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Central Coast Group

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~ Newsbits February 2012 ~

Visitors Welcome.

Meeting place:   Phillip House Mt Penang Rd, Kariong

Meet on Friday, 10th  February  at 7.00 pm for 7.30pm start

*Venue:  Phillip House Mt Penang Rd, Kariong
Guest Speaker:  Andrew M
Subject: North by Northwest

Supper Hosts : Surnames beginning A to G (please bring a plate)

Plant of the Month: Volunteer Required
Book of the Month:Audrey T.

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.

   February Diary Dates

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

Ø Friday 10th February

February Monthly Meeting - $2 Entry Fee

Ø Sunday 12th February February Bushwalk
Ø Tuesday 14th February Bushcare at Katandra. Meet in the carpark top of Katandra Road Holgate at 9am.
Ø Saturday 18th February Wildplants Rescue Service Open Day at
Pioneer Dairy
Ø Tuesday 21st February Closing date for articles to be included in March 2012 Newsletter

~ ~ Regular Features ~ ~

  Book of the Month Specimen Table
  Plant of the Month  

Please Note

A $2 entry fee will apply for future meetings. This fee will include one free raffle ticket and will help cover our housekeeping costs. Additional raffle tickets can be purchased for the usual price of $1 or 3 for $2.

February Speaker

Our speaker for February will be our very own Andrew M. and Andrew will be showing photos of plants and scenery that he and Barbara saw while touring the National Parks of Northern NSW recently plus he will also have some photos from the tag along tour of the Pilliga which followed the Region Get Together at Burrendong in August last year.

November Speaker

Our speaker for November was Margarita C. from the North Shore Group. Margarita has a passion for the genus Hibbertia from the Dilleniaceae family which she has studied extensively. She has completed a course in Ecology and is a volunteer with National Parks where she has taken some magnificent photos that she showed us on the night.
Photo by Margaret C.

There are more than 110 Hibbertia species in Australia and they are distributed in all States with 35 of those occurring in NSW and the majority of the others occurring in W.A. They were named after George Hibbert, a London merchant, who owned a botanic garden and was interested in propagating exotics, many of them being sourced from NSW. They are known as the Guinea flower because of their likeness to the golden guinea coins.

The majority of the Hibbertia species have yellow petals with just a few of them that have orange flowers. The flowers are short lived; they have 5 petals which fall after 1-2 days of opening and 5 sepals which can be glabrous or hairy the 2 outer sepals marginally overlapping the 3 inner ones. The stamens range from a few to numerous and can be all on one side or can surround the carpels. The arrangement of the stamens around the ovaries is an important aid to identification. Intermediates occur between species and individual species may vary in habit, leaf shape and flower form possibly due to hybridisation which makes positive identification extremely difficult. Margarita showed us some magnificent close up photos that highlighted the various identifying parts of the flower.

In the publication Seldom Seen Rare Plants of the Sydney area there are five Hibbertias that get a mention and one of these is Hibbertia procumbens. There are only three recordings of this plant in NSW and all of them were from the Gosford area - at Mangrove Mountain, Strickland Forest and another somewhere near Girrakool.

There are many other local Hibbertia species which are not so ‘Seldom Seen’ and they include H.scandens, H.dentata, H.linearis, H.aspera, H.pedunculata, H.obtusifolia, H.cistiflora and H.fasciculata. There are several local species that have virtually identical leaves and some forms with no clear identifying features. Identification requires close attention to leaves, stamen numbers and stamen arrangement. For identification purposes species are usually divided into two groups - those with stamens that encircle the carpels and those with stamens which are all on one side of the carpels.


Plant of the month

Chosen by John W.

Because of a fascination for the unusual John, chose two plants for his presentation. Both of these were a bit out of the ordinary and not like those that are seen on the specimen table. John has a preference for orchids and ferns. His first choice was the terrestrial orchid Pterostylis nutans. This is one of the easiest terrestrial orchids to grow, it can be grown in the garden but John grows his in pots. This orchid grows from tubers and multiplies at the rate of somewhere between 2-5 times each year and when the tubers die off, you replant them and can get 2-5 plants per tuber.

