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  • 16 Apr 2018 8:33 AM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

    As many members may know, Noel Rosten of North Shore Group was tragically killed on 26 February when hit by an out of control 4WD while checking the letter box. 

    His wife, Rae, sent some of his most recent bird pictures as a farewell.

    Thank you Rae and thank you to Noel for your wonderful contribution of bird photos over the years. We will miss you. 

  • 12 Apr 2018 7:00 PM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

    The Grevillea Park is thrilled to be celebrating its 25 year anniversary and is holding a series of open days in the coming month. 

    For more information, click here: Grevillea Park Autumn Open Days 2018.pdf

    A great chance for a few hours  in a lovely garden. 

  • 10 Apr 2018 12:38 PM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

    On a beautiful autumn afternoon last weekend, we headed off to Callala Bay to seek out the Callala Creek Reserve boardwalk. The boardwalk has been recently reopened after being damaged by fires at the end of 2016 and sits between Callala Bay and Callala Beach taking in the Callala Creek salt marsh. The walk consists of constructed recycled plastic boards and areas of open bush paths. The boards allow visitors to walk through the Sepp14 wetland without causing damage to the wetland itself. 

    This small area contains a number of different vegetation communities including Swamp Oak floodplain forest dominated by Casuarina glauca, where the graceful sprays of Dendrobium teretifolium (Bridal Veil orchids) can be found in early spring. 

    Examples of both Swamp sclerophyll forest and Bangalay sands forest are traversed. They are good examples of these coastal communities that have come under threat from housing developments and village expansions along the much sort after coastal areas south of Sydney. The understorey in the wet forested areas is thick and impenetrable with a dense mat of fine leaved sedges and ferns interspersed with a range of delicately flowering plants that scramble for sunlight. 

    Flowering their little heads off were Goodenia ovata (Hop Goodenia), Lobelia alata and Atriplex hastata (a foreigner often mistaken for a native). Tiny white daisies flowers of Lagenifera stipitata popped up their little heads. Shots of the purple fan flowers of Scaevola aemula drew attention amongst the sedges. The midstorey was dominated by Melaleuca ericifolia (Swamp paperbark) with the occasional Melaleuca styphelioides

    The walk follows along the edge of the salt marsh on the banks of Callala Creek. From here you can see through to the back of the hind dunes along the edge of Callala Beach. The area is dominated by River Mangroves (Aegiceras corniculatum) nearer to the water’s edge. The open mudflats carry sparse vegetation of Saltworts, Samphires and Seablites. Their plump little leaves giving a salty tang when popped in the mouth. It was low tide and soldier crabs scuttled about on the open sandy mud ducking down tunnels when surprised. All four of the vegetation communities present are listed endangered in NSW.

    Just a word of warning for anyone heading out on this fascinating little walk, don’t forget to wear long pants and sleeves or the mozzies will have a feast on you! Our chief mozzie attractor had decided to have a swim in the lovely Callala Bay with a friend instead of joining us on the walk so I was elevated to top mozzie meal, thank goodness for the long pants but gee they loved my ears! With precautions taken this is well worth the hour or so walk to really get immersed in these special coastal plant communities. 

    Leslie McKinnon 

    For more information about the Nowra Group, see here

  • 9 Apr 2018 2:39 PM | RALPH CARTWRIGHT (Administrator)

    Last week, I joined some other volunteers on the Curra Moors track in the Royal National Park for some track trimming activities. This track goes through a lot of the burnt areas from the January fires which 'destroyed' over 2,000 hectares in late January.

    It is not destroyed at all, but springing back to life with a vengeance. Most of the native trees are re-sprouting from epidormic buds on the trunks or from the base. The new growth is often pink or red. Very photogenic, as you can see.

    Birds could be seen back in the area, along with a goanna and evidence of both lyre birds and echidna. Lots of fungi, too.

    The grass trees are all looking very pretty after their dead leaves were removed by the fire.

  • 8 Apr 2018 7:39 AM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

    Three members of APS NSG went “on holidays” and ventured to Loftus on the balmy Saturday morning. We arrived just in time to join Rhonda leading the group on the guided tour of the beautiful Joseph Banks Native Plants Reserve.

