June 2023

Our June meeting was opened by our co-President Rosemary who welcomed 75 members including life members and 2 new members.  She thanked Stephen Stocker for organising our visit to Glenrock Gardens and Ivy Leaf Chapel in Tenterfield.  See the Events tab for details of our bus trip.

Maree Pfisterer introduced Flora of the Month that once again was lovely.

  • Fay Bogg – Two different Calliandra, one small leaf, one larger leaf and larger shrub. Both respond well to pruning. Possible Calliandra heamatocephala and C. tweedi
  • Stephen Wedd – Kniphofia uvaria, Red Hot Poker. Come in red, orange, yellow flowers. Clumps spread and produce seeds. Very hardy. Cut back after flowering
  • Beth Noble – Rudbeckia cvs. Cone flower. Daisy family. Perennial. Flowers comes in yellows and oranges and combination of both.
  • Fay Dwyer – Purple mauve Bearded Iris. Considered a cold climate plant, but this cultivar seems to do well here. Spreads by rhizomes. Propagate by taking side shoots of rhizomes. Plant ½ in and ½ out of soil. Steven Wedd will try to propagate his by seed

Our plant auction as always was so busy and so much fun.  It is a great way to buy cuttings and produce for very little expense.

The Guest Speaker was so much fun as it was three of our members’ turn to be put under the spot light.

  • Bruce Tom

Bruce (along with his 3 sisters Sandra, Helen and Liz) grew up in Tamworth. When young he played with his toy soldiers in his mother’s violet patch. He killed red back spiders on the fence and Rene Geyer lived next door. Dad pitch forked the lawn to remove bindii. They would go to collect chicken poo, silt from the Peel River and kikuyu runners from beside the Peel River. When at the new Oxley High School Bruce won an award for bringing the most kikuyu runners from the Peel River as the students were involved in establishing the sports field. Moved away to Newcastle for Uni, then to Warialda where he met his wife, Yvonne. Experienced drought and extremes of temperatures. Then to Batlow where they had enough water to grow vegetables, again using chicken poo to improve the soil and using his neighbour’s rotary hoe. When they moved to a 1-acre property in Grafton there were only two saplings on the property. They created a native garden, rainforest garden, creek bed, which occasionally flowed. Set up a greenhouse to grow orchids which Dad had done. When children they were tasked with catching Dendrobium beetles. Also had a hydroponics system. Experimented with different mediums. Yvonne and Bruce moved to Alstonville a few years ago. They have a new greenhouse for the orchids (some inherited from Dad).

  • Hazel Sowerby

Whilst most people get their love of gardening from family, friends or relatives, Hazel did not. Her parents worked the farm. She and Neil built a house in Moree on what was zoned as a flood plain, so build the house on a mound. The garden grew eventually to 5 acres. It was trial and error. Hazel was working 5 ½ days a week, both as teacher and in a nursery on Saturdays. Hazel learnt from books, the nursery and from knowledgeable locals Mrs Williams and Diana M. Luckily Hazel had plenty of bore water of beautiful quality. She was able to have a pool and palm trees. Hazel then moved to Brooklet and most of have seen the beautiful garden she created there. Hazel is no working on her new garden in Bangalow.

  • Carole Gamble

Carole started gardening in Melbourne with her 1st marriage. They bought a dilapidated old house on a large block. The area had been market gardens so she had fabulous soil. Neighbours gave her cuttings and when she walked she always carried secateurs to collect cuttings over fences. Carole started with a native garden which were all the rage at the time. Later she changed the garden to a cottage garden. Carole and friend opened a shop called Soil. Seems like they said yes to all requests including garden design. Had a lot of fun. After Melbourne Carole moved to the Hunter Valley to run a restaurant in a 1860’s coach house. Carole looked after the surrounding cottage and perennial gardens as well. Carole made the point that the 6 x Camphor Laurels on the property were delightful and considered a problem as they are up here. Then on to Brisbane where she encountered ghastly soil. Carole does not like tropical gardens but had to adjust to her new environment. During a severe drought, watering by buckets only was allowed. This is when Carole discovered Bromeliads – hardy, colourful and wide variety. Carole completed an Advanced Horticulture Diploma, focusing on Permaculture, Trees and Organic Gardening, hence her attitude for not using sprays. Then down to the Mullumbimby property, where trees were her passion. We have seen the lovely garden she developed there. Carole and Chris have recently moved to 1,100m2 property on the edge of town, with a lovely garden planted with trees, shrubs, foliage plants, Coleus (a favourite), perennials. She is taking the palm trees out.

The meeting was closed with a wonderful afternoon tea.

Posted in Monthly 2023.