Sunday, 17 August 2014

GCA Representatives at Zone Day

Geoff, Neil, George, John, Keryn & Elizabeth
CHGC President, Geoff Bell  welcomed Garden Clubs of Australia representatives to the GCA Mid North Coast Zone Day held in the Cavanbah Centre, Coffs Harbour on 16 August.

GCA Senior Vice President, George Hoad and Mid North Coast Zone Co-Ordinator, Keryn Rodham attended. National Zone Co-Ordinator, Glenys Bruun was unable to attend; however her brother John McGrath, President of the Nambour Garden Club came in her stead.

Neil Puddey, local Woolgoolga Vireya grower and Elizabeth Swane both gave very interesting and informative presentations. Local florist Di Patterson put together some stunning floral arrangements - so effortlessly while keeping up a constant stream of conversation.

There will be more to come on the Zone Day over the next week.

President's Message - August 2014

As you all know, our Club hosted the Garden Clubs of Australia (GCA) Mid North Coast Zone Day on 16 August.  It was a great day – excellent speakers, lots of friendship started and renewed, and plenty of rain on our gardens after what has been a very dry period.

GCA Mid North Coast Zone Coordinator, Keryn Rodham, opened the day, which was attended by almost 90 delegates representing every club in the Zone.

Our Mayor, Denise Knight, officially welcomed everyone to Coffs Harbour, and GCA Senior Vice President, George Hoad, gave us a run-down on what’s been happening nationally.  And we heard from each of the Zone Clubs about what they are up to at present.

Elizabeth Swane was our keynote speaker on the day, and spoke passionately about her journey in the horticulture industry and as an avid gardener in her private life.  She emphasised the importance of having a go and not being afraid to source and use the ideas and experiences of others in our own    gardening endeavours.  We were fortunate that Elizabeth illustrated her thoughts on this via a collection of photos of some truly wonderful gardens from the NSW Central West and her own region in north western Sydney.   Although the climate and soils might be different here in Coffs, we got the message that the principles of great garden design, careful plant selection and a commitment to delivering the vision, were the same everywhere.

Our other guest speaker, Neil Puddey, gave us an outline of his work as a  hybridiser, grower and exporter of vireya rhododendrons.  Neil has successfully taken what started as a gardening hobby at his home in Woolgoolga and developed it into a thriving business with exports to twelve countries. A truly inspirational story.

Our speakers were supported by an excellent floral arranging demonstration by local florist, Di Patterson from Freelance Flowers at the Northside Shopping Centre.  Di had the audience enthralled as she put together a series of floral arrangements made up entirely of locally sourced plant material.  It was inspiring to hear about all the local growers who are doing such a good job in supplying product to the floristry industry.

The Zone Day could not have gone ahead without the support of our wonderful event sponsors, Total Gardens and Anton Sander, who both did us proud.  Our Club is very fortunate to have such great supporters and I thank them on your behalf.

Last, but certainly not least, I am sincerely grateful to all those Club members who pitched in during the planning phase and on the day itself, to make it a really successful event that our club can be very proud of.  There are simply too many people who helped out in so many important ways to list everyone here, but please know that your efforts are very much appreciated.  That said, I would like to make special mention of the fantastic effort put in by two people in particular - Margaret and Maria – both of whom did a great job ensuring that the Zone Day was such a success.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Friday, 15 August 2014

Fungus Gnats

This term applies to a very large group of insects some of which damage the roots of plants. Usually they are just a nuisance as they hover around over-ripe fruit in a fruit bowl. They are often mistaken for fruit fly. Adult fungal gnats are attracted to damp conditions and decomposing organic matter.

Fungus gnats are also members of the fly family, usually about 1 millimeter in size. They can be recognized by their all-black, rather "skinny" bodies, compared to that of fruit flies. 

Fungus gnats are attracted to moisture and fungus, and are therefore attracted to compost bins and can sometimes be observed crawling on the bedding in a worm or compost bin.

The soil in which houseplants are potted can also provide an environment in which fungus gnats can flourish.  If they are present in your houseplants, this indicates that there is too much moisture in the potting mix. Try letting the plants dry out completely before the next watering. This will kill the larval stages in the soil. 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

How to take better plant photos – close-ups | GardenDrum

A fantastic article for those who want to get the most out of their plant close up photography.
extreme close up

Helen McKerral writes: Taking a terrific photo of a flowers lets us capture its essence and share its fleeting beauty with others, forever.

Please click here to view article.

pic 1b

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Smell the Roses

Smell the Roses
'Smell the Roses'

This Landline segment is a terrific story about one family relocating from Zimbabwe to Australia to grow roses (and now berries) and another family who are growing roses for the petal industry.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Growing Parsley

Parsley is a biennial herb however, the results aren't so good after the first year so it is mainly grown as an annual.

The germination period for parsley is around 3-4 weeks and requires warm temperatures. It does best if it gets around 6 hours of sunlight each day, so choose your spot in the garden that will get that amount of sun per day. As usual, the plant requires well drained soil with lots of organic matter and good levels of nutrients.

Give a little drink every fortnight or so with a liquid fertiliser, just to keep it happy and well fed.

Harvesting is 'as you need it' and the more you pick the better!

Friday, 1 August 2014


August 2014 flower of the month

Camellias are a member of the tea family with over 300 species and are native to the coast and mountain regions of eastern Asia. The tea plant (Camellia sinensis) is the source of our commercially grown tea.

The leaves are glossy, mid to dark green, with toothed leaves and have short-stalked flowers that bloom during the cooler months. The leaves are often used in floral designs because of their glossy appearance and their sturdiness.

There are quite a number of flower forms and sizes with colours ranging from white, cream, yellow, pink to red-purple and bi-colour flowers.

Shaded or semi-shaded positions, acid to neutral soils, dry winters and wet summers suit the majority of camellias, so the Coffs area should prove to be a great climate to grow them.

 Camellias are long-lived shrubs and propagating is by grafting, or from cuttings taken in late summer to winter. They can have many applications - formal garden, woodland setting, hedging, edging, topiary or for espalier.