Monday, 18 December 2017

Queens Baton Relay

Coffs Harbour Garden Club successfully nominated long standing member Peter Kimber to participate in the Baton Relay in Coffs Harbour. 

If you would like further details about the Queen's Baton Relay please visit the following links:

Route of the relay

View batonbearers

Coffs Harbour relay detail

Pete will take up the baton at approximately 5 - 5:15pm on Thursday 1 February and take it along Harbour Drive for around 250 metres.

The best place to nab a spot in support of Pete would be around 258 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour.

16 January:
More on this post - Peter has been training really, really hard - so much so he has lost a whopping 15kg!

If you intend supporting Peter could you take some snaps so they can be posted here please.


Flower of the Month December 2017 - Gardenia

From the desk of CHGC Vice President Sue

KINGDOM: Plantae

FAMILY:  Rubiaceae

GENUS:  Gardenia

Gardenias are beautiful flowering shrubs in the coffee family, Rubiaceae, native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia, Madagascar and Pacific Islands. They flower from mid spring to mid summer and the joy of gardenias is a toss-up between the soft velvety petals and the magnificant scent. I think the scent wins me over every time.

According to the internet, the petals are edible and taste a little like they smell. I tried them..... and survived. I think the older yellow petals would be a surprising addition to a summer salad - give it a go.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Xmas Party

Coffs Garden Club's Christmas Party will kick off today at noon at the Greenhouse Tavern (on the corner of the Pacific Highway and Bray St).

Santa will be in attendance, so if you want to receive a little present ($5 value) please bring along a gift (lady for lady, gent for gent).

It will be wonderful to have the opportunity to have a social outing with membership - there never seems to be the time for a decent natter at meetings! The Competition Table accumulative point place-getters will be announced and recognised for their brilliant diligence in carting along entries to meetings, along with a random prize draw from all the members who have placed items on the competition table during 2018. There'll also be a raffle with lots of wonderful prizes too. 

Proceeds from the afternoon tea and trading table at our monthly meetings provide the funds for the subsidized cost of this end-of-year function. Well done to all who have worked so hard during the year on both these CHGC activities.

So put your 'PARTY' on and have a terrific time!

Monday, 11 December 2017

How About This for a Tomato Plant?

How's this for a tomato plant? 'The Robs' must have been paying attention to Tino from Gardening Australia to grow this 2.4 metre beauty (and it's still growing).

Perhaps we can convince them to save some of the seeds to share with other Coffs Harbour Garden Club members.

A pretty cottage garden in the Walcha area. This area has a huge reputation for good gardens. It DOES get very cold with heavy frosts during the winter so there are some glorious deciduous trees and shrubs to be seen. A great place to visit.

A close of the 'Gardener Doll' looking a picture among the flowers.

'The Robs' do a lot of travelling and these Giant Grass Trees were seen between Emmaville and Ashford in the Northern Tablelands of NSW.

Thank you for sharing your photos.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Green Space as Opposed to a Much Needed Expansion - which one for you?

Yes, there is a concerning dilemma happening in Sydney....... The Domain and Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens are described by Catherine Stewart as 'lungs' for the city. If plans come to pass the Art Gallery of NSW will be set for a 28,468 square metre expansion, encroaching on Domain land.

Catherine is certainly no shrinking violet when it comes to expressing an opinion and she is undoubtedly in a lather about this issue. If you would like to see and read more please visit GardenDrum here.

Sunday, 3 December 2017


This little herb is not only an aromatic flavourful herb, it's so easy to grow!

It's hard to imagine, but there are over 400 different varieties of thyme. They are mostly ornamental with fewer being culinary thyme. The most popular for culinary purposes are French (or common thyme), lemon thyme and caraway thyme (although I haven't grown the latter). 

To germinate, thyme seeds take from 14 to 28 days so have patience! They prefer dry soil, lots of sunshine and little water and attention - so perfect for someone like me who enjoys a plant that is a 'set and forget until needed' type of plant! Personally I enjoy them for their weed exclusion too they do their spreading habit with very little other vegetation having the opportunity to take hold.

