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Inc. A0044995

PO Box 731

Warragul 3820

President:  Joy Vikas 0407455299                          

Secretary:  Judy Butler 0427 236180                                                    

Treasurer:  Rob Coustley 0425 754 575                                              

Meeting venue: Senior Citizens Centre, Warragul

Winners of the January show bench as judged by Judith Hopkins.

Today’s guest speaker:  Paul Strickland – Growing, harvesting and using Lavender.


A message from our President:


Dear Fellow Gardener,

I know that many of you enjoy a good riddle or a brain teaser so today I will start with my own;

“What does Pipsissewa, Project or Operation Paperclip and the year 1250 have in common?”

The answer is at the end of the newsletter, and it is quite cryptic, but to me it was about sitting in my recovery chair for 3 weeks after my hip surgery with very little to do but word puzzles, read books and do some research into my family tree. (There is a clue for you!)


I must admit that I wasn’t always in the window chair and I did get to sit on the veranda and enjoy the pleasure of looking out onto my garden and, although I couldn’t get to it, I was kept amused by the antics of the many birds that now visit our little piece of paradise. The day would start with a visit from a family of King Parrots, but as soon as they came there was a noisy battle as their social status was challenged by the bossy Little Corellas which were in turn pushed away by the aggressive Rainbow Lorikeets, who were also joined by the spotted doves and little sparrows that so sneakily ate all the scraps of seeds missed by the others.  As the day progressed the many Little Wattlebirds continually   kept flying amongst the Kangaroo Paws and the Salvias and then dart into  the dense cover of the Clematis and the Black Coral Pea growing over my back fence where they continue to build nests. Finally, there is Kath and Kevin, our friendly kookaburras that sit at an advantage point on the railing of our veranda waiting for some unaware victim to scurry across the lawn or in amongst the mulch. It brought me a lot of “Joy” to think that in only 5 years my little garden is home to so many native birds and it helped the days to pass quickly but now I am able to get down into the garden and finally pull a few weeds, trim back a few unruly plants and pick lots of beans, a few tomatoes and juicy corn.

Gardening is certainly a wonderful lifestyle.


During my 3 weeks of recovery I was overwhelmed with the number of phone calls, text messages, emails and visits from friends in the garden club wishing me well and of course  flowers, cakes, cards and cooking which were all well appreciated. This is what friendship is and this is our club. We share a common interest in gardening, we care for our environment, and we care for each other.

I look forward to seeing you, my friend, at our next meeting, Monday 27th February, where our guest speaker Paul Strickland will share with us his expert knowledge on Lavender.

I see that Ralph has many jobs for us to do this month in our gardens so “Happy Gardening” and keep well.



Reminder:  March is the month for our AGM.  Please consider one of the Committee positions.  New faces are always welcome.


Upcoming events:

  • Warragul Show – Begins at 9am Fri Mar 3rd, Sat 4th & concludes 5pm on Sun 5th Our club will have an information stand in the hall on the Saturday.  Volunteers needed please.
  • Ballarat bus trip. Thursday, 16th Departs Warragul 9am (Burke St tennis courts) picking up at 9.15 Drouin (bus stop near car wash).  We visit the Botanic Gardens where we will see the Begonias.  Bring your own lunchto enjoy in the rotunda in the gardens. Cost of the bus is $40 for members, $45 for non-members (includes insurance).  Please invite family and friends to join us.  Payment by cash in a named envelope please and advise of pickup point (Warragul or Drouin) also.
  • Eastern Park Community Garden: Tuesdays from 10am.  Pull a few weeds, plant some seeds, have a chat, have a coffee and make new friends.
  • The Orchid Club meets on the first Thursday of each month at the Scout Hall, Victoria St., Drouin. Doors open 7pm for a 7.30pm start. (next meeting Thursday, 2nd March)
  • Q&A at our March meeting: Have your gardening questions ready for answers from the very experienced gardeners in our Club.


Things to do in the garden in March:


With warmth still in the ground and providing the Autumn rains appear, March is a good month for planting. Newly planted seedlings produce new growth quickly while new shrubs and trees begin their establishment phase by producing new roots right through the winter.


Flower garden. Plant Sweet Pea seeds. Plant seeds of Viola, Pansy, Calendula and Primula. Seedlings of Pansy and Viola planted now will begin to flower early and then flower right through winter. Violas such as Micky, Honey Bee and Blue Porcelain will flower right through until the end of November, especially if grown in pots.  Select and start planting spring flowering bulbs. Apply Kahuna to Camellias to improve the intensity of colour of flowers as they appear mid-winter. Start to divide perennials as soon as possible after rain.


