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Native Plants

Melton & Bacchus Marsh Group of the Australian Plants Society

Our Aim is to promote the growing of native Australian plants within a friendly and learning environment. Members are able to take part in excursions to all parts of the state, see and learn about native plants, hear our expert guest speakers and take part in open discussions on native plants at monthly meetings.

All in a welcoming and social gathering.

Meetings: 7:30pm for a 8:00pm start
on the 4th Wednesday, February through to November at "Dunvegan" Willows Historic Park, Corner Nixon & Reserve Roads, Melton (Melway Ref: Map 337 C9)

The last item on the formal agenda of every meeting is our plant table. This is where people can bring in whatever is flowering in their garden and discuss with other members, the growing habit, likes and dislikes etc. Plant identification is often required as labels aren't always truthful. The monthly "Plant Table" - a special part of the club meeting. Everyone brings along something to show off to the group, from their gardens.

Growing Native Plants in your Garden

Australian native plants are a great choice in the Melton & Bacchus Marsh region, regardless of the size of your backyard (large or small) or if you're planning a new garden or renovating an existing one. A well chosen Australian native plant will provide maximum satisfaction with minimum maintenance, provided the planting site has been well prepared and some moisture is provided during the establishment period.

The Melton & Bacchus Marsh Group of the Australian Plants Society (APS) have established a native garden at the Willows Historic Park, which includes a garden bed of indigenous plants from the bassalt plains. The group publishes a regular newsletter including photos, conducts excursions to interesting gardens and holds an annual plant sale in autumn.

Native Orchids - A talk by Eric Wilde
Eric is a patient man! He has to be, as it usually takes 10-15 years from seed to a flower with our glorious native Orchids. Eric who lives at Little River grows Orchids whose origins range from Tasmania to Far North Queensland. These Orchids are mainly Epiphytes rather than Terrestrial types.

Bush's Paddock located in the Shire of Melton on the western slope of Mt. Cotterell, is a 45 hectare native grasslands site. It supports significant remnants of Kangaroo Grassland and Greybox Grassy Woodland. It forms part of the Victorian Volcanic Plains bioregion and contains the ecological vegetation classes of plains grassland, plains grassy woodland. The average rainfall is 450mm focusing on Mt. Cotterell ( height 204 meters). These basalt plains grasslands are of State significance and are important as there remains less than 1% of native grasslands in Victoria today. Pinkerton Landcare and Environment Group co-jointly manages Bush's Paddock along with the Shire of Melton.

ELAEOCARPUS RETICULATUS (formerly E. cyaneus) - an article by Joan Carr
E. reticulatus is the most common and widespread of the 28 Australian species. The remaining, about 200, occur in tropic areas and islands of South East Asia. It occurs from Fraser Island overland to Gippsland and Flinders Island in Bass Strait. It is tough and copes with frost, sun, poor soil, winds and dryness though moisture is appreciated.

THINK FOLIAGE ... An Article by Cathy Powers

Garden design and landscaping is a very specialized field. Interestingly enough, there is a garden designer in each of us and it is expressed whenever we replace a dead plant, add an interesting rock or just prune a native (vegetation that is). Once a garden is established, replacing plants that have moved on opens an avenue for creativity.

Consideration should be given to foliage because, when it comes down to it, most plants have flowers during a limited amount of time or season. With few exceptions, Australian natives are mostly evergreen and highly adaptable. I work on the 85% rule. That is 85% of the year, my plants have only foliage to admire. The other 15%, my plants have flowers that I, the birds and insects love.

Generally speaking, the two types of foliage to consider are broad-leaved and hard-leaved. The hard-leaved are probably most frequently found in our temperate climate because they are built for lower evaporation during our hot and dry weather. If you have a protected and moist area, then the broad-leaved plants are useful while being adaptable to containers or indoors.

When developing a new garden bed, one of the first things to consider is plant choice by environment. There is little point in planting a sun-loving plant in the shade because neither of you will be happy. Once you get that under control, the variety by height is an important concept. If you have beautiful rocks, hiding them behind a large bushy shrub would be a shame. By the same token, if you have a large cement barrier wall, that large bushy shrub might just be the ideal plant.

Next, I like to consider the colour, shape and size of foliage. Even though I also remember what colour the flower is likely to be, it is not the highest on the list. The same colour of flower in a diversified group of foliage can be eye catching. The native plant group offers a large choice when it comes to foliage.

A glossary containing descriptions of leaf structure can be found in any good native plant book so there is no need to put it here. If you haven't invested in one such book, the library is a good point of reference. Whenever a plant dies, my consideration of replacement relies heavily on foliage. If the effort I expended in my garden creation resulted in a favourable outcome, my replacement choice would be a plant of similar size and foliage. If it did not turn out quite the way I had intended, the opportunity for change lies before me. I always like a challenge. Of course, there are other things to consider. Aspects such as fragrance, fruit, size, flower season and much more are all part of the difficult but enjoyable decision making process. Sometimes a good glass of wine helps but that is for another article.



Propagation via the BOG method is still popular for small scale work by enthusiasts. It is a reliable method which gives good results. It is pretty easy to put the punnets, pots or whatever in a shallow vessel and maintain a small amount of water in that vessel. Capillary watering of pots is based on the same principles, and there are large scale commercial nurseries which use capillary watering for all pots. Without misting, the bog method would be used for all Eucalypts, Melaleucas and other small seed.

Why not Join Us? - There's Lots to learn and do!

To join us just: eMail us and ask a question or two or

contact one of the committee members

or just turn up to one of our monthly meeting

Whatever you do you won't regret joining us - DO IT today!


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