Thursday, 22 November 2018

Zone Newsletter

Marion Grove Retirement Village - image M Bell

Our Garden Clubs of Australia Zone Coordinator, Marion Watts has forwarded a newsletter with a round up of what is happening within our Zone here on the mid north coast.

To see that newsletter please click here.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

2018 AGM Results

Meeting Competition Table, Vegetables and Fruit
Well done to the outgoing committee and role members who have excellently paved the way for the incoming people to crack on in 2019 and thanks to those who will continue as they have in 2018.

Congratulations go to the following:


Vice President: Sue Young
Treasurer/Public Officer: Tom Ely
Secretary: Maria Bell and Anne-Maree Ely will be the Minute Secretary

Committees deemed necessary to conduct the business of the Club:

Program Committee: 
Outings - Margaret Franks & Carol Harris.
Speakers - Kevin Sheedy

Spring Garden Committee: Pat Roser, Maria Bell, Anne-Maree Ely, Tom Ely, Barbara Porteous, Kevin Sheedy and Margaret Crawley.

Other Voluntary Club Roles:

Website & Facebook Coordinator: Maria Bell
Newsletter Editor: Sue Young
Publicity & Media Officer: vacant 
Coffs Show Flower & Garden Section Chief Steward: Margaret Franks
Catering Committee: Margaret Crawley (Co-ordinator), Anne-Maree Ely, Janny Hoy, Jeannine Young
Raffle & Attendance Book: Peter Kimber
Trade Table Organiser: Jim Baldi
Guest & New Member Welcomer: Barbara Porteous & Maureen Stokes
Airport:  Peter Kimber
Bunnings BBQ Organiser: Simon Young
Competition Table Judges: Margaret Franks, Ruth Reynolds, Simon Young with the help of a CHGC member Guest Judge each month
Competition Table Setup: Janny Hoy, Ruth Reynolds, Jeannine Young

The full Annual Report can be seen here and to see a message from our Patrons see here. 

Trip to Chelsea Flower Show 2019

CHGC Patron Julie Worland is accompanying a tour next year which includes the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Jane had a flyer at the November meeting for members to see more about the tour, however there may be members who missed this meeting, so that information is repeated here. 

The tour departs 12 May 2019 from Coffs Harbour - to see full details see flyer here.

If you want more information there is to be an information night about the tour on Wednesday 21 November 2018, hosted by Trafalgar, with canapes and refreshments from 6pm at the Depot Cafe, Coffs Central Shopping Centre.

RSVP essential to: 
Travel Associates Coffs Harbour, Shop SR38, Coffs Central, Harbour Drive.
Phone: 02 5615 9900

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Hollow Stem

Ever seen hollow stems in your brassicas? Hollow stem is a physiological disorder which affects most brassica crops and often leads to the stem rotting by secondary pathogens.
To identify symptoms of hollow stem you will notice small, elliptical cracks in the inner stem tissue of susceptible crops. These cracks enlarge and merge together as the stem grows, eventually forming a cavity. In severe cases, the cavity can extend the length of the stem and into the head. Often this cavity provides access for secondary pathogens to enter the plant, leading to discoloration and rotting of the inner walls of the cavity. However, having said that though, cavities can become discoloured without pathogens present.

Hollow stem can be caused by a combination of environmental factors and crop susceptibility. In general, larger, faster growing cultivars are more susceptible to this disorder. Wide plant spacing and high nitrogen or potassium levels have been shown to increase incidence of hollow stem. 
It has been suggested that hollow stem can be caused by a Boron deficiency in the soil. If you think this may be the problem with your brassicas, Boron can be added to the soil at the rate of 2 grams per square metre when planting seedlings. Boron is commercially available as Borax. 
What has to be made note of though, is that vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, french beans, celery and other cucurbitaceaes don't like Boron, so avoid growing them in soil that has had Boron added.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Australian Plants Society

image Australian Plant Society
Earlier this spring we had as our guest speaker Alison Moore from Coffs Harbour Australian Plants Society.

Alison mentioned that the Australian Plants Society website is a cracker with a wealth of information including an extensive Plant Database, and a Conservation Officer, Dan Clarke who is only too happy to answer any questions from not only members of the plant society but anyone wanting information. Dan is a practicing botanical consultant with a strong passion for conserving the natural areas in NSW, so is the best person for this role. 

There is also a quick link to the latest news throughout the society - members love to share their stories, insights and experiences with others and this is the area on the website for them to do just that. 

A 'What's in Bloom' link is fabulous with some outstanding images from a Hunter region member.

