At the March meeting Dr. Cassia Read gave a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting talk on designing gardens to not only be a “haven for people” but also a “haven for wildlife”. She spoke of gardens being on a spectrum spanning formal; cultivated; hard landscape; static gardens through to informal; indigenous; soft landscape; dynamic gardens. Informal gardens usually provide a friendly habitat for wildlife, so important when development and the effects of climate change have made life difficult for our birds, lizards and insects.
Photo: Cassia Read
Cassia then went on to discuss the seven essential elements for a wildlife friendly garden. These include choosing plants with benefits e.g. nectar bearing local shrubs and trees; structuring vegetation to include ground covers, shrubs through to trees; providing rocks and cavities; leaving areas of bare, undisturbed earth; providing woody debris and leaf litter; ensuring water is available in various parts of the garden and leaving seed heads and dead plants. “A plant is only worth growing if it looks good when it is dead”. Piet Oudolf.
Photos: Cassia Read
Cassia recommended Thomas Rainer and Claudia West’s book “Planting in a post-wild world: designing plant communities for resilient landscapes”.
Cassia presenting and answering questions following her talk
Club member and Bonsai expert, Barry Lacey, was the guest speaker at our first meeting for 2019. Barry demonstrated how to prune a cypress and wire it to obtain the desired shape. He also re-potted a jade by pruning unwanted growth and reducing the root ball.
The old ironing board is perfect for the job as Barry can raise or lower it according to the task in hand!
New club members, Martin and Glenda, were delighted to win the bonsai donated by Barry as a raffle prize.
Members were invited to visited Barry and Jennifer’s home on the Saturday following the meeting to view their large collection of bonsai.
Once again, posies were made to distribute to people watching the Show Parade on Friday 2 November. Thanks to those who contributed flowers and made the posies and, in particular, to Sue Spacey who made up the packets of seeds that were also handed to spectators. It was also a very useful occasion for handing out flyers for the garden market being held two days later. Cookie did his usual slow drive down Barker Street accompanied by Peggy who has perfected the royal wave!
Feedback from the public was very positive with a couple of people commenting on the local website Castlemania. “To the lovely lady from the Castlemaine District Garden Club who handed out flowers and packets of seeds at the parade yesterday, I say thank you! Such a lovely thing to do”. “They are one of my favorite parts of the parade. Today my kids and I had a lovely morning planting all the seeds we received. Thank you”!
Another wonderful annual garden market on Sunday 4 November. Many stall holders selling terrific plants and garden related items. The giant raffle was once again a draw card with our lucky winner, Robyn, amazed by the bounty!
Thanks to club members who helped on the day and beforehand by potting-up and looking after plants; distributing flyers; organising trailers; and contributing to the raffle.
Barbara Maund, a life member of the Castlemaine and District Garden Club, and Denise Jepson were the presenters at the October general meeting. The topic was their recently published book The pleasures of dry climate gardening: one woman’s project.
Barbara outlined the beginnings of her project and the various stages of preparing and planting the various garden sections whilst Denise provided additional comments as photographs from the book were displayed.
The garden plan
Barbara spoke about the vision she had for her garden and emphasised that the construction and plantings were all done on a low budget and with the dry, cold climate of Castlemaine always in the forefront of her thinking. Hardy and frost tolerant plants requiring little watering were planted in the various sections of the garden with many areas showcasing plants of a particular colour and/or texture.
The book is beautifully illustrated with many photographs taken by Mary Thompson showing the garden in various stages of construction and in various seasons of the year.
Garden club members expressed their thanks to Barbara and Denise and many wished they had been able to consult this marvellous resource before embarking on their own gardens!
The first printing of the book quickly sold out and a second printing is underway and will be available in mid-December.
Thanks to all those who helped make the lovely posies for Seniors living in residential care at Ellery House, Thompson House, Penhall Hostel and Spencely Hostel. Thanks also to those who delivered the posies to residents. As always, it was a rewarding experience for those involved. The residents were happy to receive their posy and one in particular, our esteemed garden club member, Penny Garnett, was delighted to see us. Penny is in Ellery House and is doing well. We all wish her the very best.