Two delightful smaller gardens in Donvale

We rounded off this year’s garden visits as we had started, with visits to two smaller-sized gardens, this time in Donvale; those of Helen and Joe, and Nancy and Lee.

Joe, a former nurseryman and Maroondah APS member, outlined in his knowledgeable manner some of the problems of down-sizing.  Joe acknowledged the influence of Peg McAllister on his own ideas of an Australian garden.  Peg’s garden was largely open with not a lot of talls, but masses of daisies, flannel flowers, wahlenbergias and other small plants.  Joe and Helen’s garden echoed this, and he emphasised that he shied away from mulch to allow plants such as the above, and Ptilotus spathulatus and Podolepis jaceoides, to seed and spread “en masse”.  Amongst his taller shrubs/trees were both juvenile and adult foliaged Eucalyptus lunata, a brush cherry (Exocarpos cupressiformis), Acacia cognata and a South African Leucospermum.  Joe’s native gardenia (Randia fitzalanii), three different forms of Templetonia retusa and a Verticordia plumosa were also worth noting, as was his planting of the nature strip.

Lee and Nancy’s garden is Lee’s creation as we know Nancy creates through her art and this was evident in pieces placed throughout the garden.  Lee has achieved much in a short time with some Eucalyptus caesia, several Grevilleas and a Callistemon ‘Kings Park Special’ taking off.  The daisies here were also thriving (Lee using mulch), Brachyschome (perhaps ‘Happy Face’), forms of Chrysocephalum apiculatum and Bracteantha, and Xerochrysum all showing off.  A lovely Pimelea ferruginea, Philotheca ‘Cascade of Stars’, Epacris reclinata, Verticordia plumosa and a couple of amazing Leptospermums were full of flowers.  We walked past Lee’s trademark Banksia baueri to the newly planted back garden, to admire more of Nancy’s art work while we settled in to afternoon tea.  A most enjoyable day out.

Many thanks to Helen and Joe, Nancy and Lee, and all who shared their gardens with us this year.

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Flowering in November 2018

Thanks to all our members for bringing such a wonderful array of flowers and potted plants to our November meeting from members’ gardens – in True Spring.  Some of the more unusual ones this month were Eucalyptus cernua, Callicoma serratifolia (Black wattle, NSW), Callistemon pallidus ‘Silver Cloud’.  Still flowering this month was the delightful Eremophila muelleriana.

Thanks to Ben Eaton and Rob Dunlop for images. 

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A garden treasure in Eaglemont – October 7, 2018

Here there is a feeling of wandering and relaxing, of stepping out of time, which is rarely experienced in a suburban garden.  Kathy and Ken live on a sloping fan-shaped block above the Yarra parklands with wide views, tranquility and much birdlife – even the odd kangaroo. The sloping ground gives good drainage, so the front area near the road is hot and dry.  The return driveway allows large boulders to act as shoulders for plants to lean over.  Acacia glaucoptera sprawls over the huge rocks in a blanket of yellow.  Dampiera linearis is colonising along the street with a rich show of blue.  Darwinia and other WA species enjoy this area.  A pathway to the porch winds through bushes, some more recently planted since the huge heritage Oak died.  This open area now has maturing shrubs and is being replanted with understorey.  A mallee, Eucalyptus woodwardii hybrid with bunches of large fluffy yellow flowers and silver green foliage and stems, marks the entrance path, with Hardenbergia ‘Mini Ha Ha’ draped with purple flowers near its feet.  Near the porch, 2 large flat mudstone steps give an air of grand welcome, with another defining the path around to the side.  The back garden has the parkland backdrop and a 2 metre drop to the roadway, so the planting is for screening and merging.  Two Eucalyptus leucoxylon rosea help meld it into the view with a thriving Eremophila nivea a feature.  Eucalyptus citriodora defines the end section with its shady seating area and scented and relaxing plants.  At the other end is a large pond where local ducks fly in and Grevilleas offer food for small birds.  Fences enclose the northern garden area with vegetables and fruit trees and an amphitheatre on 2 levels paved in Castlemaine slate.  There a delicious afternoon tea awaited us under a large umbrella with Kathy’s fresh scones and her famous ginger cake, a real treat.  Thanks Kathy!  We were delighted to see this garden, now barely 15 years old, while Kathy and Ken are in the process of refurbishing it.

Report by Merele Webb (who was the designer of the garden).

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Flowering in October 2018

A huge selection of flowers brought to our October meeting from members’ gardens – in True Spring.  Some of the more unusual ones this month were Eremophila aureivisca, Grevillea dielsiana and Senna nemophila (Desert Cassia), with many Prostantheras (mint bushes) flowering.

Thanks to Ben Eaton and Rob Dunlop for images. 

