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~ Newsbits November ~ December 2011 ~

Visitors Welcome.

Meeting place:   Phillip House Mt Penang Rd, Kariong

Meet on Friday, 11th  November  at 7.00 pm for 7.30pm start

*Venue:  Phillip House Mt Penang Rd, Kariong
Guest Speaker:  Margarita C:
Subject: Hibbertias
Plant of the Month: John W.
Book of the Month: Greg P.

Directions To Phillip House

Directions:  Travel up the Kariong hill from West Gosford and turn right at the second set of lights into The Avenue which is the road that used to take us to the Flora Festival site and now goes to the High School.  Turn right immediately into Old Mt. Penang Road.

Phillip House is on the left about half way down  Old Penang Road.

   March Diary Dates

Click any red diamond to go directly
 to the item of your choice.

Tuesday 8th November

Bushcare at Katandra.  Meet in the carpark top of Katandra Road, Holgate at 9am

Friday 11th November   November Monthly Meeting
* Starting time 7pm for this month only
Saturday 19th November  Wildplants Rescue Service Open Day
at Pioneer Dairy  
Sunday 20th November November Outing - Visit by Newcastle and Hunter Groups to Central Coast  Gardens
Saturday 3rd December AGM and End of Year Dinner
Tuesday 17th January Closing date for articles to be included in February 2012 Newsletter

~ ~ Regular

Features ~ ~
  Book of the Month Specimen Table
  Plant of the Month  


Please Note

The time for the November meeting has been brought forward to 7pm for the purpose of discussing the Flora Festival and forming a Committee for next years event.

Please come early and join the discussion.

There will be no regular monthly meeting in December or January.

There will be no monthly bushwalk in December.

There will be no Newsletter in December or January.  The next newsletter will be February 2012 and the deadline for articles to be included will be Tuesday 17th January 2012.


November Speaker

Our speaker for November will be Margarita C. a member of the North Shore Group.  Margarita has completed a course in Ecology and is a volunteer with National Parks.  Her association with National Parks has given her the opportunity to take some magnificent photographs of plants and flowers and on the night she will be showing us some of these and talking about Hibbertias.

From The Editor

This will be your last Newsletter for the year; the next one will be February, 2011.  Our AGM and Election of Officers is coming up in December and we are hoping to see everybody there on the day to welcome in the new Committee.  This year we have a change of venue with the meeting and End-of-Year Dinner combining with a garden visit at the home of Elaine & Ian S  at Peats Ridge.

At the November meeting we will be starting at 7pm to hold a post mortem on this year’s Flora Festival – what we can do to improve our performance for next year and whether we need to change anything that didn’t work.

Many thanks to the people who contributed articles to the Newsletter during the year, to those that nominated themselves for Plant and Book of the Month Presentations, to the people who brought in specimens for the I. D. Table and to the members who have propagated plants for the raffle table.

I’m always in need of more forestry tubes for propagating so if you have any lying around that you don’t want please bring them along to the November meeting.  They don’t have to be scrubbed clean.

I’d also like to acknowledge and thank Gosford City Council, not all members would be aware that they print our newsletters as part of their Community Printing Programme and this has been a huge saving for our Group.

Lastly, our President John Andrews and all of the current Committee join with me in wishing you all a very safe and happy festive season and we look forward to catching up with you all at the AGM and End-of-Year Dinner.



Activity For October

Our activity for October was a propagating night with Audrey demonstrating the art of pricking out seedlings and potting them up, Jonathon covered propagating from cutting and Dot showed us how to propagate ferns.

Seedlings need to be pricked out and potted up as soon as they are big enough to handle.  The best time to do this is when the first permanent leaves appear.  Partly fill the tube with the potting media then hold the seedling over the tube and add the potting mix around the seedling taking care that the roots are pointing down.  Gently tap the sides of the tube settling the potting mix to eliminate air pockets and water in with a seaweed solution.

Cuttings  While Audrey was showing us how to deal with seedlings Jonathon was demonstrating how to prepare the cutting material.   It is important to clean the secateurs using alcohol wipes or methylated spirits before using them on the cutting material.

