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: 21-05-2000

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President

John Zwar

Ph (08) 867 0324 ah

Secretary

Gwen Leane

Ph (08) 8643 6191

Treasurer

Alison Daw

Ph (08) 8642 2748 ah.

Tradesperson / Gardener

Bernie Haase

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

NEXT EVENT: June meeting - Saturday 10th June 2000

JUNE MEETING: Our next meeting will be held on Saturday 10th June, at 1.00pm in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room at the Garden. Michael Wigg, a National Parks Ranger for the South Flinders District will be our guest speaker. Michael is based at the Mambray Creek Head Quarters and as one of a team of four, is involved in management of parks east of the range; Alligator Gorge, Mount Brown and the Dutchman's Stern Conservation Parks. Michael's presentation will cover national parks operations in the South Flinders Ranges and national parks in general with slides of parks in the region. Michael is a former teacher having taught at schools in Port Augusta and Quorn for seventeen years before joining National Parks five years ago. In his new role he worked on Kangaroo Island for three years and has been at Mambray Creek for the last two years. We look forward to an interesting presentation highlighting parks and natural history of the Southern Flinders Ranges close to Port Augusta.

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 interpretive 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: Peter Langdon, well known local bird artist and authority on birds shared his knowledge of local birds, including those seen in the Garden and showed slides of many of the birds described. It was an excellent opportunity to learn more about local birds and the fascinating relationship some have with plants.

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 10.00am on Saturday 10th June before the meeting at 1.00pm. There is much to discuss, especially planning for the Eremophila Festival to be held at the Garden in September.

BUlLDING WORKS: PROPAGATION HOUSE The Friends have funded a large shade and propagation house which has been erected in the Garden works depot, next to the existing propagation house. Thanks to Morry Vile and Bruce Leane for organising this project. The house is being used by Friends volunteers to propagate and grow on plants for events Such as the Eremophila Festival (Sat 9th Sept 2000) and for planting in the Garden. Approximately seven volunteers spend one day a week propagating, and to date more than 600 eremophilas have been produced and are growing on with hundreds more to be progressively potted for sale at the Eremophila Festival. The house is almost full already! Cuttings of most species tried have struck readily in the propagation unit which consists of a hot bed with mist. It is probable that this group will also propagate various eremophila species for city council landscape projects in the future, which will raise funds for the Garden.

BIRD HIDE. The first bird hide at the Garden has been erected and only minor works remain to be completed. The Port Augusta Bird Society has sponsored this worthwhile project. Sincere thanks to this organisation!

BIRD OBSERVERS CLUB OF AUSTRALIA, PORT AUGUSTA GROUP - Programme 2000
Friends are welcome to participate in these bird watching outings.

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

Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th September 2000 - camp out - Carriewerloo Station

Sunday 15 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: Planning is well advanced for the second Eremophila Festival, a Friends initiative, to be held in the Garden on Saturday 9th September this year. The last event attracted more than 1,000 visitors to the Garden on the day, many of them for the first time. Secretary Gwen Leane especially, with help from others has been very busy organising the event. There will be stalls, nurseries, the Desert Singers and a range of other attractions focusing on arid zone plants, the outback and botany. Again many eremophila species will be on Sale including some which are not common in cultivation. As mentioned above Friends volunteer growers have been busy 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.

MEMBERSHIP: Would members please check the date on their News Release address label to see if their subscription is due? Renewed subscriptions are very much appreciated!

MEMBERSHIP CARDS: Don't forget to show your membership card in the AALBG shop to receive 10% discount on purchases - including meals.

FRIENDS REPRESENTATIVES on the AALBG Board, Morry Vile and Brian Powell have both undergone major heart surgery in recent months and we wish them both speedy and complete recoveries. Morry and Brian are active volunteers and have assisted with many significant developments in the Garden. Bruce Leane has stood in as a Friends representative on the Board in their absence.

GARDEN OPEN HOURS: At the last Board meeting the possible extension of opening times for the Garden was discussed as the issue of early closing, especially at weekends (4.00pm) had been raised by a number of visitors who have completed visitor survey forms at the Garden. The matter is to be investigated by Council staff. It may be possible to close the Visitor Reception Building at the current times, but leave the Garden open longer - perhaps until sunset as occurs at some other gardens. Issues such as security and public liability are being considered.

MAIN ENTRANCE: Transport SA has agreed to construct a slip lane (passing lane) for northbound traffic on the Stuart Highway at the main entrance to the Garden. Once this is complete, safety at this location will be improved.

VOLUNTEER INSURANCE COVERAGE: All volunteers working at the Garden are covered by Council's insurance coverage, but each MUST sign a statement which indicates the work they are undertaking on behalf of the Garden Board within the AALBG site. All volunteers please check with Bruce Leane or with Pauline Hedger at the Garden to ensure that you have signed the appropriate paperwork to ensure coverage in the event of accident or injury.

AALBG PROGRESS REPORT by BERNIE HAASE, 16.2.2000 - 21.5.2000

All narrow strip metal plant labels in the Garden have now been bent so text faces the viewer to enable easier reading. Recent rain has germinated winter weed growth which is being hand weeded or sprayed. The prison work gang is still attempting to control buffel grass, but I think it is fighting a losing battle. Many eremophila plants were attacked by soft scale insects and have been sprayed several times. Vandals cut a large hole in the boundary fence which was repaired, and other damage continues.

Seeds of winter plants have been sown and are being pricked out as they germinate. Planting is continuing throughout the Garden and records continually being updated. New labels are made and installed as required. Acacia host plants for Quandong trials in the Research Area have been planted. More eremophilas have been purchased by the Friends, including some new species, and planted in the Eremophila Garden. Many more were also donated by Pinery Nursery, in preference to being thrown out because they were old stock. These have since been repotted and revived by the Friends and are looking good.

The Friends are busy propagating plants, mainly eremophilas from cuttings, for the Eremophila Festival on September 9th. The Friends now have their own shadehouse and propagation unit which they funded in the Garden Work Compound. Skillshare constructed the frame and benches and installed shade cloth. We have installed the heat bed and irrigation system. A new irrigation timer which controls all the systems at the compound has been installed.

A flag pole has been erected at the Garden main entrance and a steel box installed at its base where the flag (featuring the Garden's Western Myall emblem) is stored overnight so that it will not be stolen again. The first bird hide in the Garden is almost complete, thanks to the Port Augusta Bird Society.

Tracks in the West Coast and Flinders Ranges regional sections have been scalped and gravelled. When the irrigation materials arrive for these areas they will be planted as the first plants for these areas are well and truly ready for planting out. The screening belt track has been gravelled and additional tracks will be constructed to link this with the network of tracks in the main body of the Garden. Another track will be developed to connect with a track from the Hurcombe Crescent bus stop. This will enable people to walk from this bus stop on the Port Augusta town bus route to the main garden area and back, approximately a 2km walk.
Bernie Haase

GARDEN GUIDES. Several Friends have now been trained as volunteer guides at the Garden, and with cooler weather there are visitors wanting guided tours most days, after a quieter period through the summer. Garden Guide Peter Elliott said that groups range from 1 to 15 visitors, and occasional bus tours when three guides each take a group of 15 visitors. Eremophilas are beginning to flower and are always of interest. Such common plants as Ruby Saltbush and Buckbush (a weed) create considerable interest along with the edible flowers of pig face for example. Sturt's Desert Pea and Sturt's Desert Rose are highlights for many visitors too. There are now enough trained guides to fill the weekly roster, and a couple of others who fill in for regulars when they are unable to attend. If you are interested in being trained as a guide, please contact Secretary Gwen Leane for further information. Thanks to our guides for giving freely of their time and knowledge and for making a visit to the Garden so much more interesting and enjoyable for visitors.

Issued 21.5.2000 by John Zwar President, The Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, Port Augusta Inc., P0 Box 2040 Port Augusta SA 5700. Ph (08) 8671 0324 ah, Facsimile c/- (08) 8671 0179.

 

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