Director`s report Chris Russell Highlights in this issue

Director’s report
Getting to know you
Chris Russell
in this issue
Annual Luncheon
Botanical Illustrators
In the bushland11
The sky lily at Echo Flat12
Friends of the Royal Botanic
Gardens Cranbourne, Inc.
1000 Ballarto Road
Cranbourne Victoria 3977
Inc no. A0025281B
ABN 43 551 008 609
Web address:
One of the most important factors in
successfully growing and displaying a broad
collection of plants is to ‘know your plant’.
What is its name, where does it come from,
how broad is its range, and what are the local
conditions within that range? Of course,
reference information can be sourced from
various printed and online resources, and this
is a critical part of the process. Trial and error
is also an important contributor along the
journey—I am sure we have all experienced
the befuddlement of thinking you have the
perfect plant matched beautifully to a vacant
spot in the garden only to watch its demise
over the months following planting. After
all, plants and gardens are complex and
dynamic things, and there are many aspects
of the plant–garden relationship of which we
have little awareness, let alone control over.
However, nothing really compares to seeing
the plant, first hand, in its local environment
and drawing on the expertise of plant people
from that area.
As a botanic garden, we are (although not
nearly enough!) blessed with the opportunity
to occasionally make forays into the wild to
observe, collect, document and talk about the
plants in our collection. I say ‘occasionally’
as this aspect of our work has suffered
in the climate of ever-more-constrained
operating budgets. The good news is that,
through the assistance of the Friends groups
at both Melbourne and Cranbourne, and
the recently established Elisabeth Murdoch
Scholarship set up by the Maud Gibson
Trust Committee, more of these important
study trips can occur. The benefits are
numerous and long lasting and include not
only the expansion of the collection but the
establishment or strengthening of mutually
beneficial relationships with other gardens
and growers, the gaining of insights into
the growing requirements of the plants and,
importantly, re-invigoration and re-kindling
of the passion of the staff on the study trips
for plants and the environment. For many of
us it is this passion that got us into working
for a botanic garden in the first place, but
it can invariably become a little tarnished
through the day-to-day grind of maintenance
Over the past two years the Australian
Garden collection and six horticultural staff
Banksia benthamiana thriving in the low
nutrient soils of Pangarinda Arboretum,
South Australia. Photo: Sturt Gibbs
RBG Cranbourne Horticultural Technician Sturt
Gibbs at the ‘magical’ Pangarinda Arboretum,
South Australia. Photo: Trevor Seppings
It’s hard not to be inspired by landscapes such
as the Flinders Ranges.
From the
Richard Clarke
John Armstrong signing
documentation for his
donation of artworks to the
RBG, accompanied by his
daughter Lisa Armstrong.
from Cranbourne Gardens have benefited
from study trips to Western Australia,
Darwin, Adelaide and the Flinders Ranges.
There is a range of plant material that has
already made its way into the Australian
Garden from these trips, more in the nursery
being propagated, and the increased
knowledge gained is being actively applied.
But what is perhaps most apparent is the
increased enthusiasm and enhancement
of engagement with the curation of the
collection from those employees. As Sturt
Gibbs and Trevor Seppings noted of their
recent trip to South Australia, ‘we have
researched rainforest plants for Gondwana,
collected information regarding tree
management, resourced a range of Australian
succulents, arid, and Mallee species for
the Australian Garden, shared and gained
knowledge with the people and institutions
we visited and created strong networks and
fostered professional relationships within
South Australia’. Seeing the images they
brought back, it is not hard to understand
why they are feeling inspired.
In November we had a very successful
Annual General Meeting attended by
many Friends, and I am extremely pleased
to welcome two younger members to the
committee. Indra Kurzeme, who is already
well known around the Australian Garden,
was elected as Vice President while Amy
Akers, who is a keen Garden Ambassador,
was elected as a committee member. I am
sure that they will be keen contributors and
bring along new ideas. After the formal
meeting John Armstrong presented his
beautiful collection of 22 drawings to Ken
Harrison (Chairman of the RBG Victoria) for
safekeeping and curation by the Melbourne
Herbarium. The drawings, all published in
Naturelink over many years, were displayed
in the
by several
of the
John very
described the
many hours
of work that
went into the
production of
each drawing
to ensure
its absolute
The audience
was lost in
admiration of his skills, and enthusiastically
expressed their appreciation of John’s longterm contribution to the Friends.
The painstaking work of botanical illustration
was further demonstrated in the display in
the Auditorium of four drawings and prints
by John Armstrong, Kay Craig, Dawn Price
and Marina Albert. They were presented to
Chris Russell, for addition to the Cranbourne
Collection. Bringing the afternoon to a close
was a talk by Chris Cole, Director of the
Melbourne Botanical Gardens, who succinctly
described in an illustrated talk, the past and
present projects that have been undertaken or
are being planned for the Melbourne Garden.
Closer to home
Congratulations to the Friends on the official
opening of the Elliot Centre and the Growing
Friends Nursery by the Governor and Mrs
Chernov on 1 February. The opening of these
facilities marks an important milestone for
the Friends to cater for the increasing activity
and membership and I take this opportunity
to thank Alex Smart for the tireless work
he has done in pushing this project along.
There are a number of RBG elements within
the Depot which will continue to be a focus
for the Gardens over the coming 12 months,
including the re-establishment of the soil
sterilisation shed and soil bays within the
nursery and some additional shedding for
fire equipment and the Gardens Explorer
people mover.
The Elliot Centre is now proving its potential
value for committee meetings and other
meetings of Friends groups. I reported in
the last Naturelink that with the relocation
to Cranbourne of the Victorian Orchid
Conservation Program, plans for the
relocation of the Herbarium Collectors had
to be put on hold and re-assessed. I am now
pleased to advise Friends that the Herbarium
Collectors will be located in another section
of the old administration offices which
is immediately adjacent to the new Elliot
Centre. Work on modifications to the building
has started. This will bring all the Friends
groups together under one roof in the
near future.
The Growing Friends Nursery is full of
vibrant plants being prepared for the next
plant sale. Thanks to a magnificent donation
to fauna-proof the nursery, it will not be
subject to the whims of wandering wallabies
and hungry possums!
A significant milestone for the organisation
was the official opening of the Elliot Centre
and the Growing Friends Nursery on
1 February by the Governor of Victoria,
His Excellency Alex Chernov AC QC and
Mrs Chernov. This event was hosted by the
Friends of RBG Cranbourne.
Indra Kurzeme is our new
Vice President. Indra,
previously an RBGC staff
member, will bring much
expertise to our organisation.
Photo: Tashi Kurzeme
New committee member
Amy Akers is also a
Garden Ambassador.
The official opening had to be organised
at very short notice, so we had to send out
invitations via email. Similarly, in early
January we had (of necessity!) to organise
the walk to see the flowering of the nuytsia
tree at very short notice and again we relied
on email. We are conscious that some of
you do not have or use email, and you will
be missing out on various events. If you
do have email and are
still getting your regular
communications by ‘snail
mail’ please advise the
Membership Secretary of
your email address so we
can keep you up to date
with events occurring at
short notice.
will be presented by a highly experienced
and knowledgeable group of speakers, so if
you want to know anything about eucalypts,
this is your chance. The Friends autumn
plant sales will be held in March; these sales
are a good way of generating funds for the
Gardens. I look forward to meeting you
at these and other events the Friends have
organised for 2015.