A two-nodal cutting is where the leaves are removed from three nodes from the bottom of the cutting.  Cut just below a node and this is where the plant will form new roots from the undeveloped buds.  If they are damaged don’t use this cutting, start with another one.  Before commencing check that the buds have not already started growing, it may not be the perfect time to do this cutting.

The cutting is then dipped into a hormone compound, Clonex is recommended for semi hardwood cuttings and the powdered form is adequate for the others.  Next dip the cutting into honey which has antibacterial agents and necessary for a nice sterile cutting to strike and place them into a Hiko tray.  The media that Olga and Jonathon use is from Grange Growing Solutions and is a very fine coir fibre mixed with sawdust and sand.  No fertiliser is used in the mix but it is moistened before filling the trays.   After filling the trays or tubes compress to remove air pockets.

Ferns – Dot  Ferns have been around for more than 200 million years and in that time they have evolved many different ways of reproducing themselves.

The most common method of propagation for home gardeners is by dividing the rhizome or separating the crown.

Remember to –

  • Use this method in the warmer growing months of spring and summer.

  • Use a clean sharp knife.

  • Do not cut the segments too small.

Bulbils or leaf tip plantlets (pictured above right) provide another popular method of propagating.  Peg the leaf down and wait until the bulbils have produced roots before you sever them from the main plant.

You might like to experiment by using spore to propagate ferns.  Certainly a slower method but if you are successful you will have lots of ferns to share with your friends.

Cutting Method that I Use – Elsie  Not everybody owns a heating pad to enhance root growth of the cuttings but a large plastic container about 35cm deep will do the job.  Fill the container to a depth of about 12cm with a mix of 70% sand, 20% coir and 10% perlite and using a dibber place the cuttings into the mix after dipping them into a hormone compound and honey.  Give them a light spray of rain water before closing the lid and seal them in.  Place the container in a warm sunny position with a piece of shade cloth over the top and leave them to look after themselves.

Alternatively, using the same mix fill tubes with the same media, place the cuttings into the tubes and then place the tubes into the empty large plastic container.  The advantage of using tubes is that it is easier to see when the cuttings have formed roots and there is less chance of damaging the roots when removing them from the media.  The tubes can be put into a container of water with a little Seasol and shaken until the media washes away and then the dry rooted cutting can be potted up into a quality potting mix suitable for natives.


Specimen Table    Presented by Jonathon S.

Grevillea shiressii is a plant that is very special for Jonathon so he was glad that Liz chose this very special plant for her presentation, it grows around his property at Somersby which is probably the edge of its distribution area.  This is one of the easiest Grevilleas to grow from cutting, it strikes very quickly.

There were a few Callistemons on the table.   CallistemonSplendens’ is a form of C.citrinus originally named C.‘Endeavour’ when it was promoted as part of the bicentennial celebrations of Captains Cook landing in Australia.  This is one of the best Callistemons; it grows to 3-4m high and has large brilliant red flowers appearing over an extended period.  The plant tolerates poor drainage and attracts birds and bees.  Callistemon ‘Reeves Pink’ is just one of the many pink Callistemons available.  It’s a hardy plant with the main flush of flowers in spring and summer but some flowers appear in autumn as well.  Callistemon ‘Perth Pink’ grows to about 7m high and its pink bottle brush spikes cover the bush in spring.

There are a lot of pink forms of Kunzea ambigua out there that are flowering at the moment but this one was a white flowering specimen.  They’re related to the Callistemon and flower in early summer, they’re fairly common in the area and quickly colonise cleared ground forming dense thickets.  It is propagated from cutting and is easy to strike.

 Graptophyllum ilicifolium or Holly Fuchsia (Pictured right) is a slow growing shrub that will reach 2-3m in height and prefers a shady position in the garden with good drainage.  Red tubular flowers cover the bush in spring attracting birds.  It can be propagated from seed or by cutting.