They are very easy to grow in the garden but not near native violets which will cover them. Like most native orchids they don’t need a lot of care. At the end of the season when the leaves have died off empty the pot, separate the tubers and put them in a jar then leave them for a month or two. Replant them again the next year and the biggest problem you will have if you grow them in pots is that you will end up with hundreds of tubers. It’s well worth trying them in the garden if you can plant them in an area that is free of ground covers. In a pot you need a free draining orchid mix so their roots are not sitting in water. John purchased his Pterostylis at the orchid show at Mingara and with internet access you can Google them and find where they are available. Nesbitt’s Orchids in S.A. have a good range of terrestrial orchids and will send out or email a catalogue if you contact them on lesn@adam.com.au but they should also be available from NSW. In our library we have an excellent book Propagation of Australian Orchids that covers the propagation of terrestrials and epiphytes and its also available at most orchid shows.

John’s second plant was the small carnivorous herb the Drosera or Sundew and it’s one of his favourites. You won’t find them on the specimen table but they can be grown in the garden if the conditions are right. They’re an interesting plant and they don’t require any looking after apart from keeping the water up to them. John is very much in favour of plants that don’t need any looking after. You will find them in moist places in sandstone country around the Central Coast and they are available at most nurseries just look in the section where they have the carnivorous plants. There are two or three sundews local to this area and they are all spectacular. They’re very delicate, they like full sun and plenty of water and they can be grown from seed, John tried and was successful but then went away on holidays and lost them. Both of these plants are readily available, the Sundew has a beautiful flower and when the Pterostylis is flowering you can bring the pot inside.

New leaves - Garden award

Congratulations to APS member Ryan Howard of New Leaves. A garden he created and maintained has won best themes specialty garden in this year’s Gosford city garden awards. The garden uses native plants and natural features in harmony with the property’s bush surrounds whilst maintaining a formal frame. The garden was also a finalist in the “best eco garden”, the “best front garden” and the “best newly renovated garden” categories at this year’s awards. The property owners were delighted. Other gardens maintained by New Leaves also made it into the finals in “best commercial garden”, the “best ecofriendly commercial garden” and the “best themes/specialty commercial garden” categories.

Well done Ryan.

Specimen Table
Presented by Graeme I.

There was plenty to talk about on the table and the first plant mentioned was Melastoma affine the native answer to Lasiandra or Tibouchina, a plant that can grow from 50cm to 3m high. The mauve/purple flowers appear mostly in summer but spot flowers will appear at other times of the year. It needs plenty of moisture, can be grown from cutting and the distribution area is NSW. Q’ld, NT, and WA

Pelargonium rodneyannum (pictured right) is one of the most attractive of the Pelargonium species with magenta flowers appearing above the foliage to 30cm high. It can be propagated from seed and also by division as it spreads. The plant has a preference for well drained soil in sun or part shade.

Callicoma serratifolia which was commonly called black wattle is a tall shrub that grows to around 6m or a tree that can reach 20m high. It was used by the early settlers to make their wattle and daub houses but is actually unrelated to the wattle. The clusters of cream flowers resembling a wattle appear in spring, it can be grown from cutting and needs a shaded position in well-composted soil. In the wild it can be seen in damp gullies and in rainforest and is a popular food shrub for possums.

Artanema fimbriatum is a low growing perennial that bears pink/mauve tubular flowers in late spring and summer. You can propagate it from cutting but it is a prolific seed producer and quite easy to grow from seed which is sewn in May. It will grow in most soils and has a preference for full sun or part shade, its moderately frost resistant and if the foliage is burnt the root stock still remains viable. The distribution area is Q’ld and NSW.

Babingtonia virgata Syn. Baeckea dwarf form grows up to 1.5m and if kept pruned will form a dense compact bush. It bears masses of tiny white flowers in summer with a strong smell of honey and it propagates from cutting.

