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: 16-05-2001

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President

John Zwar

Ph (08) 867 0324 ah

Secretary

Gwen Leane

Ph (08) 8643 6191

Treasurer

Bob Baird

Ph (08) 8643 6343

Tradesperson / Gardener

Bernie Haase

Ph (08) 8641 1443 ah
Ph (08) 8641 0711w

NEXT EVENT: June Meeting - Saturday 2nd June 2001, 1.00pm in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room.
All friends and others interested are warmly invited to attend.

GUEST SPEAKER: Following the last two meetings when our guest speakers were from Europe, it is back to an Australian theme for this meeting when Pam Catcheside, a leading authority on fungi will speak and show slides on this fascinating topic with a particular focus on arid zone fungi. She will also talk about the relationship between fungi and plants such as eucalypts and between fungi and invertebrates. Pam and husband David may also undertake a fungal survey in the Garden if there has been rain. They are two of the states leading authorities on fungi and have added considerably to the collection in the State Herbarium where Pam is a volunteer. This is a topic we have not touched in our 17 years of meetings. Originally from the UK, Pam is also Editor for The Field Naturalists Society of South Australia Inc. a Visiting Scholar at Flinders University, and a botanist with many years of teaching experience.

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 Christmas gifts with 10% discount for Friends), 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? (Cafe purchases also 10% discount for Friends – show membership card).

LAST TWO MEETINGS:
MARCH MEETING: Our guest speaker for the March meeting was Howard Morgan, who is an exchange ranger from the UK, spending a year in SA at Mambray Creek in the Mount Remarkable National Park. Howard is a Warden in the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Central Wales, a position he has held since 1984. This National Park is about 70km long by about 15km wide, but is very different from an Australian national park in that it includes agricultural land and villages as well as natural areas. There are larger towns on the park perimeter. Howard showed slides which showed the beauty of this part of Wales and spoke about his experiences, which made an interesting comparison with national parks in Australia.
APRIL MEETING: Just two weeks later we had another overseas guest speaker Dr Ursula Ewald, Professor of Geography at Heidelberg University in Germany, who presented an illustrated talk on –German Forest History and Exploitation” which again contrasted with many of the presentations we have had focusing on arid zone horticulture, botany and natural history. Ursula was our Guest Speaker and gave two presentations to the Friends at our AGM in July 1999, during her last visit to Australia. She has maintained a close interest in our Garden and recently had an article featuring it published in a German garden magazine. Friends Life Member, Pauline Schiller from Adelaide brought Ursula to Port Augusta. Ursulaês presentation was a most interesting historical account of forestry in Germany and was supported by excellent slides. It was her first time to present this talk in English, and very well done. It was good to see and hear that Ursula has made an excellent recovery following treatment for cancer. She was happy to renew friendships with people she met during her last visit. It was also good to see Pauline again..

COMMITTEE MEETING: Committee members, please note there will be a committee meeting held on Sat 2nd June at 10.00am in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room at the AALBG.

WORKSHOP AT AALBG: The first plant propagation workshop, organized by the Friends and held at the Garden in April was well attended by members of the public and a real success. It was conducted by Melissa Horgan, Bushcare Support Officer, of Greening Australia, Quorn. The next workshop will be held on:

Date: Saturday June 16th 2001

Location:

Quorn Bushcare Support Base and surrounding areas. NOTE different venue
Time: 9:30 am to 1:00 pm
Content:
  • Workshop on seed collection of native plants
  • Recognising native plants
  • Legal aspects of seed collection
  • How to store seed
  • Brief propagation hints
  • Slideshow and activities in the area
  • Kids activities match the plant and seed, seed shapes and seed critters.
ENQUIRIES: Melissa Horgan, Ph: 8648 6677 or 0407 727 340

WIRRABARA FOREST WALK: This did not eventuate but may be held in autumn next year

ROXBY DOWNS, ANDAMOOKA, WOOMERA TOUR: A weekend bus tour to these northern towns is being planned for August 2001 An interesting program of visits to gardens and places of interest in each town will be developed. The tour will include an overnight stay. If interested in this tour please contact Gwen Leane. Full details will be provided in the next News Release. The tour will run only if there is sufficient interest.

BIRD HIDES: Two bird hides have been built in different areas of the garden by Port Augusta Bird Society members with support from other community groups. Local bird artist Peter Langdon has painted pictures and prepared text on some of the birds likely to be seen from the hides. They have been prepared as large information panels in full colour on metal sheet and mounted in the bird hides. They are very impressive. The Friends are funding this work. A large panel featuring all the birds illustrated is being prepared for display inside the Visitor Reception Building as well. Water conservation signs are being prepared also, and will be mounted next to rainwater taps in each of the bird hides. The taps provide drinking water for visitors.

BIRD OBSERVER'S CLUB OF AUSTRALIA, PORT AUGUSTA GROUP - PROGRAMME 2001
Friends are welcome to participate in these bird watching outings.

Sunday, 27th May 2001 Telowie Gorge - Meet at weighbridge on HIghway One 7.30am
Sunday 24th June 2001 Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, 8.00am
Sunday 29 July 2001 Pichi Richi Tourist Camp - meet at complex 8.00am
Sunday 26 August 2001 Lake Gilles Conservation Park -Meet at Tanks Carpark, Lincoln Gap 7.00am
Sunday 23 September 2001 Dutchmanês Stern -Meet at Stirling North Deli 7.00am
Sunday 21st October 2001 Mambray Creek - Meet at Mambray Creek Roadhouse 8.00am
Sunday 18th November 2001 Chinamanês Creek - meet at turnoff on Highway One 9.00am
Sunday 9th December 2001 Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, 7.30am

For more detail and further information contact Peter on telephone (08) 8642 5723 or Brian on (08) 8642 3314

FRIENDS PROPAGATORS: A keen group of Friends meet at the work compound of the Garden each Wednesday morning to propagate plants from both seed and cuttings. Some plants raised are for planting in the Garden and surplus are available for sale. These funds raised by the Friends are committed to further development of the Garden. In recent weeks students from Flinders View Primary School have joined the propagators to learn about plant propagation. Thanks to all our volunteer propagators! Anyone interested in joining this group, on a regular or occasional basis, please phone Bruce Leane for details ³ Ph 8643 6191. Friends who are travelling and are in Port Augusta on a Wednesday may wish to meet and help volunteers. You will be most welcome!

MOUNT ISA BOTANIC GARDEN: An interested group of people in Mount Isa is investigating the establishment of a Botanic Garden in their NW Queensland city. Friends President John Zwar is providing advice and suggestions, based on our experience of promoting and establishing the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden.

GARDEN REPORT 19.2.2001 ³ 15.5.2001 by Bernie Haase. At last the weather has eased and planting has been in full swing. A rare plants section has been established in the Garden. The blackbush was cleared, an irrigation system installed and plants collected or propagated for the area. To date 29 species have been planted and mulched. All the plants collected on the Gawler Range trip have been planted in the Gawler Range section. Additional plants have been grown and planted in the Flinders Ranges area, Eremophila Garden, stage I area, Boardwalk area, around bird hides, car park and main entrance. Mulching of all new plantings continues and is nearing completion, a task which has been left to Jimmy (apprentice) while I have updated planting records and identified plants which had not been identified previously. A plant label list has been completed and label engraving will be the next job to complete. Propagation continues and the next lot of seed to be sown will be those collected in the Gawler Ranges, and some rare plants from seed and cuttings. Many drippers blocked by ants have been replaced throughout the Garden. Plants which died during the extreme summer heat have been removed from the Boardwalk garden, Eremophila Garden and Stage I area. Pest control of kangaroos and rabbits continues. Scale on eremophilas is being controlled by spraying. Weeds which have had a poor year still have to be removed from irrigated areas. Vandals have damaged bins, gates and fences at Flinders Red Cliff, sprayed graffiti at the Boardwalk and damaged a solar panel at the main entrance. A security system has been installed in the work compound, so hopefully we will not have any more unwanted after hours visitors. Tubes, pots, trays and boxes used for propagating have been sterilized and cleaned with Friends volunteers assisting. More white foam fruit and vegetable type boxes are needed and if any readers can access these and deliver them to the Garden they will be very useful in the nursery. I have modified the Friends trailer by adding a jockey wheel, tool box, better gate latches and other improvements. I have drawn up a plan for a car park extension, which was shown to the Board and passed to the Council. If funds become available it may one day be built. More excess stock plants from Peter and Rhonda Hall at Pinery Nursery have been donated, and have been rejuvenated by Friends volunteer propagators. The Friends are also propagating plants to fill an order from WMC. Germinated quandong seed has been direct sown in the Research Area with a range of bush tucker acacia species as hosts, in a trial being conducted by Ben Lethbridge of the Quandong Industry Association. Greening Australia has selected a site in the Research Area for an arid zone timber plantation trial which is being replicated at various sites around Australia. The site has been prepared, a water main extended and an irrigation system installed. Planting will be done in the near future. Well thatês it for episode two for this year.
B. Haase

DONATIONS: An American nurseryman interested in eremophilas who visited the Garden in July last year and was shown around by Bernie Haase, sent a donation of $US500 (approx $1,000 Australian) to Bernie for the Garden. This was passed onto the Board. Friend Margaret Robbins, a former Port Augusta resident has sent some books she no longer needed, which have been included in the Friends library. Thanks Margaret! Friends library books may be viewed and are available to borrow at meetings - see Bruce or Gwen Leane.

EREMOPHILA FESTIVAL: This biennial event organized by the Friends is scheduled for Saturday 7th September 2002. Secretary Gwen is involved in planning and contacting potential speakers and participants. Please forward suggestions or requests to Gwen.

NOTES FROM THE AALBG BOARD:

  • Friend and Tourism representative on the Board Pat Katnich applied for grant funding for toilet facilities to be built in the Garden. The application was successful and the facilities are to be built near the sand dune bird hide by the end of June. These will be the first toilet facilities at the Garden outside the Visitor Reception Building.
  • Recently retired Director of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, and long term AALBG Board member Dr Brian Morley was guest of honour at a farewell dinner hosted by the AALBG Board in Port Augusta in March. He was thanked for his involvement over many years and presented with a gift. He has been replaced by Cohn Harris, Acting Director of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide.
  • Extensions to the kitchen and dining area of the Bluebush Cafe were to be completed in March but have been delayed and may be undertaken later this year, along with drainage improvements around the Visitor Reception Building, to minimize the risk of flood damage to the building in the event of a sudden heavy rain. Improvements to the electrical supply to the Garden are also being considered, including additional solar panels and possibly a wind generator as well as upgrading mains supply.
  • A three month trial of extended weekend opening hours of the Garden but not the Visitor Reception Building is in progress ³ 7am till sunset as opposed to lOam to 4pm. The Visitor Reception building opening times will not change. The trial will hopefully determine the value of extended opening hours to tourists and other visitors, and identify potential security problems.
  • Deputy Chairman of the Board John Zwar represented the Board at the Gardens 2001 Congress in Canberra recently. This was the first congress aimed at bringing people from botanic gardens throughout Australia together. Representatives from several overseas botanic gardens also participated. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet people involved in similar projects, hear excellent guest speakers and compare notes and exchange ideas. Although small in scale our Garden is participating in many of the programmes in which larger and well established gardens are involved.

MYALL PARK BOTANIC GARDEN: This 132 ha garden is 400 km west of Brisbane and 7 km from Glenmorgan in Queensland. Development of the garden commenced in the 1940s on the Myall Park grazing property of amateur botanist David Gordon (of Gordon grevillea fame). The planted area occupies 90 ha and is one of the oldest collections of indigenous plants in the country, and includes spectacular examples of flora from many regions of Australia, growing among excellent examples of natural plant communities of the area. It is now a community project owned and administered by a board of voluntary directors. There is a friends group which provides practical and financial support. The garden is noted for the Gordon grevilleas. Visitors can stay in comfortable cottages on site and participate in working bees. The garden has a gallery and shop and is a haven for artists. Wildlife adds another dimension to the garden. Further information is available by phoning 07 4665 6734; 07 4669 5298; 07 4665 6705 or 07 4623 5295. AGM: Our AGM will be held in July. It is hoped our speaker will be Steve Vines, Head Ranger of the Saint Kilda Mangrove Trail. Full details will be in the next news release scheduled for June.

AGM: Our AGM will be held in July. It is hoped our speaker will be Steve Vines, Head Ranger of Saint Kilda Mangrove Trail. Full details will be in the next news release scheduled for June.

AALBG WEBSITE: For those with internet access, inspect our draft website. Comment would be appreciated. The address is: www.australian-aridlands-botanic-garden.org

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

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! Receipts are normally attached to the next news release to save on postage.

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

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, Bernie 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.

Issued 16.05.2001 by John Zwar President, The Friends of the Australian And Lands Botanic Garden, Port Augusta Inc., P0 Box 2040 Port Augusta SA 5700. Ph (08) 8671 0324 ah, (08,) 8671 8558w, Facsimile C/- (08) 8671 0179 or by e-mail john.zwar@wmc.com

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