This edition is full of
exciting events coming up.
Notable is the increasingly
popular Australian
Textile Exhibition,
demonstrating the use of
Australian fabrics in quilt
making and fabricating
(the exhibition finishes
on 9 March). A genus
workshop on eucalyptus
The weird and wonderful scooters:
Fred and Robin Allison would like to express their appreciation to the donor who provided two mobility scooters to the
Australian Garden. This has enabled Fred to get to places, such as the top of Howson Hill, which he has been unable to
access since the completion of the Australian Garden. For us, scooting around together, with our cameras, in lovely weather,
is five-star entertainment. We will be regulars, with many thanks, Robin Allison.
Photo: Jenny Raven
12-day tour
South Africa
September/October 2016
Initial planning is underway with a wellknown travel company for a 12-day tour to
South Africa in September/October 2016.
South Africa is a large country, so we intend
to focus on two regions only. The first region
is Johannesburg/Pretoria, from where we
will start the tour. Then we will travel by air
to Cape Province/Namaqualand. A major
attraction in Southern African countries are
the game reserves, all offering a wide choice
of safaris, accommodation and prices. We
are not proposing to include a game reserve
safari in our garden tour, preferring to leave it
you to arrange one prior to or after the tour if
you wish. A safari to one of the game reserves
is highly recommended and can be arranged
by the tour managers.
In Johannesburg and Pretoria (the capital of
South Africa) we will visit public and private
gardens for three to four days. There are
some beautiful gardens in this area, but some
time will be devoted to learning about the
history and recent development of
South Africa.
The beautiful city of Cape Town will be our
base for about four days. Visits will be made
to the Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens nestled
at the foot of Table Mountain. Other visits
will be made to the Cape of Good Hope
and Cape Point, and the Stellenbosch winegrowing region. Time will be allowed to ride
the cable car up Table Mountain (weather
permitting) and to see the sights and learn
about Cape Town’s history.
The final four days will be spent discovering
the wildflowers of Namaqualand and
the natural wild beauty of the west coast
area, from a base(s) that will minimise
inconvenience in changing hotels. The tour
will finish in Cape Town.
We have received many expressions of
interest in this tour. The above itinerary is
provisional and can be tailored to our needs.
We will be sending out a survey form shortly
to those who have expressed interest aimed
at refining what people’s interests are and
what you would most like to see and do.
For more information,
contact Margaret Clarke (0419 349 492) or
Richard Clarke (0418 148 792).
Plant genus
and very close
Australian Garden
Auditorium, RBGC
Saturday 18 April
members $60
non-members $75
This plant workshop promises to be an
excellent day as we have obtained the
services of some very experienced eucalyptus
presenters! Eucalyptus and its close rellies is
a fascinating topic, as there has been much
conjecture in recent times as to the status of
this iconic genus.
The National Herbarium of Victoria at RBG
Melbourne has been very much involved in
solving some of these quandaries, such as
whether angophora should be included in
eucalyptus. Dr Frank Udovicic, Manager,
Plant Sciences & Biodiversity, will bring us
up to date and into line on that subject as well
as covering the evolution, fossil records and
the relationship to the genus Corymbia.
eucalypts and he will also guide us in our
selection of eucalypts for home gardens,
which will undoubtedly be influenced by his
research for a forthcoming book on
the subject.
The renowned Paul Thompson, who was part
of the design team for the Australian Garden,
will talk on eucalypts as design forms.
John Thompson from the Friends RBG
Cranbourne (no relation to Paul) will expand
our knowledge of how eucalypts and their
rellies have been utilised over time through
timber, honey, dyes and application in the
fields of art and crafts.
Russell Larke from RBG Cranbourne will
take us for a stroll in the Australian Garden
to explore some the eucalypts, especially the
plantings on Howson Hill.
There will be sessions on identification,
propagation and cultivation, focusing on
choosing the right plants for your prevailing
soil and climatic conditions. Choosing
plants for their particular characteristics,
such as trunk form and colour, flower and
foliage colour and screening capabilities,
will be discussed. Also you will be directed
to resources where you can find out extra
information which time will not allow for
during the day.
Finally, you will be given three plants to take
home for your own garden!
Morning refreshments will be available
from 9.30am. At 10.00am we will start the
workshop sessions.
Corymbia ficifolia
‘Baby Orange’ in the Future
Garden at RBG Cranbourne
Photo: Alex Smart
The remarkable Dean Nicolle, one of
Australia’s leading eucalyptophiles, who
has created the famous Currency Creek
Arboretum in south-eastern South Australia,
will enlighten us on the distribution of
Discovery day
Another opportunity to spend a day
at Mt Martha and Mornington!
Sustainability on
the Mornington
We will meet in the picnic ground at the
Balcombe Estuary Reserves, where we can
take a short walk along the boardwalk or
relax in the reserve and explore the estuary.
This will be our morning coffee stop, so
bring your thermos or pick up a coffee from
one of the many shops at Mt Martha, a short
walk away. We may have a representative
of the Balcombe Estuary Reserves Group
join us for coffee and a chat about the latest
developments there. It is a few years since we
last met up with them.
Tuesday 16 June
Balcombe Estuary
Mirang Avenue
Mt Martha
(Melway 144 K11)
members $15
non-members $20
At 11am we will depart for St Macartan’s
Primary School at 97 Bungower Road,
Mornington, where we will meet Carmela
Theobald, who is in charge of the Sustainable
Garden Program.
BYO lunch for a picnic in the Australian
Garden or you can purchase it from the Boon
Wurrung Café, but you will need to order it
before 9.45am and request that it be available
for pickup at 12.30pm (best to order
cold meals).
We will gain an insight into just how much
can be done to illustrate sustainability,
especially when starting from scratch
building a new school. This is a great
example of gardening being an integral part
of the school program. Some of you may have
seen St Macartan’s featured nearly two years
ago on Gardening Australia.
We will finish the visit at 1.30pm, having
either fitted in an opportunity to eat our byo
lunch in the school grounds or driven down
to the attractive Mornington Harbour for
some fish and chips! The choice will be yours
and will perhaps depend on the weather.
Contact Margaret Clarke on 0419 349 492 or
5974 1750.
Growing Friends
plant sale
Members and staff
Wednesday 18 March
15% discount for members
Growing Friends Nursery
General public
Saturday 28 and
Sunday 29 March
Left-hand image:
Drawing of Rhododendron
viriosum by John Armstrong
RBG Cranbourne
follow signs in carpark
Discovery tour
Registration of expressions of
interest required via Booking Form
Little Desert
National Park
The Friends plan to run a 5-day self-drive
tour of the Little Desert National Park and
surrounds later this year and we are seeking
expressions of interest so we know if it is
likely to be worthwhile continuing to plan for
such an event.
