Thursday, 20 August 2015

Kungala to Kremnos, from Carnivorous to Australian Natives

We are just so fortunate to live on the Coffs Coast and have such gifted and talented people at our doorsteps. The CHGC August outing was a real ripping example of this.

Garden One

North along the Highway and turning left to Kungala there is a real hidden specialist grower of Carnivorous Plants. Wendy is a well known identity at local markets (she tries to get to them all) to sell her plants and she really knows her 'stuff'. 

Wendy and Gary have a number of igloos where they grow their plants. They left some of the plants un-pruned so we could see them over-wintering.

All carnivorous plants are found in areas where the soil has very little nutrients so they trap insects, produce digestive juices, dissolve the prey and derive some, (or most) of their nutrients from this process. Their roots don't play a big part in nutrient uptake. 

Carnivorous plants have five basic trapping mechanisms - Pitfall traps, Fly Paper traps, Snap traps, Bladder traps and Lobster pot traps.

Carnivorous plants like to have wet feet so Wendy's plants are grown in tubs with water - I'm guessing this also allows the mozzies to breed, only to meet their fate devoured by the plants!

Most of the pots in Wendy's collection have three different types of Carnivorous plants eg Sundews, Venus flytraps and Rainbow plant.

Wendy is seen here giving some information to Andrea while Mary in the background is really checking out the traps.

Gary explained that it is best to view the collection in summer when the plants are actively trapping their prey. It would be interesting for us as well to see them looking their splendiferous best.

Thank you Wendy and Gary for a really interesting visit.

Garden Two

Gwyn & Jeff Clark have owned a bush block of 100 acres since the mid 1980's at Kremnos. It wasn't until some 20 or so years later that they left their home in Canberra and settled on the block, living in a caravan until their new home was complete.

This area in Kremnos is prone to bushfires and there were some fierce ones last year (as can be evidenced by the regrowth on the trees in the background - the RFS did a back-burn to create a barrier between the Clarks and the firefront...... scary stuff). 

I first visited this garden in 2011 and the difference is just astounding! The 'bones' of the foundation garden were evident then, but those bones are now softened by clever native Australia flora plantings. 

Gwyn & Jeff are passionate Australian Native enthusiasts and were very, very active members of the Australian Plants Society in Canberra and did extensive volunteer work at the wonderful Canberra Botanic Gardens, now known as the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Their depth of knowledge is so vast they were integral in the publication of a book 'Australian Plants for Canberra Region Gardens and other cool climate areas'. Jeff mentioned yesterday that this publication has recently been republished with many wonderful colourful images. It has to be said though, that these two not only laid down decent foundations for an excellent educational tool for Canberra and cool climate gardens but the foundation for a wonderful garden at Kremnos.

Gwen said their experience has been with sandstone gardens so it was a 'given' that they would seek such an environment here on the Coffs Coast. 

They had to clear the area atop a sandstone ridgeline for their home and environs, bearing in mind that trees had to be kept 30m distant from their abode due to guidelines set down for bushfire prone areas. This wide expanse has been artfully planted with many of the Clark's much loved Australian native plants. 

An all time favourite, the Flannel Flower has really proliferated in this garden and is just stunning. We may struggle to even get them to grow at all in our clayey soil however, Gwyn & Jeff have them abounding.

Gwyn and Jeff are to be congratulated on their wonderful garden. What pleasure it gave us on our visit! 

We did have the odd self-confessed 'Australian Native Tragic' members on this outing and it was a outing highlight of the year for them.

Thank you Gwyn and Jeff, we really enjoyed our visit.

Once again this month we have visited two very diverse destinations. Last month it was Bonsai and a traditional Camellia specialist grower and nursery. This month Carnivorous specialist grower and nursery, plus the garden of all things Australian Native devotees. Thanks very much to Sue and our Program Committee for organising such an interesting, informative and enjoyable outing.

We finished off the day in style with a great lunch at the Golden Dog Hotel in Glenreagh, capped off by a serving of President Geoff's birthday cake.  

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