Thursday, 20 February 2014

Eucharis Lily, Success!

Cultural notes:
The exquisite 'Eucharis lily' also known as 'Amazon lily' (Eucharis grandiflora), is a member of the Amaryllis family and was originally collected along the Rio Magdalena. This low bulbous plant has broad, glossy green basal leaves and glistening white trumpet-shaped flowers (rather like a white daffodil) and delightfully fragrant. The flowers are borne in clusters of 3-6 blooms on a 60cm (2 foot) tall fleshy stalk.

The Eucharis lily prefers bright indirect light or semi-shade. Water liberally from spring to autumn however water moderately in the winter. The Eucharis lily is a topical plant enjoying moist-warm conditions. It does not like cold nights, so a minimum of 5 degrees is required, even in the winter. Sponge leaves occasionally during dry weather to increase air humidity. Repot in spring every 3-4 years or as needed.

To propagate, detach offsets or bulblets from mature plants in summer, keep warm and water sparingly until growth starts.

The following photos have been submitted by CHGC members Marie & Graham who have had success with their Eucharis Lily:

We are so thrilled because our Eucharis Lilly has flowered after 6 years having it in different positions. The flowers last about a week and we are delighted. We grow it in our pergola which is mostly in shade but has sun for a small portion of the day. They are also known as an Amazon Lilly.

The Spider Lillies always delight us as we watch them come out in the evening. They grow in the garden surrounding our dining room. 
Thank you so much Marie & Graham for sharing your beauties.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Coffs Airport

A small, but dedicated hardworking crew this month at the airport were Jim, Gavin, Maria and team leader Peter.

Coffs Harbour airport is the busiest NSW regional airport with almost 350,000 passenger movements in the past 12 months. Our Club's contribution is therefore truly important, because we help provide a wonderful impression for all those people visiting our lovely city and region who arrive through this major tourist hub.

Sunday, 16 February 2014


Researched by Brian Kane

There are a lot of ‘folk names’ given to dragonflies such as ‘Horse stinger’ in the UK. The name may come from from the way a captured dragonfly curls it abdomen as if in an attempt to sting. Another explanation was that they could be seen flying round horses in fields. They were really feeding on the flies attracted to the horses. Occasionally a fly would irritate or bite a horse enough to make it twitch or skip about. People seeing it made the inference that it was the dragon stinging, rather that an unseen fly biting. Dragonflies are fearsome predators of other flying insects but this beautiful creature is harmless to humans.
Dragonflies are among the oldest insects on earth, for fossilized remains show that they existed 300 million years ago. This is an interesting time span considering that the famous dinosaur footprints at Minyirr (Gantheaume Point) date from the Cretaceous environment of 130 million year ago. Some of these ancient dragonflies had a wingspan over 60 cm (today the largest wingspan is megaloprepus coerulatus in South America which is 19 cm).
There are 4500 different species of dragonfly in the world today (300 species in Australia) varying in size and colour. They are sunlight-loving day flying insects living near water, usually by stagnant pools and marshes. They have four large wings with a lace-like pattern of veins, long slender bodies, a huge head and prominent eyes.

Most of them are brilliantly coloured with bodies that are red, blue, green, brown, yellow, and so on. The colour becomes stronger as the insect grows older. Observation here in Broome indicates that dragonflies are of a green, brown colouration.

Dragonflies move through the air at tremendous speeds sometimes reaching up to 90 kmph. They can fly for hours on end and have been known to travel 30 km or so, but usually they patrol a particular area looking for insects to eat. Mosquitoes, flies and midges are a large part of their diet and these are plucked from the air. This fact alone should endear these delightful creatures to us.