Bracteantha Lemon Princess grows to about 60cm and is easy to strike from cutting, particularly at this time of the year.  They generally do well in cold climate areas.  Some people experience difficulty growing them from seed.  There are many different mechanisms for getting seed to germinate; some need exposure to light before they will germinate so for those seed shouldn’t be covered.  The Daisy Study Group published a book ‘Everlasting Daisies of Australia’ some years ago which was the result of five years of work by the Study Group and covers Growing, Propagation, Hybridization, etc., and it’s a great guide for the home gardener who wants to grow daisies as well as commercial growers.  This book sells for around $49.50 but is currently unavailable; however, it is probably available to borrow from our Group library. 

Austromyrtus dulcis is a low growing shrub that reaches 50cm and has reddish new growth.  White flowers cover the plant in spring and summer and are followed by greyish/blue fruits that are edible and sweet but you need to be quick to beat the birds to them.  Good for a shady area in the garden, a great bush food plant and its easy to strike from cutting.

We had two Prostantheras on the table; ProstantheraColo River’ form grows to about 1.5m and bears mauve flowers in spring and has aromatic foliage.  The plant tends to droop a bit during a dry spell but quickly perks up with a drink.  It’s propagated from cutting and strikes fairly easily.   Prostanthera nivea var induta grows to 2m and has silvery-grey linear leaves.  The large blue flowers appear in spring, it’s a fairly hardy shrub and is easy to strike from cutting.

Hibbertia scandens or Snake Vine is a fast growing vigorous twiner that bears large yellow flowers for most of the year but mainly in spring and summer that are followed by succulent red fruits that are attractive to birds.  The distribution range is NSW Coast, ranges north of Sydney and right up into Queensland.

The NSW Christmas Bush Ceratopetalum gummiferum is flowering at the moment and the important thing to note is that its flowers are actually white.  By Christmas time its finished flowering, its been pollinated and then the sepals swell and turn bright red.  Most people think of it as a red flowering plant but of course the flowers are actually white and it’s the fruits that are red.  In the home garden it probably only grows to a few meters but in the wild it can grow 30-40m high.

Darwinia citriodora (Pictured right) is one of the hardiest of the species from W.A. for growing on the east coast.  The foliage is lemon scented and it bears white flowers in spring and summer which age to orange.  It requires good drainage and a little shade, can be propagated from cutting and has a tendency to self seed.

Solanum aviculare the Kangaroo Apple is from the Solanaceae family which is the same family as the tomato and potato.  It grows to 4m and bears purple flowers in spring and summer followed by orange or red egg shaped fruits that the birds find very attractive.  It contains solasodine which is a steroid drug and is used in the manufacture of oral contraceptives.  The plant can be propagated from seed or by cutting.

Dampiera trigona native to W.A is a spreading clump forming plant bearing violet blue flowers winter to spring.  Most Dampieras like well drained soil with plenty of moisture and will grow in full sun or dappled shade.

The Goodenia is from the same family as Dampiera along with Scaevola, Lechenaultia, etc.  We had two forms of Goodenia ovata on the table the upright and prostrate form.  The upright form grows to 1.5m and has toothed sticky leaves and has large yellow flowers mainly in spring and summer.  It’s hardy, fast growing and free flowering and will grow in most aspects and soils but prefers a bit of shade.  Goodenia ovata prostrate form is a spreading ground cover and bears yellow flowers for most of the year.  Goodenia macmillanii (pictured above) is a suckering plant that will reach 50cm high.  The fragrant large pink flowers are about 2cm long and appear in spring and summer.  The plant will quickly form a mat in a sunny position with ample moisture and you can propagate it from cutting or by division.

Grevillea hockingsii grows to 2.5m and bears pinkish/red flowers.  It was named after David Hockings from Queensland who was the man who re-discovered the Hinchinbrook Banksia, B.plagiocarpa Orthrosanthus laxus is an iris-like plant that bears spikes of blue flowers.  It needs a sunny well drained position and can be propagated from seed.

Information sources – Native Plants of Sydney, Les Robinson; Australian Native Plants, John Wrigley & Murray Fagg; 


Plant Of The Month        Presented by Elizabeth H.

When Liz moved to the Central Coast about three years ago in a temporary house swap arrangement she was given the daunting task to see what she could do with the garden.  When the house was built 25 years ago somebody had lovingly planted lots of native plants and some of them were spectacular flowering ones not unlike those that Liz had planted in her own garden 30 years ago.

