Our Friendship Meeting in February saw 50 members and nine guests welcomed by president Iris Sturgiss.
Local horticulturalist and TAFE teacher Tim Dally was our guest speaker. Tim, who teaches at Goulburn and Moss Vale TAFE, has a CERT 3 in Horticulture. He started his career with Parks and Gardens, has worked at the Japanese Embassy in Canberra and runs his own business "Outdoor Designs by Dally".
Tim's presentation showed the beautiful gardens at the Embassy and he talked about the plants and explained the hard work and dedication in keeping them looking that way. The garden included cherry blossoms, often picked by the ambassador's wife for indoor decoration, the 36-year-old wisteria that was cut back by half each year and spent flowers pruned regularly. Azaleas were pruned twice a week and fed monthly and trimmed into "balls" known as cloud pruning.The Japanese maple was imported from Japan in the 1960s. Dead wood is cut out, sealed and used for decoration.
There is one hydrangea in the garden that flowers three times a year. Dead heads are trimmed daily and a slow release fertiliser is used. A twisted camellia from the Emperor's garden is the only one in Australia and after many attempts Tim was not able to cultivate a specimen. A major part of a Japanese garden is the "Zen" garden (pebble garden). This was raked daily to create perfect patterns (sometimes after several attempts) as requested by the ambassador. The moss-covered granite pathways also raked daily. As the grounds were used weekly for functions it was a challenge to keep the lawn in good condition. Lines in the lawn were created by a hand mower. The coy pond is the second largest in Australia. Ducks were a constant battle causing trouble by eating the "guppies" and creating a need for the pond to be drained and cleaned yearly. Some of the plants cannot be bought anymore and when they die, a space will be left and eventually the garden will be redesigned.
A minute's silence was held to remember Life Member Pat Larcombe, who passed away in January. New GCA Zone Co-ordinator Sue Mowle explained her role, representing 10 garden clubs in the Southern Tablelands, and said the next GCA conference would be in Townsville in September 2021.
Long-time member Shirley Woolmer received a Life Membership Medal. Ingrid Carol won flower of the month (Princess Lily) and Ann Bolan won raffle. A coach trip to Canberra to visit Walcott Garden in Red Hill and the National Arboretum is set for April 28. Cost $40.
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