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  • 2 Apr 2020 10:57 AM | enewsletter Editor (Administrator)

    ABC TV's Gardening Australia show featured a segment with Menai Group on Friday 27 March 2020.

    Life member and Menai driving force Lloyd Hedges gave host Clarence Slockee a tour of the Illawong Fire Station garden maintained by the group and demonstrated how to create smoke water to germinate flannel flowers while nursery volunteer Pam Forbes highlighted the group's project to propagate casuarinas to provide food and habitat for glossy black cockatoos in the Southern Highlands.


    Watch the episode on iview here. Menai Group appears about half way through.

    See photos from the Illawong Fire Station garden here.

    Read about another native propagator Brian Roach appearing on Gardening Australia here and other APS members in the media here.

    Below: Hakea purpurea from the Fire Station garden (photo Lloyd Hedges)


  • 30 Mar 2020 4:09 PM | enewsletter Editor (Administrator)

    Enewsletter editor Rhonda Daniels attended the community launch of the website on 14 March 2020  at Dapto Ribbonwood Centre and won a Brachychiton to carry home on the train.

    Audience at launch of website

    The website: www.growingillawarranatives.org

    website

    The Growing Illawarra Natives website showcases native plant species local to the Illawarra to encourage greater appreciation and cultivation of native plant species in the Illawarra.
 The area has a rich diversity of plant communities with over 850 indigenous plant species, many of great value in cultivation.  

    The website has detailed descriptive information and photos of plants of the region, advice on cultivation, how and where to grow the plants, and a lot more. It helps the community identify which local native plants will best suit their garden, landscaping or other application and help improve biodiversity that has been reduced by urban development. By enhancing local plant biodiversity, local habitats will be more attractive for local birds, insects and animals.

    Illawarra refers to the coastal area between the escarpment cliffs and the sea, from Stanwell Park (Bald Hill) to the Shoalhaven River (excluding Bomaderry).

    Photo display at the launch

    Background to the project

    The completely voluntary project was led by Emma Rooksby and Leon Fuller, with a very large team of community contributors including Carl Glaister and other plant enthusiasts from the region. Leon Fuller has worked for many years on tree identification of the Illawarra. He is the author of Wollongong Native Trees and co-author of Native Trees of Central Illawarra covering areas between Wollongong and Foxground. He has great knowledge and understanding about the benefits of regional biodiversity. Leon landscaped the grounds of the University of Wollongong 40 years ago with the vision to re-establish biodiversity in an urban garden environment. Rather than writing another book, he felt a website would be more beneficial for a broader and younger audience. Starting in 2104, community workshops were held to develop the project and content.

    The community launch

    Community launch

    The website was formally launched at a community celebration event on 14 March 2020 at Dapto, with live music, plant photos, plant display, raffle and giveaways, and afternoon tea. Emma Rooksby and Leon Fuller spoke briefly, referring people to a large display board which listed all the contributors who have helped in some way. Clarence Slockee, ABC TV Gardening Australia presenter, cut a virtual ribbon and officially declared the website open. The music and afternoon continued.

    Clarence Slockee

    Congratulations to all the contributors

    Contributors

    Contributor names

    The organisers said afterwards: “Thanks to everyone who attended the Growing Illawarra Natives website launch on Saturday. It was a fantastic community celebration, and we were very lucky to host the event ahead of tighter restrictions on public gatherings.”

     

    Feedback

    The Growing Illawarra Natives Facebook group allows interactive discussion of local native plants, so feel free to join in there: https://www.facebook.com/groups/272511306484693/

    If you'd like to provide feedback on the website, there is a survey running at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/J2K27J6 - all comments and suggestions welcome!

    Buying Illawarra natives

    Wollongong Botanic Garden has native plant sales once a month on the third Friday. Note: temporarily suspended due to coronavirus.

    The Garden’s Greenplan nursery has an extensive collection of local native trees, shrubs, groundcovers and grasses, as well as worm farms and compost bins for sale every month.

    Visit the Garden’s website at www.wollongongbotanicgarden.com.au a week before each sale for a list of native species available and prices.

    The Garden’s nursery is located on Northfields Avenue in Kieraville (next to soccer fields). The car park entrance is marked with bright flags.

     

    Launch photos: Ralph Cartwright and Rhonda Daniels


  • 29 Mar 2020 9:03 PM | enewsletter Editor (Administrator)

    Less time being out and about and more time at home to protect community health from COVID-19 is a chance to do some activities you might not usually have time for. Here are some ideas, both for individual members and for APS Groups to consider if you don’t want to clean the cupboards or the garage. There are also some websites to explore.

