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: 12-11-2003


The Society

Current Newsletter

Application Form


John Zwar

Ph (08) 867 0324 ah


Chrissie Hallett

Ph (08) 8641 2937


Geraldine Davis

Ph (08) 8648 6399

Tradesperson / Gardener

Bernie Haase

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

NEXT EVENT:- SATURDAY, 29th November 2003, 1.00pm in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room at the Garden. Followed by Christmas dinner, 6.30pm.
All friends and others interested are warmly invited to attend.

Our guest speaker for the October meeting will be Dr Phil Ainsley, who is the Germplasm Research Coordinator at the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide Seed Conservation Centre. Born in the UK, he moved to Australia in the early 1980's with his family. Phil has a Bachelor of Biotechnology with Honours from Flinders University and a PhD from the University of Adelaide, where he trained in the fields of plant genetic engineering and plant tissue culture working with a wide range of plant species. He spent 18 months in New Zealand with a commercial forestry company leading a research team to develop techniques for genetically modifying forest tree species. In 2002 Phil returned to Adelaide to take up his current position at the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, where he has been responsible for establishing the Seed Conservation Centre and developing the centres research program.

Phil’s presentation is titled: "Banking Seeds for Our Future." The presentation will provide an overview on the procedures involved in conserving native plant species through seed banking. It will also highlight the extent of current threats on the flora of South Australia, introduce the ex situ conservation/research program being developed at the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide Seed Conservation Centre, and provide information about the partnerships that have been developed with collaborators within Australia and overseas (Millennium Seed Bank).

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 Café, 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 Café? (Café purchases also attract 10% discount for Friends – show membership card). Stay & talk with other Friends over afternoon tea following the meeting.

The Friends Christmas dinner will be held on the evening of 29th November following our meeting which will finish about 4.00pm that afternoon. The traditional Christmas dinner will be held in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room, catered by the staff from the Garden’s Bluebush Café. This traditional Christmas dinner is a fitting end to our year of activities. TIME: 6.30pm drinks, dinner 7.00pm, cost $25.00 per person – excellent value for a fine meal. Please book by Wed 26th Nov. with Chris Nayda Ph: 8642 4684 & leave a message if not home. Payment can be made at the dinner or by posting a cheque to Friends at PO Box 2040 Port Augusta SA 5700 clearly stating what it is for & giving names of people attending. If you book but later need to cancel, please give Chris as much notice as possible of this.

Committee members, please note there will be a committee meeting held on Saturday 29th November at 10.00am in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room at the AALBG, followed by lunch in the Bluebush Café at 12 noon, before the meeting at 1.00pm.

Our guest speaker was Roger Grund who is Chairman of Butterfly Conservation South Australia which has been operative since 1998 and works closely with the SA Museum. He has a lifetime interest in butterflies and is now retired after working in the petroleum exploration business in many parts of the world. Roger’s talk covered “Butterflies, Habitats and Caterpillar Food-plants in the Port Augusta Area”. During his visit to Port Augusta, Roger surveyed the Garden and nearby areas for butterflies to advise us on the possibility of developing a section of the Garden by planting it with plants attractive to butterflies. If Roger considers this is practical and achievable, we will prepare a submission for AALBG Management recommending such a development and offering funding (from a bequest left to us in the will of former Friend Margaret Robbins). The committee considers this would be an appropriate project, utilising this money. Roger is also preparing information for our website on local butterflies. We look forward to receiving Roger’s report and information for our website. He is an excellent photographer and his stunning close ups of butterflies were most impressive, despite problems with a malfunctioning slide projector. Those with internet access may wish to look at the very extensive butterfly website, prepared largely by Roger

Friends Vice President Morry Vile has been on the sick list for some time and has been missed by Friends at Wednesday propagation sessions and other activities. More recently he has suffered two strokes and is in Port Augusta Hospital. Visitors are welcome, bearing in mind that some days he is better able to respond than others. Sadly Morry’s wife Betty was also hospitalised about the same time with a severe respiratory problem but she is in an Adelaide hospital. It is hoped that she will soon be well enough to be transferred to Port Augusta Hospital so they are together. Our thoughts are with them along with best wishes for improved health in the near future.

