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Our members love sharing their stories, insights and experiences with others. Below are a selection of posts. Members are welcome to post their stories. 

Warren and Gloria Sheather regularly post articles on their garden experiences. See their Garden Diary here.

Members' stories are also regularly published in GardenDrum, an online gardening magazine - a selection of these are provided for your interest. 


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  • 7 Sep 2018 10:12 PM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

    Cilla, of the Central West area, wants people to be aware of a new threat to Mount Canbobolas and its rare flora. 

    The draft plan of management for Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area could permit a large new mountain bike network (> 60 km trail) plus associated infrastructure in what is quite a small area (1600 ha) with highly significant remnant vegetation, with many threatened and endemic plant and animal species.

    Cilla has provided a submission guide prepared by the Central West Environment Council.   People can use the information in this to prepare their letter. The submission can be lodged as follows:

    Have your say

    Public exhibition is from from 29 June to the 1 October 2018.

    You can provide your written submission in any of the following ways:

    Here is the submission guide. 

    Submission guide final.docx

    For more information, see the website: https://savemtcanobolassca.com

  • 3 Sep 2018 9:24 PM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

    Myrtle Rust is a serious plant disease which has already had, and is likely to have an even more, devastating impact on many threatened species and ecological communities, wetlands of international importance, world heritage properties and national heritage places. 

    Myrtle Rust is also having, and will increasingly have, a devastating effect on the built Australian landscape, nation-wide, where more than 60% - 70% of the plants used are Myrtaceae.

    Some members may be aware that Native Plants Queensland is leading a campaign for government action against the spread of Myrtle Rust. 

    An important part of the campaign is an online petition to the Parliament of Australia seeking a National Myrtle Rust Summit. 

    Please sign the e-petition for a National Myrtle Rust Summit straight away. It only takes a few seconds. The petition closes on 19th September when it will be presented to Parliament

    Thank you for your support.

    Maria Hitchcock, OAM

    Go to: this link

    https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Petitions/House_of_Representatives_Petitions/Petitions_General/Petitions_List 

    Write EN0686 in the search box. (note, that is zero686)

    More information here prepared by : Comments on Myrtle Rust Action Plan Rev E.pdf


  • 3 Sep 2018 8:41 PM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

    ANPSA's  Conservation Officer, Dr Eddie Wajon, has been working hard to prevent the clearing of land in WA which would result in loss of habitat for threatened species.

    See this report from him along with the species threatened. 

    Thanks to Mary Slattery, the Secretary or ANPSA, for bringing it to our attention. 

    Click here for the full report: ANPSA Meetings with politicians in Canberra 20180821


  • 21 Aug 2018 9:01 AM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

    A reader recently asked for plants to discourage cats from entering the garden. Here are the plants suggested by our panel of experts that are thought to be cat repellent, due to the smell of their foliage i.e. attractive to humans but not to animals. The reader's plants needed to thrive in tough conditions being southerly facing and sandy soil. 

    Here are some suggestions:

    • Try the mint bushes e.g. Prostanthera ovalifolia, and other species of mint bush that would be suitable for your area, and maybe available for sale.
    • Others with fragrant foliage to consider include:
      • Darwinia citriodora, Lemon-scented Myrtle
      • Philotheca myoporoides, Long-leaved Wax Flower
      • Crowea exalata
      • Mentha australis, Native mint
      • Zieria cytisoides, Downy Zieria
    The plant below is Philotheca.


  • 21 Aug 2018 8:51 AM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

    A website reader recently asked for good Australian natives which will keep unwanted visitors at bay.  

    Here are the suggestions for prickly shrubs and hedging plants from our panel of experts:

    • Grevillea rosmarinifolia cultivars such as'Scarlet Sprite' (pictured below)
    • Grevillea Winparra cultivars eg 'Winparra Gem' - dense, tough, fast growing, up to 2m
    • Hakea sericea - prickly and copes with sand, prune to keep to 1m
    • Graptophyllum ilicifolium - rainforest type look with dark green "holly-like" leaves, but very tough and copes with dry, also lipstick pink flowers, prune to keep to 1m
    • Bursaria spinosa, Blackthorn - this flowers in autumn which offers an advantage to wildlife by providing sustenance ahead of the approaching winter.
    • Acacia ulicifolia, Prickly Moses or heath wattle. There are also a number of small wattles that have spiky foliage, but remember that these species are fast growing and may be short lived
    • Westringia fruticosa - dense, tough and copes with sand, but not prickly
    • Anything marketed as attracting small birds would work as usually dense and prickly for habitat.


  • 11 Aug 2018 8:20 AM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

    Here is a selection of wattles blooming at Hunter Regional Botanic Gardens. Images by Barbara Melville. 










  • 1 Aug 2018 4:54 PM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

    When it comes to thinking about a favourite plant, I think those interested in Australian plants are very spoiled for choice. Have you ever thought about a favourite? Where would you start? Banksias, grevilleas or a thousand others? There would be as many favourites as there are plants to choose from and it is of course a personal choice. What makes a favourite?...Is it colour?...form?...flowering? 

    I must confess to liking most Aussie plants but over the years, a few have popped up relentlessly in my garden, some even having the status of 'annual' even though they are not. I just keep getting sucked in by their…what?

