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.

 

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.

Who Sees our Website?

Since we started this website, we have had ‘visitors’ from the following countries: Brazil, Italy, United States, Portugal, Malaysia, Ukraine, Chile, India, Bahamas, South Korea, Mozambique, Indonesia, Mexico, Canada, Trinidad & Tobago, Bulgaria, Peru, France, Venezuela, and of course Australia.

If we have more information and gardening tips, I’m sure we can be even more useful as a reference for gardeners around the world. So dig deep into your ‘remembering’ bank thingo and send the ideas through so they can be included.

email them to: webmaster@upperyarravalleygardenclub.com