Saturday 8 August –
Wednesday 12 August
The Little Desert and surrounds are one
of Victoria’s many jewels and if you have
not been there with knowledgeable people
now is an excellent chance. The Little Desert
really hit the headlines in the late 1960s
when the then government wanted to put
a road through the National Park. This
proposed action was one of the catalysts in
the development of the strong conservation
movement in Australia.
We have been able to gain the services of
Maree and Graham Goods as our leaders for
this tour. Graham worked for many years
as a guide for the Little Desert Lodge and
knows the area intimately. Maree, Graham
and Ian Morgan have recently published the
excellent Birds and plants of the Little Desert.
Ian will also accompany us for some of our
time. These people really know the nooks
and crannies of this fascinating area.
Afternoon lecture
Who’s the
or animals?
Wednesday 4 March
Elliot Centre
RBG Cranbourne
Dunes’ near Yanac and the southern part of
the Murrayville track, which is renowned
for its floral displays. We hope to have two
after-dinner presentations: Ian Morgan on the
birds of the Wimmera and Mallee; and Bernie
Fox on the establishment of ‘Mali Dunes’ and
the building of their Terra Dome house.
We plan to use the Little Desert Lodge near
Nhill as our base, where we will spend
four nights in accommodation with en
suite bathrooms. All meals will be supplied
from Saturday evening through to lunch
on Wednesday. At this time the cost is not
finalised, but we envisage it will be in the
region of $575–600. A limited number of
single supplement accommodation will be
available for an extra cost of about $250.
There is one little proviso with this tour:
we are seeking people with 4WD or AWD
vehicles to be participants as we will be going
into sandy areas where conventional cars
may not be suitable. For those who have such
vehicles we will be looking to you to provide
carpooling to those without 4WD vehicles.
The Goods and Ian Morgan will have seats
for about five people. With a bit of planning
we should be able to cater for most people
wanting to be involved in the tour.
Other activities will include a guided tour
and morning tea at the Melton Botanic
Gardens en route on Saturday, possible
garden visits on the way to and from the
Little Desert. On the Tuesday we will be
visiting the wonderful Fox property ‘Mali
There will be a maximum of 40 participants.
If you are interested, please register on the
Booking Form.
Speaker: Pat Wright, Member of the
Friends Australian National Botanic
Gardens, Canberra
Make a day of it: visit the Australian Textile
Exhibition in the Gallery at the Visitor Centre
and the quilt display in the Auditorium.
Pat presents a colourful, yet serious,
examination of this question, including plant
behaviour, human behaviour and even sex!
For more information, contact Alex Smart at
<[email protected]> or on 9707 5275.
This will be the first lecture in the Elliot
Centre. Bookings are not required and there
is no charge. However, you will have an
opportunity to make a small donation or buy
some tickets in the Friends RBG Cranbourne
quilt raffle.
We look forward to your participation so that
this tour will be a success!
—Alex Smart & Rodger Elliot
Finishes on 9 Monday
Australian Textile Exhibition:
RBG Cranbourne, see page 9
2 Saturday
Annual Luncheon in the Tarnuk Room at RBGC, see page 6
4 Wednesday
Afternoon lecture in the Elliot Centre, ‘Who’s the smarter—
plants or animals?’, see page 5
14 Saturday and 15 Sunday
Botanical Illustrators workshop: Eucalyptus workshop with
Marta Salamon, see page 10
18 Wednesday
Growing Friends autumn plant sale
for members and staff, see page 5
22 Sunday
Afternoon talk by Dr Noushka Reiter —Victorian Orchid
Conservation Program, see page 7
28 Saturday and 29 Sunday
Growing Friends autumn plant sale,
see page 5
18 Saturday
Plant genus workshop—Eucalyptus and very close relatives,
see page 4
10 Sunday
Plant workshop—Ferns & palms—CANCELLED
NB. This workshop has been transferred to 2 August and will
have a new title: Ferns & Cycads
16 Saturday – 23 Saturday
Discovery tour 1—Lord Howe Island (fully booked)
23 Saturday – 30 Saturday
Discovery tour 2—Lord Howe Island (fully booked)
13 Saturday – 20 Saturday
Discovery tour 3—Lord Howe Island (fully booked)
16 Tuesday
Discovery day—Sustainability on the Mornington Peninsula,
see page 4
8 Saturday – 12 Wednesday
Little Desert discovery tour—expressions of interest, see
page 5
27 Monday
Botanical Illustrators workshop: Pen-and-ink workshop with
Pauline Dewar, see page 10
Annual Friends
Tarnuk Room
Australian Garden, RBGC
Saturday 2 May
11.30am for 12.00 noon
$65 per person
Right: Professor Tim Entwisle
Once again, it’s time to gather up some
Friends and make up a table for a delicious
lunch and to hear an entertaining speaker,
Prof Tim Entwisle, Director and Chief
Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens. Of
course you are welcome to come by yourself;
buy a ticket and we will place you at a table
where you are bound to enjoy chats with
friends old and new. The charge is the same
as last year, which is good value for the
lovely meal Blakes will serve us. The title of
Tim’s talk will be ‘Are plants immortal and
do they care?’.
Professor Tim Entwisle is a highly respected
scientist, scientific communicator and
botanic gardens director. He took up the role
of Director and Chief Executive of Royal
Botanic Gardens in March 2013, following
two years in a senior role at the Royal Botanic
Gardens, Kew, and eight years as Executive
Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens and
Domain Trust in Sydney. Tim is an Honorary
Professorial Fellow in the School of Botany at
the University of Melbourne and a Visiting
Professor in the School of Biological and
Biomedical Science, Durham University. He is
an expert in freshwater algae (a genus, family
and order of algae were named after him last
year), but has a broad interest in all plants
and related life forms (e.g. he edited and
wrote contributions for the 4-volume Flora of
Victoria). Tim blogs, tweets, and looks for any
opportunity to promote science, plants and
gardens. Tim has been a regular contributor
to ABC radio and its website, and a frequent
guest on Australian radio and television;
over summer 2014/15 he hosted RN’s first
gardening show, Talking plants. He has
written for a variety of science, nature and
garden magazines and maintains an active
social media profile (including his popular
‘Talkingplants’ blog).
Bev Roberts. Please indicate your food
Any enquiries to Bev on 9391 3393 or 0408
378 615 or Margaret Clarke on 0419 349 492.
Please book by 23 April.
The Tarnuk Room at RBG Cranbourne is
proving a popular venue. As usual we will
have a silent auction in the foyer. We value
your contributions to the auction.
The space in the Boon Wurrung Café is
limited so don’t delay in booking your
tickets. Fill out the separate booking form
in this issue of Naturelink and mail it to
Staff profile
Noushka Reiter
(Orchid Conservation)
Where does one start? At the beginning,
I suppose. I was born a country girl in a little
town called Donald in Western Victoria and
have fond early memories of my parents
taking me to the Grampians on weekends,
my father being a naturalist as well as, oddly
enough, a meatworker. We spent most of
our family holidays in one National Park
or another, as was Dad’s way, stranded in
various inaccessible remote areas, until the
car was eventually hauled out. I was raised
with a love of the Australian outback. Our
family went through a transient stage,
moving around the east coast of Australia
mostly, and by the time I had finished year
12, I had changed schools ten times. As
some teenagers do, I started an advanced
Environmental Science degree at UNSW and
within six months dropped out, hitchhiked
to Melbourne and found myself working in
bars for a year or two, having a generally
wonderful time.