Austromyrtus tenuifolia or Narrow-leaf Myrtle grows to 1.5m, has linear leaves and bears small white flowers in summer which are followed by pendulous greenish-blue berry fruits. Plant in to soil rich with compost in a shady position for best results. It can be found in damp sheltered places in forests and is endemic to the Sydney region with recordings that include Girrakool Prune it hard when fruiting has finished and use the prunings to make cuttings.

Darwinia citriodora is one of the hardiest of the species from WA for growing on the east coast and is used as root stock for grafting the more difficult to grow species. It has lemon scented foliage and white flowers which age to orange in spring and summer and requires good drainage and a little shade. You can propagate it from cutting which is relatively easy, propagation from seed is considered to be erratic although it does tend to self sew around the garden

Syzigium wilsonii (pictured right) is a shrub that will grow up to 3m and spread even wider. Its massive wine coloured powder puff flowers appear in spring and summer and are followed by white fruits. Another feature of the plant is its pinkish red new growth that ages to salmon before turning green. It has a preference for a shaded position in well composted soil and it can be propagated from cutting or by seed. The freshly opened flowers make good vase specimens.

Graptophyllum ilicifolium is called holly fuchsia with its holly like leaves that are prickly on the edge. This is another plant that likes a shady spot in the garden; it will grow to 3m, bears pinkish/red tubular flowers that cover the bush in spring which the birds find attractive. It likes a bit of moisture but needs good drainage; it will take a hard prune and can be propagated from cutting or seed.

Graptophyllum excelsum is a second species with similar flowers that are also tubular but redder. It has similar requirements as G.ilicifolium, both plants tend to self sew around the garden and are well worth growing. (My 12 year old 3m high plant recently appeared to be dead. It was too big to remove so I just pruned it back to a few tall bare stems thinking it might support a vine at some stage. Lo and behold a few months later the bare stems were covered in new shoots and the shrub is now looking very healthy although not flowering this season. Ed.)

Pimelea linifolia is a widespread variable; it grows to about 60cm and bears white or pink flowers that appear for most months of the year. It likes well drained soil in sun or part shade and needs to be kept pruned to encourage branching. Propagate from cutting to retain colour form, seed has proved to be difficult.

Melaleuca thymifolia ‘Cotton Candy’ is a shrub that grows to about 1m and bears bright pink flowers mostly in summer. Tolerates most soils, enjoys wet conditions and prefers full sun. Melaleuca decussata is a small shrub about 1.5m high that bears small mauve bottlebrush flowers in spring. Prune it hard after flowering to keep it to a good shape and use the prunings to grow some more plants.

Goodenia macmillanii is a suckering plant that will reach 60cm high and quickly form a dense mat if planted in a sunny spot with ample moisture. The highly fragrant large pink flowers appear in spring and summer and it can be propagated from cutting or by division.

Xanthostemon chrysanthus (at right) or Golden Penda can grow into a tree and reach 15m in height and its yellow flowers are borne in clusters in winter. The plant enjoys moisture and will accept full sun; it can be propagated from seed or by cutting. June and Harry have espaliered this shrub and say it’s looking beautiful.

Ozothamnus diosmifolius rice flower or sago bush grows to around 2.5m high and bears dense terminal heads of white or pink flowers in spring and summer. This is a hardy plant with highly aromatic foliage that will accept sunny or shaded positions and most soils; it will strike readily from cutting and makes a good vase specimen or can be used in floral arrangements. A Yellow form of Ozothamnus is also available.

AGM Presidents Report

I’m pleased to be presenting my first report as President. This year we had major activities of a trip to Gloucester, the District Get Together at Burrendong Arboretum, the National Biennial Conference in Adelaide and of course our own major event of the Springtime Flora Festival. But I would like to emphasise those events which are the backbone of the Group and which wouldn’t continue without our many volunteers:

  • Monthly meetings wouldn’t be the success they are without our speakers, book and plant of the month presenters, kitchen helpers, specimen table experts, raffle money takers, and of course the warm welcome we extend to visitors.
  • Bush walks, Plants in Pots, the trip to Gloucester, all involve members making a contribution and everyone enjoying themselves.
  • And just the other day we had a wonderful visit to the gardens of Angus S and Veronica and Neil H.