Thyme can be propagated from cuttings - clip a 10cm cutting from the very tip of a stem, apply rooting hormone on the exposed portion of the stem (or dip in organic honey) and plant in a light propagating mix. Roots should emerge within six or so weeks. Transfer to a small pot, let the root ball form and then transfer to a large pot or directly to the garden bed.

Layering propagating is quite easy too. Take a long thyme stem and carefully secure it along the soil with wire or a U-shaped stake, leaving around 10cm of the tip free. Make sure the pinned portion is in direct contact with the soil. Roots will start to form along the stem within a month. Cut away the newly rooted plant from the main plant and plant either in a pot or garden.

Saturday, 2 December 2017


This summer seems to be shaping up to be 'the season of the Cicada' as their presence is being heard more stridently this year than most other years - or at least here on the Coffs Coast.

Australia has a huge reputation for cicadas with a predicted 700-1000 species. This figure far outstrips South Africa and North America's 150 and 170 respectively. The United Kingdom can only lay claim in a single species. However having said that though, there are only around 350 Australian Cicada species that have been scientifically described. 

These critters start their life as a nymph living underground in the soil and feed off the sap from roots. To date, there is no hard and fast rule on just how long Cicadas spend underground but there is anecdotal evidence that suggests it to be somewhere between 6-10 years (depending on species), crikey!

What are Cicadas?

Cicadas belong to the one large family, the Cicadidae and are classified in the order Hemiptera, which includes all insects with piercing and sucking mouth-parts - some examples of other Hemiptera are aphids and scale insects. 

What triggers their emergence? 

  • Summer months - that is the warmer months of the year;
  • When overnight temperatures are warm; and
  • A rainfall event prior to their emergence seems to be important (perhaps the ground is softer for them to make their way out of the ground?).

What do Cicadas eat?

They feed on the sap of soft-wood branches using their piercing, sucking mouth-parts. It has been found from extensive survey research that different vegetation communities support different Cicada communities. 

How long do Cicadas live for?

Cicadas typically only live for one to four weeks and their sole purpose is to find a mate. After mating, female Cicadas deposit several hundred eggs into slits made in grass stems or in the bark of a tree or shrub. A few weeks later, flea-like young (nymphs) hatch and drop to the ground, they then tunnel into the soil. When the mature nymphs emerge from the soil they shed their skins (that delicate brown remnant seen on tree trunks etc) and get down to the serious business of reproducing. 

Why the piercing noise?

It is only the male Cicada that sing as part of their mating call to females. There are different 'songs' for different species to only attract females of their own species.

Further resources:

Australian Museum has an excellent article which goes into far more detail about Cicadas as does ABC Science. For information on some rather interestingly named species Australian Geographic is the link to see about Bladder, Floury Baker, Cherrynose, Northern Double Drummer, Greengrocer, Tasmanian Hairy (a rather scary looking Cicada) and Redeye species.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Would You Like Onions?

Friday evening saw 20kg of onions sliced up for the Bunnings Fundraising Sausage Sizzle held on Saturday 25 November 2017. It has to be said that Marg C, Jeannine and Simon Y (chief BBQ co-ordinator) did shed some tears during this process.

Saturday was a fine day to hold a sausage sizzle and this year although it was a little slow to kick off, the day soon gained momentum and bread from 40 loaves were loaded with scrummy snags and embellishments of choice. 

Some of the team - Peter, Jeannine, Simon, Sue, Jane & Pat
Thanks to all CHGC members who helped out on the day and of course to Simon whose massive effort both before and after to oversee this major fundraising effort made the day run seamlessly. Profits from this day will give the club the much needed 'seed' money to conduct the 2018 Spring Garden Competition.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Looking to Give Back to the Coffs Community?

image Rob Cleary
If you have a yen to learn new skills and are interested and passionate about environmental tourism and your local community, this may be just what you are looking for. There are openings for Environmental Ambassadors for the Coffs Region.