Some of the plants were old and tired and hadn’t been trimmed they sprawled across the ground leaned over and looked very sad but down the back was this plant with droopy leaves that looked not unlike an Agonis. Then one afternoon while she was looking out the back she noticed that it was covered with birds so thought she’d better take a closer look.

This plant with the long droopy leaves on closer inspection she found actually had Grevillea flowers and she’d never seen one quite like this.  Eventually she identified it as Grevillea shiressii (Pictured)

Now there’s something very special about this Grevillea – in the wild it is only found along the Mooney Mooney Creek and Mullet Creek areas so the one in the backyard had not been brought in by the birds but rather had most probably been planted by Liz’s predecessor who loved native plants.  The plant is looking very untidy,  it’s sprawling and Liz is now worried that she may lose it, however, she brought in a lot of cutting material for the propagation night and will try to grow it from cutting.

The flowers are not very showy and don’t stand out in fact on a recent bushwalk along Mooney Creek Liz walked right past them without noticing they were there.  However, they are very delicate, a translucent pale purple or greenish colour with purple-brown markings and on close inspection they really are quite beautiful.

Grevillea shiressii makes a good garden plant and is quite hardy and is reported to be growing in the Melbourne Botanical Gardens.  It can be propagated from cutting or from seed.  Liz has been looking for seedlings around the plant in the backyard but hasn’t found any so far but while trying to find out more about the plant which is pollinated by birds, the Dept of Environment and Conservation claim that the seeds are actually transported by ants so it could do with a little help from us with propagation because the seeds are not going to get too far from Mooney Mooney or Mullet Creek.  It’s said to be used in hybridisation but Liz only found one reference and that is G.’Forest Ramblerwhich is a cross between G. juniperina and G.shiressii.


Book Presentation     Presented by Gini S.

In keeping with the theme of the night Gini chose Angus Stewart’s book ‘Let’s Propagate’ which is ‘A Plant Propagation Manual for Australia’ for her presentation.

If you are setting out to grow your own plants this book is a valuable guide.  Angus covers all facets of propagation including growing from seed, and the many different methods of vegetative propagation.  Some of the methods covered are Stem Cuttings, Leaf Cuttings, Root Cuttings, Layering, Division and Separation, as well as the more complicated methods such as Plant Tissue Culture or Micropropagation and Budding and Grafting.

Towards the back of the book there is a comprehensive list of Commonly Encountered Plants that one might wish to grow and the best time of year to give them a try as well as the method of propagation for each species and there is a separate section covering a list of exotic species

This book is probably still available in shops or from Florilegium and is also available to borrow from our Group library.   It is also a great acquisition for the home library.


November Outing

Garden Visits          Sunday 20th November

For our group outing this month we will be visiting 2 of our members' properties with members of Newcastle and Hunter Groups. This is one week later than usual; to fit in with Angus Stewart's other commitments.

We will meet at Angus's place at 10 am, so we can set up for our morning tea when the visiting members arrive at 10.30. Our Group will be providing the edibles for morning tea, so members are asked to bring a plate (slices, cake, biscuits, etc.) to share. Please also bring thermoses (1 or more) as we will not have access to hot water.

For details telephone on 4365 5049 or by email on damael@hotmail.com.au


AGM & End Of Year Dinner

Our AGM and End-of-Year Dinner will be held on Saturday 3rd December this year at the home of Elaine & Ian S.

A discussion on a starting time for this year took place at the October meeting and support for an earlier start was overwhelming.  Time to meet therefore will be 11.30am when we can look around the garden and orchids and the AGM and Election of Officers will follow.    Ian will cook a ham on the BBQ for the dinner and fruit juices, bread rolls, munchies, tea and coffee will be provided.   We ask members to bring either a salad or a dessert to be shared with others.  Bring your own plates, cutlery and preferred alcoholic drinks and a chair.   We urge members to make every effort to come along to the brief AGM and stay for the dinner.

At the AGM all Committee members will stand down, all positions will be declared vacant and nominations will be invited for the 2012 Committee.    