    I can't answer that. For me it's just a feeling. As an instance, I find it very hard not to buy a Hypocalymma robustum in flower even though I know it will become mulch before the end of summer. So in contemplating my favourites, I thought I would share my choice half a dozen or so plants that for me stand out. They are not always the brightest colours or the biggest flowers and I wondered if other people might like to share their favourites with other members.

    If I had to pick a No.1, it would probably be this one - Thysanotus multiflorus. I’m not sure how reliable this species is on the East Coast but I have one planted and in bud so here’s hoping. Local species of Thysanotis grow well in light soil in gardens but don’t have the floral display of this one. I find the contrast between the flowers and buds most attractive.

    Hypocalymma sp 'Cascade' is a stunning low growing or prostrate plant that is listed as Rare and Endangered. This would make a wonderful rockery plant if it ever gets more into cultivation than it is now. It grows in a restricted area in WA in the Esperance district and is probably named after the small village of Cascade. I saw this in a garden in WA doing very well in imported soil. I imagine this is a plant that will be very popular in time.

    Now Viola hederacea - I never tire of seeing a bed of this delightful and easily grown ground cover. It prefers shady moist areas but will take some sun if there is assured moisture. Ivy Leaf Violet is native to many parts of eastern Australia and grows to about 10cm tall spreading readily by trailing stolons that take root at nodes along the stolon. It's very easily propagated and is rarely without a flower. While very commonly grown and easily obtained, it never-the-less gets a place in my favourites list.

    For some reason this particular Boronia hits the spot for me. There are of course many lovely Boronia species and, of course, I adore them all including one called Boronia serrulata which I have renamed Boronia seeyalater. This is because of its habit, along with many other Boronias, of exiting this life with little or no hesitation or care nor consideration for devastated gardeners.

    All this genus is worthy of trialling. I have had this species shown (Boronia saffrolifera) survive for some time in a pot with a potting mix of sand peat and a little compost. The mix had had other plants growing in it for some time before I used it for the Boronia, and perhaps this helped it survive. It was in a sunny position but with late afternoon shade. This Boronia can be seen around Port Stephens in sandy soil.

    Eucalyptus macrocarpa and Eucalyptus youngiana must rank near the top of Australia’s most spectacular flora. 

    To see these plants growing wild is a privilege not easily forgotten. Not likely to be grown successfully on the east coast and won't grow at my place...nuff said! Look 'em up on the web for more details, if you want to sacrifice your hard earned dough. E macrocarpa is grown successfully at Burrendong Botanic Garden and Arboretum.


    I may be criticised by some for including plants from other areas or that are difficult to grow but I didn’t set out to do a gardening advice article. I merely wanted to share what plants I have been impressed by over the years as I came across them in gardens or in the bush. I would dearly love to grow them but it isn’t likely to happen. But that doesn’t stop me from appreciating the incredible Australian flora. I hope others may share their favourites in this way - I’m sure there will be many surprises.

    Oh yes, Verticordia oculata is a species of the sand plains of Kalbarri National Park and I've changed my mind…this is now my No. 1.


  • 28 Jul 2018 12:14 PM | GLENDA BROWNE (Administrator)

    Menai Wildflower Group Meeting

    Speaker- Emeritus Professor Gerald Nanson 

    Australia Adrift: The Noah’s Ark of Gondwanaland: How did Australia acquire such a remarkable collection of plants and animals?

    Saturday 11 Aug Meeting, Commences at 1pm 

    Illawong Rural Fire Station, Old Illawarra Rd, Illawong

    All welcome

    For more information, contact:  menaiwildflower@austplants.com.au                  Or see Facebook: https://austplants.com.au/Menai-Wildflower

  • 23 Jul 2018 8:47 PM | ALIX GOODWIN (Administrator)

    If you'd like to learn to identify Australian plants then join the 8 class plant morphology course being run by the Blue Mountains Group. The course is being held on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month, commencing Friday 3 August 2018. Cost $30. Open to members only. For more information contact Alix on alix.goodwin@bigpond.com or 0417-679-964.

  • 30 Jun 2018 2:49 PM | RALPH CARTWRIGHT (Administrator)

    John Arney from Sutherland group led a recent walk in Kamay NP at Kurnell and pointed out these plants.

    Apparently the juvenile leaves on Commersonia hermanniifolia, (previously Rulingia hermanniifolia), had some people wondering if this was a new weed.

    The leaves on the right are from an older adult plant. It is coming up in several spots in the recently burnt areas of both Kamay and the Royal and is temporarily prolific, as mentioned in Alan Fairley’s book under the "Seldom Seen” section, where he mentions it's limited presence until after fire.

    On PlantNet, it is noted as rare.

    According to the ABG website, it is in the genus Commersonia, a member of the family Malvaceae which ranges from small shrubs to large trees such as the Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius).

    The habit of C. hermanniifolia places it among low growing sub-shrubs and mat-forming plants that are useful in varying situations in most gardens.

    It is well suited for rock gardens as it follows contours and crevices, flowing gracefully over rocks.

    In spring the plant is covered with pink tinged buds followed by small star-like flowers which are borne in cymes. The flowers open white and fade to pink with a red centre, giving an attractive contrast as the old flowers are replaced by new ones. The fruit also provides colour from late November with its deep red capsule about 4 mm in diameter.

    It occurs naturally on Sydney sandstone and along the coast where its habitat coincides with that of the Rock Wallaby. Its foliage is often damaged by regular cropping by this animal. 


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As well as the stories above, we regularly share members stories with a wider audience through GardenDrum, a leading online gardening magazine with:

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