There is a public Information Session happening on Monday 27 November 2017 5:30 - 6:00 at the Coffs Community Village, 22 Earl Street, Coffs. There is a need to RSVP - email address can be viewed at this link.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

A Toughie to Crack - Nutgrass

image Brisbane City Council
This weed will crack you if you don't crack it..... Cyperus rotundas aka nutgrass is the bane of gardeners worldwide. It has various names - Java grass, purple nut sedge, Wintjiekweed or red grass, red nut sedge, Khmer kravanh chruk, Teki and Motha to name a few. This weed is actually referred to as being 'the world's worst weed'. Known for its tenaciousness it can shoot through asphalt as well as pierce through pool liners, so we know we are looking at a biggie of the weed world here. More detail can be seen at wikipedia.

This post was prompted by the overwhelming presence of nutgrass in our garden. A seemingly endless task to attempt to curb its spread - more on this later.

It is a species of sedge believed to be native to Africa, southern and central Europe and southern Asia. It is a perennial plant that may reach a height of up to 20-50cm. The name is derived from its tubers, that somewhat resemble nuts (although botanically they have absolutely nothing to do with nuts). These little nuts can remain dormant (or inactive) in the soil for up to 10 years! So folks looks as though we may be for a long haul.

Identifying Nutgrass 

If spikelets are allowed to form they will be reddish-purple colour but this is really not the best way to make positive identification. Very carefully dig down to the roots and feel for a hair-like stolen which will lead to a nut forming a chain of growth to more plants, if you have this - ta-dah you've got nutgrass!


This is where it gets interesting..... the method of choice for this garden is:  
  1. Pull up the green growth with roots intact - don't worry about the nut at this stage. 
  2. Wait for new growth to appear and while it is still young spray it with Sempra which has a 'fixer' added eg Eco Oil

This method may require a couple of applications, however it has a proven success rate in our vegetable garden when nutgrass took off like a startled rabbit after some dodgy mulch with seeds had been applied (well we think this is how it happened as it was so prolific throughout the garden).

All that is left to do is address this weed in the rest of the garden..... not an easy task as it has established itself quite nicely among closely planted flowers and shrubs.

Further information can be obtained by reading  Brisbane City Council Weed Identification.

Saturday, 11 November 2017


Flower of the Month November 2017 - Daylily

KINGDOM: Plantae

FAMILY: Hemerocallidaceae
(hem err oh kal ahh DAY see eye)

GENUS: Hemerocallis

The daylily's botanical name, Hemerocallis, means 'beauty for a day', and indeed most daylily flowers open in the morning and die by nightfall.

However, each flower stem (also called a scape) typically has at least a dozen flower buds, so the plant stays in bloom for several weeks.

You can even eat them! But don't eat the wrong ones!!

  Thanks Sue

Cultural Notes:

Daylilies are quite easy to grow on the Coffs Coast, they are virtually pest and disease resistant however snails and slugs can be problematic among the plants but the good news is they rarely touch the flowers!

When planting in well-worked soil which has been improved by compost or manure, the crown should be about 2cm below ground level and about 60cm apart. 

Confusion of colours with mixed
cultivar planting
Some people suggest that daylilies be used in general landscaping however this can get very tatty looking if dead leaves and old stalks are not removed, coupled with different heights, colours etc this can make the bed look untidy. It is suggested that drifts of single cultivar works well as it is less 'tizzy' and each cultivar can be appreciated for its own attributes and not overshadowed by another plant which may have a bolder colour and/or taller etc. 

Use a slow release fertiliser at planting time to ensure good early and continued growth. The plants should be well watered until growth starts but will withstand drought and also grow well in our wet conditions - a good all rounder! Once established give your daylilies some organic fertiliser in early spring and water in well.

Flower size, growth and quantity of bloom will depend on time of planting, weather and cultural conditions. Best results seem to be obtained in the second or third year clumps. These clumps are best divided after 4 years or so to maintain optimum flower size, quality and quantity. 

