Mediterranean Garden Society
The Western Australia Branch of the MGS
The aim of our newly-formed branch is to promote mediterranean gardening as we live in a truly mediterranean climate. We shall do this by promoting the society and its aims, encouraging new members, and having a programme of activities so MGS members can meet, socialise and learn.
We are starting small, so three or four events per year is our initial aim and this could progress to bimonthly. Events will be on a Sunday. We shall also publish four newsletters each year with contributions welcome.
Our Branch Head is Margot Tobin (biography) , and new and prospective members are welcome to contact her by email.
Visit to City Beach Garden and overview of Spain AGM and tours
We gathered everyone in the kitchen to grab a glass of wine before taking a tour around the interesting and diverse garden of one of our members. We circumnavigated the house by starting in the perennial walk, noting several unusual plants such as the Euphorbia lambii. Then it was up to the pool terrace, under the tree ferns, through the native garden and back to the kitchen via the bountiful produce garden. Figs were not yet ripe but there were plenty of other things we tasted. We then viewed a selection of slides from the MGS AGM and tours in Spain during October 2018. The photos and ensuing discussion generated much interest in mediterranean gardening and travel, particularly the visit to Heidi Gildemeister’s property in the UNESCO World Heritage listed Tramuntana Mountains.
Visit to Orange Grove Garden – Mundaring and Plant Swap
A visit to the large garden “Orange Grove” started with morning tea on the verandah. We then started our wander, some with cups in hand, meandering through the garden. Some went with our knowledgeable garden owner who pointed out various plants and told us of trials and tribulations. There were also many delights and successes, particularly the clever planting of several clematis into large plastic pots which were then buried in the ground. It is then much easier to control moisture and fertiliser to ensure good growth and flowering.
The garden walk started with stories about water, always a topic of conversation in Western Australia. Perth has had good rain this winter and many gardens are better for it. However, at Orange Grove, the water tanks had run almost dry for house and garden and it took much investigation to determine that some underground pipes had broken and further, a pipe from roof to tank had not been connected by a plumber.
There was much in flower, so the garden did not disappoint. The sculptures around the property added to the interest. One of the features of the garden was a very old wisteria shaped to look like a tree. It is doing well and stands out amongst the more commonly seen blue wisteria. A tree that caught my eye is a very old white cedar (called Cape Lilacs in Western Australia.) Its beautiful branches look like arms that could sweep one up!
The orange orchard was a mix of late fruiting trees and trees in blossom. Alas it was not the right time for any to take home.
After a leisurely picnic style lunch our visit ended with an enthusiastic plant swap. Everyone came away with several plants and there was time left to go home to dig them in.
Visit to the garden of Riot and Restraint, North Fremantle
A visit to the garden “Riot and Restraint” featured in TMG 92. Morning tea was taken as we wandered around the garden.
There was much interest in a succulent that has grown to about 1.5 metres just near the outdoor shower. It is Kalanchoe ‘Napoléon’s Bonnet’ but is also known as Kalanchoe ‘Shovel Nose’. It is probably Kalanchoe beharensis and goes by the name of Kalanchoe Elephants ear as well. Fortunately, a couple of members took cuttings as a week later it split and fell over so is now about a quarter of the size. I think it needs to be shaped into a tree as it is just too heavy when bushy.
This was followed by a photo presentation of the highlights of the Southern California AGM and tour. After lunch, we walked past a nearby garden with good colour selection and then back via our local succulent nursery Zerascapes where everybody found a new treasure to take home.
Inaugural meeting – Zephyranthes Nursery
The Western Australia Branch was formed with support of members, lapsed members and prospective members.
Biography of Margot Tobin
Branch Head Margot lives and gardens in Fremantle on limestone soil. Salt-laden winds blow for nine months of the year. She has been a member of the MGS since 2012 and finds the travel to its meetings stimulating and fun.
She initially attended the AGM in Adelaide in 2012, then Menton in 2014 and Southern California in 2017. Gardening is her passion and green is her favourite colour.
THE MEDITERRANEAN GARDEN is the registered trademark of The Mediterranean Garden Society in the European Union, Australia, and the United States of America