To the relief of my anxious family I then
started a science degree at the University
of Melbourne with a major in Botany,
continuing on to do my Honours on
threatened flora and Phytophthora cinnamomi
(dieback) in the Grampians National Park.
I was fortunate enough to have the late
great Gretna Weste as my supervisor, a truly
inspirational and pioneering woman in
science. I worked as a consultant for a while
testing for dieback and, being a glutton for
punishment, went back to complete a Grad
Dip in Biotechnology and Environmental
Biology at RMIT.
On Sunday 22 March,
at 2pm, Noushka will be
speaking to the Friends
RBGC in the Australian
Garden Auditorium on her
orchid work.
I had become involved with a Recovery
Team in the Grampians National Park with
an adorable prickly and rather endangered
borya. One thing led to another and within a
year I had started my PhD investigating the
mycorrhizal associations, tissue culture, floral
biology and phylogenetics of boryas, an affair
which continues to this day.
Register your proposed
attendance for this talk
on the attached Booking
Form. See Summer 2015
Naturelink for further
My PhD studies took five years, but after
three and a half years a scholarship tends
to run out, so employment was needed. I
worked for a while helping with prac classes
at RMIT and as an Orchid Conservation
Officer at the RBG in South Yarra before
taking a full-time job as a Biodiversity Officer
working with 18 species of threatened flora in
the Wimmera as I completed my thesis.
I was fortunate enough to be given
the opportunity to establish an Orchid
Conservation Laboratory in Horsham,
where we have been perfecting propagation
techniques for federally endangered orchids,
successfully propagating about 30 federally
listed orchids. In the last few years large-scale
reintroductions of threatened orchids have
started to take place due to the success of the
program. Managing the Orchid Conservation
Program in Horsham has been an amazing
team experience with a truly outstanding
effort by staff, partner organisations,
volunteers and numerous and passionate
community groups.
It is a wonderful thing to have amalgamated
the program in Horsham with the Australian
Network for Plant Conservation and the
Royal Botanic Gardens: in a real sense it
feels as if the program is coming home and
sitting where it should. A huge thank you to
the wonderful individuals and community
groups whose donations have enabled
the purchase of equipment for the Orchid
Conservation Centre. Everyone has been very
welcoming and I look forward to becoming a
part of the friendly and talented team here.
Postscript: In December 2014, Dr Noushka
Reiter relocated her orchid research
laboratory from Horsham to the RBG
Cranbourne. One of the portable buildings
next to the Friends Elliot Centre has been
fitted out as a laboratory, and a section of the
Nursery shade house has been set aside for
orchid production. Noushka’s expertise is a
very valuable addition to the research work
that is undertaken at Cranbourne. You may
be interested to know that 42 orchids have
been identified within the bushland area
of the Cranbourne Gardens, and the naked
sun orchid, Thelymitra circumsepta, is listed
as having state conservation significance.
Noushka reports directly to the Manager
of Plant Sciences, Frank Udovicic, at the
RBG Melbourne.
The Friends RBG Cranbourne run several regular monthly activities, which are described
below. If you are interested in participating in any of these activities, even on an irregular
basis, please ring or email the contact person, or just turn up. Don’t worry if you don’t have
specific skills, you will learn on the job, and you will be made most welcome!
1st and 3rd Wednesday
We are a small, friendly group of artists of
varying experience, who meet to paint and draw
together (without tuition). This allows us to
share ideas, information and give each other
encouragement and support. We hold exhibitions
at various galleries.
After the Christmas break the Illustrators
are back to meeting to paint together on the
first and third Wednesday of the month.
We will be starting to prepare for the
forthcoming exhibitions later this year. We
have two exciting upcoming workshops
that are open to members and non-members
alike (which are publicised on p. 10).
We find, photograph and collect specimens of
the indigenous plants in the RBG Cranbourne
at each stage of their development and ensure
that relevant details—locations, appearance, the
substrate they are found on, and habitat—are
recorded. These specimens are then dried and
mounted for herbarium collections at the RBG
Cranbourne, and the National Herbarium at the
RBG Melbourne.
days earlier had blown it all away. Ah well,
we will try again next year.
Elliot Centre
Margaret Holloway
0438 985 382
[email protected]
1st Monday
Maud Gibson Room
Nola Foster
9583 5731
Since October we have been out in the field
adding to the collection—twelve species
in all, six in flower, the rest in seed. Special
thanks to our sleuth, Dawn Neylan, for her
reconnaissance work each month.
On 5 January we welcomed Ivan Margitta to
our photography/computer group, which
is now back to three. On that day, we had
planned to collect Laxmannia orientalis in seed,
but the extreme heat and north wind two
Friends In Focus
2nd Saturday
Jan–Mar, 9.30–11.30am
April–Sept, 2–4pm
Oct–Dec, 9.30–11.30am
The January collection day was also our
annual potluck Christmas lunch. This year
Alex Smart was our very honoured Guest of
Honour. Alex has been our major supporter
over these 13 years, always coming to
the rescue when we had either lost our
accommodation or the space we were
using proved very restrictive for our work.
After our first digs in the ARCUE building,
he acquired accommodation for us in the
Eucalyptus Room, and subsequently in the
Maud Gibson Room. Recently he was again
working hard on our behalf, as we were
to lose the use of the Maud Gibson Room.
Chris Russell, however, has stepped in, and
we are to have part of the old staff building
with a dedicated space to ourselves.
We get together to have fun and learn about
photography, take photos and enhance and
practise our skills in a friendly, social and
non-judgmental environment. We range from
‘snappers’ to serious photographers. Our starting
times vary with daylight saving to give the best
lighting conditions for taking photographs.
Elliot Centre
James McKee
9707 2624
0411 102 107
[email protected]
Sturt pea, Swainsona
formosa, flowering in
the Sand Garden at RBGC
Photos: Alex Smart
NSW Christmas bell, Blandfordia nobilis,
in full bloom before Christmas in the
Australian Garden
Growing Friends
3rd Wednesday
Every Thursday
Growing Friends Nursery
Marjanne Rook
9769 7881
[email protected]
Don Dower
9736 2309
0401 611 173
[email protected]
Rhagodia spinescens,
or hedge saltbush, an
attractive, silvery
hedging bush
2nd Tuesday
Elliot Centre
Gwen Elliot
8774 2483
3rd Saturday
Elliot Centre
Lynn Lochrie
0437 759 610
[email protected]
We propagate a great variety of Australian
native plants that have been sourced from the
Gardens, and have great fun doing it. The plants
are used for educational purposes as giveaways,
and for raising funds for selected projects for the
Good news
I am pleased to inform the membership that
the Growing Friends are able to resume the
sale of plants from our nursery to members
on our working bee days. Some years ago,
our nursery had been open to members
on a weekly basis and this had become
quite popular, but had to cease due to the
presence of mytle rust in Victoria—a fungal
plant pathogen that affects plants in the
family Myrtaceae. In order to minimise
the possibility of this fungus invading the
Gardens and then potentially spreading
to member’s gardens, any incoming and
outgoing plant material had to be treated
with a fungicide, which could not be done
on a weekly basis. Due to the low level of
outbreaks, preventative protocols have now
been reviewed and the Growing Friends are
able to resume the sale of plants on a weekly
basis. So, feel free to visit our new nursery,
have a chat and check over and purchase
our plants. You may even wish to join us.
Our working bee days are every Thursday
as well as the 3rd Wednesday of the month
We work with fabric crafts (hand sewing,
machine sewing and embroidery) using materials
or designs featuring and highlighting the
beauty of Australian native plants. We also host
exhibitions and provide items for prizes and gifts
for Friends activities.
Fabric Crafts and Quilting Exhibition
Our 5th Fabric Crafts and Quilting
Exhibition is NOW ON!
The exhibition commenced in the Visitor
Centre on Saturday 28 February and
continues through to the Labour Day holiday
on Monday 9 March, from 10am to 4pm each
day. The exhibits fill the Gallery area at the
Reception Desk and also the Auditorium
Breaking news! The Botanical Basketmakers
group was disbanded a few years ago
because of the myrtle rust scare. With the
new myrtle rust protocols in place the group
is about to rise like a phoenix! It will be
under the leadership of Lynn Lochrie, who
is quite excited at the prospect of having the
Basketmakers meeting again.
There was a display reintroducing
Basketmakers on 1 February at the opening
of the Elliot Centre which hopefully
engendered interest. You will be able
from 10.00am to 3.00pm. The Nursery is
located in the depot area—it has a big sign
on the gate.
Currently we are working towards getting
our plants ready for the autumn plant sale,
which is to be on the last weekend of March
in the Gardens as well as on the already
mentioned working bee days. We will have
a good selection of grevilleas, melaleucas,
some acacias and many more. A list of
available plants will be posted on the Friends
website by about mid-March.
The healthy looking Rhagodia spinescens
(hedge saltbush) deserves a special
mention. This is an excellent long-lived,
low maintenance bush to 1.2m x 1.5-2m
with grey-green foliage and, as the name
implies, it makes an attractive informal,
silvery hedging plant. Low maintenance, but
will benefit from some pruning to maintain
shape. This plant is drought tolerant and
fire retardant.
Special orders
Any wishes? Perhaps you would like a plant
you have seen in the Gardens or multiple
plants for a large area. If so please contact
the Growing Friends by email or phone with
your request and we shall endeavour to
grow them or may even have them in stock.
Contact details are on this page.
There are over 100 exhibits of patchwork,
quilts and other items by some of Australia’s
leading quilting and textile experts.
Leesa Chandler has again very kindly
donated a large quilt, which is being
raffled by the Friends to assist the ongoing
development of RBG Cranbourne. Tickets
are $2.00 each and are obtainable at the
Exhibition. Winning entries will be drawn on
Monday 9 March.
Entry to the Exhibition is FREE.
We hope you are able to come, and to visit
the Australian Garden in its late summer
glory at the same time.
to register your interest in the group by
contacting Lynn on the phone number
provided here.
Seed Collectors
We meet on an ad hoc basis
Richenda Harrison
9885 2744
0438 852 744
[email protected]
We gather and process seed for the RBG
Cranbourne seed stock. The seed collected is used
by the Growing Friends Nursery and by the
Gardens for regeneration of the bushland.
Our meetings are irregular, as the peak time for
the group is November to March. Most of the
2–3 hour sessions are on Thursdays, and involve
a range of activities: reconnaissance, collection
and processing, and documentation.
Since September we have spent 16 sessions
identifying many plants in flower, and
marking them with orange labels showing
the date, name, our group name and
other useful information. To help get the
identification correct, Cali Salzmann taught
us to look for fine details including leaf size
and shape, seeds, capsules, pods and cones,
as well as minute hairs or markings seen
only with a hand lens. There is so much to
learn, but it is fascinating, enjoyable and
rewarding work.
Many seeds and pods have now been
collected into brown paper bags to dry, some
of which had been covered with lengths
of pantyhose because the seeds were very
fine or were likely to pop open on a hot
day when no one was there. Plants such
Pen-and-ink drawing of a
pygmy possum by
Pauline Dewar. Image
courtesy of Pauline Dewar.
There are some plants whose seeds are
tricky to collect such as Themeda triandra
(kangaroo grass). We checked faithfully
week after week until finally picking some
bunches and hanging them up over sheets
laid out to catch the seeds—all to no avail
as, despite our checking, the seeds had
mostly not developed far enough to produce
viable embryos. There are several reasons
for this, one of which is the current weather,
which has alternately drowned or fried the
plants and which may have affected their
pollination and fertilisation.
Our group of 4–8 members are a hardworking and enthusiastic bunch, who splosh
along in gum boots or gaiters, japaras and
hats come rain, hail or boiling sun, watching
the occasional snake glide across our path
and numerous fascinating birds, whilst
taking notes and discussing whatever plants
we see around us.
The following workshops are open to
members and non-members alike. They
will be held at the Elliot Centre at RBG
Cranbourne from 10am to 3pm. For bookings
or further information about either of these
workshops contact Margaret Holloway on
0438 985 382 or at <[email protected]>. A materials list will be sent on
receipt of payment.
will be given to leaves, growth habit and
development of flowers. This exciting
workshop will enable all artists to complete
a study of a eucalypt using a specimen from
the Gardens. Watercolour, graphite, coloured
pencils and ink are all suitable mediums
to use.
Eucalyptus workshop with
Marta Salamon
Monday 27 April
members $75;
non-members $100
Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 March
members $140; non-members $165
Marta is well known for her teaching
and her illustrations. She has a particular
interest in eucalypts and has spent time in
Western Australia to paint their indigenous
eucalypts. Recently at the Art of Botanical
Illustration Exhibition held at Domain House,
Marta’s painting of Castanea sativa, the sweet
chestnut, was acquired for the State Botanical
This two-day intensive workshop will
concentrate on portraying the particular
qualities of eucalypts. Particular attention
Watercolour painting of
Eucalyptus erythrocorys
by Marta Salamon.
Image courtesy of
Marta Salamon
as Dianella tasmanica, Comesperma volubile,
Lepidosperma longitudinale were successfully
harvested this way. Of course at all times
we have to be careful to take only 10 per
cent or less of seeds from any one plant, so
the rest can scatter normally for continued
Pen-and-ink workshop with
Pauline Dewar
Pauline has long had a passion for pen-andink work, particularly illustrating scientific
studies, which followed on from studying
science and medicine at university. She
also enjoys watercolour natural history
illustration, and was thrilled to be a highly
commended finalist in the 2014 Waterhouse
Natural Science Art Prize. She has a particular
interest in botanical scientific illustration and
has been awarded three highly commended
recognitions in the Margaret Flockton Award
for Scientific Illustration.
For the workshop Pauline will involve
participants in a discussion of materials
suitable for pen and ink and the sourcing of
ideas and materials as subject matter. She
will also discuss the different methods used
depending on the subject matter and the
desired effect and the possibility of the use of
mixed media. Participants will be required to
have a drawing of their chosen subject with
them so they can commence working
with ink.
