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.