Growing Daylilies as a hobby is exceedingly popular in North America.  We had a Canadian friend who was an absolute daylily tragic - and had well over 400 different cultivars in his garden (and he treated them like babies) which he was very proud of. 

Just a few decades ago daylilies were largely yellow or yellow! Hybridising by enthusiasts like our friend has resulted in a great torrent of the most amazingly varied flowers seemingly as free flowering and hardy as the old-fashioned ones (if not more so).

There are singles, doubles, full-sized or miniature, red, white, pink, almost black, rust, pink, gold, orange, spotted and ruffled and fringed varieties, ones with small elegant flowers and ones with blooms that are almost too heavy for their stems. You name it, you can have it with daylilies - a fantastically rewarding plant for our gardens.

Further reading can be seen at Decadent Daylilies. This website has amazing images, fantastic advice on growing daylilies and a 'must read' for anyone who wants to be bitten by the Daylily bug!

CHGC Member Chris' Daylily growing at Raleigh - beautiful

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Lepus europaeus - Hare

Although native to Africa and Southern Europe as far east as central China this pest has been introduced to many countries and has established populations in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Falkland Islands, Finland, Hawaii, Ireland, New Zealand, Siberia, Sweden, Uruguay, USA, West Indies and Australia.  

In Australia, hares were introduced for sport. Coursing (which involves using hunting dogs to chase a hare) was a popular sport in Britain and Ireland and early Australian settlers were keen to establish a population of wild hares for this purpose. 

Tasmania was the first to attempt a colony of European hares in the 1830s however this initial endeavour to establish wild populations failed. It was on Phillip Island in 1863 that a breeding colony of hares was set up by the Acclimatisation Society of Victoria to supply hares for further introductions to mainland Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. Unfortunately (in my view) these new introductions were successful and by 1870 hares had been distributed throughout south-eastern Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland. Hares were introduced to Western Australia in 1874 and 1902 but did not establish persistent populations.

Unlike rabbits, hares do not burrow and are generally solitary, except during late winter breeding. The female is the larger of the two. They prefer grassland and open woodland habitats. It is likely that agricultural practices, such as clearing of forests, helped in expanding the distribution of hares by increasing the amount of suitable habitat for them (as experienced when virgin mallee country in Victoria was cleared for farming in the 1930s and 1940s).

Within thirty years of their first release in 1870 hares had reached plague proportions and were widely regarded as pests. There was a concerted push to curb their populations using different means - phosphorous poisoned oats, hare drives, commercial use of hare meat and pelts and bounties on hare scalps. Farmers and gun clubs organised shoots where huge numbers were destroyed and the Pastures Protection Board in NSW began paying a bounty on hare scalps. Between 1890 and 1902 at least 300,000-400,000 scalps were taken annually! And 'they' talk about rabbits and their breeding.....

In the latter part of the first decade in the 1900s, hare populations naturally declined (not only due to the persistence of humans). There is some evidence to suggest that it was not only eagles who prey on the hare young (leverets) but the increase in fox and rabbit numbers that curbed the population explosion of hares. They are prone to several different types of parasites and disease which cause a higher proportion of deaths than predators.

Today, hares are NOT protected and are hunted throughout the year. They are regarded as minor agricultural pests, but are also considered a resource by recreational and commercial hunters. The total wholesale value of hare meat and skin industry in Australia is worth $200,000 at most (based on production of 20,000 animals with a value of $10 each). 

My interest in hares? They may be predominantly solitary however they can pack a punch as hares can cause significant damage when gnawing bark off young trees and shrubs. They also chew off the stems of young trees, damaging or killing the plant. In our case they took a liking to roses during the dry of this last winter doing considerable damage to the bushes.  Their shear size standing on their hind legs to sup on the roses was incredible so taller roses also received the attention of the hares. Their range is huge (up to four kilometres) as they don't depend on burrow lodgings like rabbits so can roam freely looking for succulent green growth. Even when they breed the young are not demanding as they are only suckled once every 24 hours, allowing mum (Jill and males are known as Jack and offspring less than a year leverets) plenty of opportunity to roam for her food.

What can we do about hares? Nothing much, just hope they don't ringbark too many trees/shrubs and trust they don't breed up too much!

Further reading can be seen ABC's Rural News and wikipedia.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

A Balance between Garden Pests and Beneficial Insects - GardenDrum

The garden maintained by Denis Crawford is perhaps a little different from the norm in that he purposely sets out to attract insects - in his own words the good, bad and benign! You can see his article A balance between garden pests and beneficial insects here at GardenDrum.

About Denis Crawford:

He has studied, photographed and written about insects for more than 35 years. His background includes a decade in entomological research, and many years collaborating with an integrated pest management consultancy.

Denis is author of Garden Pests Diseases & Good Bugs: the ultimate illustrated guide for Australian gardeners and co-author of Backyard insects (soon to be released in an updated edition. More posts can be seen on his blog One Minute Bugs.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

It's Time to Make a Commitment

Membership of CHGC involves not just paying the annual fee. The following are just a few reasons why we might belong to our garden club.

  • New to the Coffs Harbour area and/or are unfamiliar with Sub-tropical gardening.
  • Looking to gain knowledge of best garden practice from perhaps more experienced gardeners.
  • Personal circumstances now allow more time to fulfil a garden passion.
  • Want to have some fun and make new friends.
  • Would like to foster a new interest and knowledge through gardens and gardening.
  • Are unfamiliar with Coffs and would love the opportunity to visit some lovely gardens, other district attractions and locations.
  • Looking for something which will enhance self-worth by sharing your attributes, knowledge or life skills with others. 
  • 'Give back' to the community by making a committed effort in a club that is not a service club but one which nonetheless is devoted to making a difference to the wider local area. 
  • Seeking social interaction and engagement with other people with a common interest.
  • To strive to keep an active lifestyle and nimble mind by experiencing physical and mental stimulation.

It doesn't really matter why we've joined CHGC, it does matter however that we are all proactive as club members in the development, growth and participation in all club activities. We are a diverse and very talented group of people who are drawn together for one main objective and that is (as our motto says), 'Friendship through gardens'.

Our AGM is coming up next month so please consider stepping forward to take on any of the many functions, activities or roles within CHGC. By having 'new faces' we are ensuring that there is vibrancy, enthusiasm and a shared load of responsibility throughout our membership, and please do not be shy! If there is anything you'd like to know about a particular role do not hesitate to contact either Sue or Jane - if they don't know they will put you in touch with someone who will, their contact details can be found in CHGC Newsletter.

Often members become complacent and leave the running of the club to the same few people year after year because they are doing such a brilliant job. 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' type of mentality that perhaps needs to be redressed. It's not that these people think they are the only ones who can get the job done, it's been more a case of no-one else offering to help! 

For the last twelve months we've basically had a shared responsibility for the role of President which seems to have worked. We've also for a few years now had the role of Treasurer a shared one with Anne-Maree and Tom doing a stellar job of keeping the accounts and maintaining the so important members list. So it's evident that even in major Executive roles the load can be divided. It follows then, that to divvy up some of the duties from other roles within the club should be a breeze.

To take on a meeting day role (for instance) it's NOT necessary to be in attendance at every meeting, however it is your responsibility to find someone else who can deliver on the day. This is where it can be a fantastic idea to have a buddy (or buddies) to share that responsibility - for instance the setting up of the meeting room, competition table judging and presentations at meetings etc etc. It is a given of course, that communication with other team players is vital so there is no scrambling from the Executive trying to find someone else to pick up the slack at short notice.

