Saturday, 20 April 2019

Growing Zucchini

image GardenDrum

CHGC member Simon shared his knowledge on growing zucchini successfully.

Growing Zucchini on the Coffs Coast from blogpwrpnt

Thanks Simon, great work.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Easter Daisy

Flower of the Month - April 2019 

KINGDOM: Plantae
ORDER: Asterales
FAMILY: Asteraceae
GENUS: Symphyotrichum
SPECIES: S. novi-belgii

Easter Daisy 'Jenny'

They are herbaceous perennials with upright, much-branched stems on which masses of small daisies are produced in late summer and autumn. The flowers range in colour from white through pale lilac blue, mauve, purple and pink to deep reddish plum.

In England these plants were called Michaelmas Daisies because they bloomed at the same time as St Michael's Day was celebrated, 29 September. They could never be called that in Australia as they flower in our Southern Hemisphere Autumn, so instead they are Easter Daisies for us!

Easter Daisy 'Fellowship'

We probably think of them as Asters, but as recently as the 1990s the Family of Asters was split and the Easter Daisy, whilst remaining in the Aster Family was reclassified into the Genus, Symphyotrichum which are recognized as the asters which are native to North America.

That which we call an Easter Daisy, by any other name would smell as ...... Now, what does it smell like?

ABC Gardening Australia Series 28 Episode 07 - Easter Special has a segment on the Easter Daisy, presenter Jane Edmanson's profile can be seen here.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Getting Coffs Show Ready

Preparing Roses for the Show

Joyce Abounding - a beautiful Australian bred Miniflora

Judging of the flowers at the Coffs Harbour Show is 12 May 2017. If you wish to have a flush on your floribundas, minifloras and mini roses, this weekend (25/26 March) is when your bushes are pruned to have show ready blooms. The above rose types generally require 75-80 days to have a flower flush after pruning.  

Aotearoa (Maori for New Zealand) and means 'Land of the Long White Cloud' is a beautiful, richly fragrant Hybrid tea rose.
However, if you have hybrid tea and shrub roses to prepare for the show these need to be pruned 60 days prior - the 12th March.

These are 'general rule of thumb' number of days before a wanted flush, so it might be worth pruning some bushes a bit before these dates and some a little later so you might 'jag' some that are just right!

Preparing Pots for the Show

Snake plant

Have a good look at your pot plants and see if there are any that you might like to exhibit. Some points when showing pots:

  • All plants should be free from pests and diseases. So keep an 'eye' on your pots to make sure pests don't take a liking to your pots.
  • Foliage plants are judged on the quality and appearance of leaves and stems, so it might be best to keep up the maintenance on your pots, removing spent stems/damaged leaves early rather than just before the show when you run the risk of leaving a nasty raw looking wound.
  • With your flowering plants these might be a bit tricky to get 'show ready' in full bloom but it might be worthwhile to keep up the liquid fertiliser to keep the plant healthy, ready to burst out with wonderful blooms.
  • Your pot plant should be symmetrical in the pot, so remember to keep rotating to keep the plant growth even.
  • Have a good close look at your container.  Is it in proportion with the plant? If it is 'top heavy' it might be a good idea to repot your plant into a bigger one. In the image above the pot really complements the plant beautifully however, it is a little too tall in comparison with the overall height of the plant. Your container should complement the plant without drawing attention away from it (unless the schedule states a decorative pot with plant).
When competing in the Coffs Harbour Show (or any show for that matter) it is imperative that you read the schedule very thoroughly. There are very good guidelines written in the schedule and takes just a few minutes to familiarise yourself with what is required for any given class or section.

Good luck with your preparation!

Monday, 1 April 2019


Housefly Musca domestica

The housefly is a fly of the suborder Cyclorrhapha.

Houseflies are able to move their wings 200 times per second and can fly at the speed of almost 8 kms per hour. 

Some facts about flies:

Houseflies live on a liquid diet - they tend to live off a diet based on liquids due to the fact that they do not have any chewing mouthparts so their food source has to be in liquid form. They will regurgitate digestive juices onto solid foods and these juices break down the food, allowing them to use their proboscis to drink their meal.

Flies are like butterflies in that they taste with their feet - this is all down to taste receptors being located on their lower legs and feet, have you not noticed flies seem to be preening themselves? Actually they are just having a good taste.

Flies poo, a LOT. Due to their diet being a liquid one, their digestive system can move quite quickly, which means that they poo often. It is speculative, but it is  believed that houseflies defecate every time they land, even if it's on their next meal - they are definitely NOT discriminative where they poo!

Due to their feeding and breeding habits houseflies come into contact with a range of harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli. Because of this, houseflies will often aid the spread of these bacteria passing them onto us by contaminating things, such as food and cooking/eating utensils.

Houseflies can walk upside down, this is due to each foot containing two fat foot pads (pulvilli) which contain tiny hairs that produce a glue-like substance made of sugars and oils which provides them with excellent grip.

Flies can see behind them as they have compound eyes - these intricate eyes provide them with nearly a 360 degree field of vision, which allows them to see behind themselves. Their eyes do not move but as they can see in all directions they can navigate whilst also be on the lookout for danger.

The housefly doesn't live very long - on average it has a life cycle of around 30 days. However, having said that though, during their short life they manage to pack a lot in. They can lay up to 500 eggs which are usually in batches of around 75 to 150. So, although they don't live long an infestation can quickly arise through new generations.

Houseflies have amazing reaction times - our brains process around 60 images a second, whereas a fly can process around 250 in a single second. It is no wonder that they can avoid us when armed with a can of spray, is it?

Yep, flies have unhygienic breeding habits which are rather disgusting really. They lay their eggs on items such as faeces, rotting carcasses and decaying fruit. This will provide the larvae (aka maggots) with something to snack on when they hatch.

The male housefly is an amorous little critter. Studies show (I'm not sure how) that there's a specific region within the eyes of a male fly called the 'love spot'. It is pretty much used for detecting and chasing female flies. This 'spot' is located within the dorso-frontal region of their eyes. This is typically used to detect small target motion, however, males also use it to stay locked onto potential mates during aerial pursuit.

Information for this article was obtained from the Rentokil blogspot.