Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden Port Augusta Incorporated


The Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden Port Augusta, Incorporated

NEWS RELEASE: 18-02-2000


The Society

Current Newsletter

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John Zwar

Ph (08) 867 0324 ah


Gwen Leane

Ph (08) 8643 6191


Alison Daw

Ph (08) 8642 2748 ah.

Tradesperson / Gardener

Bernie Haase

Ph (08) 8641 1443 ah
Ph (08) 8641 1049 w

NEXT EVENT: March meeting - Saturday 11th March 2000

MARCH MEETING: The first meeting for the year will be held on Saturday 11th March, at 1.00pm in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room at the Garden, with well known local bird artist and authority on birds, Peter Langdon as guest speaker. Peter will share his knowledge of local birds, including those to be seen in the Garden, tell us of the Port Augusta Bird Society plans to build a bird hide in the Garden (materials have been delivered to the Garden) and possibly show us some of his paintings. Peter has an extensive knowledge of birds in the region and has led several bird watching tours at the Garden. This will be an excellent opportunity to learn more about local birds and the fascinating relationship some have with plants. All interested are most welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be available after the meeting.

GARDEN LOCATION The AALBG's main entrance is off the Stuart Highway (Woomera Road) approx. 1.5km north of the junction with the Eyre Highway at Port Augusta West. Follow the entrance road into the garden to the car park (about 1.2km). Besides the Bluebush Cafe, the Visitor Reception Building houses a fine interpretative display, a large range of Australian made gift items and books in the shop (ideal gifts), and toilet facilities as well as the adjoining WMC Herbarium Meeting Room. Why not arrive early, visit the Garden and enjoy lunch in the Bluebush Cafe?

LAST MEETING: The final meeting for the year was held on Saturday 27th November at the Garden. Friends enjoyed hearing Noel Lothian, former Director of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, the guest speaker. Noel spoke about the history and development of the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden which commenced during his period as Director, and had some very interesting comments on our Garden too. During the afternoon Noel presented a collection of books from his personal library to form the nucleus of a library at the AALBG (approximately six cartons, and he is considering a further donation of books this year as well). The collection was received by City Librarian Cynthia Collins and Councillor Chris Pycroft who chairs the AALBG Board both of whom thanked Noel for his generous donation. Cynthia has since catalogued the collection which is housed in secure herbarium cupboards at the Garden. The books will be available to the public by application to the Port Augusta Library, but will not be loaned out. Noel was accompanied by his wife Vivian who is a retired librarian.

CHRISTMAS DINNER: Following the meeting in November about 30 Friends including some who had travelled long distances, attended the Christmas dinner in the Bluebush Cafe at the Garden. Noel and Viv Lothian were our guests for the evening. Once again, the Bluebush Cafe staff provided an excellent meal, beautifully presented.

NEW MEMBERS: A special welcome is extended to recently joined members of the Friends.

COMMITTEE MEETING: Committee members please note: A brief committee meeting will be held in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room at 10.30am on Saturday 11th March, before the meeting at 1.00pm.

BIRD WALK in the AALBG. The Port Augusta Bird Observers Group in conjunction with the Friends will hold their next bird walk in the Garden, Sunday April 2nd 2000 at 7.00am. Enquiries: Bernie Haase. (Sundays were chosen for the walks rather than Saturdays as a number of interested people have work commitments early Saturday mornings). The usual BBQ breakfast may be provided after the walk by the Friends for a nominal fee - please phone Morry Vile to register your interest in this, for catering purposes.

MEMBERSHIP CARDS: Members will receive their membership cards with this news release. Show this card in the AALBG shop to receive 10% discount on purchases.

BUILDING WORKS: PROPAGATION HOUSE The Friends are funding a large shade house soon to be erected in the Garden works depot, next to the propagation house. This will be used by Friends volunteers to propagate and grow on plants for events such as the Eremophila Festival and for planting in the Garden.

BIRD HIDE. This has been designed by Port Augusta Bird Society members. Materials have been delivered to the Garden and Bird Society volunteers will erect the structure in the sand dune section of the Garden as the weather cools down,

AALBG PROGRESS REPORT by BERNIE HAASE, 3.11.1999 to 15.2.2000

Despite hot summer conditions many plants are growing very well, especially with additional watering. Planting continues with record updating and label production and installation. The upright labels on aluminium strip are now bent at right angles to allow easier reading. Longer blanks are now ordered to facilitate this.

Weeding continues, and I had the help of a Friends volunteer, Robyn Buy, from Adelaide for several days in November. She also assisted with propagation as have other Friends helpers. Bob Baird has also been helping regularly every Wednesday until recent very hot weather.

Seed and cuttings collected in the far west of SA last August have been propagated and are growing well. A propagation and shade house funded by the Friends is being built by Skillshare and is to be erected in the Garden Works Compound next week. Kangaroos on site are causing some damage to plants, And even though they are chased out they return at night. Vandalism still occurs. The flag on the newly erected flag pole at the main entrance was stolen and the flag pole damaged. It is now being repaired.

Blocked irrigation drippers in the screening belt have been replaced and fertiliser broadcast throughout stage one areas, especially on poorer soils. New tracks have been cleared in stage two areas to provide access to regional plantings. I hope they will be surfaced and gravelled soon. Black bluebush has been cleared from the West Coast Mallee regional area by skillshare workers. This was done as black bluebush does not grow in the mallee region and it will also enable new plantings to establish better, without intense root competition.