Some of the responsibilities/roles within CHGC are:

  • meeting room set up/break down
  • set-up/break-down of the competition table
  • competition table steward
  • competition table Judges
  • afternoon tea setting up
  • afternoon tea team member
  • laundering the table cloths and tea towels
  • washing up
  • airport garden maintenance team member
  • BBQ co-ordinator
  • BBQ helper
  • garden competition sub committee member
  • gardener's diary - meeting presentations
  • meeting concierge - raffle, attendance book
  • new member/guest welcomer
  • newsletter editor
  • programme committee team member
  • publicity officer
  • Public Officer
  • Show Society representatives
  • Coffs Show steward
  • trading table set up/break down
  • trading table contributor
  • web administrator

Please don't be daunted by this exhaustive missive..... There is an urgent need for members to take stock and just think how they could possibly contribute to the successful running of the CHGC so at the AGM there are not those dreaded 'pregnant pauses'. Discuss things with your friends or other members on how you could perhaps become a committed team player.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Warm Garden Blue Flowers

Series 28 Episode 33 saw ABC Gardening Australia's Jerry Coleby-Williams take a walk through Kate Wall's Brisbane garden where she successfully grows sun loving plants in partial/shady conditions. Quite a clever gardener and she even had Jerry on the end of a shovel.... 

Because Kate has a wonderful understanding of climatic conditions very similar to Coffs Harbour her experience is well worth tapping into for some excellent ideas for our own gardens. Ithis GardenDrum article she discusses the use of blue flowers, the importance of shade, position etc AND gives quite a long list of blue flowering plants.

Kate suggests that by using blue shaded plants it has a cooling effect (along with green of course) and also the importance of which colour blue to use (and) where - shade or full sun.

October/November in Your Garden

There is much to do in our gardens in preparation for Christmas and also to set things up for the hot summer months ahead.

One of the initial tasks would be to fertilise your gardens, water well and top with a good layer of mulch, if you haven't already done so.

Weigela florida

As those wonderful spring flowering shrubs and climbers have given their best it is now time to give them a haircut. Shrubs like Weigela should have about one-fifth of the canes which have flowered cut out completely at ground level - this is to encourage new growth, with the rest of the canes shorted back by about the usual one-third, cutting back to a newly developing shoot. Deutzia is another wonderful shrub that needs to be trimmed and thinned immediately after flowering so next year the show is spectacular again. Prune the thin twigs to promote a sturdy framework of main branches. Propagate the hybrids and cultivars from half-hardened cuttings.

Callistemon, can be given a good overall trim and will reward with a stunning show in a few months. There are so many that grow well on the Coffs Coast it might be a good opportunity to plant some more too.

'Red Dragon' will appreciate a haircut now as the beautiful coloured spring leaves start to fade. Cutting back will promote fresh, vibrant grow and bright foliage.

You'll notice that your Hydrangea are starting to bloom. As the meaning of their name is 'water vessel' they do need to consume a lot of water. It's best to have them sheltered from the hot afternoon sun in summer when you are choosing a spot for them. Morning sun seems to be the ticket for them. We have them growing in huge pots on the southern side of our home and yes, they do get a bit limp on really hot days however, on the whole they go quite well.

If the weather is still dry, keep up the water to your developing vegetable crops. Ensure that your tomatoes are staked at planting so there is no damage to roots later if you thump in a huge stake for support! Asparagus crops will be at their best at this time and will need to be 'cropped' regularly, it's amazing how quickly the shoots grow. When the picking season is concluded, keep the plants tidy by corralling them using stakes and string until the foliage dies off when the plants need be cut off, before heavy fertilising.

Keep a sharp eye out for the bronze orange beetle that attacks citrus trees and can really cause a lot of damage to the new shoots and the baby fruit. Spray with Eco-oil or Yates Nature's Way citrus and Ornamental Spray (which is organically certified). I generally knock them with a stick into a container of water with some liquid detergent added. The soap changes the surface tension of the water and they can't float on top. Be mindful to wear a long-sleeved shirt and eye protection as they squirt a nasty solution when disturbed.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Flanders Poppy

Flower of the Month - October 2017

This photo was taken by CHGC Member Geoff at Pozieres, France, the site of one of the greatest battles ever fought by Australian soldiers. Over seven weeks in mid-1916, at the Battle of the Somme, and very near to where these poppies were growing, the Australian Imperial Force suffered 23,000 casualties, 6,700 of whom died.
image Sue Young
KINGDOM: Plantae