    Outside in the fresh air

    • Plant some seeds and record their progress. If you have enough seed and space, get scientific and trial different mixes and treatments and record the results.
    • Observe changes in your garden over time by taking a photo each day of the same flower, plant or garden view.
    • Try to identify likely pollinators for some of your plants through careful observation of flowers.
    • Create a new garden area or feature, whatever you have been planning but not actually done. It could be a compost heap, new garden bed, vegie patch, a piece of artwork, bee or insect hotel, or garden furniture.
    • Running out of things to do in isolation? Get back in the garden with these ideas from 4 experts by Anthea Batsakis, The Conversation

      A behavioural science expert, a botanist, an environment media expert and an entomologist suggest ways to connect with nature in your garden.


    Inside at the computer

    • Organise all your plant photos – digital (or even hard copy), and try to ID the tricky ones.
    • Investigate online plant sales, remembering some nurseries and stock levels may be affected by drought or bushfires or future public health restrictions. See some nurseries here.
    • Explore websites on native plants – both new and old. See suggestions below.
    • Follow APS NSW on Instagram and check APS NSW on Facebook.
    • Join an Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) Study Group in your area of interest and share your experiences. There are 18 active groups to choose from including the new Australian Plants for Containers. There are many newsletters from both active and inactive groups to read. Details here.
    • Read back issues of your Australian Plants journal or Native Plants for NSW – hard copy or online.
    • Comment publicly on aspects of Australian native plants and the environment by sending letters to the editor, or commenting on online stories on newspaper sites or The Conversation website.
    • Write or record your history of involvement with native plants and/or APS NSW.
    • Participate in citizen science with these ideas by researchers from the University of Sydney: Citizen science: how you can contribute to coronavirus research without leaving the house.

    Possible Group projects

    • Prepare a history of your Group, or update an existing written history. The history doesn’t need to be a long book. It could be a Powerpoint presentation based on photos with captions or a website, organised by year.
    • Develop resources on native plants in your local area such as plants for gardens, or rare or notable plants. Use the Growing Illawarra Natives website

      www.growingillawarranatives.org as a guide and adapt.

    • Prepare activities for when Group meetings resume such as writing a quiz with local questions or preparing a presentation about a holiday or your garden to give at a meeting.
    • Prepare an index of your Group’s newsletters or review which plants are mentioned most often in your newsletters.
    • Develop an anniversary issue of your Group newsletter by selecting representative articles from across the years, similar to the Australian Plants 60-year issue.

     

    For APS NSW

    • Write plant profiles or other resources to share on the APS NSW website.
    • Develop online courses in native plant identification or gardening with natives.

    Some projects require more coordination than others, so check with your Group or the APS website coordinators Heather Miles or Simon Bastin through office@austplants.com.au.

     

    Websites to explore

    • The Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) ANPSA website including plant profiles, Study Group newsletters and more.
    • Gardening with Angus website, by Angus Stewart. Sign up for a monthly email newsletter from Angus. Recent topics include Kangaroo paws, insects, and the March 2020 Newletter 57 Let's garden.
    • Australian National Botanic Garden website, with botanical resources.
    • Plantnet, Royal Botanic Garden, with a page on each native species in NSW.
    • Sir Joseph Banks' papers online archive at the State Library of NSW website.
    • Growing Illawarra Natives, with advice on choosing and growing native plants in the Illawarra region.

    Websites maintained by member Brian Patterson at Ourimbah

    The Conversation website publishes short articles every day by university researchers with "academic rigour, journalistic flair" on a range of topics including bushfire recovery and the environment in general:

     

    More digital and online resources

    • Download and explore a free app: Plants of South Eastern NSW by Betty Wood, with over 3,000 plants.
    • Join Native Plant ID on Facebook.

    Peter Wauchope from Southern Tablelands suggests:
    • Facebook site being run by SA moderators for the entire continent (30,000 members): Australian Native Plant Enthusiasts forum and their sister group (newly formed 4,000+ members) that includes advertising of sales, personal and District Group: Australian native plant noticeboard & marketplace


    Why not write a review of a website for the enewsletter or your Group newsletter?