From the bushland
Good guys and
bad guys
Jacky dragon
Photo: C Wright
Spotted pardalote outside its
burrow in a bank
Photo: Lindsey Tester
’There be dragons in the Gardens!’
New and emerging weeds on site
When the weather starts to warm up in
spring the Jacky dragons emerge from
their brumation (winter dormancy). Jacky
or tree dragons (Amphibolurus muricatus)
are members of the agamid or dragon
lizard family. These charming dragons are
found across the RBG
Cranbourne site, but are
most commonly seen
flitting around on the
bushland tracks and
roads during the summer
months feeding on flies
and any other small
insects they can catch. As
well as being found on
the ground, Jacky dragons
are good climbers and are
regularly spotted sunning
themselves in a tree or on
a fencepost.
The Land Management team is always on the
lookout for new and emerging weeds on site.
The old saying ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ is
certainly applicable to weed management.
It is far better to prevent new weeds from
entering the site and becoming established
than it is to manage them once they get a
foothold and become established.
During the months of November and
December, female Jacky dragons dig holes
in sandy soil, often along
track edges into which
they will deposit 3–9
hard-shelled white eggs.
The holes are carefully
backfilled and concealed
to avoid detection by
predators. A couple of
months later the young
dragons hatch and dig
their way to the surface
where they then have
to fend for themselves.
Interestingly, it is the
temperatures that the eggs are subjected to
during the incubation period that determines
the sex of the litter.
Please take care when driving around the
roads on site, to ensure you don’t run over
these cute little critters.
Spotted pardalote
Do you ever wonder what is hiding within
those little burrows … it could be the spotted
pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus). This pretty
little bird is only about 10cm in length and
weighs about 9gm. The spotted pardalote
has been seen within the Gardens as its
distribution ranges across southern and
eastern Australia within eucalypt forests and
Disa bracteata,
South African orchid
Photo: Warren Worboys
This small bird often feeds on arthropods,
mostly psyllid larvae and lerp, as well as
manna from eucalypts. A pair of adults
may breed from June to January within
an underground nest. The nest often has a
50–150cm long tunnel, constructed from bark,
grass and other plant material. Make sure
you watch your step and avoid disturbing
a nest!
The Disa bracteata (South African orchid)
is a new and emerging weed in Victoria.
Originating in South Africa, it is believed the
plant was first found in Western Australia in
1944, possibly introduced by plant collectors.
It was first found near Bacchus Marsh in
Victoria in 1994 and is now well established
in Victoria.
In December 2009 the Land Management
team discovered two plants of Disa bracteata
on Botanic Drive just outside the perimeter
fence line. Unfortunately, they had both
already been pollinated and had released
their wind-dispersed seed (there can be tens
of thousands per plant per year). These plants
were removed and destroyed. Subsequent
searches of the area in July 2010 revealed
30 plants, which were also removed and
Two ‘new’ populations of Disa bracteata were
recently discovered on site; one in the front
block along Ballarto Road and the other on
the edge of the Australian Garden near the
Diversity Garden. Plants within these areas
have all been removed and destroyed, but
the sites will require intensive monitoring
and management over the coming years.
Hopefully this early intervention has assisted
in preventing this invasive species becoming
established on site—but really only time
will tell!
To the untrained eye, Disa bracteata looks
similar to some of our indigenous orchids.
So if you think you may have found it or
any other new and emerging weeds on site,
please leave the plant/s in situ and contact
one of the Land Management staff.
Recycling of old garden edging
Recently Land Management staff recycled
old plastic garden edging and created fox
bait station retainer rings. The circular rings
are used to contain the sand into which fox
baits are laid. Previously the stations had no
edging and the sand mix was quickly spread
around by animals and had to be replaced
on a regular basis, costing the team time
and money. Initial indications are that the
rings seem to be containing the sand and
maintaining the required depth of the bait
station without deterring foxes. It’s great
when we can recycle materials that would
otherwise be thrown away!
—Land Management team
Recent discovery
Led by Judith Cooke and Rodger Elliot, we
travelled to Marysville last November for two
days to assess the regeneration of plants since
the Black Saturday Bushfires in February
2009, almost six years ago.
The prostrate sky lily,
Herpolirion novae-zealandiae,
is a highlight of the Echo
Flat region.
Our meeting point at Fernshaw Reserve
gave us a close look at Dicksonia Antarctica
(soft treefern), Hedycarya angustifolia (Austral
mulberry), Pomaderris, Senecio linearifolius
(fireweed groundsel), Eucalyptus regnans
(mountain ash) and Acacia melanoxylon
(blackwood). Then came a journey up one
of Victoria’s most beautiful roadscapes—
the Black Spur. Severely damaged by the
fires, the growth of new fronds on Dicksonia
antarctica was spectacular. They glowed
throughout the forest with the extra sunlight
available through a more open tree canopy.
On to the home of
Doug and Lynne
Walter from Taggerty,
who developed their
garden in 2007 to have
views from the house
over the gardens to
the Cathedral Range.
Lots of Australian
plants were selected
in combinations to
contrast foliage and
colour. They have
created an ecology
in just seven years to
now have bower birds,
nesting willy wagtails
and bee hives in full
The Walter Garden
at Taggerty
Photos: Judith Cooke
The Black Saturday fires caused
massive damage and loss of lives in the
Marysville and Cathedral Range districts.
Understandably the psychological damage
to the entire community was severe. Doug
Walter and others created a band to aid
emotional recovery,
using old 4-gallon drums
specially designed as
musical instruments.
This communityinvolvement activity
has developed from
backyards to the ‘Pans
of Fire’ band performing
widely—including a tour
of France.
Close to Buxton we
visited Geoff and Jill
Olive. Geoff was a
Horticulture Lecturer
at Burnley College for
many years. With this
experience and interest,
in 1998 they bought their
30-acre property, covered
with blackberries.
Having propagated
most of their stock they
intended to have an
Australian plant garden with part of the
property planted with commercial cut flower
crops of boronias, waratahs, hypocalymma
and kangaroo paws. The fires of 2009
destroyed the cut flower crops and they
decided not to replace them. They have now
become involved in the Euroa Arboretum
helping with propagation and seed collection
with their daughter Kath.
The nearby Buxton Gum Reserve preserves
Eucalyptus crenulata (silver gum). A lowlying area, it is wet in winter and suits the
requirements of this tree, providing a single
sanctuary for this species.
To look around the skyline at Marysville
is traumatic, especially at Steavenson Falls
where what was thick forest is now an open
canopy walk. The new growth is strong and
many plants are coming back, including
Atherosperma moschatum (sassafras), Goodia
lotifolia (golden tip), Stylidium graminifolium
(grass triggerplant), Billardiera longiflora
(climbing blueberry), Bedfordia arborescens
(blanket leaf) and Correa lawrenceana
(mountain correa).
—Wendy Smart
Lake Mountain
Following a comfortable overnight stay in
Marysville we departed for Lake Mountain
with Judith Cooke leading our convoy.