ORDER: Ranunculales

FAMILY:  Papaveraceae

GENUS:  Papaver

A favourite heirloom flower and one of the most widely recognised flowers for its significance in honouring fallen soldiers on Remembrance Day. It's always one of the first spring flowers to bloom on the battlefields of France, and it's commonly said to symbolise the blood of lost soldiers.

image Sue Young

A few years ago seeds were distributed far and wide by Maria Bell. If you are lucky, maybe your poppies are coming up year after year. Mine are!  Yippee

Images from Sue Young are current year's flowers.    

image Sue Young

Some further reading on why this flower was chosen for distribution among members of CHGC.

Also another link when Papaver rhoeas was flower of the month. Images from this post were supplied by then members Bob & Gaye.

Jennifer Stackhouse has written an article on Annual poppies and friends. Visit GardenDrum for this article.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Lady's Mantle

Lady's Mantle flower

Lady's Mantle Alchemilla mollis, is a perennial herb native to Europe, north-west Asia, Greenland and north-eastern North America; it is also found in the Himalayas. It can be found growing in damp grassland, open woodland and on rock ledges.

The Arabic word Alkemelych (alchemy) was thought to be one origin of its Latin name (because of its medicinal uses). An alternative explanation is related to the leaves of the herb, which came to the attention of those seeking the mystical properties of plants; their ability to hold teardrop-shaped droplets of dew in their folds gave the plants its Latin name of Alchemilla, meaning magical one. it's common name refers to the resemblance of the leaves to a lady's cloak (mantle) - a medieval observation. One folktale tells that placing a leaf of the herb under your pillow will induce a 'sweet slumber'. Traditionally, the plant has been used for obesity, and is now thought to aid in weight loss.

Some uses for Lady's Mantle

  • The young leaves can be chopped up and added to salads or vegetables.
  • Infused dried leaves are used as an astringent and facial steam for acne. Make a cold infusion to use for a compress on puffy eyes.
  • Due to its tannic properties, it will produce a bright green dye for wool.
  • Medicinally the plant is held in high esteem. It is known for its use in treating menstrual problems and for strengthening and healing after childbirth. Its pain relief qualities come from the action of the salicylic acid contained within the plant. Use dried leaves to prepare a mouthwash, or a poultice for healing wounds.
  • To be avoided during pregnancy or when breast-feeding.

Cultural Notes

  • Fully hardy herb that grows almost anywhere except in waterlogged soil; does well in sun or partial shade.
  • Can be grown from seed or division. Cut back hard after flowering to encourage new growth.
  • Excellent edging and ground cover plant.
  • Self-seeds freely and can become invasive.

Swedish Landscapes - Spring

CHGC Member Jovanna, has a daughter living in Sweden and she has taken a series of photographs throughout the year and has offered to share these with us here in Coffs Harbour. This presentation is titled 'Spring'

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Glycyphana stolata - A Good Guy?

Commonly known as the Brown Flower Beetle, Glycyphana stolata is a good guy in that he assist with pollination. I was deadheading my roses this morning and came across this critter on a Seduction rose, so snipped off the flower, shoved it into a plastic bag so identification could be done later. Gave this investigative duty to hubby who (like everything else he does) dug diligently away on-line until he came up trumps!

Glycyphana stolata are from the Order of Coleoptera, Family of Scarabaeidae and are indigenous to southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. They usually go for light coloured or scented flowers both native and exotic. The adults feed on flowers (but usually only the nectar) and larva feed on dead material - although it looks as though there is some damage to the petals of this rose, ringed by brown?). They are not considered a pest especially in small numbers but are important native critters for pollination.

They spead by flying, assisted by the wind from plant to plant and are most active in spring and early summer. When disturbed, they tend to play dead (which I thought this little bloke was until I discerned a little twitch of one leg!).