Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Monday, 27 October 2014

Fundraising BBQ a Sizzling Success!

Well, the Bunnings BBQ is over for another year, and what a successful day we had!  We had great support from Garden Club volunteers: Peter K, Michael & Gavin R., Ray C., Betty E., Jane D., Jeannine & Simon Y., Bob T., Marie & Graham D. and President Geoff.

Many thanks to all those people for making the day such a success. Treasurer Simon, reports that we sold some 60 kilograms of sausages and over 300 drinks. That's a substantial increase on last year's result, aided no doubt by perfect hot weather, and hungry and thirsty Bunnings customers. The BBQ was running so hot during the middle part of the day that Pete and Gavin's fingers were starting to blister as they worked tirelessly to keep up with demand.

All in all, a great day and a great fundraiser for our Spring Garden Competition 2015.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Warning on Cyber Security Risks

This was forwarded from a relative who works in the IT security industry and thought it worthwhile to just remind members of a few simple guidelines about email security:

Please take a minute to refresh yourself with some basic guidelines to avoid being the target of malicious cyber activity. 

Email is one of the most popular methods used to breach security, and the attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated each day. It is important to remember:

1.      Do not send your password via email.
2.      Do not open email attachments from people you don’t know and trust.
3.      Never click on a link in an email from a financial institution. Open your browser and manually type it in, this avoids the risk of being redirected to malicious sites.
4.      If you receive a link in an email, it is best practice to copy and paste it into your browser.
5.      Never reply or forward spam, just delete it.
6.      Be suspicious of emails that are formatted badly, have spelling or grammar mistakes.
7.      Be suspicious of unknown sources or suspicious emails that user your name without you knowing anything about them.

8.      If possible, before opening an attachment, save it to your computer and scan it with your antivirus software.
9.      Always be suspicious of links in emails from untrusted sources.
Trust yourself when you think something is not right or you are unsure, either contact the sender or your system administrator to check.

And lastly…
· You don’t have a rich, long lost relative that passed away leaving you millions.
· You did not win a lottery you have never bought a ticket in.
· FedEx/DHL/Royal Mail/Australia Post are not sending you an email attachment – they don’t do that.
· The bank knows everything about you, they will never ask you for your details.
· Your one true love is not overseas, waiting for you to click the link in the email.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


This beautiful image, which tells a thousand words, was sent by member Pam who is currently visiting India, notably Pushkar.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Pea Leaf Spot - Asccochyta pisi and Mycosphaerella pinodes

Ascochyta pisi and Mycosphaerella pinodes are fungal diseases of pea plants. 

Also known as black spot, and causes leaf, stem and pod blight of peas, especially snow peas.

Fungal spores can be carried by wind, or on infected seed and may even survive for years in the soil.

Severe infections may rot stems and cause plant death. Ascochyta pisi has a distinct dark margin, and Mycosphaerella pinodes a fuzzy one.

Rotate crops, grow your peas from seed and plant in sunny, well-drained position.

Copper ammonium and copper hydroxide. If stem rot occurs, don't treat, just pull the plant out and dispose of it in the bin.

Monday, 20 October 2014

President's Message - October 2014

I wonder if we sometimes take the health benefits of gardening a little bit for granted.  I know we all garden for different reasons, but for each and every one of us, gardening can have a positive impact on our physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Gardening provides us with a work-out for our respiratory and cardiovascular systems and can improve strength, endurance and flexibility, as well as helping to prevent problems such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis.  Isn’t it great that we don’t have to pump iron or compete in triathlons – just doing something simple in our garden is a great way to get some useful, healthy physical exercise.

Gardening activity also releases endorphins, which work to alleviate stress, and studies have shown that simply spending time in a garden can help lower blood pressure, stimulate the appetite and foster a good night's sleep.

And beyond the physical benefits, there are many other health benefits to gardening:

  • Gardening can help with the development of social and intellectual skills, including those needed for social inclusion or rehabilitation. 
  • A garden can provide an oasis of calm and somewhere peaceful to escape to, helping restore a sense of balance and wellbeing.
  • A healthier diet can be a by-product of gardening - if you put the effort into growing fruit, herbs and vegetables you are more likely to reap the rewards and eat them.

So the next time you’re out in your garden, why not take a minute to think about how much all that hard work you’re doing produces not just a lovely garden, but also a healthier and happier you.  

Open Gardens Australia

Cancer Council Volunteers, Margaret Franks, Open Gardens Australia and CHGC members

The plant stall at the Open Gardens Australia Tarry garden was a wonderful success so we can safely say that the trimmings will happen at the Xmas function! 

