker will be our very own Chris Long, APS President, and he will present on – Gardens, Gardening and APS Victoria. It promises to be an interesting afternoon.

That’s all this time. Happy gardening!