    Send suggestions or reviews of interesting websites and resources to explore to the enewsletter editor Rhonda Daniels at enewsletter@austplants.com.au


  • 29 Mar 2020 8:56 PM | enewsletter Editor (Administrator)

    Cover of Ausralian Plants 60 years issue

    The Summer 2019/20 issue of Australian Plants posted to members and subscribers in mid March 2020 is a very special issue celebrating 60 years of the journal.

    In the Editorial and tributes, co-editor Merle Thompson OAM explains the significance: “For an organisation or its publications to survive for 60 years must be regarded as a major achievement. This issue of Australian Plants marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of Volume 1, Number 1 in December 1959”.

    Merle has made a representative selection of articles from across the 60 years – many issues remain of interest. At the time of the 50th anniversary in 2009, the first full issue was reproduced on the Australian Native Plants Society Australia website where it can still be viewed.


    Contents 

    Editorial and tributes

    1959 How to grow waratahs and The genus Telopea

    1968 Growing wildflowers in Queensland

    1969 Dracophyllum

    1971 Planning an Australian garden and Hakeas: As grown in Melbourne gardens

    1976 Wattles of the Flinders Ranges

    1982 Proteaceae endemic to Tasmania

    1988 Banksias: East coastal

    1989 Garden cultivars of Australian plants

    2000 The Olympic and Paralympic bouquets

    In memory of Diana Snape

    Australian Plants Awards 2019: Kingsley Dixon and Glenn Leiper

     

  • 23 Mar 2020 8:03 PM | Secretary APS NSW (Administrator)

    One of the valuable benefits I found when I joined the Parramatta/Hills Group was that I could mingle with experienced members. From them I could often pick up gems of wisdom.

    Here are some examples.

    Be ruthless

    Probably the most valuable piece of advice I learnt was from Ross Doig. It was just two words: “be ruthless”. This was in relation to native gardens of course! I have put this into practice many times, sometimes taking a while to convince myself. And it usually works out for the better.

    The main philosophy is to remove non-performing plants from your garden early on, without waiting for another year or two hoping they will improve. You can then replace them with other plants you think will look better.

    Following this advice sometimes results in a pleasant surprise. Three or four years ago I decided to get rid of a grafted Grevillea dielsiana that was getting old and woody and not making much new growth or flowering well. I used a chainsaw to cut it down to within 12 inches of the ground with the idea of digging the roots out later. However, it had other ideas (plants can think, of course!). It started shooting, and now it’s as good as ever, putting on a magnificent show of flowers as I write this!

    When you were out with Ross on a bushwalk Ross would always be “over there” – off the track scouring the bush looking for unusual or rare plants. You could ask him about any native plant from the Sydney region and he would know precisely where it grew. I can still see his photo on page 3 of the Sydney Morning Herald just after Haloragodendron lucasii was rediscovered after it was thought to be extinct.

    Do all your pre-winter planting before ANZAC Day

    Another gem of wisdom came from John Evans. John used to say “do all your pre-winter planting before ANZAC Day”. The idea behind this was to allow the plants time to develop roots and become established so they can withstand the forthcoming cold weather. And it works! I’ve never had much trouble with new plants over winter, even though I get a few days of frost.

    John’s front garden always looked amazing, especially the Sturt’s Desert Peas. The hybrid grevillea named “John Evans” was sourced from his garden.

    Duplicate the plant's natural environment

    Max Hewett was another fabulous grower of native plants who was generous in sharing his vast knowledge. One of his principles, reflected in his conversations and writings, was to try to duplicate in the garden conditions of the plant’s natural environment. This involved soil, aspect, drainage, etc.

    In Max’s garden at Cherrybrook his various garden beds had different soils to suit the relevant plant groups. These soils were specially formulated with unique chemical and physical make-ups. For many years he was leader of the Verticordia Study Group and was able to grow a lot of these lovely Western Australian species to perfection in Sydney.

    When I acquire a new plant I usually use Google to see where it grows in the wild. This gives me a clue as to where to place it in the garden. Sometimes the plant tells you where it prefers. I’ve found that a particular eremophila grows best in a position near the house foundations, which conveys that it probably likes alkaline soil.

    Thanks to pioneers of growing native plants like Ross, John and Max, we now have much more practical knowledge available to us.

    All images from Ian's garden (by Heather Miles)

  • 29 Feb 2020 11:55 AM | enewsletter Editor (Administrator)

    After the damage from our bushfire season to many properties throughout NSW, homeowners are thinking about replanting their gardens, often while waiting for longer-term building works. The APS NSW office received an inquiry about advice on fire-resistant plants for people buying plants to restore gardens which had burnt.

