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: 29-09-2002


The Society

Current Newsletter

Application Form


John Zwar

Ph (08) 867 0324 ah


Chrissie Hallett

Ph (08) 8641 2937


Bob Baird

Ph (08) 8643 6343

Tradesperson / Gardener

Bernie Haase

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

NEXT EVENT: This coming Saturday, 5th October 2002 - Official Opening by The Hon Barry
Wakelin MHR, Member for Grey, of Regional Plantings at the AALBG, which were funded partly by a
Centenary of Federation Community Projects Program grant awarded to the Friends. This will be at
1.00pm at the AALBG, followed by our October meeting at 1.30pm in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room.
All friends and others interested are warmly invited to attend.

GUEST SPEAKER: Our guest speaker for the October meeting will be The Hon Barry Wakelin MHR, Member for Grey, our local Federal Member of Parliament. Barry will be with us to open the Regional Plantings at the Garden at 1.00pm as mentioned above. Following the opening we will move into the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room, our usual meeting place where Barry will be our Guest Speaker. He has been invited to speak on “The Environment” and his talk may cover his perceptions on how farming on Eyre Peninsula has changed over the years as we have gained a much greater understanding of our environment. Barry and his wife Christine who is likely to be with us on the day, farm at Kimba, west of Port Augusta.

NEW MEMBERS: A special welcome is extended to all recently joined members of the Friends. As this is a long weekend we hope that some members not resident in Port Augusta may be able to join us on the day.

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 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). Stay and talk with other friends over afternoon tea following the meeting.

COMMITTEE MEETING: Committee members, please note there will be a committee meeting held on Saturday 5th October at 10.00am in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room at the AALBG, followed by lunch in the Bluebush Café at 12 noon, before the Regional Plantings opening at 1.00pm.

LAST MEETING: This was the AGM, followed by guest speaker Colin Jennings, a retired teacher of chemistry and science. He has a very keen interest in a wide range of horticultural pursuits, especially in the cultivation of species plants from a wide range of genera, both native and exotic. Colin has been an active member of the Australian Plants Society (SA Region) for over twenty years and Leader of the ASGAP Eremophila Study Group, and editor of its Newsletter, since 1990. He has presented papers relating to eremophilas at various conferences and has been responsible for the organisation of four Eremophila Study Group Workshops. Colin co-authored the popular SGAP (SA Region) publication Eremophilas for the Garden. His talk on eremophilas concentrated on the developments which have taken place in their propagation and cultivation in recent times. The excellent talk was supported by a selection of slides of species which are relatively new to cultivation. Colin also had a selection of grafted eremophilas, many of which are relatively unknown in general collections for sale after his presentation. (They had all been propagated by Ray Isaacson from Geranium, who is a very active member of the Study Group. Part proceeds of sales are donated by Ray to the Study Group).

EREMOPHILA BROCHURE: A colour brochure featuring Eremophila is now available at the Garden. Text was provided by members of the Australian Plants Society, SA Region Inc with beautiful illustrations by Rosemary Pedler.

EREMOPHILA FESTIVAL: Gwen Lean, the Co-ordinator writes “The Third Eremophila Festival has now become a statistic. In looking back there are many positives, even though the crowd was a little smaller. A wider coverage of advertising promoted the day and there was a real air of enjoyment. The crowd seemed to want to stay and enjoy the atmosphere of the Garden and the entertainment provided. I believe the mobile tours were popular. I heard complaints that there was no room on the bus at one stage. I saw that as a good complaint. One stall holder has phoned to say thanks for a great day. She has booked a site for the next Festival. That I think is a great way to say thanks. A couple from Inglewood, Victoria wrote to say, ‘It was a privilege to meet you all... this is just to say our thankyous for kindness and personal touches.’ The Friends plant stall took in about $1000.00. The weather smiled on us and the flies took a holiday. Most stall holders said they were pleased with the day though trade was down.’

The Eremophila Festival — Opening Remarks by John Zwar, Friends President Sat 7th Sept. 2002
Welcome to this the third Eremophila Festival, organised by the Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden. This Festival was the initiative of Friends committee member and former Secretary, Gwen Leane, several years ago and is a great opportunity to showcase the Garden. Thanks Gwen for a great idea which has turned into a very successful event!

Visitors can buy plants, inspect displays, enjoy the entertainment and food and tour the Garden. Many of you may like to return on quieter days and see more of this wonderful place. If you do, I strongly recommend booking a guided tour for just a few dollars, to really experience some of the Garden in detail. Tours run by Friends volunteer guides on weekdays. More guides are needed so if this interests you please contact the Friends.