    As with Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens, the initial development of this area as a native reserve was due to the foresight of keen conservationists some fifty years ago. Conditions have changed over the reserve’s life and plantings are reflecting these. For example, the rainforest area is no longer as cool and shady so the plants that once thrived are struggling, so other plantings are now occurring. Sutherland Shire Council and APS Sutherland Group have recently undertaken some major improvements of the Reserve. 

    At the meeting in the afternoon, the speaker, Geoff Doret, (Greenweb Officer at Sutherland Shire Council) presented How to Create a Wildlife Habitat at Home. Geoff has a challenging, yet rewarding job helping to implement biodiversity policies. His passion was obvious. He commented that some species are very commonly used as they are well adapted to urbanisation. These are important because it is through the common species and the wildlife that they support that the average person has contact with the natural world. 

    The habitat requirements and behaviours of the animals and plants affects the success rates of their existence, their survival and ability to prosper. Due to a decrease in habitat there has been a decrease locally in the numbers and diversity of small birds, frogs, reptiles, microbats and invertebrates. Usually the aggressive species are the more successful. Geoff stressed that a multilayered habitat is required and touched on the importance of ground level features (such as mulch, leaves, rocks and twigs), tree hollows and water features (ponds and creeks). He commented that pruning up, i.e. leaving a gap between the tree canopy and lower vegetation often helps. 

    Connected corridors and “stepping stone” gardens are extremely important for maintaining biodiversity. Good biodiversity has many health benefits including better air and soil conditions, pest control and the value of property also increases. 

    Some of the practical ideas that Geoff suggested were:

    •  Creating “stepping stone” gardens. 
    • Installing nest boxes- consider what your target species is as the box size and design varies accordingly.
    • Prune trees in a way that can maintain any hollows present or create a hollow.
    • Frog ponds can be any size and made from anything. Remember that frogs need a means of getting in and out of the “pond”. Plantings of strappy leafed plants, e.g. dianella, lomandra, nearby are recommended.
    • Plants with smaller flowers such as westringia and some hakeas attract smaller birds, while plants with larger flowers such as the larger grevilleas encourage larger birds. Interlocking, smaller spiky plants favour smaller species.
    • Native bee hotels: most species are solitary and require single holes with <10mm diameter. Suitable materials include terracotta or PVC pipes filled with bamboo stalks, mud with drilled holes or logs with multiple holes drilled in them.
    • Include rocks in the landscape.
    • Mass plantings are encouraged.
    • Provide bird baths: position out in the open a bit to protect the birds from predators.
    • Solar lights can be used to attract nocturnal insects. In simple words- provide HABITAT

    Text and first image: Jan Williamson; other images: Heather Miles

  • 4 Apr 2018 9:17 AM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

    Dear members, 

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    Changes are being made to comply with the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) which has mandated that all credit card processors must retire version 1.0 of an encryption method called TLS (Transport Layer Security).

    To comply with this directive, and ensure the highest standards of security and data integrity, Wild Apricot will stop supporting TLS versions 1.0 and 1.1 on March 12, 2018, but will continue to support TLS version 1.2. Some older browser versions do not support TLS 1.2, so visitors to your Wild Apricot site may have to upgrade their browsers if they want to make payments on this site.

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    If any questions, please contact

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  • 2 Apr 2018 4:59 PM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

    A small group of Newcastle members had a very pleasant visit to Boongala Nursery run by Mal and Jenny Johnston in Kenthurst, Sydney.

    This garden and nursery has been an institution for many years for those interested in Australian plants and is well worth a visit.

    There are several walks through the grounds including a rainforest walk.

    A large range of plants are for sale, including some grafted Eremophilas, some of which disappeared into the back of my car with lightning like speed. One of my favourite plants was among them, that being Eremophila mackinnleyi. This impressive Eremophila is to be seen to great advantage at the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens at Port Augusta (along with with many other Eremophilas and small Eucalypts).

    Some of the other plants seen at the Nursery are attached.

