Meeting 15 July 2019 Announcement

Speaker at this month’s meeting.

One of our members, Pat O’Shaughnessy, will be talking on eucalypts as well as about the history of the redwood plantation in East Warburton. Have you been there and wondered “how come this is here?” Pat will let you know.


Come to the Warburton Golf Club this Monday evening at 7:30pm. If you’re not a member, you are welcome to attend. You just may want to join this active club that is in your local area. Just $10 annual fee.

See you there.

June 17 2019, Meeting Guest Speaker

Phillip Johnson, the well-known and much-admired landscape designer, gave a most entertaining talk on some of his landscaping projects, most involving running water and very large rocks.  The high point of his career has been winning the Gold Medal and Best in Show at the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show. The judges’ decision was unanimous. Preparations for his “all-Australian Garden”  at Chelsea required  5 trips to the UK for reconnaissance, a team of 12 professionals and 17 volunteers, a pre-build in Scotland, a 2.5 tonne rubber membrane for the pond, and the sourcing of Australian plants from growers all over Europe(e.g. eucalypts grown in  Spain especially for the garden). James Merlino MP, the member for Monbulk, has pledged to establish a replica of the winning garden as a public garden in the Yarra Valley.

Phillip has also worked on the Five Thousand Poppies project, in which thousands of people all over Australia have knitted red poppies as a tribute to the men and women who fought in the two world wars. He designed the display of these poppies – more than 250,0090 of them – at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show in 2015, at Federation Square for Anzac Day 2015, and at the Canberra War  Memorial.  The poppies have also been displayed at Fromelles in France, and in the grounds of Chelsea Hospital. In all, more than a million poppies have all been made by hand.

In thanks, the President gave Phillip a bottle of pinot and made him an honorary member of the Upper Yarra Valley Garden Club.

Club Meeting Announcement for Monday June 17, 2019

Hello Members,

You are reminded that our special speaker at the June Club Meeting will be Phillip Johnson who will be giving a presentation on the winning of a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.

A good attendance would be appreciated and if you know someone who may be interested you are encouraged to invite them along.

Hope to see you all at the Warburton Golf Club at 7:30PM on Monday June 17, 2019.

Regards, Kevin

Here’s a youtube video of Phillip Johnson explaining his winning display.

May Meeting Guest Speaker – George Jonkers “Permaculture”

Introduction to George Jonkers to run a workshop on Permaculture.

George introduced Permaculture as a farming system adapted to a garden. He outlined his workshop plan which was to divide the audience into 10 groups with different scenarios. These were explained in the information on the tables. Also to be found was the Principles of Permaculture, and paper to design the garden outlined in the scenario.

The main focus on the evening was the group session and George walked around advising groups. The room had a working buzz of noise.

To finish George hoped we had enjoyed the exercise and regretted he did not have sufficient time to go through the Principles more closely as there was a wide range of experience amongst the group. He collected the designs from the groups and it is hoped he might feedback what he thought of these at a future date. Each participant was given a certificate of attendance.

April 2019 Meeting – Notice

The April Meeting is the Autumn Flower Show and will be judged by the popular/red dot method. If you have never been, do come and enjoy being part of the fun of being a judge.

You are all encouraged to participate and, for those who do, please remember to bring your exhibit/s to the back door (Pro Shop entry). Visitors are most welcome to come and by the end of the night, you may want to become a member yourself.

February Meeting 2019


Anne-Marie Manders spoke on the establishment and operation of Warratina Lavender Farm at Wandin Yallock.

Main points:

  • Warratina was established as a lavender farm in 1991, having previously been an orchard.
  • Two types of lavender are grown: aromatic lavender (Lavandula intermedia), flowering in mid-late summer and used in oils and essences, cosmetics etc; and edible lavender (L. angustifolia, L. dentata), flowering up to the end of November and used in small quantities as a flavouring, mainly Munstead and Edgerton Blue.
  • Best time for planting is in late May-June, when the ground is wet, or at the end of winter when the danger of frosts has passed. Plants are set 1 metre apart. They grow best in full sun, in well-drained soil to which a little lime is added every 2 years. A little Dynamic Lifter can be used as fertilizer, but relatively poor soil is OK. Very little watering, if any, is required.
  • Very important: Cut back hard every year after flowering:  in late summer (most lavenders) or November (L.dentata), but be sure not to cut into the dry wood, only into the foliage.
  • After harvesting, the lavender is bunched and dried on ceiling racks for 3 weeks. Some are sold in this condition to wholesale florists interstate; other lavenders are stripped mechanically,  sieved to remove sticks and leaves and frozen to kill any insects.
  • Warratina lavender products are sold at garden shows, markets and other expos. They range from flavoured foods such as honey, shortcake and ice cream to hand creams, shampoos, lavender sachets etc.
  • Tourism is a very important part of the business and the gardens surrounding the sheds and café have been developed as show gardens. The best time to visit is November – January. Warratina is open every day of the week except Tuesdays.

Open Garden 2018

The web page for our Open Garden 2018 is    Click here to view

If members on Facebook or twitter could share this link to all their friends, then many people will hear about the Open Garden for this year without any paid advertising. If you are not sure how to share, please call me on 0417787673 (Have your facebook page ready to follow instructions) – Thanks, Colin

July 2018 Meeting

Bronwyn Koll (QueenslandFruitFlyRegionalCoordinator,YarraValley)and Kevin Sanders (orchardist).

Bronwyn’s role is to help keep Queensland Fruit Fly out of the Yarra Valley. Main points of her talk:

  • QFF is native to the Queensland rain forest but has for many years been found in northern Victorian fruit-growing districts – Wodonga, Shepparton, Cobram etc.  Since 2013 it has become so prevalent that it is no longer monitored and the idea of fruit-fly exclusion zones has been abandoned. It was found for the first time this year in the Yarra Valley, as isolated outbreaks around Lilydale and Sylvan. There have also been outbreaks in Tasmania and WA.
  • QFF has a 28-day life cycle. The adult is a red-brown colour, about 7mm long, with characteristic yellow banding on the body. The female lays her eggs under the skin of ripe fruit.  In the early stages, all that can be seen is a little mark (‘sting’) on the fruit skin. The resulting larvae are creamy white with a black head, about 5 – 10 mm long. The fruit rots prematurely and falls from the tree.  The larvae then pupate underground and develop into flies.  These emerge from the ground and feed on protein until sexual maturity. The cycle then repeats. There could be 2 or 3 cycles in a typical Yarra Valley summer.
  • There is the potential for almost every type of fruit and fruiting vegetable in the Yarra Valley to be affected, including wild blackberries, prickly pear, tomatoes, and fruit from wild trees. The commercial implications are severe, but the growers have an incentive to monitor and control, whereas it has been difficult to motivate home gardeners.
  • What should home gardeners do?
    •  be constantly vigilant
    • do not bring fruit from home gardens in other areas of the country into the Yarra Valley
    • remove neglected trees
    • share information with other gardeners
    • set traps
    • pick fruit : don’t let it lie on the ground
    • net host trees
    • If any affected fruit is found notify Shire Council.
    • Do notcompost affected fruit: either boil it or freeze it to kill the maggots, then dispose of it in the garbage.
  • Traps, baits and sprays are available at nurseries and hardware stores. A trap can also be homemade from an empty soft-drink bottle with three 10-cent size holes cut into it near the top. Use a bait made of 1 cup of fresh fruit juice and pulp mixed with one tablespoon of cloudy ammonia. Hang the trap in the tree on the shady side, about 1½m above the ground, and change the bait weekly.
  • Bronwyn left a number of fliers and information sheets for members to study.

Following on from Bronwyn’s talk, Kevin Sanders spoke on apple growing in the Yarra Valley. Kevin is the Deputy Chairman of Apples and Pears Australia Ltd and has been growing fruit in the Yarra Valley for 40 years.

  • Apple trees grown for commerce differ from home-gardeners’ trees in that they are far more productive, having more lots more wood and fewer leaves. Since 80% of pests and diseases occur on new and growing shoots, commercial trees are thus also less prone to problems.
  • Since the mid-90s the trees have been semi-dwarf types with a very low canopy, grown 4 x 4 m apart on a V-trellis with posts and wires for support. The trees are pruned initially to have 3 narrow trunks and no branches, after which no further pruning is required.
  • The apples are harvested by machine over a 20-week picking season, but next season this will be done by robots since labour costs are 60% of the total production cost.
  •  Each tree produces 120 apples, and with 4000 trees, this represents a yield of 20 tonnes/hectare.
  • Pollination:  when the trees are grown so intensively, getting enough bees is a huge problem. Kevin’s orchards have their own supply of bees: 3 hives per hectare
  • Spraying: most of the sprays in use are nutrient sprays rather than pesticides.  Beneficial insects are encouraged in preference.  Immediately prior to rain, some fungicide is used against black spot.

The varieties grown depend on market fashions. At present Pink Lady, Gala, Fuji and Granny Smith are the most popular.  There is a new variety about to be released called Kanzi.