The Xmas function will be held at Opal Cove on Tuesday 2 December and is bound to be a jolly good time for members of the CHGC.

Thank you to the members who supplied plants for the stall and the members who made the time to be there to welcome visitors to this most wonderful garden, we are very proud to be able to count Gaye & Bob as members of our club. 

We had a wonderful time and took pleasure in being part of such a successful open garden - most probably the last for the Open Gardens Australia in this area!

Open Gardens Australia Selector, Margaret Franks can be seen second from the right. Margaret, in her recommendation of the Tarry garden said about this garden 'an immaculately maintained garden with good use of textural and sculptural foliage plants coupled with groupings of colourful annuals and other interesting plants'.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Gardeners' Diary - October 2014

Safety Tips

Did you know that there are quite a few flowers that can be eaten? They include Nasturtiums, Chives, Marigolds & Calendulas, Zucchini, and Violas & Pansies. But before you decide to add a bit of colour to your salads, you need to be a little bit careful.

  • Check that a flower you intend to eat is in fact edible, because there are plenty of poisonous flowers in the garden which you definitely must not eat.
  • It's always best to remove the stamens and pollen from each bloom as these may cause an allergic reaction if you happen to be susceptible.
  • Wash the flowers well before consuming them to remove bugs and dirt - same as for any fruit or vegetable.
  • If you can, avoid putting chemicals on flowers you intend to eat, but if you do need to spray them, make sure you adhere to the recommended withholding period.
  • It's best not to purchase flowers to eat as most commercially grown flowers will have been treated with pesticides. 

photo from Landline article

A very interesting program recently on Landline which talked about micro herbs and edible flowers for our dining tables. 

So why not join in with this trendy food happening and simply have some fun growing and eating your own flowers?

For a comprehensive list of edible flowers please visit this website - home cooking.

Gardening Tips

  • Feed your native plants using a specialist native plant fertiliser rich in iron. And if your Banksias and Grevilleas have yellow leaves, apply some iron chelates one week after feeding.
  • Treat your roses, mangoes and perennials with liquid potash, which will help strengthen tissue against fungal attack as well as boosting flowering and improving fruit quality.
  • Make sure you keep mulches away from the base of your trees and shrubs to help prevent root and collar-rot during the wet season to come.
  • We can enjoy lettuce from our vegie gardens pretty much all year round in Coffs, but during the summer months it's best to concentrate on growing non-hearting varieties as lettuces like Iceberg will go to seed very quickly.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

How and When to Submit Photos for the 2016 GCA Calendar

'Windarra' image M. Bell

Following the success of the CHGC getting photos in the 2014 and 2015 calenders it is now time to prepare to send more submissions for the 2016 calendar. There are quite a few quidelines to be found on the GCA website so I think it best to refer to that for those rules.

Entries must be submitted by 1 March 2015, so good luck folks!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Two Outstanding Images

These two images were taken by member Michael R. at our last CHGC outing in September.

And this bowl  taken from the other side:

Just beautiful, and thank you for sharing Michael.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Cancer Council Fundraising Open Garden

Media Release from Cancer Council
Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Magnificent Open Garden - a Fitting Fundraiser

Having entered their stunning garden in the Open Gardens Australia, Bob and Gaye Tarry are extending an invitation to you all to come and view their magnificent lush tropical garden complete with fishpond and waterfall this weekend.  This 'must see' garden features some wonderfull colourful foliage with bromeliads, stunning cordylines, gingers, crotons, coleus and succulents.  Not to mention the native grass trees, tree ferns and bird’s net ferns blended with salvias, lavenders, roses, begonias, grevilleas and seasonal annuals.

“By viewing this wonderful garden you also are helping Cancer Council NSW, which will be the recipients of 35% of all monies collected through their open garden.  Every dollar raised helps fund new ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer, educate people in our communities about ways to reduce the risk of cancer and support people during their times of greatest need,” stated Fiona Foulkes, Cancer Council Mid North Coast, Community Relations Coordinator.

Bob and Gaye have been fundraising for Cancer Council NSW ever since they lost their daughter Justeen, to a brain tumour, leaving behind two small children.  Motivated to find a cure for cancer, they entered the Coffs Harbour Relay for Life in 2010 and, along with their staff of their business at the time, Coffs Coast Plumbing, they went on to raise a whopping $42,573. 