Since appealing for more volunteer Garden Guides for the AALBG we have two new guides who have undertaken training and are now helping other guides on regular tours, Julie Owen and Jennifer Broadwood of Port Augusta. Brian Powell of Quorn intends to become a garden guide in the near future, so that will spread the load for our long term guides, who are thrilled with this response. Julie’s first tour was a group of 17, and on one day she conducted three groups so we still need additional guides.

Are you interested in plants? Do you like meeting people? We have several trained garden guides who meet tour groups and individual visitors for guided tours of the garden. They provide a valuable educational and promotional role in the Garden, and meet interesting people from many places. Training is not difficult and is quite comprehensive. If interested in this please contact Fay Poole, Ph: 8643 6192. 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

The Friends have a request to propagate this species, Acacia salicina, but need seed. If you can help by collecting and forwarding seed of this species to Bruce Leane our propagators will be most appreciative. Broughton Willow seed normally ripens in November and December.

Additional helpers to load, deliver plants and stall equipment, man the stall and pack up afterwards are needed. The markets are held in Coles undercover car park on Sunday mornings. A volunteer with a ute or van would be a great help! Plants propagated by Friends are sold and advice provided at the stalls which raise funds for the Garden. If you can help on an occasional or regular basis please contact Shirley Mundy on Ph: 8642 4013.

Friends are welcome to participate in these activities.

Sunday 16th November 2003 Port Patterson – meet at weighbridge Highway One – 7.30am
Saturday 13th December 2003 Christmas Social – Reichelt’s residence, Port Augusta, 8.00pm
Sunday 14th December 2003 AALBG – meet at car park, 7.30am

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

A special welcome is extended to all recently joined members of the Friends. We look forward to your participation in our activities if distance allows!

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 (8643 6343). Plants propagated by the Friends are available for sale from the Garden on Wednesday mornings only – this is proving very popular, with sales increasing. Plants are also sold at Port Augusta Flea Market in Coles undercover carpark and at occasional events. These sales are good fund raisers, and importantly help distribute appropriate arid zone native plants 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. Some land holders have made bulk orders of Old Man Saltbush and others have provided seed from their properties for us to grow for them. WMC purchases trees and shrubs from us as well, for their Roxby Downs nursery.
All volunteers working at the Garden (Guides, propagators and others) 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 management (council) within the AALBG site. Each volunteer, please check with Bruce Leane, Bernie or with Pauline Hedger to ensure you have signed the appropriate paperwork, to provide coverage in the event of accident or injury.

INTERNATIONAL WOOD COLLECTORS SOCIETY: As mentioned in the last News Release, the Australasian Region annual meeting of this group was held in Port Augusta from Sept 19 – 21 and attracted members from UK, Qld, NSW, Vic and SA. The group visited the AALBG. In a letter of thanks from Morris Lake, Trustee, Australian Region of the IWCS to Friends President John Zwar the group conveyed ”sincere appreciation to guides, Fay Poole, Dennis Dobson, Julie Owen and John Zwar for showing us your facilities and your living desert. Thankyou for the very interesting time you spent with us. We are a discerning group when it comes to trees and shrubs, and I must say that from members comments, they were impressed, and I know that the guides went the extra mile for us.”

Friend Brian Powell has donated a lignotuber of Eucalyptus gillii “Arkaroola Mallee” for display at the garden, and this will be turned and prepared for display by Brian Fraser of the IWCS. (The group inspected Brian’s plantings in the Quorn area during
the conference). Brian Powell is also donating a 2HP air-conditioner to be installed in the Friends propagation shed which will make work there on hot days much more pleasant. Thanks Brian!

GARDEN REPORT 22.9.2003 to 31.10.2003
by Bernie Haase.
It has only been a short time since my last report but things are steadily progressing. Weeding has been done in many areas including along the track system, Eremophila Garden, and regional plantings. It is amazing how fast some weeds can grow back into an area which has just been cleared.

We now have two Skillshare work experience helpers for two days a week for the next six months. They are finding out about weeding and have assisted with spreading mulch along the entrance path, service road and in the car park plantings. Most of our dirty pots, tubes trays and plant labels have now been cleaned and sterilised for reuse.

We have been going around the Garden and have dug up plants which have spread or self seeded to thicken up display plantings along entrance paths to provide more colour and interest in these prominent areas. Some eremophilas which have grown from seed or suckers have also been dug up from paths, and a group of Eremophila maculata seedlings in the Garden were dug up. In addition seed of plants to add to these areas where additional colour and impact is needed has been treated, sown, pricked out and potted up.

