Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Outing 20 May 2014

Michael & Janice, Bob, Geoff, Robyn and Patti in the garden room at the Tarry garden

A outing report can be found on our 'Outings' Page above and further photos from this outing on the 'Photo Gallery' Page above.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

May Outing 2014

Outing to Sunset Lake Nursery, Sealy Lookout and 

Tarry's Champion Garden May 2014

Robyn, Bob & Margaret at Nursery

Pam & Bev at Nursery

Gaye & Bob...... have we space for this?

All the frangipani plants lined up

Michael, Barbara & Maureen

Scott giving us some tips

Our beautiful Coffs Coast

Michael hopping over a bed in the Tarry front garden

the ladies asking questions and Geoff all agog

Some of the outing attendees

Margaret with her Champion ribbon and the beautiful cards she exhibited at the recent Coffs Show

Monday, 19 May 2014

Fruit Fly

There are over 200 native species of fruit fly in Australia with only a few being a problem for gardeners, however this event can be quite significant. Fruit flies range in size from one to two millimeters. They can be easily recognized by the rather bulbous shape of their lower bodies, which is frequently an orange or light brown colour. They are relatively slow flyers, often hovering around fruit or vegetables.

The most effective practice is to prevent female fruit flies from laying their eggs so you can have healthy, ripe home grown veggies and fruit. This can be done by using traps which lure the fruit fly.  

A simple, nontoxic, inexpensive way to trap them is to place a banana peel inside a clear plastic container (like a take away container) and make three or four holes in the cover with a standard round toothpick. Be sure to pull the toothpick all the way through the plastic and wiggle it around to make a hole large enough for a fruit fly to crawl through. Place the plastic container in or near where there are fruit flies. The odor of the banana peel will effectively lure the fruit flies into the container and they cannot find their way out. If you see fruit flies crawling around on the surface of your plastic container but not going inside, make the holes  a little larger.

Most of us only notice fruit fly when it is too late and the fruit has already been stung and is full of maggots. Fruit that has been stung should be destroyed -  by feeding to the chooks, drowning them or cooking them in a plastic sealed bag in the sun.

Several varieties of fruit will happily ripen on the kitchen window sill, like tomato and mango so pick them early and enjoy them before the fruit fly can sting them!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Murwillumbah & District Garden Club Friendship Day



This event was attended by President Geoff and about 170 other folk!! It looked as if all roads led to Murwillumbah as the 2014 'Battle on the Border' 5 day men's and 4 day women's bike tour also came through town on Sun 18 May.

Costa Georgiadis is here somewhere, entertaining some of the crowd that attended the Friendship Day
some of the stalls at the Friendship Day

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Antarctic Beech Tree

Walking through the Springbrook National Park on the 'Best of All' walking trail there can be found the most amazing tree. This southern beech tree (Nothofagus spp.) evolved some 100 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed and Australia was still part of the super continent, Gondwana. When Gondwana split apart today's great southern land masses of Antarctica, South America, Africa, Madagascar, Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia and New Zealand were formed.
Most probably the success of it's survival can be put down to the method of reproducing, called 'coppicing' where the tree sends out new shoots radially from the base of the original truck and these shoots eventually grow into clones of the parent tree - forming a ring of trunks which all belong to the one tree.
One could be mistaken for thinking you've stepped into another world. With the trunks of this Antarctic Beech moss encrusted, soaring to 50m, with the mists of high altitude Springbrook swirling, an ancient druid forest has been recreated.

Qld Rose Society Autumn Show

Carmel Yelland and Geoff Bell standing near a stunning vase of 'Seduction' which was a winner at the Show.

President Geoff was delighted to attend the recent Autumn Show for the Qld Rose Society at Mt Coot-tha Botanic Garden. The show was well attended with wonderful displays of roses, the Society would have to be please that it was such a successful event.