Vegetable Garden. Prepare good garden beds before planting winter vegetables such as Cauliflower, Cabbage and Broccoli. Planted in March, harvesting will begin in June. Dig plenty of organic compost and manure, together with Seamungus, into the soil and then apply a good dressing of lime, as most soils in the area are slightly acid and brassicas like a neutral Ph. Harvest and store seeds for planting next spring.


Home Orchard. Give all Citrus trees a dressing of a good Tree & Citrus fertiliser, such as Gigantic, to swell the size of the fruit and improve sweetness. If the weather is dry, water the fertiliser in thoroughly and remove all weeds from the base of the trees. Plant new or replacement trees - Lemons, Oranges, Grapefruit and Mandarins. All do well in this local area.


Lawns.  March and April are the best months to sow new Lawns, with seed usually germinating in less than a week. Remember to use a Lawn Starter fertiliser when sowing the seed. It is also the best time to repair patches in old lawns.


Fertilizer:  The next orders must be in by April 11th for delivery May 5th.  Speak with Ralph or Joy if you have any queries.


A few fruit and vegetable thoughts: 

* It’s fine to eat a “test” grape in the produce department at Coles, but you take one bite of a rotisserie chicken and it’s “Madam, you need to leave”.

* We keep a potato masher in a drawer because sometimes it’s fun to not be able to open that drawer.

* I choked on a carrot this afternoon and all I could think was ‘I bet a cake wouldn’t have done this to me’

* I just turned down a job at my local fruit and veg shop. They offered to pay me in vegetables - the celery was unacceptable.

* A guy goes to a doctor because he’s got a strawberry growing out of his chest. The doctor examines him and finally says, “Let me give you some cream to put on it.”


Dahlias: The Dahlia is a member of the Asteraceae family which also includes the Daisy, Chrysanthemum, Zinnia, Aster and Sunflower. There are a wide variety of sizes and shapes of Dahlias which come in a range of colours.  There are 18 official flower forms and 60,000 named varieties.  In the 16th century Dahlias grew wild in parts of Mexico.  The Swedish botanist, Anders Dahl (b. 1751) had the flower named after him. Although not recommended, it is said that the tubers are edible and have a taste like a mix of potato and radish.


Joy’s puzzle answers:  Some of the things that occupied Joy’s mind while incapacitated.

  • Pipsissewa is a Cree Indian word for a herbaceous plant grown in Northern America and refers to the diuretic properties of the leaves when eaten!
  • The Paperclip Project was the subject of an excellent novel, ‘The German Wife’ by Kelly Rimmer, which was about 1,600 German Scientists, engineers and technicians who were taken from Nazi Germany to the US for government employment after the end of World War II. Many of these personnel were former members and some were leaders of the Nazi Party. An enormously powerful novel.
  • The year 1250 was where I managed to trace my father’s ancestry to. Amazing, interesting and time consuming! I even found an ancestor who died at the Battle of Waterloo.


Next meeting:  Monday March 27th at 9.30am.  Doors open 9am for setting up.  Entries for show bench to be placed for judging prior to 9.30am.  Q&A session in addition to our speaker.

Morning tea duty:  Linda Higginbotham, Vicki Wallace, Lesley Chown

Flower of the month (March):  One Rose. Floral arrangement:  Arrangement with fruit, flowers & vegetables.

Guest speaker:  Presentation of proposed 4 day trip in October/November to Western regional Victoria.


Please support our Club sponsors:  Don’t forget to check their updates on our Club website.

  • Rowes nursery, Landsborough Road, Warragul. They have a large range of plants for sale (many grown in-house to save you money) and offer free garden advice. Ask about receiving their regular email newsletters.
  • Drouin Home Hardware, Princes Way, Drouin. (On the Melbourne side of Drouin) Check their hardware, gardening products and plants.
  • Kurinda Roses, Warragul-Lardner Road, Warragul. Select from their huge range of roses at reasonable prices.  They also have a lovely range of garden related gifts for sale in their shop.
  • Mattz Mowing and Garden Services. Lawn mowing, garden edges, hedge trimming, weed control, pruning, gutters cleaned etc. Free quotes. Phone Matthew 0439 312 465
  • Drouin Nursery. Princes Way, Drouin. Extensive variety of plants including advanced trees. Open 6 days a week (closed Tuesdays) Phone 0417 041507
  • Down to Earth Garden Centre, Longwarry & Weerong Rd, Drouin. Landscaping supplies, mulch, soil, rock, pond supplies, garden hardware. Phone 5625 5166
  • Here We Grow, 2/30 Masterson Street, Warragul.  Everything for hydroponics.  Open 6 days (closed Sundays) Phone 5604 7847