Sunday, 17 August 2014

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.

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