Generally speaking the Group is doing well. We are keeping our membership numbers up and we are not cutting into the money accumulated over past years. At the same time we should recognise that neither are we growing. We have twice recently reaffirmed our commitment to the Flora Festival, particularly with the purpose of engaging with the public and encouraging the use of native plants in the gardens of the Central Coast. But the Festival is not what it was and we need to seek out additional opportunities to engage with the public. Lastly, my thanks to the members of the Committee for the valuable contribution they make.
- John A


End of Year Dinner

Our AGM and End of Year Dinner were held this year at the home of Elaine & Ian S. at Peats Ridge. The venue was a beautiful garden in a bush setting with orchids adorning many of the trees.

This would be the most enjoyable AGM and End of Year Dinner in my memory and our thanks go to Elaine & Ian for their hospitality. Elaine prepared a fruit punch that was enjoyed by all and Ian baked a leg of ham on the BBQ. The salads and desserts supplied by members were varied and delicious and not many could resist going back to make sure that they had tasted everything on offer.

An inspection of the garden followed with members well spread out with so much to see. A visit was made to the orchid igloos by most of us and others wandered around the garden which included natives as well as exotics.

Lost Property

Several items were left behind on the garden visit to Angus Stewart’s place. We have an air pot (large thermos) a ceramic plate with a blue circle around the edge, 2 knives and a plastic container that contained carrot cake. Many people have asked about some chocolate biscuits with nuts that were part of the morning tea. If you brought the biscuits along please send me the recipe so I can forward it on to the interested parties or maybe print up in the newsletter.

When clearing up at the Hockings garden at Mangrove Mountain a small device was found that appears to be a remote for a B&D garage door

AGM & End of Year Dinner

Items left behind after the End of Year Dinner were a folding chair, a mug with black & white markings and a dessert spoon. If you are missing any of these items reply to damael@hotmail.com.au to arrange recovery.

Long Stem promotion at Katandra

An on site demonstration was conducted at Katandra in November on long stem planting for the benefit of the Roads & Maritime Services.

Geoff Bakewell came up from Sydney to give the demonstration on the planting technique while at the same time explained the benefits of planting deep into the ground where the plant does not have to compete for nutrients and moisture from surrounding vegetation.

Representatives from Roads and Maritime Services, Gosford City Council Bushcare Officers, Wildplants Rescue, Dr. Anita Chalmers and Angus Stewart as well as our Bushcare team were in attendance on the day.

Dr. Anita Chalmers spoke about the scientific trials that have been conducted at Katandra as well as those that were conducted on the dunes at Patonga but warned that there is still a lot of work to be done and a lot more to learn about the deep planting method – Anita explained that there’s a lot we don’t yet know. People are using the method in various places but we still don’t know whether it will stand the test of time or whether there are species that will not respond to deep planting.

Angus Stewart talked about ‘testing the boundaries’ which he has been doing in his garden and he has been conducting experiments in an effort to find a species that does not adapt to the method. Carolyn Donnelly Environmental Officer for Maritime Roads & Transport will now follow up with the appropriate RTA people to try and get the method into effect in roadside plantings giving the plants a higher likelihood of survival in the harsh conditions of the Australian climate.

Rare Orchid Saved

John Morcombe of the Manly Daily reported on the 22nd November 2011 that an extremely rare orchid is making a comeback and the only place in the world where it grows is at Ingleside.

The population of Microtis angusii or Angus’s onion orchid has increased tenfold over the past 3 years due to conservation efforts of local councils and the state government.

It was first discovered by Peter Eygleshoven, a member of the Warringah Group of the Australasian Native Orchid Society about 15 years ago. It spends most of its time underground and is only visible when in flower. David Jones of the Australian Botanic Gardens in Canberra named it after collector Reg Angus rather than its founder Peter Eygleshoven.