Thursday, 1 May 2014


May 2014 flower of the month: Chrysanthemum

Originating in East Asia this plant has been growing in China for more than 2500 years! It is the National Flower of Japan and is a symbol of happiness and longevity. Chrysanthemums are in season here in Australia in the Autumn however, commercial growers can manipulate this by altering the amount of light they receive so they are available at other times in the year.

(Editor’s note, I must apologise for the image—it was all I had on hand. This little beauty is now in the ground, thriving, you ask? Perhaps not, the roos like to lay there too much, however it is still living—just goes to show how tough they are!)

They are synonymous with Mother’s Day and make popular gifts because of their longevity both in the vase and as a potted plant. These gifts of potted chrysanthemums last for several weeks indoors if they are watered when dry and kept in a well lit position. Removal of spent flowers and discoloured leaves keeps the plant looking fresh for many weeks. In the garden they require a full sun and well drained position.

Gardeners' Tips - May 2014

Regularly turn your compost heaps and sprinkle them with chook manure or similar organic fertiliser to accelerate even composting.

It's a good time to plant beetroot, burdock (as recommended by Steve McGrane), broad beans, kale, silverbeet, peas and winter vegies such as cauliflower and cabbage, as well as those herbs and vegies that tend to bolt in the summer, eg lettuce, coriander etc (ensuring protection from frost). You may have seen on Gardening Australia that Jerry Colby-Williams planted cherry tomatoes as there are less pests and diseases during the cooler months, so one would assume they should be good to plant here in Coffs too!

Propagate native plants using semi-hardwood cuttings. Use a fresh propagating mix made to Australian Standards.

Control algae on paths and fences by spraying with one part vinegar to five parts water.

Plant canna lily, alstroemeria, ranunculus and jonquil for fantastic spring displays.

Paw Paws - time to apply wettable sulphur every 2-4 weeks from late autumn to spring covering both sides of the leaves as well as the fruit to prevent fungal diseases in winter.

Safety Tips - May 2014

Garden Safety

Here are a few simple, commonsense things that will help make your garden safer:
  • Attend to trip hazards such as loose paving slabs and uneven surfaces, and don't leave hoses haphazardly lying around.
  • Learn which plants are poisonous and ensure children and pets stay away from them.
  • Don't leave sharp tools lying around.
  • Lock away chemicals. And just because they have the words 'organic' or 'bio' on them, this doesn't necessarily mean they are safe.
  • Don't leave power tools plugged in, and don't ever use them in wet conditions.

President's Message - May 2014

Many members have given me positive feedback recently about the increase in the gardening content at our monthly meetings.  It’s great to hear this, because we are, after all, a garden club and we need to be talking about gardening.  But our meetings are only part of what the club does when it comes to gardening information and advice.  Here are a few examples of what I mean:

· The monthly outings that our hard-working Program Committee organise on our behalf take us to some wonderful gardens all around the Coffs Coast region where we can learn a massive amount from the work of fellow gardeners.

· We have a fantastic website which contains a wealth of information as well as links to other sites where people can get more information on gardening.

· There will shortly be opportunities to attend special workshops on topics of interest.  This is a new initiative of the club (thanks to Bob), and is something we will continue to develop when there is significant interest in a particular area.  The first of these workshops will be held later in the year on orchids.  Other possible workshops are already on the drawing board.

· Our competition table provides examples of the wonderful gardening expertise of our members.  Check out who is exhibiting fine specimens of what you’re interested in and ask them about how to grow plants of the same quality yourself.

· We have a wealth of experience in our club on all types of gardening with people only too happy to share their expertise.  All you need do is ask.

· Our newsletter contains things like brief cultivation notes on the Flower of the Month, a variety of gardening tips and club happenings.  And of course I must mention the horticultural quiz – how many questions did you get right last month?

So I encourage everyone to take full advantage of what the club offers.  Go on the outings, enter the competitions, attend a workshop, share your expertise, contribute ideas and the time to bring these to reality.  In other words make the most of your membership of our club.