    Firstly, it is important to recognise that no plant is fire-resistant in extreme conditions and it takes more than fire-resistant plants to protect a garden. There are several elements to consider in reducing the risk of fire to and from a native garden.

    1. Designing the garden

    Before thinking about particular plants, it is important to consider the overall garden design, such as the distance of plant material from buildings, the heights of plants particularly trees, the location of paths and open spaces, the location of wood heaps and compost areas, and the location of fire-fighting resources such as pools, tanks, pumps and hoses.

    Neighbouring gardens or distance to bushland may also affect garden design, and how a garden is affected by fire.

    2. Choosing plants

    Traditional advice on fire-resistant plants is to choose plants with high moisture content in the leaves and low volatile oils, such as rainforest plants. However, even rainforest plants with large dark green glossy leaves will burn in extreme conditions, and did in the recent fires. With new fire conditions, our understanding of how plants respond to fire is also changing.

    Choosing plants in a garden is a balance between trees, shrubs and groundcovers. Different types of fire, such as canopy fires and ground fires, spread in different ways.

    A fire-retardant species native to one area may not be suitable for a garden in another location. For instance, Carpobrotus glaucescens, known as pigface, is a succulent coastal groundcover, but it may not thrive in a Blue Mountains garden.

    Many councils in bushfire-prone areas provide advice to residents on reducing risk to life and property, including advice on local native plants. The same species may behave differently in fire depending on its location, and not all species in the same genus will behave the same way. Check what resources your local council has.

    An example from the Blue Mountains Council is here:

    https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/document/files/BestLocalNativePlantsForUseInBushfireProneLocations.pdf 

    APS Victoria has a comprehensive list by Neil Marriott of fire resistant and retardant plants here: https://apsvic.org.au/fire-resistant-and-retardant-plants/


    3. Choosing plants for recovery

    Just as in the bush, some native plants are better able to recover from fire than others or recover in different ways at different speeds. For instance, Banksia serrata has a lignotuber and will resprout from its base if all leaves are burnt, but Banksia ericifolia does not have a lignotuber and will die, but regrow from seeds in the soil. Depending on the ferocity of a fire, trees can reshoot from epicormic buds on their trunks. The temperature of a fire will also affect any seed bank in the soil, and could encourage germination in the right conditions or kill the seeds.

    Grass trees can produce new leaves quickly to replace burnt leaves.



    4. Choosing other garden materials

    As well as plants, there are many other materials in a garden which can burn. To maximise fire-resistant materials, consider using stone, gravels or sand for mulch, and consider materials used for garden structures such as seats, decks, pergolas and shelters.

    5. Maintaining the garden

    Tips for maintaining a garden to reduce fire risk include:

    • Prune vegetation.
    • Remove dead material and build up of twigs and sticks in plants and on the ground.
    • Clear mulch and debris.

    Unfortunately some of these maintenance tips conflict with best practices to provide habitat for local wildlife, big and small, including mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. Rocks can also provide habitat.

    Remember, no plant is fire-resistant, just like no house is fireproof.

     

    If you have any more tips, suggestions or resources for fire-smart gardening with native plants, please email Rhonda Daniels at enewsletter@austplants.com.au


    Banksia photos: Ralph Cartwright


  • 29 Feb 2020 11:33 AM | enewsletter Editor (Administrator)

    Congratulations to Margaret Baker who was awarded Environmental Citizen of the Year at Blue Mountains Council’s Australia Day Awards in January 2020.

    The following text is from the Blue Mountains Council Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony 2020 booklet.

    Margaret Baker has been a tireless, committed and passionate advocate for protecting the Blue Mountains environment for over four decades.

    Giving her time as both a professional and a volunteer, Margaret has shown outstanding commitment to and excellence in education, life-long learning and the promotion of the natural environment.

    She has voluntarily undertaken both formal training and self-motivated study to increase her knowledge of geology, fluvial geomorphology, soils, indigenous and non-indigenous history, weather, climate and botany, all with the intent of educating and inspiring others to appreciate and protect the environment of the Blue Mountains.

    Margaret has contributed to the environmental education of people in the Blue Mountains, authoring numerous submission regarding planning and development proposals and initiating and developing the highly regarded ‘Native Plant Identification’ course for TAFE to provide formal training in the botany of the Sydney and Blue Mountains flora, which at the time was the only such course available in NSW.