Bill D, Warringah Group President of the Native Orchid Society said there was concern that roadwork in the area might destroy the orchid’s habitat. There was thought to be 650 of the orchids in the area in 2000 and it came close to extinction in 2007. The population increase is thought to be due to a range of factors which include the control of introduced species across the site and wetter conditions, particularly during the preceding autumn.

November Garden Visit

It was a particularly hot November day yet quite a crowd turned up for our garden visits. Our first stop which included morning tea was at the property of Angus S. at Somersby and here we welcomed our visitors from the Newcastle and Hunter Groups. The morning tea included many different delicious cakes and slices supplied by our Central Coast Group members and one of those was a chocolate and nut biscuit of which many people have requested the recipe.

Angus spoke about his garden and how it was developing and invited people to take a wander around and enjoy the many different species that he was growing. There was an abundance of Kangaroo Paws throughout the garden putting on a brilliant show as well as many different Grevillea species, Acacias, Brachycome and heaps of others all planted out in raised garden beds.

Following morning tea we travelled in some sort of convoy on to the home of Veronica & Neil H. where a fairly new garden has been developed on a former cow paddock.

The long driveway leading up to the house was lined with Syzigium, Kangaroo Paw and Scaevola and in some areas the Scaevola had formed a purple carpet even climbing up the nearby shrubs.

Lunch was enjoyed under the shelter of the patio with some people spreading to the shady areas underneath the trees before setting out to inspect the garden beds.

Our thanks go out to Angus and Veronica & Neil for opening their gardens on the day and I’m sure our visitors from the Newcastle and Hunter Groups would have enjoyed the gardens.


February Bushwalk

We would like to thank Diana for her many years of patiently showing us the plants of the Central Coast bush lands. Her enthusiasm for our local flora has meant many people in our group have increased their knowledge of Aussie plants. We three amateurs will look forward to her knowledge for a long time to come as we maybe explore a few different areas of the Central Coast and also some of Diana’s favourite walks.

February is often too hot for a strenuous walk so we will meet at the slightly earlier time than usual of 9.30 am in the Lions Sensory Garden at Terilbah Reserve, North Entrance. Your byo morning tea can be enjoyed strolling around the mostly native garden or sitting in one of the two picnic shelters.

The gardens are approximately 2 kms north of the North Entrance Bridge and just south of Two Shores Holiday Village. The turn off is on the lake side of Wilfred Barrett Drive. Drive to the carpark at the end of the road where you will also find public toilets.

We will then travel north to Norah Head Bush Reserve near the lighthouse. Turn right just after the 60 kph sign into Denison Street, then at end of Denison St turn right into Bungary Rd, then left into Maitland St which becomes Bush St. Go past Young St and meet at the carpark near the toilets on the left. There is alternative parking on the other side of Bush Street. There are plenty of picnic tables in shady areas on both sides of the road. The Heathland Nature Trail begins here and is less than 1 km to the Norah Head Lighthouse. Mostly level walking on a well-formed track.

Coastcare volunteers have worked to reduce weeds and thereby allow the bushland to regenerate naturally. Some areas have been planted with local species to improve the habitat for fauna. A surprise awaits us with whatever may be in flower. We may also see cicadas, butterflies, birds, ferns, bush turkeys and magnificent views from the various lookouts in the area.The CC APS CD – Native Plants and Bushwalks of the NSW Central Coast has lengthy lists and photos of plants that we may see on our walks in 2012. Ask Diana about the new updated CD at the meeting.

Byo chair, morning tea, lunch, weather protection. The walks will go ahead unless the weather is extremely unpleasant.

Call Barbara, Joan (walk day only) and Janet


Wildplants Rescue Service 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.


   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.

CD - Native Plants & Bushwalks of the Central Coast

The second edition of our CD is now available. It contains approx. 500 photos of local flora species with their descriptions, as well as descriptions of local bushwalks. It can be used with most browsers. The cost is $15, plus $3 for postage, etc. You can buy it at one of our meetings, or send a cheque for $18 with your address, to D & B Dean. Please make cheque out to Australian Plants Society, Central Coast Group.

A form is also available from this website: CD Case

  • To view details and samples from the CD

  • or to download a form

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


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