August 2016 Meeting Guest Speaker Greg Boldiston

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Greg gave a detailed description of a wide range of flowering bulbs. He estimated that he had between 600 to 700 different species of bulbs; many in pots.

The many of various species displayed were as follows: Crocus, Tulips, fritillaria, allium, oxalis, gladioli, ixia, mini dutch iris, tropaeolum and arum.

Greg runs the Longinomus Plants Nursery at 2931 Lancefield Road, Romsey. Contacts 0438296006 or longinomus@hotmail.com or on facebook.

July Meeting – Guest Speaker, Virginia Heywood

Virginia provided an interesting talk on the problems of associated with the demise of certain species of plants, due either to consumer taste and/or the selectivity of plant nurseries of only those plants that they believe will give the best return. The concept of old fashioned is not valid but is believed by many purchasers.

There are a great number of individuals and small scale nurseries that have taken on the responsibility of holding recognized collections of specific plant species.

Many plant species are now being reclassified and renamed as botanists use sophisticated techniques to determine minor variations.

Virginia who is one of the presenters on the 3CR Garden Show and invited members to tune in.

Sunnymeade Garden Tour

A bus tour to Sunnymeade garden on Saturday October 22, 2016, has been confirmed.

The tour is to include a visit to one or two gardens in the Alexandra Open Garden scheme. These additional gardens cannot be selected until the Alexander Club has finalised their program.

Annual General Meeting

The AGM for 2015-2016 is scheduled to be held on Monday August 15 at the Warburton Senior Citizens Centre commencing at 7:00PM.

Nomination forms were available, however, nominations can be proposed at the meeting.

June 2016 Guest Speaker

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Luciano and Heather Corallo – Strawberry Springs Farm

The strawberry farm is 70 acres in area and can support up to half a million plants. There are 40-50 employees. The area in Millgrove was selected because of the soil temperatures and the quality of the soil. A soil that poses good temperatures can prolong the growing and hence the fruiting season. The soil, while slightly acidic, is enriched using phosphorus, potassium and lime. Ploughed in green crops on an annual rotation, also maintains beneficial soil structure. All planting is carried out in north/south rows as this allows the prevailing winds to blow along the beds rather that across them, thus minimising wing damage to the plants. The open air aspect also helps reduce the problem of mildew.

All planting is of the one variety and plants are replaced each year.

Plastic is used under the plants in order to keep fruit clean and easy to pick. The plastic also helps retain moisture which is supplied by drip irrigation. All runners are trimmed off so that the plant can concentrate on producing fruit.

Pest control is maintained by the release of beneficial insects and/or bugs rather than insecticide and chemical spraying. There is a need for occasional spraying when the problems of mildew and rot occur. Most pollination occurs from the wind and bees.

There is a new retail venture on the site to cater to those who wish to purchase strawberry products like cakes, biscuits, cheesecakes and sponges. You can also pick up some beautiful large, fresh strawberries in season between November and the end of January.

The strawberry industry has recognised Yarra Valley as at the ‘top end’ of the world list for both strawberry quality and flavour. Congratulations Strawberry Springs Farm.

There were numerous questions asked by the members and answers were delivered in a very professional manner.

Peter Versteege warmly thanked Luciano and Heather for their excellent and most interesting presentation.