There were a couple of roadside stops along
the way as we began to explore the very
special flora of this region. Judith has been
visiting here almost monthly since Black
Saturday, and has been recording the flora of
the area and how it has recovered following
the high intensity wildfire.
On our arrival at the Lake Mountain resort
we were met by one of the rangers, Sue Parry,
before we set out on our walk to Echo Flat.
The weather here can be very changeable, so
we came prepared for everything from warm
sunshine to rain (and we did indeed have
both during the day). Generally, however,
we had excellent conditions for walking and
It was a slow ramble to Echo Flat. Rodger
had given everyone a small slip of paper at
dinner the previous night, and our task was
to find the plant named on our slip. Some
were lucky, like John Armstrong, who was
looking for Scaevola hookeri, as this creeping
fan-flower was abundant and in full bloom,
from just near the Visitor Centre right up to
Echo Flat.
Flowering was really excellent, with lots
of plants in full bloom or coming into their
major summer flowering season.
Alex Smart was particularly looking for
Viola eminens, which is related to the widely
cultivated native violet, but is much more
restricted in its natural habitat areas. It
was collected from the Beaconsfield area in
1906, but no recent discoveries in that area
have been recorded. Alex supplied each of
us with a 6-page folder including botanical
illustrations, photos and identification
features. After several ‘it may be’ sightings
we finally found quite a number of plants.
Judith was a ‘happy traveller’ as she was able
to add some new species to her catalogue of
plant observations; Margaret Margitta was
delighted to find an orchid; and the rest of us
also had a very enjoyable time.
Back at the Visitor Centre we enjoyed iced
coffees and other refreshments, and Sue Parry
spent some time chatting with members of
our group. Several people purchased her
Recent workshop
Plant and insect
Passion vine hoppers can
be very active in spring
and summer. Small birds
such as thornbills, as well
as skinks, spiders and
ladybirds can help keep
them under control.
There may be some plants that live without
insects and a few insects that survive without
plants, but mostly their lives are intricately
Insects maximise the benefits they receive
from plants, and plants create elaborate
to protect
can also
for plants,
such as
dispersal, integrated pest management
and even a supplementary food source.
Often plants, in turn, provide rewards for
the insects. At the extreme end, highly
specific obligate mutualism (where one or
both species are dependent on the other for
survival) is not unusual.
recently released booklet Lake Mountain field
guide, which includes 80 colour photographs
of plants of the area.
We drove down from the resort area,
stopping to photograph the ‘Mountain
Giant’ form of Philotheca myoporoides, then at
Cambarville where we walked to the Big Tree
along a track with sassafras and Antarctic
beech trees.
Our return to the Melbourne area was
through Warburton, after a very enjoyable
and memorable day.
—Gwen Elliot
Patrick Honan took us on a whirlwind ‘tour’
of some of the expressions of these neverending counter movements of utilisation,
protection, and enticement. In round figures,
plants appeared about 400 mya (million years
ago) and insects followed, 350 mya. The pace
quickened when flowering plants evolved
100 mya. The contortions of co-evolution
contributed to speciation in both insects and
Trevor Edwards took us further into the
subtleties of cause and effect. He explored
insect–plant mimicry. The drive to combine
and perpetuate DNA most effectively
developed ever more complex relationships
and deceptions between models, mimics, and
insect dupes.
Two plant genera with highly developed
insect relationships, stylidium (trigger plants)
and drosera (sundews), are grown by John
Thompson, who generously shared his
knowledge with us.
Broni Swartz introduced us to ‘insecticulture’
in the RBG Cranbourne Nursery and
reminded us that insects are an essential food
source for birds and animals. She advocated a
strategy of observation, monitoring, research,
and minimal intervention.
With our awareness heightened, a walk
in the Australian Garden revealed an
interdependent world of unique insects and
plants that have co-evolved since Australia
separated from Gondwana!
To maintain an insect-friendly garden,
minimise interference and chemical use,
include structural diversity, and mulch
well. For butterflies specifically, John Arnott
suggested ‘re-wilding’ an area and having ‘en
masse’ plantings of suitable nectar and larval
food plants. Butterflies like a sunny, protected
‘clearing’ with some shallow standing water.
Workshop participants were able to
propagate insect-reliant plants with the help
of Rodger and Gwen Elliot and Di Clarke
from the RBG Cranbourne Nursery.
—Kate Walsh
Presenters and audience participating in the question and answer session.
Nuytsia Day
6 January 2015
Approximately 40 people attended Howson
Hill to see the Nuytsia floribunda (Western
Australian Christmas tree) in flower, with
Warren Worboys providing details about
its significance. Warren described his
amazement at flying into Perth at Christmas
time one year to see the brilliant yellow–
orange flowers of many of these trees dotted
through the countryside.
The nuytsia at RBG Cranbourne Gardens
is one of the few specimens in the eastern
states and the decision to have it listed on the
Significant Tree Register is expected within a
few months.
Warren explained that over 30 years ago he
was given a bagful of Nuytsia floribunda seeds.
The object was to plant them under a number
of conditions and with different hosts. As a
member of the mistletoe family they were
known to be parasitic, but the host plant was
not known.
Possible hosts were grown in pots and likely
positions in the Botanic Gardens with various
surrounding hosts were selected, then Warren
planted nuytsia seeds. Horticulturalists
already knew that germination and first year
growth was about 95 per cent successful, but
second year growth dropped to 35 per cent.
Very few plants survived beyond the second
Book review
Sprinter and
changing seasons
Timothy J Entwisle
Sprinter and sprummer:
Australia’s changing seasons
Timothy J Entwisle
CSIRO Publishing 2014 168 pp, softcover,
line drawings, 130x200mm
At school we learnt that the Nile, Euphrates,
Tigris, Ganges and other major rivers all
flooded annually—they still do—thus
starting or ending the known seasonal
changes for the agricultural cycles of western
In Australia, since European settlement, we
have also followed the western notion that
winter is for fallow, spring for planting,
summer for growing and autumn for
harvesting (e.g. Harvest Festivals).
Tim Entwisle is proposing five seasons,
starting at ‘sprinter’ (winter/spring),
followed by ‘sprummer’ (spring/summer),
summer, autumn and winter, which is closer
to the indigenous seasons. Can these changes
be justified? Does the change within plants’
life cycles represent moments of change in
weather and how well do they fit within
the accepted start and end of the generally
accepted four seasons?
Entwisle compares Australian (Sydney)
conditions with those in England (London).
Kew Gardens has recorded the date of the
first flowering of plants for many years.
These records are showing a shift among
year. Warren’s plants followed the same
pattern and after three years he had three
surviving plants.
When prompted, Warren confessed that even
today nobody knows what the host plants
are. He has even done several tree spade
diggings of soil beside the tree but found no
tree roots.
The nuytsia has unusual characteristics,
including being a root parasite; it does not
need the mistletoe bird to spread seeds; the
seeds are three-winged and distributed by
wind and as it is a tree that can reach 10
metres it is not a small bush dependent on
the host.
It is attached to the root through a
haustorium, a suction-like growth that creates
a collar around the root, then penetrates it to
extract nutrients. Nuytsia can detect certain
gases given off by plant root systems and will
seek these out for many metres. This includes
Telstra underground cables, which resulted in
Telstra having to develop cables that did not
give off the specific gas.