Garden tours, by bus and walking tours are also available today. (You may notice some plants which look dead or burnt off — this is the result of severe frosts this winter. They are progressively being pruned back to new growth, or removed if dead).

The Garden was officially opened in 1996, featuring a large section devoted to growing and displaying Eremophilas. Knowledge of this amazing group of plants has increased greatly since then, and now Eremophilas are much more widely known and grown. Some species are even available in ordinary garden centres, not just at specialist nurseries as their popularity increases. There is a huge range and variety of Eremophilas, with different species suitable for almost every aspect in a garden, especially in the drier areas, favoured by this group of plants. Many are very showy in flower and many attract birds, both good reasons to grow them. Some of the ground cover species make hardy lawn substitutes, needing very little water. With wise water use becoming increasingly important, Eremophilas are destined to become even more popular.

Today is a great opportunity to find out more about Eremophilas by talking to specialist growers, and an excellent chance to buy some, especially less commonly available species for your garden. Hopefully every visitor will leave with at least one Eremophila plant.

My thanks to everyone who has helped plan and prepare for this Festival, and thanks to all participants, presenters, exhibitors, tour guides, sales people, entertainers and others for their willing involvement today. I hope they all have a successful day and that visitors find the day interesting, enjoyable, and worthwhile.

It is 21 years since I proposed the development of this Garden to the City Council and though progress was very slow for the first ten years, there has been impressive growth since then.
Special thanks to the Friends Group for keeping the proposal alive in its early years and for their fantastic role in promotion, fundraising and volunteering over the years. The Councils role in taking on the development of the Garden with major corporate sponsorship from WMC Resources has been impressive. Besides the scientific and educational value of the Garden it is now a major tourist drawcard for the region.

I note that today is “National Threatened Species Day”. You may like to inspect our collection of plants in the Rare and Threatened section of the Garden to the west of the main car park. In closing I wish you all a very enjoyable day in this special Garden.
It is my pleasure now to declare this third Eremophila Festival open. Thank you.

Friends are welcome to participate in these bird watching outings.

Sunday 20th October 2002 Chinaman Creek - Meet at turnoff on Highway One 8.00am
Sunday 10th November 2002 Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden - Meet at carpark, 7.00am
Sunday 1st December 2002 Port Patterson - Meet at weighbridge, Highway One, 7.30am

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

REGIONAL PLANTINGS BROCHURE: This brochure has been produced to explain the new Regional Sections at the Garden. It is included in this News Release. Similar information is provided on signs, currently being made which we hope will be completed and erected at the Garden in time for next Saturdays opening. Thanks to Bernie Haase, John Zwar and to Michele Bain of Designhaus in Adelaide for providing information, designing, checking and having brochures and signs made.

A grant of $15,000 was awarded in 2001 to the Friends of the Australian Arid lands Botanic Garden to partially fund the development of four new regional sections.

Each of these four regional sections within The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden is being developed by, and with the assistance of staff and contractors from The City of Port Augusta, together with generous support of many 'Friends' volunteers.

Flinders RangesFlinders Ranges Region

More than 1,500 million years old, the Flinders Ranges are both naturally beautiful and of great geological interest because of their ancient seabed origins. Some of the oldest invertebrate fossils known to man were found there!

Named after Matthew Flinders who, in 1802, first sighted this system of high rocky ridges and saw-tooth peaks, the Flinders Ranges extend deep into the dry heart of Australia.

The highest peak visible from this site is Mt Brown at 964m.

St Mary’s Peak, located on the northern rim of Wilpena Pound and sometimes capped in snow, is the highest peak at 1,165m.
Sheltered gorges and tree-lined waterways with seasonal rockpools create micro environments for a number of plant species and a haven for many birds and animals. The shrub species which clothe the ranges across the seasons, have evolved to tolerate drought conditions and respond to rainfall when it occurs. There are 18 plant species endemic, or native, to the Northern Flinders Region.

Gawler RangesGawler Ranges Region

Vast hills and gullies with rocky gorges and seasonal water flows, the Gawler Ranges provide a landscape of stunning natural beauty.
At 465m, Mt Hiltaba is the highest peak in these ranges which consist of volcanic rock more than 1,500 million years old.

The climate is very hot in summer and cold in winter with an unreliable rainfall of only 295mm per annum and a high evaporation rate throughout the year.

This remote and beautiful area is home to a diverse range of plants and animals. This is because the Gawler Ranges form an interface between two distinct areas, the Eyre Peninsula Mallee country and the drier arid zone to the north.