The garden will be open at 9 Timbertops Drive, Coffs Harbour on Saturday, October 18 and Sunday 19 from 10.00am until 4.30pm.  Entry is a mere $8 and under 18 years are free.  Why not spend a pleasant day viewing a beautifully creative garden while supporting Cancer Council in their quest to improve cancer treatments and make greater inroads into curing cancer as well as their prevention strategies.

For further information about Gaye and Bob’s open garden please email here.

If you would like to hold a fundraiser for Cancer Council NSW, there are many ways you can do this, it is only limited by your imagination.  Contact Fiona at Cancer Council NSW via email here.

Media Contact:  Fiona Foulkes, Community Relations Coordinator 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Eucharis Lily

Marie & Graham's little beautie

The Eucharis lily (or Amazon Lily) has created some interest from visitors to our website. 

I have done some research to find a reliable source for bulbs. John from Pine Mountain Nursery says they have them available but from time to time take them off to rebuild numbers.

This website has the most amazing range of Clivias, just stunning really! It is well worth a visit to just browse through the lovely images.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Garden Tool Maintenance

At the September meeting we had a 'Show and Tell' segment and it was a very informative and interesting one. Members bought in their favourite tool or told us about some of their helpful tips in gardening.

Margaret mentioned that ABC Gardening had some really good maintenance tips on a recent programme and this piqued a lot of interest. So much so, I thought a post about this subject would be a good idea.

The best way to tackle this task is to assemble everything together and go through methodically and clean each tool.

What you will require:

  • steelwool
  • soapy water
  • wire brushes
  • soft cloth or old towel
  • Metho
  • sharpening tool
  • emery block or paper
  • oil-stone
  • WE40 or similar
  • sandpaper
  • linseed oil
  • metal water pipe
  • protective gear - goggles, gloves etc
  • brush attachment for power drill
  • fine file for sharpening edges of shovels and spades

First off is to thoroughly clean the tools of sap, rust and other debris with steelwool and soapy water. Use a wire brush on really stubborn stains or where cleaning might cause an injury by having your fingers too close to the action!

Dry the tools thoroughly using a soft cloth or old towel. Remove rust or stubborn marks by using the emery block. Sharpen pruning equipment blades using a tool designed for that purpose and use the emery block afterwards to remove any burrs, if needed. Bypass cutters are easily sharpened along the cambered blade edge.

Wipe the blades with a cloth and Metho - this sterilises them.

Finally, spray with WD40 or similar lubricant which will protect the blades and mechanisms from rust.

With the wooden handles of rakes etc it is a good idea to rub some sandpaper over them to remove any splinters and treat with some linseed oil or similar to preserve the wood.

If the tines on your gardening fork are out of alignment put the water pipe over each tine and straighten - a terrific tip, thanks ABC Gardening!

To clean shovels and spades, secure them in a vice and use either a wire brush or the brush attachment to your drill to give it a good clean. Sharpen the edge (with perhaps a fine file) and oil the handle as described above.

If your rake has some bent prongs, just straighten them the same way as described for the garden fork above.

A great tip is to get some bricky's sand in a bucket, add vegetable oil and just by inserting the blade of your planting spade into and out of this mix ensures it is kept clean and will get a fine coating of oil each time it's used.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


Flower of the Month - October 2014

This stunning image was taken at the Philadelphia Flower Show 2014

This is a huge subject and it would be my suggestion to contact one of our local Orchid Societies:

Coffs Club - Bronwen Smith 6652 4330
Woolgoolga Club - Brian Newman 6654 1432

Both these clubs have regular meetings - their notices for meetings can be found in Saturday's Advocate on the gardening pages.

Bob T. is currently arranging an orchid workshop in 2015 for CHGC members.

There are three basic types of orchids as far as watering is concerned:

  • Those that should be kept evenly moist at all times - Paphiopedilum, Miltonia, Cymbidium, and Odontoglossum;

  • Those that should be allowed to nearly dry out between watering, except when in active growth - Cattleya, Oncidium, Brassia, and Dendrobium;

  • Those that should always be allowed to dry out a bit between watering - Phalaenopsis, Vanda, and Ascocenda. 

Once a month fertilising is the norm for orchids at the dosage recommended on the packet of specially formulated orchid food.

An often asked question is—what is the difference between a terrestrial and an epiphytic orchid?

  • Terrestrial orchids live on the ground.

  • Epiphytic orchids live on the branches of other plants, usually trees.

Most common pests are: snails, slugs, aphids, thrips, mealybugs and scale insects forming brown or black crusts on leaves & stems.