Friday, 31 July 2015

The hunt for red wreath flowers...a WA treasure



The wild flowers in Western Australia are just stunning. A bit difficult to actually plan a trip around their full blown burst to colour from here on the Coffs Coast but if you 'jag' this experience it'll be something that will remain with you for the rest of your life, it is that awesome.

The following article from GardenDrum bought it all flooding back for me, hope you enjoy the article.


The hunt for red wreath flowers...a WA treasure - GardenDrum

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Launch of Spring Garden Competition 2015

The morning may have started off overcast and a bit gloomy but the same could not be said about the atmosphere at Total Gardens from the outset for the launch of the Spring Garden Competition.




The Total Gardens Team did an outstanding job of preparing their nursery and making this event memorable. Needless to say there were lots and lots of terrific bargains too!












The nursery itself looked an absolute picture which was a riot of colour and a myriad of good healthy plants for sale, just right for planting in preparation for the Garden Competition.











There were many CHGC members in attendance and they took advantage of the extra generous discounts for members on this day.














Past President Pat was in attendance to lend her support to the day, seen here chatting to Jeannine, one of our catering members.










Two stalwart CHGC members Peter and Myles took advantage of the day for a good catch up with folk.











One of CHGC's more successful Competition Table exhibitors, Phillip was seen to be buying up some annuals for his lovely garden space.











Maria, who was lucky enough to win first prize in the raffle, is seen here with Margaret, our catering co-ordinator (doubling up as ticket seller) and Simon, the Competition Administrator. 







CHGC appreciates the support from Total Gardens which allowed the Spring Garden Competition to be launched in style!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

July Outing - Bonsai, Country Drive & Camellias


CHGC visited two disparate gardens on a recent outing day. First to a very impressive suburban garden where Denise, a passionate bonsai grower of some 40+ years walked us through her living sculptures.

Denise, President Geoff & Mary B.


Bonsai is a Japanese art form using miniature trees shaped over the years to convey concepts, ideas, emotions and stories grown in containers or pots.






Denise uses techniques like pruning, root reduction, potting, defoliation and grafting to produce small trees that mimic the shape and style of mature, full-sized trees. 








image M. Reid

For the second destination we travelled up the Bellinger valley to a soon to be closed Azalea and Camellia nursery. This business is attached to the most stunning private garden of exotic trees, many azaleas (which were not out in flower) and camellias (which were out in full force). The above image is of a camellia which is sold as a pink but due to being grown in clay soil it turns a lovely lilac.





This garden was a classic example of a garden where the viewer is enticed to look further into the garden - what is growing around a bend or behind a stand of trees. It was just wonderful to be in this most special environment.








Contrary to popular belief, Camellias thrive in a wide range of conditions, from the cooler climates around the mountains and hills of Sydney and Melbourne to the hot and humid conditions found here on the Coffs Coast. It is just a case of choosing the right one for local conditions.









Saturday, 25 July 2015

Coffs Harbour Spring Garden Competition - Hints for Success


Each September, the Coffs Garden Club conduct a garden competition for home owners, renters, commercial/industrial properties and schools. There are many different categories in this competition and there is bound to be one suitable for most folk. The competition is usually launched at Total Gardens, Coffs in late July with closing date for entries the first Friday in September. The gardens are judged about 10 days later (to allow for administrative work). This judging is conducted over three days with various areas done on each day. There will be a lot of extra information about this competition in the coming months but for now you can read more about the competition with some hints on how to help you prepare and display your garden in the Spring Garden Competition.

Before anything else read the schedule (available from the launch in July) for full details of categories, conditions of entry, judging days, open garden days and of course, the date of the Presentation Night where you can receive your awards and prizes!

It is important to remember that the judge will be looking only at what they see in your garden at the time of their visit, not what might be there next month or even next week and certainly not what looked good last week. So try to ensure that your garden is at its absolute best on judging day - this can be difficult with climatic conditions but just try to show off your garden to its best advantage on that day. One way this can be achieved is by planning your plantings well in advance and paying attention to detail. 

It is also very important to know that the judge has only limited time to look at each garden, so it helps if you make a good first impression and have that 'WOW' factor from the outset.


So what can you do to help give your garden the best chance of success in the competition?