Warren has received many congratulations
for his passion and expertise in the wonderful
story of the nuytsia.
—Wendy Smart
the spring-flowering plants. They are now
flowering at the end of winter, rather than in
spring. Similarly, the flowering times of other
plants are being recorded earlier or later than
usual. When similar plants are observed in
Australia, similar changes are noted.
So Entwisle is using the number of seasons
recognised by the indigenous tribes of
Australia, as the reason to change to five
seasons. True, there are at least two seasons
in the tropics, whereas in the south, four to
six seasons are recognised. The seasons are
generally differentiated, not only by when
plants flower, but the available food sources,
in the oceans, waterways and on the land.
Entwisle describes the characteristics of his
five seasons in some detail and finishes with
a discussion of the effects of climate change.
You will need to make up your own mind
about his argument, but certainly we have all
observed the way that plants are reacting to
the change in the climate.
There are a few illustrations apart from
the line drawings at the beginning of
each chapter and some graphs scattered
throughout the text. Inserted panels add
some explanation or tell a story of particular
past events. There are endnotes and a
bibliography, but no index.
—Tim Morrow
We have 28 new members of the Friends this
quarter; we continue to gain new members
each month, many of whom join at the very
successful plant sales which Growing Friends
run three times a year.
Helen Morrow
There is a great program planned for this
year, with something for all ages. Details
are advertised in the newsletter; check them
out, then just fill in the Booking Form on
the Naturelink wrapper and send it off to the
Friends Bookings.
Glenys Austin, Sally Carvosso, Andrew
Coogan, Annette Gaiardo, Peter & Jill Gibson,
Kathryn Hogan-Lewis, Matthew Johson,
Kim Longden, Nancy Leonard, Margaret
McCulley, Vicki Mason, Jacquie Milner, Peter
Moon, Catherine Pankhurst, John & Lorraine
Porter, Andrew Presnell, Jennifer Raven,
Michelle Rayner, Alvin & Glenda Rendell,
Jenny Scott, Carol Sieker, Allison Watson.
I hope we can catch up with many of you at
some of the activities.
A warm welcome to the following members:
Gay Alcock & David Gibson, Lyn Allison,
Call for Friends
RBG Cranbourne
archival material
We now have new rooms and space to store
material, so the task of sorting, compiling and
completing record sets has begun.
The committee would also like to establish
an archive of the history of the Friends with
the view to writing a history of the last 25
years of the Friends’ involvement in the RBG
Cranbourne and the Australian Garden.
We will be delighted to receive any
information—historical photos, audiovisual
materials or text, or your reminiscences in
any format.
For further information, please contact
Christine Kenyon on 9589 2154 or at
<[email protected]>.
Do you have memories of special people
who are no longer members?
Do you have special memories of your
time with the Friends?
Do you have photos or documents that
you would be willing to share?
B enefits of M embership
• our quarterly newsletter Naturelink
• 10% discount at the Boon Wurrung Café
• QuickLink eNews
• 10% discount at the Gardens Shop
(Melbourne and Cranbourne).
• discount rates for both Melbourne and Cranbourne
Friends activities
• access to Friends-only activities
• 15% discount on plant sales at RBG Cranbourne
• access to Friends-only plant sales
You can get an application form from the website <http://>, the Visitor Centre at RBG Cranbourne,
or Helen Morrow, Membership Secretary on 9850 9125,
or at <[email protected]>.
The Friends of RBG Cranbourne Committee
President: Richard Clarke
5974 1750
Secretary: Helen Kennedy
9560 0185
Vice President: Indra Kurzeme 5904 6275
Vice President: Helen Morrow 9850 9125
Past President: Margaret Clarke
5974 1750
Treasurer: Karen Russell 9878 4857
Membership Secretary: Helen Morrow 9850 9125
RBGC Representative: Chris Russell 5990 2200
General Committee
Amy Akers 0423 513 281
Rodger Elliot
8774 2483
Chloe Foster 9725 3569
Nola Foster 9583 5731
Christine Kenyon 9589 2154
James McKee
9707 2624
Bev Roberts 9391 3393
Marjanne Rook
9769 7881
Ros Shepherd
9766 1876
Alex Smart
9707 5275
Naturelink Editors
Susan Funder [email protected]
0409 864 237
Gill Gartlan
[email protected]
5281 7569
Contact details for activity group coordinators
are listed under Regular Monthly Activities.
The committee meets on the second Thursday
of the month at 6pm.
Recent discovery
Desal plant visit
Victoria’s desalination plant is a surprise.
You can barely see it as you approach because
of the dunes that have been constructed
and because the facility is lower than the
surrounding area.
One of the restored wetlands
The plant takes up only about 15 per cent of
the total site area. The remaining 225 hectares
have been replanted with over 3.5 million
plants and 150,000 trees. The site now has
areas of wetlands and coastal and swampy
woodlands. There is also an 8km network of
pedestrian, cycling and horse riding paths.
There is even a bird hide for the twitchers.
On an
day, 40
travelled to
and met
outside the
plant. After
signing in, we
collected and
donned our
safety gear
and met our
hosts for the
day. During
tea we were introduced to the desalination
process, which starts with seawater and
produces pretty much pure water. Minerals
are then added to make it taste just like the
water that comes from the reservoirs dotted
around Melbourne. We later learnt that our
morning tea and coffee was made from
desal water.
The facility is in ‘long-term preservation
mode’, which keeps the plant just ticking
over so that it can start producing water as
soon as it is needed. We followed the process
from when the water is pumped into the
facility from the sea, is filtered and then is
forced through membranes, leaving the salt
behind (reverse osmosis). Then ‘stuff’ is
added (remineralisation) and the resulting
potable water is stored. The place is jampacked with pumps, filters and pipes. The
plant has not produced water since December
2012, but has a maximum output of
150 billion litres of water a year.
A large area of the facility is topped with
an enormous green roof, so we went from
looking at a big industrial plant to seeing
real plants (as we know and love them). We
were lucky enough to climb up to a part of
the 2.6ha roof, which was hand-planted with
plants grown from local seed. The roof is
regularly watered and the excess water drains
into a pool that is recycled for watering
the roof again. The roof has a number of
purposes: to camouflage the plant, provide
acoustic protection, corrosion resistance and
thermal control, and reduce maintenance.
After lunch at Williamsons Beach we
inspected first-hand the restoration of
the ecological reserve. The company
managing the maintenance is prioritising
the establishment of trees and the control of
weeds. This can mean that the ‘look’ of the
area is compromised while the worst of the
weeds are sprayed. Many plants were small
and blended in with the mulch but when they
are established the reserve will be a great
place to visit.
Friends on the green roof
If you are going past, think about bringing
your bike (or even your horse) and walking
shoes and discover the different parts of the
reserve. You can download a map of the trails
from the website ( It
has loads of information and some interesting
before and after photos of the site.
Thanks to Helen Page and Liz McDonald
for organising the day and to the staff at
Aquasure for showing us around.
—Jan Chamberlain
Attentive Friends
at the safety briefing
Photos: Jan Chamberlain