    She has used her expertise to provide depth, understanding and balance between the many competing forces in the community, and co-authored and published books on the native flora and fauna of the Sydney Region and Blue Mountains, providing access to high quality reference books and field guides for locals and visitors.

    She has also devoted her time to voluntarily survey and document ecological communities and developed a scientifically rigorous system that allows for the collection and submission of important data for the BioNet biodiversity repository, used by organisations such as the Office of Environment and Heritage. Margaret formed and leads the BMBR Ecological Surveys citizen science group and regularly assists local Bushcare groups on a voluntary basis with native plant and weed identification.

    She works cooperatively and shares knowledge with stakeholders including Blue Mountains City Council, the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and TAFE, and works closely with professionals at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney providing specimens.    

  • 6 Feb 2020 7:17 PM | enewsletter Editor (Administrator)

    Brian Roach of Westleigh Native Plants is having an open garden and plant sale at his home in northern Sydney on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 March. Free entry.

    Brian says: 

    "If you’re anything like me, there’s lots of holes to fill in the garden after a devastating final 3 months of last year and the start of this year with virtually no rain, unbelievable heat and water restrictions.  But what a wonderful fall of rain in early February!  What a disappointment the Johanna’s Christmas Bush has been. All the mature plants in my garden flowered really well around October but then produced little or no red colouring late in the year, obviously due to the total lack of rain. The only exceptions were a couple of reasonably mature plants in pots. I was able to keep the water up to them and hey presto!  Plenty of colour as shown in the photo below."

    Pot of Johanna's Christmas bush

    Brian will have plenty of these special plants in 6”/140mm pots next at $18 each. There’ll also be a good range of other plants for sale, mainly in tumblers at $5 each. Brian is concentrating on propagating plants that he can confidently recommend for our changing weather conditions – hot and dry.  Enter the wonderful grevilleas, eremophilas (emu bush) and many of our grey-foliaged native plants.

    Details

    Free entry

    Location: 47 Eucalyptus Drive, Westleigh 2120

    Time: 9.30 am to 3.30 pm.

    Contact: 0418 115 630, bcroach@optusnet.com.au

    Read more about Brian on ABC's Gardening Australia here.

  • 2 Feb 2020 10:44 PM | enewsletter Editor (Administrator)

    Ian Cox from Parramatta Hills Group shares his walk to Mount Banks in Blue Mountains National Park, one of the highest points in the Blue Mountains - just three weeks before bushfire.

    On 26 November 2019 Lesley Waite and I went on a magical walk to the summit of Mount Banks. The objectives of our visit were twofold – to indulge in the beautiful upper Blue Mountains flora, and to experience the magnificent surroundings and views. We were not disappointed in either of these. However, we were not to know that in less than three weeks this area and many others would be scorched and blackened by a massive bushfire.

    The fire has changed everything, at least for the immediate future. It will be worth watching the vegetation’s recovery and the re-greening of the landscape over the next few months and years.

    The walk to the summit is not long or difficult but a bit steep in parts. As you can see above, at the start of the track previous walkers were happy to make their walking sticks available for subsequent users. However, although one member of our duo is ‘not young’, he managed to make the journey without their help.

    The track starts off in open woodland, but after a modest climb soon comes to low-growing heath and bare sandstone. This part of the track is where the best views are to be had, and also where the interesting plants are.

    The heath vegetation is what I like best (above). You can easily see the plant that asks for a closer look. And there were so many. Our cameras worked overtime!

    The heath is dominated by the Proteaceae family such as dwarf Banksia serrata, Hakea dactyloides (left photo above), Hakea salicifolia, Isopogon anemonifolius, Lambertia formosa and Conospermum taxifolium (right photo above).

    One plant that is quite prolific and makes its presence known with profuse white flowers is Hakea teretifolia. Here, it is semi-prostrate, less than half a metre high, and quite attractive so long as we didn’t get too close to its needle-sharp leaves. It is in the background of this photo below of Lesley engrossed in botanical research,


    Another notable plant is Darwinia fascicularis ssp. oligantha. We noticed this plant near Wentworth Falls on a previous trip, sprawling over the rocks as if taking advantage of the glorious views. It was doing exactly the same here. It seems to position itself only over and around rocks that afford the best outlook – a very clever plant! You can see it doing this in the photo below.


    The views are breathtaking. You feel so privileged to be here, amid the wonders of nature! The darwinia and hakea are both enjoying the view of the Grose Valley below.


