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: 20-11-2002

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President

John Zwar

Ph (08) 867 0324 ah

Secretary

Chrissie Hallett

Ph (08) 8641 2937

Treasurer

Bob Baird

Ph (08) 8643 6343

Tradesperson / Gardener

Bernie Haase

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

NEXT EVENT: Saturday, 7th December, 1.00pm in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room - Last meeting for 2002 (and Friends Dinner that evening - see details below).
All friends and others interested are warmly invited to attend.

GUEST SPEAKER: Our guest speaker for the December meeting will be Friends foundation member, Brian Powell who will present an illustrated talk covering his experiences in the north of SA over the last 40 years. This will include comment on the management of pastoraI properties, droughts and floods, vegetation, national parks and reserves, tree planting schemes and other environmental topics. Some of the trees Brian will mention are Owenia acidula, “Sour Plum”, Eremocitrus glauca, “Desert Lime”, and Capparis mitchelli, “Native Orange”. Besides managing pastoral properties before his retirement Brian has been involved in Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby research, irrigation with saline waters, Quandong research (and is considered by many to be the “Father” of the developing Quandong industry), the Northern Consultative Committee of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Friends of the AALBG and a Friends representative on the AALBG Board. Brian and Pay’s garden at Endilloe near Quorn, developed since 1984 and irrigated with saline water is noted for its extensive native plant collection, and numerous fruits including quandong, carobs, almonds, pistachios, figs, grapes, citrus and many others. Their work has provided a great deal on information on the salt tolerance of these and other crops. He has spoken to the Friends previously on his very successful role as a voluntary Greening Australia Pastoral Zone tree advisor and planter. Brian was born and grew up at Reynella in the wine industry, and wine making from grapes grown at Endilloe is another of his many interests. We look forward to his presentation which I am sure will be of interest to all.

CHRISTMAS DINNER: 7th December 2002 (following our afternoon meeting which will finish about 4.00pm) in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room at the Garden, prepared once again by the ladies from the Bluebush Cafe. This traditional Christmas dinner is a fitting end to our year of activities. Time: 6.30pm drinks, Dinner 7.00pm. Cost $22.00 per person. Please book with Morry Vile, Ph 8642 2021, or Gwen Leane on 8643 6191 by Wed 4th December. All Friends are invited to join us.

NEW MEMBERS: A special welcome is extended to all recently joined members of the Friends.We hope that you will be able to join us on the day, and for Christmas dinner that evening.

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 7th December 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: Barry Wakelin MHR, Member for Grey, our local Federal Member of Parliament opened the Regional Plantings at the Garden at 1.00pm at an informal ceremony attended by about 30 Friends, following which we moved into the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room, our usual meeting place where he was Guest Speaker. His talk covered an interesting range of environmental topics including his perceptions on how farming on Eyre Peninsula has changed over the years as we have gained a much greater understanding of our environment. The subject of water supply stimulated considerable discussion. Barry also spoke very favourably about the Garden and the role of the Friends, the Council and WMC in supporting it. We appreciated his attendance on the day which was a fitting conclusion to the Centenary of Federation Community Grant, provided to the Friends for commencing regional plantings at the Garden.

Opening of Regional Plantings at the AALBG by Federal Member for Grey, Barry Wakelin, Sat 5.10.2002.
Remarks by John Zwar, Friends President::
It is my pleasure to welcome each of you, especially Barry Wakelin, Federal Member for Grey. Barry is here to “open” these new regional plantings in the Garden.
The initial funding to develop these plantings was a Centenary of Federation Community Grant of $15,000 to the Friends of the AALBG. Friends member Pat Katnich of Andamooka and I prepared the grant application about three years ago.
I would especially like to acknowledge the work undertaken by AALBG Gardeners Bernie Haase and Jimmy Martin, along with other council help and assistance from Friends volunteers.
This grant funding was the catalyst for regional plantings in the Garden to begin. Three regional sections have been developed featuring the vegetation of the West Coast Mallee region, the Flinders Ranges and the Gawler Ranges, along with a Rare or Threatened plants section. This work has been undertaken with considerable additional Council funding and some Friends help. l cannot overemphasize the valuable role played by Friends volunteers, with only two staff employed in the Garden. Since these first plantings were commenced, work has started on another regional planting to represent the flora of the Great Victoria Desert.
The brochure produced by Friends and the new signs here in the Garden describe the regional plantings commenced with assistance of the Centenary of Federation Community Grant.
This small grant was the first government funding for the Garden for something like 10 years. It is greatly appreciated but more would be most welcome. This Garden has received very little government funding, state or federal, with most financial input coming from Port Augusta City Council, our major corporate sponsor WMC Limited and the Friends group. I ask Barry, that whenever you have the opportunity in government, you do all in your power to secure additional funding to help the AALBG continue to develop towards its full potential.
The development you see in this Garden has been undertaken with just two gardeners, some occasional additional council help and volunteer input from the Friends and others. Imagine what we could achieve with a compliment of say 10 or 12 gardeners!
It is now my pleasure to invite Barry Wakelin, Federal Member for Grey to “open” these regional and rare plants sections.

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.

BIRD OBSERVER'S CLUB OF AUSTRALIA, PORT AUGUSTA GROUP - PROGRAMME 2002
Friends are welcome to participate in these bird watching outings.

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

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.

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.

AALBG BOARD DISBANDED: At the meeting of the AALBG Board on 30 October Port Augusta Council’s CEO John Stephens advised members that with a major restructuring of various council committees it had been decided to terminate the Board. Those who had been Board members up until that time had misgivings and concerns at this news, and possibilities for future Garden management were discussed. It was resolved that former Board members and AALBG Senior Gardener, Bernie Haase would meet as a Working Group with Rieck Shine of the Council’s Parks and Gardens Departement, on an ongoing basis to provide direction and input into the management and development of the Garden. It was considered that this may be more streamlined than formal Board meetings with copious minutes and paperwork which is not always followed up. The new system will be tried and it remains to be seen how effective it will be.

GARDEN REPORT 20.9.2002 - 18.11.2002 by Bernie Haase.
(This report was written by John Zwar from notes provided by Bernie by phone so will not be as detailed as usual).
Friends, All plants in the Reception Building Courtyard have been pruned. Vandalism, much of it petty has kept us from more important tasks over the last two months. Hundreds of plant labels have been pulled out and thrown around the Garden by children. These are being replaced in appropriate locations as we find them. Vandals have ripped off one of the large bird panels in a bird hide also. It is being replaced. Glass on floodlights at the Garden entrance has been smashed. Drip irrigation materials have been pulled out and stolen from the Boardwalk Car Park gardens. Sauce has been poured over signs - they cleaned up alright, but what a waste of time.
On a more positive note, upgrading of sections of the irrigation system continues. This has enabled additional plantings in the mixed planting area. Fill in plants have been planted in Regional Sections as they reach planting size. The Regional Plantings are making good progress. Weed control in irrigated areas continues. Because of the drought and some lush, irrigated vegetation in the Garden, many kangaroos, rabbits and foxes have been attracted into the Garden. Irrigation timers have been reset for daylight saving and new batteries installed where needed. The new drippers we have been trying for ant resistance are still being blocked by ants which is an ongoing nuisance. Some propagation is continuing. The Friends propagators continue to work at the Garden every Wednesday, and Friends volunteer Garden Guides provided guided tours whenever needed. The sale of plants propagated by Friends on Wednesdays continues and is proving successful. The Friends have also sold plants at a Garden Fair at Peterborough and at a Sunday market in Port Augusta - all fund raising for the Garden, whilst making appropriate arid zone native plants accessible to the general public.
Ben Lethbridge from the Quandong Industry Association has visited to inspect their trial plantings in the Gardens Research Area. Plants were measured and data recorded. He has promised us a report on the trials, using different Acacia species as host plants for quandongs. We have undertaken some weed control and irrigation system maintenance in the Research Area, which is used for plant trials by various Organisations.
Finally I report that Council in an overhaul of committees has disbanded the AALBG Board which will be replaced by a Working Group which will make recommendations to a Council’s Parks and Gardens Officer.

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

FRIENDS PLANT SALES: Recently 7 Friends volunteers travelled to Peterborough to mount a display and sell plants at the Peterborough Edge of the Outback Garden Fair. They operated the stall for one day, generated interest in the Garden and took over $200 in sales. Gwen reports it was a very well run event, and appeared to be a great success, with many displays and stalls. Last Sunday, Gwen and Morry operated a plant stall at the Port Augusta Sunday Market for the first time. Besides selling plants they promoted the Garden and spoke to some potential volunteer propagators. Thanks to all our volunteers for a job well done!

THE OXFORD COMPANION TO AUSTRALIAN GARDENS: This 669 page book has just been launched and is a comprehensive reference book covering all aspects of Australian Gardens. The book took 10 years for editors Michael Looker and Richard Aitken to compile. It contains over 1,500 entries, items on many botanic gardens including the AALBG and may be of interest to some readers. Cost, $120.00, ISBN 0195536444.

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!

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.

Christmas Greetings to all Friends and a wonderful New Year, too!

Issued 20.11.2002 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 john.zwar@wmc.com

© 2002 The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden