August 2017 Meeting

Luke Whiteside – Grafting Fruit Trees

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Luke has had an interesting career as a school chaplain and pastor, and latterly as president of the Yarra Valley Bee Group and cultivator of heritage fruit trees. Main points of his talk:

Horticulturalists may increase plants either by sexual reproduction (pollination and seed formation) or asexual reproduction (grafting, cutting, layering, division, bedding and tissue culture). The advantages of sexual reproduction are that it is quick, economical and easy, but produces offspring that are genetically diverse, i.e. not necessarily true to the parent. Asexual methods produce clones of the parent plant but are generally more labour-intensive.

Grafting is the joining together of the cambium (growing) layers of the scion (top of the plant) and the rootstock. This gives the possibility of combining the best attributes of two different, but genetically related, plants to produce a superior new plant. It is particularly suitable for fruit trees and has been the means of retaining certain heritage varieties which might otherwise be lost because they are of no commercial value. It has also been useful for the home gardener in enabling the one tree to produce a variety of fruits that ripen at different times, thus extending the harvest season and reducing the need for cold storage and/or transport.

There are a number of different grafting methods using different complementary shapes for joining together the the scion and the rootstock when the two are of comparable size: wedge, splice, whip-and-tongue, and approach grafting; less common and used when the scion is significantly smaller than the rootstock are cleft, side, notch and bark inlay grafting. Budding is a similar technique except that a bud is used instead of the scion.

Tools needed: grafting knife, grafting tape, wax, Clonex rooting hormone (used in very dilute solution to stimulate cell growth).

Important:

  • Plants must be related to each other (same genus or same family);
  • Tools must be disinfected to avoid transferring any diseases such as apple mosaic virus;
  • Plant samples are usually best collected during dormancy;
  • Drying out of plant parts can be prevented by using ziplock bags for collecting them;
  • Graftable plants include maples and fruit trees such as apples, quinces, plums etc.
  • There will be a grafting workshop at ECOSS next July, run by Neil Barraclough.
  • Reference: Dave Wilson in Nursery Educational Video series.

Ancient Greek proverb –

A society grows great when old men plant trees, whose shade they will never sit in.

July Meeting 2017

Guest Speaker – Mike Donsen

Mike Donsen from Grow Better Garden Products gave a talk on his company and its products.

The company was established as a family business in 1991, originally making a pelletized organic fertilizer from its pig farm waste at Ballarat.  Subsequently the range was expanded to include other organic fertilizers, composts, soil improvers, mulches, specialized potting media and water-saving products, many of which are certified as conforming to the relevant Australian standards. Grow Better is now a market leader, selling through independent garden centres rather than chain stores or supermarkets. Local suppliers include the Plants Plus and Growmaster retail nurseries at Wandin and Healesville.

Mike provided each member with samples of Grow Better Organic Fertilizer, with the excess samples being bundled into threes and included in the raffle.

Member’s Draw

Winner was Anne Herrod, who unfortunately was not present, so the prize at the August meeting jackpots to $150.

June Meeting 2017

Guest Speaker – Russell Brown

Club Member Russell Brown gave a detailed insight into Deer population in South Eastern Australia. Mainly Samba and Fallow Deer living in fringe country, they can live up to 12-14 years. The Samba like heavy cover such as the wooded areas around Woods Point while the Fallow can be found on open ranges, such as at Valda’s front gate! A big thank you Russell.

Spring Bus Trip

A bus trip to Peppermint Ridge Farm in Tynong and then to Cranbourne Botanic Gardens for lunch and the afternoon is scheduled for Wednesday September 20th. Deposits are now being accepted.

MEMBERS DRAW

Anne Brennan’s name was drawn but unfortunately Anne was not at the meeting, the Jackpot at the July Meeting will be $100.

April Meeting 2017

The April Meeting was our Autumn Flower Show. Here are a few photos of the displays.

October 2016 Meeting – Special Awards

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An unexpected visit from Don Rickerby, President of the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria, Jennifer Rickerby, Secretary of RHSV and Paul Crowe former Principal of the State Schools Nursery, patron of the Kevin Heinz Foundation and active in the Nurseryman’s Association, surprised Kevin and upset the agenda planned for the evening.

This visit was for the presentations of the John Pascoe Fawkner Award to Bob Shelden and Kevin Hince for their outstanding service to horticulture, community activities and their service to the Upper Yarra Valley Garden Club over many years. These awards have been almost a year in the planning and have been organised with the utmost secrecy much to the surprise of the recipients. Thanks to Shirley, Jenny, Joy, Janet and Ros.

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.

 

May 2016 Meeting

Simon Rickard: Herbaceous borders and perennials for dry climates

Simon gave a brief history of perennial borders in Britain and the subsequent further development of this form of gardening, especially in the United States and Holland. Typically such borders were a feature of grand estates with four or more gardeners, and involved a great deal of work and expertise. They reached the peak of their perfection in early spring. Major requirements:

  • 6-8 hours of sun per day
  • Beds that are much longer than they are wide
  • A width of at least 4 metres, preferably more
  • The tallest plants to be ⅔ of the width of the beds
  • A backdrop of a hedge or a wall
  • Very good soil (as for growing vegetables) with plenty of compost, and mulch which is constantly topped up
  • Plenty of water
  • Long wet springs, short mild summers and cold winters.

Australian conditions are not suitable for the traditional English herbaceous border, but it is still possible to achieve a full, lush and beautiful garden by avoiding early-spring plants and instead using perennials that flower in late summer and which come from countries with similar climatic conditions to Australia.

  • Decide on a ‘look’ and stick to it
  • Aim for repeat blocks of the same small number of plants
  • Shape and texture are more important than colour
  • Make sure all plants will flower at the same time.

Reliable late-summer performers:

  • Perovskia (Russian sage)
  • Agastache (Humming-bird mint)
  • Zauschneria
  • Sedum ‘Autumn joy’
  • Calmagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’
  • Miscanthus (needs a bit more water)
  • Anthemis ‘Susan Mitchell’
  • Many salvias, especially Salvia nemorosa
  • Catmints, especially ‘Walker’s low’ and ‘Six Hills giant’
  • Gaillardias
  • Origanums
  • Penstemons, especially P. serrulatus
  • Gauras
  • Kniphofias
  • Phlomis
  • Agapanthus – the sterile types which don’t set seed.
  • Mixed borders of perennials, bulbs and shrubs can help to keep the bed interesting through every season. Add in winter-flowering bulbs eg crocuses; shrub roses eg damasks, rugosas, species roses (R. moyesii for hips); shrubs such as yuccas, euonymus, euphorbias, cotinus (coppiced to the ground in early spring), cornus, buddleja.

February 2016 Meeting

GUEST SPEAKER

Violeta Zalac – Succulents

Violeta placed on exhibition an extensive variety of cacti and succulents as part of her vast personal collection. The various types of plants were described in detail with the aid of a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation.

Violeta advised that these types of plants were easy to propagate and the main methods are listed: Bulbis, Offsets, Division, Head Cutting, Leaf Propagation, Apical Core Drilling, Seed Raising and Grafting.

Cacti and succulents can be potted using the cheapest potting mix mixed with course river sand (yellow), blood and bone and slow release fertiliser: if planted direct in the ground a little sand to loosed up the soil plus blood and bone. It was warned not to over water plants and don’t kill them with kindness.

Violeta also had a range of cuttings for sale.

The President thanked Violeta for her excellent and informative presentation. These thanks were carried with acclamation by the members.

PLANT PROPAGATION

Bob Shelden provided a demonstration on potting up techniques for a variety of common firm wood plants. These can be done now, deciduous plants are to be propagated mid-winter and most would not be ready until October next year.

Members were advised that the Club now possessed approximately 1,000 new 100mm plastic pots and there was also a plentiful supply of 140mm pots. The Club has ordered a pallet (60 bags) of premium potting mix which is to be used to propagate plants for the next open garden weekend in October. Members will be notified when the potting mix and pots are available.

Both the potting mix and pots will be stored at Bob and Kath Sheldens home in Yarra Junction.

MEMBERSHIP

The current membership stands at 139.

3 Applications for membership received on the night are to be considered at the next Committee Meeting.

There were 78 members present in addition to 3 prospective members and 3 visitors.

If you aren’t a financial member of our club and would like to be, please email secretary@upperyarravalleygardenclub.com  Membership Fees are $10 for a full year.

Last nights meeting Feb 15 2016

Appreciation for Guest Speaker

Just wanted to say what an entertaining and informative night we had last night with our guest speaker Violeta Zalac on succulents. She was natural and funny and very passionate about her succulents and their “babies”. Thanks Violeta, it was a fun evening.
Jose and Graham Elsegood