In contrast to its enormous eyes, the dragonfly’s antennae (for sensing, touch and smell) are poorly developed and less important to it. The jaws have strong tooth-like projections for biting into its prey. They have three pairs of legs attached to the body just behind the mouth. These are used for seizing its prey in mid-air.
Mating usually takes place in the air, then it is over to the female to lay its eggs into fresh water, the stems of water plants or into mud. After 2 – 5 weeks the eggs hatch into nymphs. These are called "mud-eyes" and are excellent bait for freshwater fish. They have the basic body structure of the adult insect but are fatter and without wings. The nymths are dull brown in colour and remain underwater until they are ready to change into adult dragonflies. They breathe by means of gills. Nymths are carnivorous (flesh eating) even tackling tadpoles and small fish. Dragonflies take anything from one to five years, and possibly even longer, to complete their Iife cycle. During its life as nymph the insect moults, shedding its skin, as many as ten or fifteen times. When the nymph is ready to moult for the last time, it comes out of the water and climbs up a plant above the surface of the water. After a short period of rest, the skin splits, the wings expand and a spectacular dragonfly emerges. The species ‘Trapezostigma loewii’ breed in warm still waters such as the flood plains of northern Australia. Their emergence as adults is often taken as a signal that the wet season was over.
Dragonflies mark the end of the Yawuru season, Mankala (the wet) and the beginning of the short season of Marul. This was the time when Aboriginal people move back to the coast.
It is amazing that dragonflies can fly forwards, sideways, backwards and hover (sort of like a helicopter). It is said that Di Vinci wrote many papers on the possibility of such an aircraft being possible after he observed the dragonfly. They are much loved and there are many internet sites devoted to their study and preservation such as the British Dragonfly society -

Saturday, 1 February 2014


February 2014 flower of the month: Gardenia

Gardenias are attractive, low maintenance evergreen shrubs with large, fragrant, creamy white flowers and glossy green leaves. Gardenias are warm climate plants, which are well suited to our Coffs climate. They flower from November to May, enjoy a lightly acidic, well mulched, well drained soil. Applications of fertilizer and a hair cut after flowering are required to keep them at their best.

Gardeners' Tips - February 2014

Bougainvillea - once they finish flowering give them a decent cut back as the more new growth there is, the more bracts develop.

Citrus - Cut off citrus branches hanging lower than 1m above the ground to stop rain splash spreading disease to new fruit.

Flowering shrubs - shrubs that have flowered in late spring will need a little trim now.

Hibiscus - needs a soft prune because flowers develop on new growth.

Indoor Plants and Pots - Need to be watered more often and given a light dose of controlled-release fertiliser. Re-pot where necessary.

Passionfruit - Collect fallen fruit quickly to avoid deterioration. Freeze excess or bring along to our trading table, as passionfruit are always very popular.

Vertical Spaces in the Vegie Patch - Consider using these spaces for climbing spinach (Jim brings an excellent variety in for our trading table), watermelon, rockmelon, climbing beans and pumpkin as they all can be trained to grow on a trellis or wire.

President's Message - February 2014

A very big Happy New Year to everyone. We have another great year ahead for our Club, with plans for guest speakers, events and activities starting to take shape.

Our first major club activity is the annual Clean Up Australia Day effort at the old Coffs Cemetery. This is an event that everyone can get into and one that is of real value to our community. So please get involved if you can—Pat Roser has all the information.

Of course the Airside Garden maintenance program will continue. Coffs Airport is the busiest regional airport in NSW with almost 350,000 passenger movements in the past 12 months. Our Club’s contribution is therefore truly important, because we help provide a wonderful impression for all those people coming to our lovely city by air, whether for business or pleasure.

Coffs Harbour Show is the next major community event on our Club calendar. I believe we have done a great job over many years in putting on such an excellent competition and wonderful display in the Pavilion. So please think about entering your cut flowers, floral art, potted plants, fruit and vegies in this year’s Show. And, of course, many hands make light work when it comes to actually putting the Show on, so please help out if you can.

August offers us a very exciting opportunity to host the Garden Clubs of Australia Mid North Coast Zone Day. We expect up to 100 delegates to attend the event from up and down the coast, and it promises to be very interesting and informative. We are really fortunate that well-known horticultural
journalist, Elizabeth Swane, has agreed to be our main guest speaker on the day, and there will be plenty more on the program.

Our 25th annual Spring Garden Competition is the next cab off the rank. This competition has grown considerably in the past few years and is really working well for our community. It is not just about the competition itself, but also about helping to ensure our Council area looks great. We can’t conduct this competition without the wonderful assistance we receive from all our sponsors, and especially our major sponsors: Total Gardens, Coffs City Council and the Advocate. Please show your appreciation by supporting all our sponsors (see our website for the full list).

So you can see the Club has plenty going on in 2014. A mighty thank you goes again to everyone who gives so freely their time and expertise in planning and putting on all the Club’s activities. Without your wonderful work we simply wouldn’t be a successful club.