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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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A Visit to a Torquay garden – 12 August 2018

Torquay Garden: Following on from Lara, we toured to Torquay.  On finding John and Barbara’s property, we were again greeted by a large Banksia praemorsa at the front gate, stunning in full flower.  This garden, originally set up for Proteas and Leucodendrons for the flower trade, also has a large collection of Australian plants.  After a pleasant lunch and John making us welcome, we launched forth to explore.
Set on 5 acres and alive with birdlife, we gained some idea of the size that some of our plants can attain.  Some of the Eucalypts were not too large.  Eucalyptus preissiana, 1 to 3.5m (rarely to 7m), Eucalyptus tetraptera 1.5 to 4m, both responding well to pruning.  Some of the Grevilleas reaching an impressive full size here – G. intricata, preissii subsp glabrilimba (Seaspray), halmaturina subsp laevis.  Other Grevilleas of note were ‘Bush Lemon’, candelabroides and subtiliflora.  Acacia acinacea was full of flower, Hardenbergia ‘Happy Wanderer’ and Acacia aphylla together showing off flower, foliage and form.  Chamelaucium uncinatum – various forms and a double flowered form of Philotheca were eye catchers.  Some of the Eremophilas were glandulifera, mackinlayi and punicea (small, compact 1×0.8m), ‘excellent shrub for a small garden or unit where space is limited’ (Australian Eremophila, Boschen, Goods & Wait).  Another plant of note was a Doryanthes palmeri with the unopened spike arching down.  We rounded off the day with lovely cuppa with a range of delectable cakes, thanking John and Barbara for a wonderful afternoon.
Report: Peter Smith, Images: Miriam Ford, Jill Lulham, and Joanne Cairns.

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Kevin Hoffman Walk at Lara, Victoria – 12 August 2018

Kevin Hoffman Walk:  We all really loved this site and yet hardly anyone from the group knew about it. The Walk is an 800m scenic linear trail running parallel with Hovell’s Creek and easily accessible to locals and visitors for a walk in beautiful and inspiring surrounds.  Matt Leach, the gardening supervisor, and Beverley Hoffman (Kevin’s wife) explained the history and generously walked and talked with us as we made our way along, surprised at the wonderful growth and wide range of many favourite plants. We walked in dappled light amongst groundcovers, low grasses and herbs, medium and tall shrubs, many in flower, and a wonderful cover of Eucalypts including River Red Gums planted by Kevin. The 4m Banksias were amazing. Landscaping include sculptures and interesting installations.
It represents over 40 years of landscaping and planting of Australian natives by an inspired and hard working person, Kevin Hoffman. Beverley spoke of how Kevin was out there working away every day, before work, after work and section by section to fulfill his dream.
Now run by the Friends of Hoffman Walk with support from the City of Greater Geelong and Barwon Water, there is enthusiastic community support which ensures that the garden is going to be maintained into the future for all to enjoy. Put this on your list of special places if you haven’t been. It is well worth the effort.  Report: Joanne Cairns. Images: Miriam Ford, Joanne Cairns, and Jill Lulham.

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Flower Table August 2018

Another great selection of flowers brought to our August meeting from members’ gardens – in Early Spring.  Some of the more unusual ones this month were Calamphoreus inflatus, Acacia farinosa, and Leionema lamprophyllum, with some Correas still flowering this month.

Thanks to Ben Eaton and Mike R. for images.

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Australian Plants Expo: 8-9 Sept in Eltham

Put this one in your diaries – not to be missed!  Plant lists are starting to come in, so you can check them on our website home page now, right up to the day before, as they are updated.  Some great speakers coming – Phil Johnson, AB Bishop and Loretta Childs.  Lots of displays, and demonstrations.  Check the event on our Facebook page too for more details.  https://www.facebook.com/events/367624927095848/

 

A Colourful Native Garden in Research – July 2018

What an amazing, colourful and diverse range of plants to see on a cold but sunny July afternoon.  Our members took the opportunity to visit David and Christine’s garden in Research, which was packed with interesting natives.  David, well-known to near neighbours Agatha and Lyla (whose large garden he kindly assists with), also has an outstanding oz garden which he has been tending for some 30 years.  David briefly outlined the story of his garden, and we set off to investigate.

A large well-established Rhododendron lochiae, an Austromyrtus dulcis and a Macrozamia communis (?) were all doing well by the back door.  Attention focused on the well-formed flower spike of Doryanthes palmeri (Spear lily) with multiple buds on the spike unlike D. excelsa with only one flower head per spike.  Up some rock steps to the top area where local blended in with introduced natives and Templetonia retusa, Epacris longiflora, Acacia podalyriifolia and Eremophila georgei were all flowering.

We walked down the bush path beneath an aged Angophora hispida to the recently redeveloped frontyard.  A large Eucalyptus nicholii and Grevillea robusta stood tall by the driveway with Lasiopetalum behrii thriving beneath and Westringia “Mauve Skies” and W. “Deep Purple” close by.

More Eremophilas, blazing Templetonias, Grevillea “Firesprite”, G. “Honeybird Pink”, G. petrophiloides to name a few.  Up some rock steps to a secluded pond area framed by Prostanthera lasianthos, Melaleuca nesophila and Kunzea leptospermoides, were Indigofera australis, Veronica arenaria, Epacris impressa (pink and white) and greenhood orchids thriving en masse.  Another feature being an Alyogyne huegelii trained espalier style growing thickly against a wall.

The list could go on…..but the clouds were threatening so the group settled for a cuppa, enjoying more of Christine and David’s hospitality before departing with the arrival of the rain.

Report by Peter Smith

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