  • 2 Apr 2018 4:36 PM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

    Ever seen a 'zoo of trees?' 

    Kevin Stokes from Newcastle Group is fascinated by eucs and suggests a visit to the Currency Creek Eucalyptus Arboretum in South Australia can be a rewarding experience. 

    He says, "Perhaps the best way to introduce the arboretum is by using a summary from the web site:

    'The main purpose of Currency Creek Arboretum (CCA) is research into Australia's dominant natural group of plants, the eucalypts (genera Angophora, Eucalyptus and Corymbia).

    Currency Creek Arboretum was established and is managed by Dean Nicolle and is largely self-funded. The arboretum has the largest collection of Eucalypt species in the world, with over 900 species and subspecies (and over 8000 individual plants). This is almost double the number of Eucalypt taxagrown on any other one site elsewhere. Major plantings continue most years.'

    Eucalyptus is a quintessential Australian genus, along with Corymbia and Angophora, and are of enormous interest from many points of view not least of which is taxonomy. 

    The distribution of Australian Eucalypts is interesting in itself and why are there so many species? Eucalypts are small shrubs to large trees and occur over most of the country, although are sparsely occurring in arid areas and are absent from rainforests. They provide a panorama of forms and flower colours and form.

    If you are not familiar with the Arboretum or website and are interested in the Eucalypts a visit to the site will be rewarding. 

    Included are a few images of Eucalyptus Kevin has come across during his travels.

  • 2 Apr 2018 4:12 PM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

    The enterprising David Drage of Northern Beaches recently wrote to APS VIC to see if NSW members could purchase seed from them. 

    Chris Long, the APS Vic President has let us know that they are happy to provide to APS NSW members on the same conditions as apply to APS VIC members.  These conditions are found in the attached document and are basically a maximum of six packets of seed per quarter.

    There will be no cost to APS NSW.

    Attached are a pdf of the seed bank listing from the VIC website and also a pdf of the insert from the latest Growing Australian.  

    Chris and the committee from APS VIC look forward to helping their NSW colleagues with their seed requirements, believing it is important to help each other where we can.

    Thanks to David Drage for his initiative and to the generous Victorians!

    Seed List - Mar 2018

    APSV seed bank list Mar 2018

  • 24 Mar 2018 6:28 PM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

    The day's program is now set for 26 May, hosted by Parramatta-Hills Group. 

     Location is: 

    Gumnut Community Centre Gumnut Place Cherrybrook, NSW 

    10am - 12noon: Morning activities

    Choice of a visit to Ian Cox's beautiful garden or a scenic and relaxing bush walk. 

    • Ian Cox's garden: 5 Ivy Place Kenthurst (off Jones Road). 

    • Bush walk with Jennifer Farrer: Meet at the end of Trevor Lane Cherrybrook, which runs off Purchase Road. The walk leads to an extensive stone outcrop which overlooks Pye's Creek, where the large expanse of sandstone is a fun place to explore. The route passes through typical Hawkesbury sandstone vegetation -which includes Banksia serrata, Corymbia gummifera and Eucalyptus haemastoma. More Banksias such as spinulosa, oblongifolia and marginata form the understorey. The main attraction of the walk in May when there isn't much flowering, will be the scenic outlooks experience along the walk.

    1 - 3pm AGM and Gathering, Gumnut Community Centre, Cherrybrook

    1-1.30pm Annual General Meeting. The agenda is on page 31, Native Plants for NSW, January 2018 or on the Society's website at 

    1.30-3pm Talk: When is a Grevillea a Hakea? 

    The guest speaker is Peter Olde. Peter is a Life Member of APS NSW, recipient of the Australian Plants Award at the ANPSA Biennial Conference, Canberra 2015 and the leader of the Grevillea Study Group. He is an excellent and entertaining speaker who will discuss the current state of play regarding the relationships between the two genera. Peter will also discuss some of the new cultivars of Grevilleas and is always keen to share his jnowledge of grevilleas with us. 

    There will also be Australian native plants available for sale. See here for more information.

P.O. Box 263
Cremorne  Junction NSW 2090

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Membership: merleaps@bigpond.

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