1.     Overall garden appeal is really important. People should want to be in your garden, and that includes the judge.

  • Resist the urge to put in an 'instant' or just planted garden.
  • Ensure that any paving and pathways are clean and safe with no overhanging branches or weeds and are not hazardous.
  • Beds should be well mulched with material that doesn't look as though it was put down the day before judging.
  • Shrubs and hedges should be neatly clipped. Flowers should be dead-headed where appropriate, and any dead leaves removed from plants and shrubs.
  • If something has failed in your garden, think of ways of filling the gap, ie turn what could be a negative into a positive.
  • Try to have things like garbage bins and old, unkempt garden furniture away and out of sight.  Preferably don't have washing on the line. Put away hoses and gardening equipment. And secure your pets, particularly dogs. 
  • Think about featuring a bench or table and chairs where you and others can sit and enjoy the garden.

2.     The judge will also look at the condition of your garden.

  • Plants should look healthy. There should be no disease or insect infestation to be seen, and your garden should not have any signs of nutrient imbalance, eg yellowing of leaves etc.
  • Make sure you remove any dead plants, fallen branches, palm fronds or other debris.

3.     The lawn (if you have one) should be healthy, weed free and nicely edged. Any other key features you have in your garden should look their best as well.

4.     The veggie garden (if you have one) needs to be seen as a working garden, ie, it is quite acceptable to have resting beds, and succession plantings are always looked upon favourably.

5.     Garden design is another important aspect of judging and includes things such as layout, use of colour, line, form and texture, and of course, plant use. Try to have a clear theme for your garden and stick to it. Where possible, have garden 'rooms' that help make best use of your available space. Or simply have 'flow' to your garden - something that encourages the visitor to move on further in your garden.

6.     Finally, please remember that judges are trained to objectively assess different kinds of gardens, so don't be afraid to enter. Over the years the competition has seen a myriad of styles in gardens and garden spaces. For instance, there have been gardens comprising predominately pots, all annual plantings with popping colour, all Australian natives, cactus, and gardens that have incorporated vegetable growing among flowers etc etc. 

7.    It is a condition of entry that your award winning garden is open to the public for viewing 10am - 4pm on Sat 16 and Sun 17 September.

Disclaimer: These hints have been prepared only to provide general information to competition entrants to help them prepare their gardens for competition and they answer many of the questions that entrants pose to the club. The Coffs Harbour Garden Club makes no guarantee that following any, or all of the above hints will result in success for any particular entrant in the competition. Each entrant remains responsible for preparing and display their garden as they see fit.


Friday, 24 July 2015

New Member Talent

Once again one of out newer members of CHGC has pulled the stops out and illustrated outstanding raw talent for floral art. Just take a look at this creation from Sandie.



Sandie has used Iresine around the base, Bromeliad flowers for the middle layer and spent Clivia stalks with Spanish Moss atop. Very clever, thanks for contributing this to the 18 July Competition Table.

I believe the vessel is Sandie's Xmas pudding bowl - she must make a very generous one as this plate was huge!


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Gavin's Sub-tropical Plant of the Month - Giant Elephant's Ear


Gavin spoke this month about the Giant Elephant's Ear - Xanthosoma robustum. He informed members that the Giant Elephant's Ear is an aroid and native to Central America. It is from the Xanthosoma family and consists of about thirty species. Gavin has an impressive Xanthosoma robustum in his garden (pictured above) and when it threw suckers he potted them up for our trading table and to give away.

The most striking character of these plants is the massive leaves which can grow up to 2 metres long.

The leaf surface causes the rain to bead and run off, especially when new. 




Old plants eventually form a trunk and numerous suckers form around the base of this trunk. The flowers are about 30cm long, pale yellow and resemble Monsteria.


Xanthosoma robustum is not too fussy about sun or shade but it requires a lot of moisture (particularly in Summer) and can be grown in swampy soils. The soil needs to be deep and rich for it to produce the massive leaves or it will struggle in poor conditions.

Xanthosoma robustum has become naturalised in Darwin and Hawaii, growing in extensive colonies in wet areas.

Gavin concluded his talk in remarking that if you grow this plant in the right conditions in your garden it is guaranteed to make people's jaws drop, it certainly has the 'X factor'.





Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Gardeners' Diary - July 2015

spray grapes to prevent leaf curl and fungal diseases with specialised commercial preparations

July is a month of dormancy for many perennial plants, shrubs, vines, trees and for some
vegetables eg. Asparagus. Generally speaking plants which have a dormancy period have their origins in cold climates where they need to shut down their systems in order to survive the cold. This therefore, makes it the very best time to do plant subdivisions. If you are wanting to move your shrubs or small trees, now would be the perfect time to do so.

Before new leaves start forming on our dormant plants, the roots are starting to grow about a month before. It is best practice to apply some fertilizer before the new growth appears so that the roots have energy for vigorous growth.

Continue with your citrus feeding—a complete citrus feed should do an excellent job.

If you live in frost prone areas make sure you don’t encourage too much leaf burst early in the season as there might be the odd frost still to come.

Spray citrus trees with a weak solution of Pestoil or White Oil with Confidor or Malathion added to control bronze orange bug, a nasty summer pest. At this time of year, the insect is present on trees in the soft tissue or nymphal stage. As they are difficult to see, spray liberally, including the trunk and all the branches.

Spray deciduous shrubs, grapes, roses, apple, fig, persimmon and stone fruit trees with Lime Sulphur or Kocide to prevent leaf curl and fungal diseases. Spray the soil under and around the bushes, too. In the case of roses, remove all leaves prior to spraying.

Do not cut back or prune frost damaged plants until frosts have concluded for the winter (a bit difficult to know….) but you can apply anti-transpirant products such as Stressguard or Envy to minimize frost damage if you are at all concerned about a very special plant.

In the vegetable garden, now is an ideal time to manure heavily the beds which are to grow the summer crops like beans and curcubits. Give the beds a good working over to keep the soil light and fluffy which will assist the roots to wander and penetrate easily.

Remember that the asparagus, rhubarb and bulb-forming shallots can be planted now.

Plant beetroot, carrot, chives, dill, endive, garlic, kohirabi, lettuce, parsnip, peas, radish, rocket shallots, silverbeet, snow peas, spring onions & thyme.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

President's Message - July 2015

President Geoff gives some general tips for the Spring Garden Competition:



The Spring Garden Competition is fast approaching and I thought it might be useful to look at some of the things that will help people do well in the Competition. Maria will be publishing these hints and others on the website, so make sure you visit it regularly for all kinds of great information on gardening as well as Club activities.

The first thing to remember for the competition is that the judge will be looking only at what they see in your garden at the time they visit, not what might be there next month or even next week, nor what looked good last week. So try to ensure your garden is at its absolute best on judging day. It’s also important to know that the judge has only limited time to look at each garden, so it helps to make a good first impression.

So what sort of things can you do to give your garden the best chance of
success?

1. Overall garden appeal is really important. People should want to be in your garden, and that includes the judge. Here’s a few things that can help:

  • Resist the urge to put in an “instant” or just planted garden – it’s really obvious.
  • Ensure any paving and pathways are clean and safe with no overhanging branches or weeds.
  • Mulch beds well with material that doesn’t look as though it was put down the day before judging.
  • Keep your shrubs and hedges neatly clipped. Dead-head your flowers where appropriate, and any remove any dead leaves from shrubs.
  • Try to have things like garbage bins and old, unkempt garden furniture away and out of sight. Preferably don’t have washing on the line on judging day. Put away hoses and gardening equipment. And secure your pets, particularly dogs.


2. The judge will also look at the condition of your garden. Plants should look healthy. There should be no disease or insect infestation to be seen, and your garden should not have any signs of nutrient imbalance, e.g. yellowing of leaves etc.

3. If you have a lawn it should be healthy, weed free and nicely edged. Any other key features you have in your garden should also look their best. And your vegie garden (if you have one) needs to be seen as a working garden, ie, it is quite acceptable to have resting beds, and succession plantings are always looked upon favourably.

4. Garden design is another important aspect of judging and includes things such as layout, use of colour, line, form and texture, and of course, plant use. Try to have a clear theme for your garden and stick to it. Where possible, have garden “rooms” that help make best use of your available space.

Finally, please remember that judges are trained to objectively assess different kinds of gardens, so don’t be afraid to have a go.


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

You Think It's Been Cold Recently.....