Irrigation systems have been designed for regional plantings and will be ordered when some extra information from suppliers is received. Additional parts will also be ordered to upgrade some existing irrigation systems. The bird hide will be constructed soon as materials have arrived. Volunteer builders from the Port Augusta Bird Society are awaiting cooler weather.

New volunteer tour guides are progressing well with their training, and will be showing visitors around soon. I have just started a month of annual leave, but the Garden and young plants will be looked after by the Garden's first apprentice, Jim Martin. He will be busy with plants whilst Quentin continues to work with the work gang from the prison. This scheme, utilising prison labour is to continue in 2000.

When my leave is over and irrigation parts arrive, development of areas for regional plantings will proceed.

Friends are welcome to participate in these bird watching outings.

Sunday 12 March 2000 - Port Patterson - Meet at weighbridge on Highway One, 8.00am

Sunday 2nd April 2000 - AALBG, 7.00am

Sunday 14th May 2000 - Mambray Creek - Meet at Mambray Creek Roadhouse 8.00am

Sunday 11th June 2000 - Bird Lake Port Augusta - Meet at Pistol Club Old ETSA Road 8.30am

Sunday 2nd July 2000 - AALBG, 8.30am

Sunday 6th August 2000 - Pichi Richi Tourist Camp - meet at complex 8.00am

Sunday 3rd September 2000 - AALBG 7.30am

Saturday23rd & Sunday 24th September 2000 - camp out - Carriewerloo Station

Sunday 15th October 2000 - Mambray Creek - Meet at Mambray Creek Roadhouse 8.00am

Sunday 12th November 2000 - Port Patterson - meet at weighbridge Highway One 7.00am

Sunday 10th December 2000 - Bird Lake Port Augusta - meet at Pistol Club Old ETSA Road 7.00am
For more detail and further information contact Peter on telephone (08) 8642 5723.

EREMOPHILA FESTIVAL: Following the overwhelming success of the first Eremophila Festival, a Friends initiative, held in the Garden in 1998, the second will be held on Saturday 9th September this year at the Garden. The last event attracted more than 1,000 visitors to the Garden on the day, many of them for the first time. In the coming months details will be finalised, but it is expected that there will be stalls, displays and possibly entertainment, focusing on arid zone plants, crafts and produce, the outback and botany. Again many eremophila species will be on sale including some which are not common in cultivation. Friends volunteer growers have been propagating eremophilas and other plants for our stall for some time. Other growers, nurseries and crafts people will also participate. Suggestions for the festival and offers to assist in various ways will be welcomed by the Committee. Note the date and "watch this space" in the next news release!

SCREENED LUNCH SHELTER: At the last Board Meeting Friends representative Brian Powell recommended that a screened lunch shelter, partly sunken into the ground and built largely of natural materials be constructed adjacent to the little used picnic area near the main car park. The proposal is being further developed. The aim is to build an attractive, low profile, fly proof shelter, where visitors can eat their own food or enjoy picnic baskets prepared in the Bluebush Café. The shelter will have attractive views, but not be visible from the Bluebush Café. It should be large enough to take three or four tables, seating six people. More shade trees in the picnic area are to be planted also.

ENTRANCE GATES: Brian Powell also raised the issue of appropriate entrance gates at the Garden's main entrance. John Zwar suggested that the Gardens Western Myall logo on iron gates would be fitting. The Project Architect is to be asked for comment. Does any Friend know of a metal worker or foundry who could be approached for advice on designing and fabricating gates?

VICE PRESIDENT Morry Vile who undertakes much behind the scenes work for the Friends has recently been hospitalised on two occasions. We all wish him a speedy recovery and extend thanks for all he does for our organisation. He was unable to attend the last Board Meeting and alternate member Bruce Leane stood in for him.

SHALE TREES FOR MAIN CAR PARK: At the Board Meeting Bruce Leane commented on the need for fast growing shade trees to be planted in appropriate locations to prove as much shade as possible for parked cars. We look forward to these plantings being undertaken soon.

OFF CENTRE WORK GANG is the official title of the group of prison labourers who undertake work at the AALBG. Recently a memorandum of understanding was signed by Port Augusta's City Manager and the Department of Correctional Services on behalf of the AALBG enabling this work scheme to continue at the Garden in the year 2000. This source of labour enables work such as removal of Buffell Grass, other weeds and various tasks which could not otherwise be undertaken by the Garden's small labour force.

PORT AUGUSTA AUTOMATIC WEATHER STATION: This facility was moved to the Garden's Research area some years ago and in order to place it where the Bureau of Meteorology required, a number of young trees, some of the first group planted at the Garden as part of a tree establishment trial was removed. Recently the Bureau required more remaining trees from this initial planting to be removed as they considered these would also affect true readings being taken. The matter was discussed by the Board and it was agreed, though not unanimously to remove the additional trees considered by the Bureau to be causing a problem. The trees were removed. Shortly afterwards the Bureau notified City Council that they had decided to relocate the weather recording station to the Port Augusta Airport! It was realised then that the trees had been removed needlessly. A very poor reflection on the organisational abilities and communication skills of those concerned in the Bureau of Meteorology and of their concern for the environment! Lets hope they make a better job of forecasting the weather.

Issued 18.2.2000 by John Zwar President, The Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, Pod Augusta Inc., P0 Box 2040 Port Augusta SA 5700. Ph (08) 8671 0324 ah, Facsimile C/- (08) 8671 0179.


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