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.
At the September meeting Judy and Philip Hopley talked about their experiences searching for wildflowers in the Castlemaine area over the past few years. Their presentation included photographs of rare, uncommon and common wildflowers and where they are most likely to be found. The presentation is available by clicking the link below.
A wonderful resource for those wishing to see and identify wildflowers in the area is Castlemaine Flora. https://www.castlemaineflora.org.au/
“This website is based on the plant identification and reference guide produced by the late Ern Perkins, a founding and very active member of the Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club (CFNC). Ern Perkins studied and photographed the flowering plants of the Castlemaine District, covering the Mt Alexander Shire, plus Porcupine Ridge and Fryers Ridge”. (From the introduction on the website).
On the day after the presentation several garden club members joined Castlemaine Field Naturalists for their weekly spring wildflower walk. The walk was in the Muckleford Forest off the Red, White and Blue Mine track. Twenty one species of wildflowers were observed flowering in and around the enclosures erected by the Newstead Landcare Group in 2000 to protect the rare sticky boronia plant. Many of these plants were flowering as well as the cypress daisy bush, downy grevillea, marianth, early nancies, fairy wax, yam daisies and wax lip, leopard, caladenia and nodding greenhood orchids.
Six wonderful local gardens are open from 22 September to 7 October. Flyer available at the Market Building.
This lovely photograph of Peggy Munro, a Life Member of our club, in her wonderful garden, 22 Burnett Road, Barkers Creek, is on the front page of this week’s edition of the Castlemaine Mail. Well done Peggy!
A well-attended visit to the Melton Botanic Garden was held early in September. Before taking us on an extensive tour of the garden, John, from Friends of the Melton Botanical Garden Inc., gave a talk about the development of the Garden from its beginnings fifteen years ago to the current year. John also outlined future plans and explained the importance of the Friends group and the volunteers who work at the Garden.
We enjoyed the guided tour of the impressive Gardens that include a Dryland Arboretum holding more than 100 species of Eucalypt, indigenous plantings including creek and lake rehabilitation, plants that tolerate a dry climate and low water conditions, magnificent old River Red Gums, a bushfoods garden, Southern African garden, West and South Australian gardens, a sensory garden and a Mediterranean garden.
The Friends plant nursery where plants are propagated and sold proved to be very popular with our group!
Thanks to John and other volunteers for spending the time with us and for providing morning tea.
Further information about activities at the Garden can be found on the Friends’ website:
At the August meeting, Dr Graeme Watson, a noted frog expert, gave a fascinating talk about frogs, particularly those that are local to our area. Graeme is a past member of the Garden Club whose considerable contribution to the club was acknowledged at our 30th birthday celebrations in 2015.
Graeme showed a photograph of the Spotted Marsh Frog that is widespread and well adapted to our urban as well as rural environments. It is quite small and usually a grey-green or brown colour with irregular dark patches. These colours vary and it sometimes has a light-coloured stripe running down its back. They start calling when the weather becomes warmer. Some calls are territorial whilst others are used to attract females.
Spotted marsh frog
The eggs of this frog are found in our ponds and look like a foamy mass. Within a week it is easy to see with the naked eye the development of the tadpole. Tadpoles spend varying amounts of time in the water – sometimes up to a year before becoming frogs.
Graeme mentioned a number of other frogs including two local burrowing species. These are nocturnal feeders and like cultivated dirt. Some species in Central Australia have been known to spend six to eight years underground, only emerging when it rains.
The key to providing a frog-friendly garden is to create areas that give good cover and to provide water. Ponds should not have fish as they eat the eggs and tadpoles. They should have sloping sides to allow frogs easy access and be surrounded by vegetation to provide protection.
The presence of frogs is generally an indicator of a healthy natural environment. Threats to frogs are many including numerous predators, drying environment, loss of habitat and use of herbicides.
Graeme has an application on his phone called FrogID produced and available from the Australian Museum. The app can be used to identify frog calls in the various Australian states. Graeme demonstrated a few frog calls including the Eastern Banjo frog known colloquially at the Pobbleponk!
Eastern Banjo frog – Pobbleponk
On a lovely sunny August morning several garden club members helped prune roses at the Castlemaine Bots.
Thanks to Maxine Tester for organising the working bee. Head Gardener, Gillian Miller, was delighted to receive the help!