Many public enquiries have been attended to, a plant identification service provided and advice given to people wanting to buy plants. One person from Sydney phoned wanting to know how to obtain Triodia plants “Spinifex” for a landscape display being set up in France.

A seed collecting trip to the Northern Flinders Ranges will be undertaken in November to collect plants endemic to the Ranges for the regional planting at the Garden. The seed and plant collecting trip to the North West of South Australia which we have been trying to organise for several months has been approved by the Aboriginal custodians of the area and will take place early in December.

We have another new tour guide (Jenny Broadwood) which has lightened the load on other guides, but more are still needed. An emergency power generator has been fitted to the Visitor Reception Building in case of power failures.

Well, that’s not bad for things that have happened in the last month.
Bye. B Haase

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!

: Jim Martin is one of the two gardeners at the AALBG (along with Bernie Haase). When asked why he became a gardener at the AALBG Jim Martin's reply was, 'Well, that's just the way it went. Whilst working at the Port Augusta Golf course for Career Employment, the opportunity arose for an apprenticeship with the Port Augusta City Council'. Jim transferred to the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden to take up the position of apprentice gardener. He studied and gained Certificate 3 in Horticulture. He finds working in the Garden among growing things and in the open richly satisfying. During his Primary School years he attended school at Port Germein, Port Pirie and Port Augusta, later attending Port Augusta High School. Jim is a keen sportsman football in particular. The above is one of the regular items featuring aspects of the AALBG forwarded by Friends to the Port Augusta newspaper “The Transcontinental”. Items of interest from the AALBG and Friends news are now printed in” The Trans”.

A significant problem in the Garden is the proliferation of scale, particularly on Eremophila and some other plants. Investigations are continuing to find a biological solution that has no adverse impact on the environment but will control the scale. This would mean that the use of toxic chemical insecticides, which are only partially effective and can have undesirable environmental effects, can be avoided.

Prostanthera striatiflora “Jockey’s Cap” or “Striped Mint Bush”: An Aboriginal name is Vawaru. This is an erect bush belonging to the mint family and grows to a height of 0.2 – 2m. The leaves are aromatic and in spring produce a profusion of white bell shaped flowers with purple stripes inside of the throat. Jockey’s Cap grows in shallow soils in open woodlands in many northern areas of South Australia and also is found in WA, NT and NSW. It can be seen at the moment flowering near the obelisk in Horrocks Pass and is common in parts of the Flinders and Gawler Ranges. This plant is suitable for the home garden as an evergreen shrub that flowers brilliantly in spring. It is flowering at the Garden now.

Denis Dobson is a guide and volunteer propagator at the Garden. He doesn’t believe he is a gardener though he grows a few vegetables. When he saw an add in “The Transcontinental” inviting people to become Garden Guides at The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, he said to his wife, ‘If I can pronounce the names like Eremophila I will join.’ Mr Dobson is now an esteemed guide. ‘Being a guide,’ said Mr. Dobson, ‘is quite enjoyable. One of the bonuses is the people you meet from all walks of life. Migrating to Australia was always something I wanted to do,’ Mr Dobson said, but he didn’t migrate until he was married with three children. He spent twelve years as an air brake fitter. ‘It was the best job ever,’ he says. Denis’ hobbies are gardening, playing the bagpipes and being involved with Probus, as well as of course leading groups of visitors on guided tours of the Garden and helping Friends volunteers propagate plants on Wednesday mornings.

The committee has decided to revert to the system of making Friends membership subscription due at the beginning of the financial year (July 1st) rather than the present system which has caused confusion and has been difficult to administer. This will bring us into line with the practices of most clubs. If you have paid membership this year, you will not be expected to pay again until July 2004. Please direct queries to Secretary Chrissie Hallett Ph: 8667 5447 ah.
New members: Clearly print name and address on membership application form. Some recent forms have not been legible.

Show your membership card in the AALBG shop for 10% discount on all purchases - including meals. Contact the Secretary if you are a financial member and do not have a card.

Christmas greetings to all Friends and a wonderful New Year too!

Issued 12.11.2003 by John Zwar, President, The Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, Port Augusta Inc., PO Box 2040 Port Augusta SA 5700. Ph (08) 8671 0324 ah, (08) 8671 8558 w, Facsimile C/- (08) 8671 0179 or by email Friends Secretary, Chrissie Hallett – Email

© 2012 Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden