0n 19.11.2019

At the home of June and Kevin Wright, Hooke St, Dungog.
Due to the absence of our President, Vice-President and Secretary, Treasurer Lisa welcomed members and guests and conducted the meeting.
Safety Officer, Robert Smith, cautioned us whilst looking around the garden “be aware, take care”.
NEW BANNER – Lisa reported on a decision by the PAGG committee on 12.11.19 to approve the purchase of a PAGG banner (hot pink with double sided black PAGG lettering) to identify the entrance to our monthly gardens and also other functions. It was used for the first time this month and was greeted with approval by all members – thanks to Rosalie who put in the hard work!
NOTECARDS – Special orders can be placed for these using members own garden photos for Christmas cards etc. and there are still some original prints for sale. Cherie has agreed to take this task on but it would be good to have another member to help out.

MORNING TEA – We are looking for volunteers to co-ordinate this next year, as Chris is taking on the secretary position and will not be available. It is a job that works well with a couple of people that can travel together. Please give this serious thought as it is such a special part of our “get togethers”, and register interest at the Christmas meeting.
RAFFLE – to aid Dungog Shire Community Literacy program. Last chance to buy tickets at December meeting as it will be drawn at the Christmas party – a beautiful Rose book by Susan Irvine.
CHRISTMAS MEETING AND LUNCH – This will be on Tues 10 December at the home of Barb and Peter Burnett at Torryburn. 10am for the meeting followed by lunch. Please bring a Christmas themed delicacy for morning tea as usual, and lunch will be provided. This year the committee decided not to have individual presents but, instead, to seek cash donations for people in drought affected areas. PAGG organisation will also make a donation. The money will be channelled through the Red Cross or CWA to buy debit cards that can be spent by recipients in their local area.
Our garden this month is a much-loved compact urban garden with lots of interest, including June’s potting shed made of old timber slabs and a display of Kevin’s wonderful birds nesting and feeding boxes.
Lisa introduced June and Kevin who both spoke – they have defined roles in the garden – June has the ideas and Kevin carries them out!
JUNE – is very proud of their garden and welcomed us all. Her love of gardening started as a child in her grandparents’ garden and continued with her mother’s love of flowers. June and Kevin moved to Dungog 12 years ago from Mulbring, starting from scratch with a bare block. The home was constructed off-site and delivered in 2 sections, much to the amazement of the neighbours. They did not have a plan for the garden but just started planting in the front garden and went on from there. June favours colour and succulents and the garden is always changing as they continue to move plants and plant new ones. They have used conifers too, as they tend to tolerate the hot and dry conditions. To save water during the current level 1 water restrictions, June has been using her washing water to water the pot plants at the back of the house.
KEVIN – the back garden has 2 citrus trees that came in pots from Mulbring – a mandarin and a Washington navel. Kevin started building his bird boxes when he retired and they have been sold all over. He now uses marine grade ply and stainless steel fittings so they are more durable and weather-proof. They come in several sizes and prices – sold by word of mouth.

Many of our members are coping with water restrictions on top of the unseasonal hot and dry conditions.
Jenny outlined some strategies to cope with this
Preferably water in the morning before the sun is on the plants. Watering in the evening on warm humid nights leaves the atmosphere humid overnight and encourages fungus growth.
If hand watering only is allowed, then try to water the garden in sections. The aim at all times is to water deeply rather than a light sprinkle. Deep watering replenishes sub-soil moisture & encourages deeper root systems, so helping drought-proof the plants. Light daily watering evaporates readily and encourages shallow roots which do not survive extreme weather conditions or when you are away.
Established trees and shrubs can normally last longer between drinks. Annuals and perennials will need more often – if you have mulched thickly then once a week (except in extreme conditions) should be enough for them.
Mulch can be anything! – lawn clippings, weeds (without seeds) that have been pulled up, sugar cane mulch is easy to manoeuvre (use a mask for the dust or take bale where you want it and fill bag with water to moisten it), Forest mulch does not break down too readily and does a very good job (have it delivered by the cubic metre) In our summer you can spread mulch to 75-100mm and then allow it to be incorporated into the soil in autumn. Mulch adds organic matter to the soil which in turn allows the soil to hold more moisture. Keep mulch away from direct contact with shrub and tree trunks to avoid collar rot.
Keep in mind that the feeder roots of your plants are around the drip line i.e. underneath the outer leaf tips, so make sure this is where you concentrate the water. Avrina suggested making a shallow moat around the plants, under the mulch, where you want the water most – an excellent idea.
If water restrictions get more severe, or you are struggling with a big garden, you may have to decide what you will save and what plants you will let go.
Pip Wilson emailed: ‘this month’s Gardening Australia magazine which has an article on different types of sprinklers, irrigation etc. and some sensible tips for water stressed plants’. It was suggested you may be able to access Gardening Australia through the APP Store and search for the RB Digital.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – will be at our March meeting. All members are encouraged to participate in the club, so if you are willing to be on the committee PLEASE let someone know at the Christmas party.
MARCH MEETING – will be at the Bathhouse Gardens, Oakhampton near the Maitland Walka Water Works. It will cost $10 per head and tea and coffee will be provided. We will need to bring our usual brilliant food!

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