More than 400 native plant species have been recorded in the area including Eucalyptus lansdowneana (crimson Mallee) and Triodia lanata (Woolly Spinifex) which have a national conservation rating. Another 14 species are considered rare or threatened while 7 species are endemic, or native to the region, occurring nowhere else.

Rara or threatenedRare or Threatened Australian Plants of the Southern Arid Zone

In the years after the Second World War, as much land clearance took place as had occurred in the preceding 150 years! In many parts of Australia today, natural vegetation survives only as isolated trees, or in narrow strips along roadways and water courses.

This continent’s vegetation has never been static. Dramatic climatic changes in the past and the effects of burning by Aboriginal people over thousands of years significantly changed the structure and composition of Australia’s vegetation.

However, just 200 years of European settlement has been described by some ecologists as a catastrophe for the flora and fauna of Australia.

Fortunately environmental awareness has grown in recent times and much work is being done to preserve remaining areas of pristine bushland and to revegetate degraded areas.

As Australia has 24.8% of the world’s rare and threatened plants, it Is now essential that we take seriously our stewardship of what remalns of a unique and fragile environment.

West Coast MalleeWest Coast Mallee Region

The term ‘mallee’ describes eucalypts with a multi-stemmed habit and the areas of vegetation dominated by them.

Classed as tall shrubs, mallee eucalypts produce branches from a large underground lignotuber. The number of branches ranges from a few large stems in ‘bull’ or ‘big’ mallee to the many narrow branches of ‘whipstick’ mallee.

Mallee vegetation ranges in height from 3m to 9m, though stands of Eucalyptus diversifolia on Kangaroo Island (SA) grow to 10m.

Large areas across southern Australia are dominated by mallee shrublands on a range of soils within the 250 to 380mm annual rainfall zone.

Outside these core areas, there are also mallee heaths in southern coastal WA for example, and arid mallees in the Great Victoria Desert and north of the Simpson Desert.

There are over 100 mallee species of Eucalyptus, many species occuirlng in both tree and shrub form.

Mallees are fire tolerant and produce new shoots from the lignotuber after burning.

WEDNESDAY WORKING BEES: A group of Friends meets at the Garden each Wednesday. The main task is plant propagation, but other tasks include label production, educational sessions with visiting groups of students, weeding and assistance with upgrading irrigation systems. If interested in helping occasionally or on a regular basis phone Gwen or Bruce Leane (8643 6191) or Bob Baird for details (Phone number at top of News Release). Plants propagated by the Friends are available for sale from the Garden on Wednesday mornings only — this is proving very popular, with sales increasing. This is a good fund raiser, and importantly helps distribute appropriate arid zone nativeplants for growing in the wider community. If you wish to pre-order plants to be propagated by the Friends please discuss this with Bruce Leane. Friends from other areas who can not normally participate in Friends activities are welcome to call in and meet our volunteers if passing through Port Augusta on a Wednesday.

FRIENDS VOLUNTEER GARDEN GUIDES: We have several trained garden guides who meet tour groups and individual visitors for guided tours of the garden. We urgently need more volunteers to be trained as guides to spread the load for our existing guides. The guides provide a valuable service in the Garden, and they meet interesting people from many places. Training is not difficult and is quite comprehensive. If interested in this please contact Secretary Gwen. You may like to accompany a guide on a Garden tour to see what is involved, before making a decision. Visitors pay a small fee for guided tours and 80% of this goes to the Friends.

GARDEN REPORT 4.6.2002 - 20.9.2002 by Bernie Haase.
Dear Friends, Jimmy and I have continued with plant propagation from seed and cuttings as well as planting out into the areas of mixed plantings and rare plants section. New plantings are then mulched, recorded, labels engraved and installed. Weeding in irrigated areas and along the main entrance road has been done. Some help from other council staff assisted with this task. In late June and early July we had some severe frosts, and with little moisture around many plants were badly damaged. Some were killed, but most were badly bumt. Many eremophilas were damaged, some which had not been affected by frost before in the Garden. They have been pruned back to new growth or removed if dead and the Eremophila Garden re-mulched. Replanting will begin next week. In the courtyard, some whole rows of Eremophila maculata were badly frost affected. One row will be completely removed and replaced with a more frost tolerant form. Many of the Bluebush in the courtyard are not looking too good either so I will remove the worst row and replace them with Oleria pimelioides, which has grey foliage and attractive white flowers.

Irrigation systems are gradually being upgraded with solenoid manifolds changed in the courtyard and stage one plantings and main water lines upgraded. Drippers have also been changed in these areas and in the Eremophila Garden. A group of volunteers from the Conservation Volunteers group assisted with this task. They also cleaned up rubbish and some weeds along the Flinders Red Cliff and beach. The carpark irrigation systems have also been upgraded. Irrigation has been installed in the Victoria Desert regional planting area and some plants we had in stock from that area have been planted. Drippers have just been replaced in stage one system four area and the main line will be upgraded soon. Eremophilas have been sprayed again to combat scale insects.

Vandals wrecked the fence at Flinders Redcliff so we rebuilt it and filled in an erosion gully which would also have damaged the fence if left. Groups of children have entered the Garden lately to play around and one group even started a fire which burnt a section of irrigation pipe in one of the roadside plantings. We also had to extinguish a fire burning in seaweed on the beach. Wind erosion was undermining one of the bird hides so soil has been replaced and mulched. A council worker picking up rubbish from the work compound with a loader hit one of the sheds damaging several sheets of iron and the security system cables, all of which has been repaired.

On Sunday 15 Sept we had gale force northerly winds which caused considerable damage in Port Augusta but fortunately only slight damage at the Garden, although some tracks have been eroded by wind. Our Suzuki work vehicle has been out of action for a couple of weeks for repairs to brakes. Quite a few tourist enquiries have been attended to and several guided tours conducted. Information for signs for the regional areas has been provided. These will replace temporary signs now in place.
Preparations for the Eremophila Festival went smoothly and a car park extension was cleared and a hard stand pad laid in time for the festival. One day it may be properly completed. The Festival was a success with a constant flow of people all day and stall holders happy with their results. Numbers were down slightly on previous years. One of the stall holders, Tony Clark from Nellie Nursery at Mannum donated 64 Eremophila maculata var. brevifolia to us, to help replace the frost
damaged row in the courtyard.
Well that's it for this report.
B. Haase

AGM ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE Sat 3rd August 2002: As usual at the AGM, elections were held.
Secretary Gwen Leane stood down after doing an excellent job for some years. and was presented with a large bouquet of flowers as a gesture of appreciation. The committee for the next year is:
President: John Zwar, Vice President: Morry Vile, Secretary: Chrissie HalIett, Treasurer: Bob Baird. and
Committee: Bernie Haase, Fay Poole, Gwen Leane, Bruce Leane, Geraldine Davis, Margaret Hancock, Nicole
Scharenberg, Dennis Dobson, Brian Powell.

NEW DISPLAY PANELS: A series of panels featuring the exploration of the southern coast of Australia by Captain Matthew Flinders and crew of The Investigator, the botanist and scientist Robert Brown, the ascent of Mount Brown, plants collected and the subsequent re-enactment of this ascent 200 years later as part of the Encounter 2002 celebrations has been completed and is now on display in the Visitor Reception Building display area. The panels were researched, designed and completed at short notice to comply an overlooked condition of Port Augusta council having accepted some grant funding for the Encounter 2002 celebrations. John Zwar and Michele Bain worked on this project with assistance from Robyn Barker of the Plant Biodiversity Centre, Adelaide and Dr Lance McCarthy. These impressive panels look quite striking, but are not seen to best advantage as they are not together as a series. The display area of the Visitor Reception Building has been largely taken over as an additional eating area for the Bluebush Café. The material still on display is now quite crowded. Nevertheless the panels are a fine addition to the material on display at the Garden.

SHOW AND TELL: Those attending Friends meetings are invited to bring unusual plant specimens and other relevant items of interest to meetings for a show and tell segment, which we expect will be educational for us all!

REMINDER: 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.

THE BOTANIC GARDENS OF ADELAIDE CONFERENCE: This first time event was held on 25 Sept and attended by all Botanic Gardens of Adelaide employees and other guests. Papers were presented by staff and Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide and by Guests from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London, CSIRO Adelaide, Kings Park Botanic Garden Perth, Geelong Botanic Garden and the AALBG, with John Zwar presenting a paper on the history and corporate sponsorship of our Garden. There were guided tours in the Garden, focusing on various aspects of the Adelaide Garden’s history and role. Interest in our Garden was considerable, with many present keen to hear of progress.

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. New members: Please clearly print name and address on membership application. Some recent forms have not been legible.

KITCHEN EXTENSIONS: The long awaited kitchen extensions at the AALBG’s Bluebush Café are now complete, more than 18 months later than originally scheduled. They were ready just in time for the Eremophila Festival.

Issued 29.09.2002 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

© 2002 The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden