By Greta Wickham
It is with regret that the Galston District Garden Club has suspended meeting until February 2021, due to the COVID 19 Virus. All going well, February will be the first meeting for the year to be held on the 2nd Wednesday of the month, in the Community Hall 37 Arcadia Rd, Galston. Time 7.00 pm. For further information visit our website www. galstongardenclub.com.au or email: [email protected]
In the meantime, the members have been enjoying garden rambles in members’ gardens. Our most recent ramble at the end of September was to a relatively new garden of one of our members in Dural. Although a little, windy the weather was in our favour and the scones and cream were a big hit too.
To give you a little insight into this garden, planting commenced on the site in 2014 and is an ongoing project. The site was degraded, with very little top soil remaining. Many years of overgrazing by horses had taken its toll. The owners aim was to strictly restrict the planting to native Australian rain forest species. However, we noticed that a few clivia have managed to creep in and just love the filtered light and dampness.
Currently there are close to 450 plants, which include 145 separate species. Many of these species were chosen for specific reasons, e.g. endangered, bush tucker, bird friendly or their attractiveness. Several fast growing pioneer species were planted initially to provide protection from frost and excessive sunshine. Now that there is some canopy developing the owners have been busy under planting with suitable species. In contrast to previous years, this winter there has been minimal frost damage. It is also hoped that the intense mid-day summer sun is less damaging than last year. Most of the plants were sourced from Burringbar Rainforest Nursery, near Murwillumbah, northern NSW. The majority of the plants were purchased as tube stock.
Preparation prior to planting required deep ripping of the area, to manage the heavily compacted “soil”. The area was then covered with many truckloads of mulch, sourced from local arborists. Then came installation of a dripper irrigation system, which was fed from a pump on the adjacent dam. The individual holes were prepared by digging in course sand and well-rotted duck poo. This provided planting sites that were slightly elevated to enhance drainage. It was found that the mulch retained the soil moisture for several months after good rainfall. The irrigation is no longer necessary for many of the more established trees.
Several sprinklers have been installed to irrigate the recent plantings of ferns and other understory plants.
An outlook from the alfresco of Portwine Magnolia hedges have created two very interesting garden rooms that are joined by an arbour covered with a climbing rose.
Recently owners have been enjoying close encounters with many previously unseen birds. They enjoy the dense foliage, flowers and colourful berries. Their favourite is the large pink seed from the Vitex lignumvitae ‘Yellow Hollywood”. Their grandchildren love their favourite places in the forest to sit and talk, read, listen, feel, smell and observe. They find a wonderful tranquillity in their beautiful garden.
The members were very impressed by this garden and were very grateful for the opportunity to enjoy the gathering.