A special garden in Croydon – September 29, 2018

On Grand Final day eight members attended our garden visit to landscape designer, Merele’s Croydon North garden.  Merele explained how the 4 year old garden took shape. Unfortunately, in order to erect a fence between properties, some original vegetation had to be removed, exposing Merele and daughter’s house to the main road.  Merele set about planting to screen and to show off her favoured west Australian plants: mallee Eucalyptus leptophylla and E. dolychorhyncha, several eremophilas, grevilleas, a stunning Chorizema cordatum, Hardenbergia violacea and other species were planted.  Merele’s garden is “densely planted in the way that Australian plants grow naturally, to help protect them from the wind, sun and predators”.

Of interest was a sport growing on Eremophila mackinlayi, the juvenile foliage of Eucalyptus lunata ‘Moon Lagoon’, an Eremophila splendens and an unnamed Scholtzia.  On an exposed corner, Eremophila nivea had spread to 3m across and at 2m in height was a spectacular sight, other younger Mallee Eucs were starting to develop, Banksia praemorsa (red) in flower, Grevillea alpina ‘Warby Range’, Westringeas and Correas all fitting in.

Along a particularly hot stretch of concrete driveway, Eremophila freelingii, Isopogon, Darwinia and Dampiera were all thriving.  On the shadier house side, Persoonia pinifolia, Spyridium, Correas, Chamelaucium and an Acacia gracilifolia combined well.  Further along in a usually damp area, Callistemon, Melaleucas, Lambertia, a Correa and surprisingly a pink form of Eremophila drummondii were taking advantage of the extra moisture.  Tall shrubs on the house side were protecting a Rhododendron lochiae, Boronia ‘Purple Jared’ and had several Epacris, reeds and grasses scrambling through.

Around in the back yard, her daughters cat breeding enterprise took everyone’s interest.  Merele pointed out the large Eremophila alternifolia cross (large purple flower) which was overtaking plants all around – Grevillea juncifolia was flowering below and Eucalypt tetraptera reaching up.  Further along was a E. albopurpurea, cream flowered, rather than the expected purple.  Pimela nivea was doing well below and amongst the great variety of Merele’s planting, a showy red Grevillea at the end of the track had everyone oohing and aahhing.  Indeed a beautiful garden with a host of genera and fascinating stories from Merele with each plant along the way.

Merele inspired us all as she spoke so thoughtfully about the characteristics of the plants and how she decides on placement and combinations.

Report by Peter Smith and Joanne Cairns

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Visit to a special garden in Bulleen August 2017

Entering Max and Regina’s garden was reminiscent of stepping out of the bus into a roadside verge somewhere in South West WA – so many & varied plants wherever you looked and all of them stunning.  We were also treated to Max’s commentary & asides, always informative and entertaining.  If in doubt, prune and then prune some more.  Woe betide a plant if it gets ideas above its station!

Over 20 Yarra Yarra members were there and it was at times difficult to get a look in, too many in too small a space. We strolled in single file first through the front and then down the back,  lingered and then lingered longer,  before having afternoon tea a few hours later.  What a splendid afternoon it turned out to be, the plants, the venue & the congenial, convivial company of our fellow members.  There is a more detailed plant list below and detailed notes from Max also.

There were some standouts, show stoppers such as Banksia media (dwarf form), Micromyrtus leptocalyx, Thryptomene calycina ‘Little Treasure’, & Leionema rotundifolia.

Regina told me that Max (84) is in the garden 24/7 and what a testament to his efforts it is – a garden that inspires & delights at every turn. Thank you to you both.  We are blessed to have you in our group and hope we can continue to enjoy your company & mentorship for many years to come.

Report Miriam Ford.

MAX AND REGINA’S GARDEN

Our block, about 1 km south of the Yarra River, has a north-easterly aspect sloplng down to the bottom of a gully with a 1.3 m diameter underground stormwater drain.  Drainage and road works had covered most of the original high quality clay-loam topsoil with 30-50 cm of heavyclay.  Prior to subdivision, the land was used for orchards.  Landscaping involved disposal of clay from the front of the house, drainage, terracing and building up of the bases of garden beds with displaced soil.

Ornamental garden beds were developed manually as rockeries from 1973-1977.  We incorporated a mixture of coarse sand (fine crushed scoria (-7 mm) in the front garden), sandy loam, some mountain soil and screened local clay-loam topsoil, with gypsum and some compost, from 20 to 60 cm in depth.  The vegetable garden contains less sand and higher levels of clay-loam and compost.

Most of our initial plantings were from Austraflora (70c per 5″ polybag), Cecile Glass’s Tantoon Nursery in Eltham and from SGAP plant sales at Yarra Yarra and Maroondah.  We also bought plants from Peg Macalister’s Break-O’-Day Nursery and Bill and Marion Kings’ Chalka Nursery and from Gwenda & Ross Macdonald.  We became enthusiastic growers of seedlings and propagated numerous Acacia, Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, Grevillea and Hakea and legume species, among others, using seed from the SGAP seed banks, Study Groups, Kings Park, Nindethana and seed collected by ourselves.

Over time, large eucalypts and acacias, etc. have been replaced by shrubs, and more recently, large shrubs have given way to smaller ones in some beds.  Redevelopment has involved additions of compost, gypsum, blood and bone and trace elements with additional dolomite and iron sulphate.  Soaker hoses were replaced by polypipe and microsprays and in 2000 irrigation of the entire garden was enhanced by use of 19 mm polypipe feeder lines and an automatic timer.

lncorporation of additional sand, compost and used potting soil into the upper layers of garden beds has improved drainage further.  Organic mulching has been used extensively over the whole period and, around some smaller shrubs, small white pebbles to improve the light levels and provide a pleasing background.  We have sometimes include some fresh potting soil or a footing of coarse sand under the planting site of sensitive plants.  New plants were originally fertilised at planting time with Nutricote TE (3:L mix of 270 day and 70 day) and (except for legumes) some IBDU.  Recently, the use of Macrocote fertiliser (low phosphate 6 month) which includes a range of rhizobium spores and other mycorrhiza incorporated into the skin of the pellets, added to potting media and to the planting site, has enhanced the successful establishment of various leguminous species.  Previous plantings of legumes which were not thriving responded to addition of Macrocote granules into holes made by inserting the prongs of a coarse weeding fork into the soil around the plant.

