Thursday, 24 July 2014

It's launched !

Julie Worland officially 'opening' the launch of the 2014 Spring Garden Competition
The 25th Annual Spring Garden Competition has been launched by Patron Julie Worland at Total Gardens today, Sat 26 July in great style.

Total Gardens very generously provided some fantastic discounts  for everyone who attended on the day:
  • 25% off the price of all potted plants.
  • 10% off bare rooted trees.
  • 20% of all glazed and plain terracotta pots.
Plenty of sausages were turned with great aplomb by our champion BBQer, Peter, who was ably supported by Simon.

Our happy lucky 'door' prize recipient was one of our members, Annette G, and there were also three delighted raffle winners.
    Simon & Peter
    We enjoyed some fabulous entertainment from John James aka 'The Party Singer' who was absolutely outstanding.

    President Geoff spoke about the importance of the Spring Garden Comp in helping to beautify the Coffs Coast.  And our Zone Co-ordinator, Keryn Rodham, was there to lend support from the Garden Clubs of Australia.

    Thank you Julie and Paul for hosting today's launch of our Annual Spring Garden Competition.  Julie and Paul are wonderful supporters of our club, and so if you need anything for your garden, or any gardening advice, they are the people you should see first.

    GCA Zone Co-ordinator Keryn Rodham & CHGC President Geoff Bell
    Patrons Julie & Paul Worland at the launch

    John James wooing the crowd with lots of very familiar songs - great stuff!

    Tuesday, 22 July 2014

    Erinose Mite

    acenia hibisci (Syn. Eriophyes hibisci)

    If you have severe pimpling of young leaves and developing vegetative buds on your hibiscus, you most probably have a problem with erinose mite. It is very widespread now through South East Queensland and northern New South Wales (unconfirmed reports suggest that the mite may have become established in NSW as early as 1978).

    This microscopic mite was most probably introduced into Australia on illegally imported hibiscus cuttings from Brazil, Hawaii, Tonga or Fiji where the mite is found. Upright and weeping forms and Indian and Hawaiian types of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis are affected. Okra, another member of the Malvaceae plant family has been affected overseas but as yet it has not been seen in Australia.

    Transmission occurs on cuttings or perhaps via transfer in wind currents. Neglected plants appear to be at greater risk of infestation. Generally, pruning of affected tissue does not provide control without an appropriate spray program. Growers who have cut back damaged foliage and allowed them to regrow often report that the new leaves are still infested with erinose.

    To effectively manage this mite in high risk areas, spraying at monthly intervals throughout the year may afford some protection with more frequent sprays during the main growth period. There is not, however a registered chemical control for A. hibisci. Miticides with a generic registration against mites, such as wettable sulphur or maldison may do the trick. It will also help if you prune early so that new growth has hardened before the erinose mites hatch and start feeding. Also as the season progresses, you might also consider using fertilisers that are not too high in nitrogen so that soft leafy growth is minimised during the time the mites are at their peak.

    It is imperative as gardeners that we do not spread this problem - we should not move cuttings from infested areas into other districts and badly affected shrubs and prunings should be removed and either burnt, buried or taken to the dump in an enclosed plastic bag.

    GARDENERS' TIPS: Gardening in July

    We’ve had a very dry winter, so if you live in a bushfire prone area, now is the time to review your bushfire plan in preparation for the upcoming season.  And, of course, there are the obvious jobs of clearing out your gutters and making sure you minimise any build-up of fuel that might be around your   garden.

    Feed your flowers and vegies fortnightly at this time of the year using either liquid seaweed or an appropriate specialised fertiliser.

    Remove fallen frangipani leaves and dispose of them in the garbage to control rust disease.

    Now is the time to prune your hibiscus, then feed them with poultry manure, apply mulch and water in well.

    You should also take precautions against the Erinose Mite, which is a sap-sucking pest that is becoming more prevalent in the Coffs area.  The best way to do this is to prune early so that new growth has hardened before the Erinose Mites hatch and start feeding.  As the season progresses, you might also consider using fertilisers that are not too high in nitrogen so that soft leafy growth is minimised during the time the mites are at their peak.

    SAFETY TIPS: Using garden chemicals

    • Use the right chemical for the job you want done. 
    • Buy only the quantity you need and use the least amount possible. 
    • Avoid storing large quantities or mixtures of chemicals.  Don’t store incompatible chemicals, eg, nitrate fertilisers with chlorine. 
    • Read the safety information and follow instructions carefully. 
    • Always wear the recommended protective clothing and equipment, and wash hands and forearms after use. 
    • Keep chemicals where children can’t get to them, and don’t store them in soft drink or food containers. Dispose of unused chemicals safely.  
    • Don’t pour them down the sink or into the stormwater drain.

    Thursday, 17 July 2014

    Zone Day Update

    This rose was named after Elizabeth's Aunt, Valerie Swane
    The Garden Clubs of Australia Mid North Coast Zone day is being held 16 August at the Cavanbah Centre, Harbour Drive Coffs commencing at 9.30am. Cost of attendance is $30.

