August 2023

Our Co-President Rosemary opened the meeting and welcomed us all to the ANI hall as our usual venue was being used for the Byron Writers’ Festival.  She commented on how she is enjoying the wattle blooming and the higher temperatures even if brief. She welcomed all members, life members and new members who have joined after friends’ recommendations and their love of gardening.

Maree Pfisterer introduced Flora of the Month.

  • Steven Wedd – Paint Brush Lily or Blood Lily, Haemanthus coccineus
  • Annie Abbink – An old red Camellia from her son’s garden, one of the old houses in the area. A blue flowering perennial, Little Blue Boy or Brazilian Snapdragon, Otocanthus cearuleus. From South America
  • Julia Bambery – a Cattleya orchid. From Brazil and Argentina. Flowers for 3 weeks. Prefers cool to warm climate
  • Judy Baker – a Bromeliad with a blue knob flower. Aechmea cylindrata, Blue Cone.
  • Ian Lacey – Felix Magnolia, with a huge flower. Bred in NZ by Jury a well-known plant breeder.
  • Jan Lee for Beth Noble – Peris japonica, Lily of the Valley Tree. Jan uses these flowers in bridal and other flower arrangements. A shrub to 1-3m. Native to eastern China, Taiwan and Japan.

This month it was our members’ turn to ask questions from a panel of other members.   The panel was made up of Karen Bono, Diana Harden, Diana Sharpe, Adelina Linardon and Steven Wedd.

Q: When to prune Hydrangeas?

A: End of winter to early spring i.e., after flowering.

Q: Why are the new leaves of Philodendron Xanadu’s coming up brown?

 A: Maybe the cold nights or too wet.

Q: Where to source non-standard nursery line plants? 

A: Paradise Rare Plants Website Rare Plants Head Office 9 Paradise Place Nambour, QLD Australia Phone or Text: 0408       687 109. The Tropical Gardener. Website: 12 Marshall Lane, Kenmore, QLD, 4069 Phone (07) 3378 0791.       Lismore Garden Centre 69 Union Street, South Lismore 02 6621 7305. Gardening Australia Magazine – classified ads – mail order nurseries.  When                   travelling around the country visit nurseries and Bunnings for different plants.

Q: A sick Native Gardenia in a hedge no others in the row sick.

A: Dig around the roots and check for hardpan soil which will affect the drainage; do soil pH test.

Q: Potting mix for Worsleya procera.

A: These plants hail from Brazil on cliff faces near waterfalls. Steven Wedd advised using a standard potting mix and transplant into a sizeable pot.

Q: Dwarf Avocado planted on mounded ground has yellowing of veins on leaves.

A: Indicates Iron deficiency. Check pH – should be pH 6.5. Add trace elements.

Q: Powdery mildew on her Hydrangea leaves.

A: Spray leaves with diluted milk as a fungicide. Don’t water leaves at night.

Q: How to test pH?

A: Use a pH test kit purchased at any hardware or nursery and follow the instructions.

Q: What is the best way to compost?

A: Judy Baker has a 3-bin system. Uses kitchen scraps, shredded paper, and garden clippings. If mix is too dry wet it. Once broken down moves it to the             next bin to mature, then to the third bin. Bronwyn Thomas who volunteers at the Lennox Community Garden described their method.  They make a                   cylinder of rigid mesh and chicken wire. 6 parts brown, 3 parts green, 1 part manure. Layer the materials. Wait till it reaches 55 degrees, then turn every 2nd or 3rd day. If dry wet it. Karen Bono uses to compost bins (dalek shape). Uses kitchen scraps, shredded paper or sugar cane mulch, coffee grounds, dolomite. Uses a stirrer from Bunnings. Add Seasol solution if too dry. Soldier fly larvae a good thing as they break down the material. Or use power planter drill to turn compost. Lay down chicken wire under bins to keep rats out. Do not add meat or bones. Citrus peel and onion skins OK. How to make compost tea? 20litre container. Put compost in stocking, add 1 tablespoon of molasses then bubble it. Dilute 1 part to 10 of water. Molasses diluted 50:1 or 100:1 poured around rootzones of trees and shrubs promotes microorganisms. Alternative method – place kitchen scraps under thickly mulched garden beds. Composting kills weed seeds. To kill seeds, solarise method. Leave weeds in plastic nag in sun until mush OR in bucket with lid in sun. Dilute and use on garden OR bury scarps deeply in garden.

This was a very interesting and fun forum.  Thank you all for participating.

And yes, another delightful afternoon tea.

Posted in Monthly 2023.