Recently we have been successful in greatly enhancing the flowering of many species of Myrtaceae and Proteaceae in the garden by the seasonal top-dressing with granulated Potassium Sulfate (Rich-Gro Potash available from Bunnings) at a rate of about 4 g per square metre (one handful over a 2 m diameter around a medium shrub).  Potash is best applied after the vigorous new season’s growth has developed naturally or in response to pruning and/or application of a general fertiliser, but before or during the development of flower buds.  Flowering and regrowth of shrubs are also enhanced or extended by prompt and regular removal of spent flower heads, if these are not of ornamental value or required for seed production.

We are currently active members of the ANPSA Grevillea, Eremophila and Acacia Study Groups, participating in regular excursions and field trips.  Such field trips have included private excursions to Western Australia, Kangaroo lsland, and central eastern NSW and The Grampians, as well as Study Group excursions in southern NSW, around Victoria.  Over the past 16 years we have been helping Neil Marriott to organise local activities, field trips and working bees of the Grevillea Study Group.

PLANT LIST

(these are just some of the ones in flower now)

Acacia cupularis Grevillea preissii ssp glabrilimba
Acacia farinosa Grevillea ‘New Blood’
Acacia lanigera Grevillea latrobei “St Andrews” (rosmarinifolia form)
Acacia lasiocarpa ssp sedifolia Grevillea semperflorens
Acacia nitidula Grevillea ‘Panrock Princess’
Acacia verniciflua ‘Spicy’ (Heathcote form) Grevillea lavandulacea
Acacia sessilispica Grevillea ‘Fireworks’
Banksia spinulosa ‘Birthday Candles’ Grevillea synapheae
Banksia media (dwarf form) Hakea bucculenta
Banksia spinulosa Hakea francisiana
Brachyscome formosa Hardenbergia violacea
Conostylis (various) Hibbertia aspera
Chorizema cordartum Hypocalymma angustifolium
Correa reflexa (Brisbane ranges) Indigofera australis
Correa reflexa (Fat Fred) Isopogon divergens
Correa reflexa (Nowra form) Leionema rotundifolia
Correa pulchella Leionema elatior subsp. beckleri
Cryptandra amara Lechenaultia biloba
Darwinia lejostyla Lasiopetalum involucratum
Diplolaena grandiflora Melaleuca calothamnoides
Dodonaea lobulata Micromyrtus leptocalyx
Dryandra fraseri ssp oxycedra Phebalium canaliculatum,
Epacris impressa Phebalium glandulosum
Epacris ‘Pan Pipes’ Phebalium squamulosum forms
Eremophila drummondii Philotheca myoporoides
Eremophila maculata (deep red) and others Pimelea humilis
Eucalyptus preissiana Pimelea physoides
Eucalyptus rhodantha Prostanthera aspalathoides
Eucalyptus macrocarpa x youngiana Pseudanthus pimeleoides
Eucalyptus infera Pultenaea gunnii
Eucalyptus erythrocorys Senna artemisioides
Grevillea alpina x rosmarinifolia Spyridium scortechinii
Grevillea ‘Lady O’ Thomasia sarotes
Thryptomene calycina ‘Little Treasure’

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Garden visit to Shirley Carn’s July 2017

Shirley has a gift for combining plants to great effect using height, colour and texture of foliage and flowers.  The result is an integrated blending of Aussie plant magic.  Her gardens have featured in the Open Garden scheme many times.

Her latest garden in the Dandenongs is only 3 years old.  It was a freezing day and 9 of us were brave enough to rug up and make the trip for the sheer pleasure at the end. Shirley is a generous and welcoming host.  She explained experiments and names as we were guided around.

The large quarter acre block is a long rectangle running West/East with the front garden on the west side of the house.  There is plenty of sun from the North and a wonderful borrowed landscape with the hills to enjoy in the distance on the South side.

Landscaping over the block has raised beds which allowed wide meandering paths for strolling around and for maximum visibility of the collection.  The back garden has a loop path along the long axis, with an extensive bed separating the two sides.  Compacted sawdust on the paths gives a wonderful springy feel underfoot.

Shirley is ruthless with plants if they don’t perform.  She sources plants from all our usual nurseries plus cuttings and gifts from friends.

Banksias low, medium and high were in flower and looked stunning.  There were plenty of buds on the phebaliums, many kinds of spyridium in full show as well as epacris  waving their floriferous wands in the wind.  Shirley uses other favourites such as pimelea, low grevillea and various lomandra to fill in gaps.  We all loved Lomandra patens with its unusual flowers.

Various eucalypts formed some protection for this long bed and Shirley also used some prickly shrubs and hardenbergia to make bird habitat.  An Eastern Spinebill entertained us with its antics amongst the shrubs and then took a long bath as we watched on.

The garden borders were a lovely mix of tall shrubs with textural contrasts. allocasuarina, acacia, eucalypts and banksias wove themselves into blended curtains of foliage.

Shirley has created a garden of great visual beauty and appeal.  It was hard to believe she started from scratch 3 years ago.  She has a great knowledge of plants and their conditions, and loves to share her experiences.

Thankyou Shirley for sharing with us.

Report by Joanne Cairns

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