Thursday, 28 February 2019

Corindi - Ranges, Blueberries, Seascapes, Plants & Companionship

Our Garden Clubs of Australia motto of 'Friendship through gardens' really lived up to itself today with the combined Woolgoolga and Coffs Harbour Garden Clubs' outing to Corindi. 

Corindi (which is pronounced Cor-in-dye' according to long time residents) was also known as Pipeclay Beach until its name change in 1954. Corindi means 'grey' in local indigenous language referring to the pipeclay on the beach. Today Corindi is better known for blueberry farming with immense farms to the west and north west. At this February 2019 outing we had the pleasure of travelling through some of these pristine farms - some of us more so than others as we got LOST....... Did you know they are now growing blueberry bushes in pots? That was one observation today on our intrepid journey in Upper Corindi.

The first destination was off Red Range Road, Upper Corindi and was a vast acreage garden with the most amazingly beautiful outlook.

In the image on the top left is a Boab tree and yes, with all that lovely foliage growing atop. This garden is maintained by some very neat folk - just take a look how the stakes are stored. Pineapples abounded edging the paths throughout the orchard.

The second garden visited in the village of Corindi was a normal sized town block. This gardener was just so generous and wanted any of the members to take cuttings of anything in her garden. Her love of her 'space' was evident in her enthusiasm and willingness to share.

Lunch was quite a very tasty and most welcomed break in our garden journey, such interesting food and enjoyed by the members.

After lunch we went off to Corindi Public School where the kids are doing some fantastic work in their kitchen garden. Each week they take it turns to spend time both in the kitchen cooking and in the garden. They use produce that the school has grown in their raised gardens beds for their cookery lesson. 

Our outings coordinator Marg did the honours of reading out the briefing before we could move throughout the School and grounds. 

Thanks goes of course to the wonderful gardeners who opened their gates to allow the two clubs to visit and also the Corindi Public School for allowing us to see what the kids are up to in their garden. Margaret Franks as usual did so well to find such interesting destinations for our outing, thanks Marg.

Friday, 15 February 2019


Flower of the Month - February 2019

KINGDOM:  Plantae

FAMILY:  Lamiaceae

GENUS:  Salvia

SPECIES:  Hundreds

There are over 700 species within the genus Salvia. Salvia officinalis is common sage that we love so much with chicken and salvia spendens is that red Bunnings annual salvia that self seeds so well you only ever have to buy it once.

The perennial salvias which come in every colour possible and grow so well in Coffs have an added benefit - they attract some interesting bees.

Bring along your favourite for the competition table this meeting - 16 Feb 2019.

Further information on this genus:

Comprising about 900 species of annuals, perennials and soft-wooded evergreen shrubs, this genus is the largest in the mint family. They can be found naturally in temperate and sub-tropical regions throughout the world (with the exception of Australasia) and grow in a wide range of habitats, from coastal to alpine.

A number of Salvia species are used for culinary (see left S.elegans which is usually grown for its pineapple-scented leaves)  and medicinal purposes and the genus name is derived from the Latin salvare, meaning to heal or save. Although it might be best to stay away from S.divinorumwhich is a psychoactive plant which can induce visions and other altered and spiritual experiences!

Most species are hairy to some degree and have foliage that is aromatic when crushed or rubbed. 

The flowers are tubular with the petals split into 2 lips, which may be straight or flaring. 

The flowers vary greatly in size, and the colour range is amazing as it moves through shades of blue to purple, and pink to red, as well as white and some yellows.

Most Salvia are best grown in full sun and they require a well-drained position. Generally, the shrubby plants dislike heavy wet soils however they seem to cope with Coffs Coast conditions. Propagation is dead easy from soft-wood cuttings taken throughout the growing season. 

Since this post was written the January 2016 issue of Gardening Australia has been published and there is a beaut article titled 'Celebration of Salvias'.  I couldn't obtain a link for this article but have a linked an ABC factsheet on growing Salvias here. 

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Rhipsalis Mistletoe Cactus

image World of Succulents
This presentation was requested by member Mary B. - Thanks Jane for preparing it.

Rhipsalis mistletoe cactus from blogpwrpnt

If you are interested in harvesting the seeds please see this Youtube presentation.

How to Prune a Pawpaw

The advice for this post has been sourced from Gardening Australia January 2019 issue.

Phil Dudman suggests the following when cutting back a pawpaw:

By cutting back an established pawpaw tree when it becomes too tall encourages multiple trunks that will produce fruit at a more reachable height.