There are also areas explaining 'who, what & membership' too. The newsletters are also linked so there's plenty to read if you are interested in Australian Native Flora. 

An outstanding website and one well worth a visit - see the link here. There is a permanent link to this website on the side panel on our home page. Just scroll down to see other websites worth looking at.

Monday, 12 November 2018


Flower of the month - November 2018

image Easy to Grow Bulbs website
KINGDOM:  Plantae

FAMILY:  Alstroemeriaceae

GENUS:  Alstroemeria

SPECIES:  Many many many

Also known as the Peruvian Lily but unlike Paddington Bear, this flower is not from deepest, darkest Peru.

Alstroemeria are tuberous perennials originating from South America, mainly Brazil and Argentina. They are a great addition to borders combining well with other plants and making excellent cut flowers. 

Alstroemeria are free flowering, producing attractive flowers in a wide range of colours.

Thanks Sue

Further cultural notes can be seen at Gardening Australia.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Birds in Our Backyard

Our yard here on the Coffs Coast sees many bird visitors. They are a constant delight to observe. Some are more welcome than others so I guess we need to plant species that attract the birds that we'd most like to see. The following YouTube clip from Brad Walker has quite a few birds that are commonly found in our garden here on the Coffs Coast - Bird calls.

One bird we enjoy seeing in our garden are wattlebirds, these honeyeaters also take care of some of the flying insect pests in the garden too. They can be a bit territorial about other birds 'on their turf' and chase them away from their favourite snacking shrub! Wattlebirds will often breed up to three times a year (providing conditions are conducive) thus giving them an opportunity in breeding some young ones successfully.

Of the 10 Australian Kingfisher species, 6 are found in New South Wales with the laughing Kookaburra the largest at 46cm.  The laughing Kookaburra is not really laughing when it makes its very familiar call - their cackle is actually a territorial call to warm other birds to stay away. Kookaburras hunt small snakes, lizards and rodents - I've observed them sweeping down and snatching a small lizard or worm an enormous distance from their perch - such efficient hunters!

A very bold and curious bird is the Noisy Minor - it is very common here on the Coffs Coast. Because of their dominate and aggressive manner they have often 'run off' some of the little birds like the Red Browed finch and Fairy Wren. They feed on nectar, fruits and insects and very occasionally will eat small reptiles and amphibians. Due to its highly social nature these birds often feed in large groups. We as gardeners should provide small spikey shrubs to shelter the smaller birds and perhaps give them a chance to avoid the Noisy Minor.

Bowerbirds - there are four found in New South Wales - Regent Bowerbirds, Satin Bowerbirds, Spotted Bowerbirds and Green Catbirds. For more detailed information about Bowerbirds please visit a post written January 2018.

Magpies are birds of our youth, so very familiar to us for mainly giving us 'a serve' riding our bikes in Spring! The Australian Magpie walks along the ground searching for insects and their larvae. They are very adept at accepting any offerings from humans and are known to 'beg' for food. They are quite tame with the exception during breeding season where some individuals become quite aggressive towards any intruders and will swoop with terrifying affect!

Rainbow Lorikeets are unmistakable with their bright red beak and wonderfully coloured plumage. They are often seen in noisy, loud and fast-moving flocks and just love our bottlebrush trees where they forage for nectar and pollen, but they also eat fruits, seeds and some insects. They are widespread along the Coffs Coast.

Another pretty bird is the Eastern Rosella which is a medium-sized parrot with distinctive white cheek patches and a red head, neck and breast with yellow/green upper parts and a yellow underbody. They feed on the ground, especially feeding on seeds from grasses. They do eat fruits, buds, flowers nectar and insects. We see them happily eating the seeds from the many weeds growing in our rose garden!

Grey Butcherbirds are quite aggressive predators - they prey on small animals, birds, lizards, insects and eat some fruits and seeds. These opportunitists take full advantage of every opportunity to forage - they follow our lawnmower and pounce on food that is made visible and when I weed the garden they are often there keeping me company to eat any curl grubs I find (it is an absolute delight to see them catch these mid air...).  Most of their prey is caught on the ground and feeding normally takes place alone, in pairs or small family groups.

The birds in this post are ones that frequent our garden regularly - there are many, many more of course - including some pretty special waterbirds who enjoy our dam.

Cork at the National Arboretum

image National Arboretum Canberra
November marks the 101st anniversary of this plantation at the National Arboretum Canberra. 

There is an excellent article about this forest and the history of cork in Australia and it can be found here.

To see a planting list and map please click here.