    When the Parramatta and Hills Group walked here over 20 years ago, I vividly recall seeing a profusion of Boronia floribunda flowering at this time of year. However today we noticed only a few of this species. Why is this? Could it be because of different fire regimes, or climate change?

    Ironstone bands on the sandstone form an unusual pattern (photo below).


    As you start the climb towards the summit, you can clearly see the thick forest growing in the rich basaltic soil that caps Mount Banks:



    Made it!

    Here the forest is dominated by Eucalyptus cypellocarpa. The understorey is quite thick, and contains several species of ferns. Because of the tall trees surrounding the summit there are no sweeping views in all directions, and you don’t get the feeling that you’re on one of the highest points in the Blue Mountains. But you do get a great sense of achievement!

    At the summit is a memorial plaque to George Caley, which reads:

    George Caley

    Botanist – Explorer

    With companions travelled via Kurrajong and ascended the Mount on 15th November 1804.

    He named it Mount Banks after Sir Joseph Banks.

    There ended his heroic attempt to cross the Blue Mountains

    Caley took three weeks to reach Mount Banks. In a letter to Banks after his return he wrote: “The roughness of the country I found beyond description.” And from his journal: “. . . it was the most laborious (journey) man ever went to. Every day sweat poured down in torrents, and our clothes were commonly as wet as if they had been dipped in water.”

    Caley’s epic journey, and our visit today, couldn’t have been more different!

    All photos: Lesley Waite/Ian Cox

    Read about another of Ian's Blue Mountains adventures here.


  • 27 Jan 2020 10:24 PM | enewsletter Editor (Administrator)

    With our increasingly hotter and drier conditions and water restrictions in many locations, new approaches are needed even for gardeners used to native plants.

    Here are some tips to consider for hotter and drier conditions in general and for more very hot days.

    Well-known tips for all gardeners that are still tried-and-true include:

    • Choosing plants appropriate for the conditions, which means matching up your conditions and the preferred conditions of plants.
    • Grouping plants with similar preferred conditions together in the garden.
    • Using mulch to cover the surface of the soil to retain moisture and prevent weeds.

    Tips for replacing plants

    For existing plants in gardens, our hotter and drier conditions mean that as well as the natural old age deaths of plants, some may disappear before their expected lifespan. Although it is always sad to lose a carefully chosen and nurtured plant, think of it as an opportunity to replace it with a more tolerant plant.

    • Research heat and dry-tolerant genera and species.
    • Be aware of the preferred conditions of the plants you choose.
    • Aim for plants that thrive, not just survive, in our new conditions.
    • Consider the likely future climate conditions in your area, particularly when planting trees or longer lasting plants.
    • Collect seed or take cuttings from favourite plants so you have a chance to grow more.

    Tips for very hot days

    • Cover sensitive plants to prevent leaf burn.
    • Water well in the days before.
    • Prune plants.

    Is it really dead?

    Don’t be too quick to write-off a plant after a bout of hot weather. It may look unhappy, but could recover from wilted or dead leaves. Even with dead leaves, the rest of the plant may still be alive. Prune off affected foliage then water well and wait to see what happens. Research if the plant has a lignotuber, epicormic buds or other ways to recover from leaf damage. For larger plants with a trunk, scrape away a small piece of bark to see if the plant is alive.

    Tips for plants in pots

    Plants in pots need particular care due to their smaller amount of soil and ability to dry out faster.

    • Avoid black plastic pots. Even sitting a black pot in another larger lighter colour pot can help.
    • Use waterwell pots to allow plants to draw on moisture as they need it.
    • Cover the soil surface with mulch.
    • Use bigger pots.
    • Soak pots in a bucket of water and let them drain to fully soak them.
    • Move pots to a shadier, sheltered position, on a day forecast to be particularly hot and/or windy.

    Thriving not just surviving

    An example of plants which thrive may be eremophilas, but not correas. Maria Hitchcock, the former leader of the Correa Study Group and holder of the National Correa Collection in Armidale NSW, writes in the December 2019 Correa Study Group newsletter that correas are generally thought to be drought-hardy plants and until the current drought she has rarely had to water her well-mulched gardens. However, the current conditions have proven disastrous for many recent and even well-established plants. While Maria’s collection is now being held in pots until the drought ends, climate change may lead to a rethink on how we garden, possibly moving towards more deep-rooted trees rather than shallow-rooted shrubs such as correas.

    The Gardening Australia February 2020 issue has ideas too.

    Send your tips or success stories to the enewsletter editor Rhonda Daniels at enewsletter@austplants.com.au


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