......... just wait until you listen to our Guest Speaker at the 18 July meeting. 


Our very own Simon was OIC at Davis Station and he will give us the inside story of living in Antartica. I believe that the boys and girls even tried some gardening, now that should be an interesting story!

Monday, 13 July 2015

Weeds - Please Don't Grow Me

For further information about weeds of the North Coast please refer to this booklet.
Link for the above publication.

The real cost of weeds to the Australian environment is quite difficult to calculate, however if the agricultural industry spends around $4 billion a year combating the spread of weeds, a very conservative estimate would be to at least match that figure. 

Of all environmental weeds 65% are escaped garden plants. Garden escapes are not a new issue, weeds have been around since the first settlers brought along reminders of their homeland to help them settle into their new strange land, growing trusted and familiar plants. The Australian landscape must have seemed very inhospitable and to grow something from 'home' would have been very comforting. 

Since 1778 there have been many introduced things going totally haywire, take the rabbit for instance, which has been an environmental pest of huge proportions. So damage to our environment is not just limited to the horticultural sphere. 

The Nursery & Garden Industry are actively limiting the availability of invasive plants by preventing their production and sale.  Greater awareness and education of the home gardener has to addressed too. The CHGC has been proactive in introducing guest speakers who have been very informative about local weeds and how we, as gardeners can do our bit to prevent these 'escapees' from doing even more damage to the environment; posts and articles on our website and facebook and general discussion at meetings.

An 'environmentally invasive plant' is just another term for a weed - a weed is any plant that poses a threat to the environment, adversely impacts human and animal health or causes crop losses. For most gardeners, many of the characteristics we desire most in garden plants are the same as those that make them weedy, plants that are fast growing, disease resistant and reproduce easily! 

Invasive plants are defined and categorised as follows:

Noxious weeds:  are plants declared by Sate or Territory Governments. In general terms most state legislation will say that declared noxious plants cannot be grown, sold or transported or transposed and removal is mandatory.

Weeds of National Significance: are some of the most significant weeds in Australia and have all been declared illegal for sale in each state of Australia.

Environmental weeds: plants that are or have the potential to impact the natural environment by destroying habitat or over-running indigenous species and altering local biodiversity, many of the worst environmental weeds are garden escapees.

Agricultural & Horticultural weeds:  plants that have a negative effect on crop or animal production.

See below some environmental weeds with listed alternatives to grow. (All images Sheldon Navie.)


Cadaghi Gum Corymbia torelliana (formerly Eucalyptus toelliana)



Grow instead
Morton Bay Ash Corymbia tessellaris
Queensland Maple Flindersia brayleyana 
Brush Box Lophostemon confertus


Golden Rain Trees Koelreuteria elegans subsp. formosana Koelreuteria paniculata



Grow instead:
Leichhardt Bean Cassia brewsteri
Golden Penda  Xanthostemon chrysanthus
Ivory Curl Tree Buckinghamia celsissima




Mock Orange Murraya paniculata (seeding grown form)


Grow instead:
Mock Orange Murraya paniculata (cutting grown form)
Lilli Pillys Syzygium australe cultivars
Gardenia jasminoides 'Florida'
Lemon Scented Myrtle Backhousia citriodora
Sasanqua Camellia Camellia sasanqua
Native Mock Orange Murraya ovatifoliolata




Golden Bamboo Phyllostachys aurea Black Bamboo Phyllostachys nigra

Grow instead:
Slender Weavers Bamboo Bambusa textilis var. gracilis
Tiger Grass Thysanolaena latifolia Syn. Thysanolaena maxima
Eumundi Quandong Elaeocarpus eumundi
Timor Black Bamboo Bambusa lako
Slender Palm Lily Cordyline stricta
Chungi Bamboo Bambusa chungii


Easter Cassia Senna pendula var. glabrata

Grow instead:
Dwarf fringed wattle Acacia fimbriata 'Nana'
Bacon & Eggs or Hairy pea bush Pultenaea villosa
Dogwood Jacksonia scoparia
Grevillea 'Honey Gem'
Native Hop Bush Dodonaea triquetra
Purple Pea Bush Hovea acutifolia