Immediately following the AGM and Election of Officers, the End of Year Dinner will commence.


A form will be circulated again at the November meeting on which you can register whether you will attend and whether you intend to bring a salad or dessert.  If you are unable to attend either of the meetings but would like to register for the dinner please contact me by telephone on 4365 5049 or by email on damael@hotmail.com.au  or contact any one of the Committee members.

Elaine and Ian are chicken farmers and orchid growers and will show us around their garden and property on the day.


Directions to Elaine & Ian’s Home  telephone on 4365 5049 or by email on damael@hotmail.com.au


Wildplants Rescue Service
   Open Day
       Saturday 19th November

The Wildplants Community Nursery is open to the public for plant sales on the 3rd Saturday of every month.  The nursery is situated within the Pioneer Dairy Wetlands at South Tacoma Road, South Tacoma.  Entrance to the Wetlands is on the right directly after the railway underpass.  If either gate is closed when you get to them please close them behind you.


October Bushwalk

It was a great day for a walk, sunny and warm with a nice breeze blowing.  There were 17 of us who turned up at Crackneck Lookout at Wyrrabalong Sth National Park to enjoy the day and the plants and flowers along the trail but not before seeing some whales breaching on their way south.  We weren’t the only ones out to visit the wildflowers either there were many family groups as well as runners on the track in fact it was quite crowded at times.

This would have to be one of the best places on the Coast to see Flannel Flowers and we weren’t disappointed they were beautiful.  Ricinicarpus pinifolius and Eriostemon australasius had just about finished flowering but Comesperma ericinum and Leptospermum laevigatum were both putting on a great display.  There were many yellow pea flowers including Jacksonia scoparia and the flowering vines of Kennedia rubicunda and Billardiera scandens and the tall flowering spikes from grass trees were reaching up amongst the Flannel Flowers.










We found a clump of flowering Donkey Orchids Diuris aurea flowering, always a hit with the photographers, and there on a Eucalypt off the side of the track was a Cymbidium suave orchid with a spike of flowers that was about to burst open.

Our lunch spot was down the road a bit at the Bruce Burgess Park where there are picnic tables and toilet facilities nearby.  After lunch there was more exploring to do around the park and we found a large clump of King Greenhoods Pterostylis baptistii and some Calochilus paludosus that was also in flower.

All in all a most satisfying day with good company, good weather and lots of flowering plants.










                 Pterostylis baptistii                                                           Calochilus paludosus


Annual General Meeting &
Election Of Office Bearers For 2012

This is a crucial meeting for the future operation of our group.

As usual, all positions on the committee will be declared vacant and nominations called.  If you wish to nominate some one (or yourself) for a committee position in advance, nominations will be accepted by the Secretary up to 21 days before the date of the meeting, as required by our constitution.  Nominations may also be made on the evening from the floor of the meeting.

Here is the list of Office Bearers:

President    Bushwalk Convener   Newsletter Mail Out
Vice Presidents (2) Environment Officer   Supper Host/Hostess
Secretary  Programme Officer MembersRepresentative
Treasurer  Herbarium Convener Specimen Table Steward
Membership Officer   State Delegate  
Librarian Education Officer  
Publicity Officer Newsletter Editor  

Advance nominations for any of the above positions can be made on the nomination form.  They must reach the Secretary Liz H. at least before 15th November.

Positions Vacant

Some of the current Committee members will not be seeking re-election and at this stage we know we will be looking for two Vice Presidents one of whom could be trained up to take on the Presidency sometime in the future.

We will also be looking for a Programme Officer.  The person who takes on this position would arrange our monthly speakers, organise garden visits, outings and bus trips.

There is also a need for an Assistant Secretary to fill the role when Elizabeth H. is travelling.  This person would attend Committee Meetings, prepare an Agenda, record the Minutes and deal with correspondence when Liz is away.

We also need an Assistant Librarian who could look after the library at our monthly meetings when John Wallace is away.

Other positions that need to be filled are Meet & Greet Officer, Raffle Steward, and Assistant Supper Host/Hostess.

Please give some consideration to nominating yourself for one of these positions.