    The Mayor, Denise Knight has agreed to do the 'Welcome to Coffs' on what she terms 'family time' and we are exceedingly grateful that she is taking time out to welcome us all.

    Local Woolgoolga Vireya Rhododendron grower Neil Puddey will tell us about his journey from growing something he enjoyed to the international success story it is today.

    Freelance Flower's Di Patterson will WOW us with a Floral Art Demonstration. The floristry industry has been Di's passion for the past 23 years, initially working from home but now has a florist shop at Northside Shopping Centre, Coffs.

    The keynote speaker is Elizabeth Swane who is a member of one of Australia's best-known rose growing families. She has been involved in horticulture for over 30 years and is a firm believer in the hands-on 'have a go' philosophy to gardening.

    Our GCA Zone Co-ordinator, Keryn Rodham will be on hand to keep the day running smoothly and also to introduce a representative from each club on what is happening in their club.

    GCA Senior Vice President George Hoad will be in attendance to present awards and give an update on the GCA.

    This day should be enjoyable to all gardeners/garden lovers with lots of inclusions for the day - morning tea, lunch, give-a-ways, discount vouchers etc etc.

    This Zone Day has been sponsored by Total Gardens, Coffs and Mr Anton Sander.  Coffs Garden Club is exceedingly grateful for their support.

    Wednesday, 2 July 2014

    Underwater Eden

    The guest speaker at our next meeting (19 July) is renowned underwater photographer, and Coffs Harbour local, Mark Spencer, who is going to give us a presentation on underwater ‘gardens’.   Here are a few of Mark’s photos to show the sort of beautiful things he will be talking about.

    Mark’s work has been published in many major journals, including Australian Geographic, National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Geo and Living Planet magazines.  In 1997 and 1998, he led an Australian contingent on two expeditions to Turkey that were successful in locating the Australian WW1 submarine, AE2, which had been sunk whilst on operations in the Dardanelles in 1915.

    We are fortunate that Mark is generously taking time to talk to our Club, so please make sure you come along and hear something special and just a little bit different to our usual gardening topics.

    Amazing Coffs Native Garden

    Looking over the dam with reflections of a top Coffs day
                                                                                    Thanks Michael R. for photo

    This garden is really worth writing home about - fantastic!
    Top outing on a glorious Coffs Coast day - this is why we live here folks ....... just stunning. We visited a garden that has been voted best native garden in the Spring Garden Competition more times than a frost happens in Coffs. Bruce walked us over his immense hidden block with many members taking photos of his exhaustive collection of native plants. Bruce takes care to label all his plantings, so what a tremendous educational experience his garden is. A lot of us took photos of the plant, then the label so we have easy reference to what really made an impact on us. OK kids, now it's up to us to apply these wonderful plants into our own gardens!

    Tuesday, 1 July 2014


    July 2014 is a plant of the month:

    The cumquat is native to south Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. The earliest historical reference to them appears in literature of China in the 12th century. They have long been cultivated in these regions and were introduced to Europe in 1846 by Robert Fortune, collector for the London Horticultural
    Society and shortly thereafter into North America.

    They are slow growing, evergreen shrubs from 2.5 to 4.5metres tall, with dense branches, sometimes bearing small thorns. The leaves are dark glossy green and the flowers are white, similar to other citrus flowers. Depending on size, the cumquat tree can produce hundreds or even thousands of fruits each year. For small gardens or courtyards, Cumquats make very good
    container plants, with their handsome, compact habit easily maintained by clipping back.

    President's Message - July 2014

    What fantastic club outings we’ve had so far this year!  Congratulations to Maria and her team of willing workers for arranging the outing program.  It is much appreciated and I thank you on behalf of all our members. 

    Our club outings do two main things.  Firstly, they provide us with some great ideas for our own gardens, and the chance to learn from what our fellow gardeners are doing.  And secondly, they give us a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other a little better.

    So far in 2014 we’ve been to a big variety of gardens including:

    ·         Bob & Gaye Tarry’s champion garden
    ·         Steve McGrane’s permaculture garden
    ·         Bruce Alp’s native garden
    ·         Simon & Jeannine Young’s brand new garden before anything was planted
    ·         Bonville Golf Resort’s garden on a grand scale

    We’ve also been fortunate to see first-hand the excellent recycling work being done by one of our gold sponsors, Biomass Solutions, and we’ve been to quite a few of our local nurseries and garden suppliers, including Garden Mania, Cockbains, MI Organics and Sunset Nursery.

    There are more great outings organised for the remainder of the year, including to Emerald Beach and Woolgoolga (23 Jul), Bellinger Valley and Bonville (29 Aug), Moonee Beach and Heritage Park (28 Oct), and Orara Valley (25 Nov).  Each of these outings will have different gardens for people to see, enjoy and learn from, and I encourage everyone to come along and take advantage of the opportunities.Finally, please don't forget to get your own gardens ready for the Spring Garden Competition.

    As I mentioned in the last newsletter, there are plenty of categories to choose from so you don't Have to enter your whole garden if you don't want to. Garden Club members have done very well in the past and I'm sure 2014 will be no exception, so please hop into it and get ready to enter.