Cocos Palm Syagrus romanzoffiana

Grow instead:
Bangalow Palm Archontophoenix cunninghamiana
Foxtail Palm Wodyetia bifurcata
Ribbon Fan Palm Livistona decipiens
Cuban Royal Palm Roystonea regia
Cabbage Tree Palm Livistona australis



Japanese Honeysuckle Lonicera japonica

Grow instead:
Star Jasmine Trachelospermum jasminoides
Bower of Beauty Pandorea jasminoides
Wonga Wonga Vine Pandorea pandorana
Snake Vine Hibbertia scandens
Fraser Island Creeper Tecomanthe hillii
'Roaring Meg' Tecomanthe species




Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia

Grow instead:
Rasp Fern Doodia aspera
Gristle Fern Blechnum cartilagineum
Rough Maidenhair Fern Adiantum hispidulum
Bird's Nest Fern Asplenium australasicum
Leather Fern Rumohra adiantiformis



Wandering Jew - Trad Tradescantia fluminensis

Grow instead:
Native Violet Viola hederacea
Variegated Star Jasmine Trachelospermum jasminoides 'Tricolor'
Native Sarsaparillas Hardenbergia violacea cultivars
Grape Ivy Cissus rhombifolia
Creeping Boobialla Myoporum parvifolium
Coastal Boobialla  Byoporum boninense subsp. australe



Glory Lily Gloriosa superba

Grow instead:
Bower of Beauty Pandorea jasminoides
Snake Vine Hibbertia scandens
Native Sarsaparillas Hardenbergia violacea cultivars
Richmond Birdwing Vine Pararistolochia praevenosa
Blue Flax Lily Dianella congesta



Purple Stemmed Taro Colocasia esculenta

Grow instead:
Cunjevoi  Alocasia brisbanesis
Swamp lily Crinum pedunculatum
Native Ginger Alpinia caerulea
Variegated Shell Ginger Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata'
Philodendron 'Xanadu' 


Parrot Feather Myriophyllum aquaticum

Grow instead:
Water Milfoil Myriophyllum papillosum
Upright Water Milfoil Myriophyllum crispatum
Banded Nardoo Marsilea mutica
Hybrid Water Lilies Nymphaea
Sea Rush Juncus kraussii

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Our Living Coast Ambassador Tours

A recent Guest Speaker at our meeting, Lindy (seen below), mentioned that there are some wonderful Ambassador Tours around the Coffs region. Listed below are the tours that are coming up this month. If you want to attend it is necessary to book so just click on the links where you can register.

Image Rob Cleary Seen Australia


See the tours linked below:

Discover the Rocky Shore at the Woolgoolga rock platform, Wed 8 July.

The Great Sea Turtle Adventure geared for kids Wed 8 July at Look At Me Headland near Emerald Beach. 

Koalas In Our Backyards -  Sunday 19 July at Toormina bushland reserves.

Bush tucker at Woolgoolga Lake - Saturday 25 July.

Coffs Rainforest Walk - Sunday 26 July at Bruxner Park.

Friday, 3 July 2015

July Air-side Maintenance at the Coffs Airport




Thank you Michael R. for the images.

Simon has sent a report for the July airport gardening maintenance (tarmac side of the airport). Team Leader Peter was unable to be there, along with President Geoff who was in the big smoke. The huge job of planting the new Agapanthus was left to the three pictured above - Gavin, Simon and Michael. 







From Simon:

Only a small turn up this month; Michael, Gaven and Simon. We could have used a few more hands as it turns out, as we had a large bed of agapanthus to plant out. 





However, we rolled up our sleeves and got stuck in. We removed all the existing weeds at the head of the airport entrance bed, gave it a good fork over, and planted out three trays of agapanthus. 




Understandably, it took a lot longer than a normal Airport Garden visit, so we were unable to attend to the regular weeding and pruning routine. We can catch up next month. Our supervisor, Paul, will arrange for the new bed to be watered in well, and will arrange for some protective mulch and wood chip.

Thank you Simon for the report. Next time you are returning to paradise folks, just take a second or two to see what this small band of the CHGC membership has achieved. The air-side gardens are a wonderful gateway to Coffs and the CHGC are proud to be part of that welcome.











Thursday, 2 July 2015

Further Images of Botanic Garden Outing

Thank you Marie D. for submitting these photos of our recent outing to the Botanic Garden, Coffs Harbour.