  1. Highlight form below

  2. Tell your printer to print 'highlighted selection' only

  3. Fill in form and take to meeting or send to a current committee member.



Australian Plants Society Central Coast Group

Election of Office-Bearers For 2012


I wish to nominate………………………………………………………………..................……………………………….…..


To serve in the position of………………………………………………………...............…………………………………..

 On the 2012 Committee of the Australian Plants Society Central Coast Group.


Moved by…………………………………….......………..Seconded by………....……………………………………….......




I accept this nomination (signed)…………………............…………………………………………………………………




AGM & End Of Year Dinner

Our AGM and End-of-Year Dinner will be held on Saturday 3rd December this year at the home of Elaine & Ian S.

At this stage no time has been set  The possibility of an earlier start (possibly lunchtime) is being considered and will be open for discussion at the October meeting.   Should the earlier start not suit you due to other commitments please contact me on 4365 5049 or by email at damael@hotmail.com.au or contact any one of the committee members.

At the AGM all Committee members will stand down, all positions will be declared vacant and nominations will be invited for the 2012 Committee.    Some of the current Committee members will not be seeking re-election and at this stage we will be looking for 2 Vice Presidents one of which who could be trained up to take on the Presidency sometime in the future.   Please give some considerations to nominating for one of these positions.

Immediately following the AGM and Election of Officers,   the End of Year Dinner will commence.

Cold meats and fruit juices will be provided and we ask members to bring either a salad or a dessert to be shared with others.   Bring your own plates, cutlery and preferred alcoholic drinks and a chair.    We urge members to make every effort to come along to the brief AGM and stay for the dinner.

A form will be circulated at the October and November meetings on which you can register whether you will attend and whether you intend to bring a salad or dessert.   If you are unable to attend either of the meetings but would like to register for the dinner please contact me by telephone on 4365 5049 or by email on damagel@hotmail.com or contact any one of the Committee members.

Elaine and Ian are chicken farmers and orchid growers and will show us around their garden and property on the day.

For any further information regarding location please contact me on 4365 5049 or by email at damael@hotmail.com.au

Elsie B.


   Newsletter By Email

Receive your Newsletter by Email and have it earlier, enjoy better quality, and see the photographs in colour.

 If you would prefer to receive your Newsletter by email, notify me at damael@hotmail.com.au.

If you are receiving your Newsletter by email as well as by post, and would be happy to receive by email only, also please notify me at the above address.  

This can also benefit the Group not only by saving on postal charges but reduce the cost of printing.

If you would like to be included in the group of members receiving news bulletins by email but would still prefer to receive your newsletter by mail also notify me, stating your preferences.



Please note:  There will be no monthly bushwalk in December. 




CD - Native Plants & Bushwalks of the Central Coast

Many years ago Alan created a list of plants that the group had identified while on their monthly bushwalks.   This list was passed over to Diana & Barry a few years ago and it was then converted into a data base.   Over the past 3 years a great many more plants have been added to the list and now 800 plants are included on the data base.

Photographs were also collected along the way some taken by Diana & Barry and others taken by some of the keen photographers amongst the group members.

From this data base and collection of photos a DVD was produced to run on the coach for the Sydney Tour of the ASGAP Conference last year.   This particular tour was subsequently cancelled due to lack of numbers but a seed was planted and the thought of a CD began to grow.

After many hours spent at the computer the CD is now complete.   It contains over 400 photographs and lists 24 bushwalks in National Parks, State Forests and Reserves of the Central Coast region and each bushwalk has a listing of the plants which may be found along that walk.   In some cases maps are included.

The disc is available for $15 plus $2.50 postage (within Australia only)  The CD  can be purchased at any of our monthly meetings.

or if you wish to order a form is available from this  website.CD Case

  • To view details and samples from the CD

  • or to download an order form

  • Go directly to the New CD site by clicking on  the CD Case on the right.

The Committee and members would like to thank Diana and Barry for all the effort and hours spent in producing the CD the profits from the sale of which will benefit the group.


"Central Coast Group"
of the "Australian Plants Society"
If you would like more information please click on  "About Us" or click  E-mail