Step 1: Prune the tall, heavy trunk in small, easy-to-handle sections. Make the first cut on the underside of the trunk (or opposite side if it's perfectly vertical). Use a ladder or pole saw to increase your reach.

Step 2: Follow up by making a top cut slightly higher than the undercut. The pruned section will snap and fall cleanly directly below as you cut. If you need to protect plants below, stop cutting before the snap, break it off by hand and then place it where you want it.

Step 3: Continue working your way down the stem, cutting off small sections.

Step 4: Make your final cut fairly low down on the trunk - as low as knee height. New fruiting shoots will form from the section of trunk that is below the cut.

Step 5: Cover the exposed cut with an old tin, ice-cream container or cut-off 2ltr milk container. This helps to keep rain from going into the hollow stem. The cut will eventually callus over the hole, after which the cover can be removed.

Monday, 11 February 2019

2019 Competition Table at Meetings

The following information is about the competition table at our monthly meetings. This allows an opportunity for our members to display their beautiful blooms, potted plants, fruits and vegetables at our monthly meetings AND go into the running for prizes at the end of the year.

There are two CHGC members who volunteer to judge this monthly competition. After the November meeting all cumulative points are processed to find 1st, 2nd and 3rd place-getters. There is also a random prize draw for anyone who has tabled exhibits over the year.

    • Entry is FREE
    • There are bottles provided but you may want to bring your entries already in bottles - this saves time!
    • You can have as many or as few entries as you wish in each category. 
    • When you enter the meeting room and after signing the attendance book (for insurance purposes) you will find a box containing numbered yellow envelopes on the competition table. 
    • Just pick up the next envelope in line. 
    • Write that number with your name against it in the competition table book.
    • Place your entries in the various categories with your allocated little number close to your entry.
    • Return the envelope to the back of the number box.
    • If you are concerned about what category to place your specimen, just ask any of the members who regularly have entries on the Table, or Margaret who does the judging. 
    • Only one cut or stem is required for each entry that has * next to it on the following list. 
    • Please note the difference between a bunch and collection below. 
    • The Royal Horticultural Society of NSW Judging Standards and Guidelines for Horticultural Competitions and Exhibitions have been used in drawing up this list and their judging.
    • Competition Table Categories:   
Cacti & Succulents
Flowering Shrub*
Flowering Pot Plant
Non-flowering Pot Plant
Vine and Climber*
Bulb, Corm, Rhizome*
Orchid* (or pot)
Flower of the Month(advised in newsletter and web)
Rose, Hybrid Tea*
Rose, Multi stem*
Rose, Mini*
Cut Flowers, Bunch (same flower, 5 or more cuts)
Cut Flowers, collection (different flowers, 5 or more cuts)
Cut Flower single*
Floral Art
Herbs, single bunch
Herbs, collection (more than 3 varieties)
Fruit small x 3 pieces. large x 1
Vegetable small x 3, large x 1, leaves x 5 (bunch)
Vegetable, collection (more than 3 varieties)
Most Interesting Plant

NOTE: There has been changes to the categories and these are in bold.

Friday, 1 February 2019


Whitefly are small white moth-like flies. If you give your plant a shake (in my case our mint) lots of tiny white flies burst into flight.

They are small pests that feed by piercing and sucking sap from plants, causing the leaves to go yellow and mottled. Eggs are laid on the undersides of leaves and hatch in about 8 days. Both newly hatched 'crawlers' and adults feed by sucking the sap from the underside of the leaf.

Both the adults and nymphs secrete lots of waste called honeydew which in turn attracts ants and can cause sooty mould to develop. 

The female whitefly lays around 200 eggs. When they hatch nymphs move about for a few days but then settle into one position where they remain until eventually turning into winged adults. Companion planting with nasturtiums can often help as will yellow sticky tapes.

As silly as it sounds vacuuming in the early morning and freezing for some hours is one very effective and organic approach to getting rid of whitefly. 

Comb-crested Jacana

Have you seen this cute bird? The comb-crested Jacana occupy coastal and sub-coastal regions from the Kimberleys in Western Australia, through northern Australia and down the east coast of New South Wales. They are more common in the north though and they also occur in New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The dad is the dedicated carer of their young and will hoist them up under his wings to remove them from danger.

Today I read a neat article written by Emma Siosian on ABC Mid North Coast about this bird. It has some wonderful images of a dad with his chicks under his wings, an interesting read (well for me it was).