A Word - just a few snippets from members

Bits and pieces - not necessarily sent by - but heard about!. The word to members is… best to get in with your side of the story first!


April 15 2019
We've been having a "chat" with Jeffery Boden over the past few days. Jeffery (like most of us) is finding it quite difficult, with advancing years, and health issues, to establish a brand new garden. The first image below gives an idea of the soil with which he and his wife are working. He says "I put into the soil gypsum, compost and blood and bone as it is a clay base and needs more work before l will be happy with it."

April 19, 2019 - Jeffery said…
"I was offered seed from the Ed McCrae collection via their lilium preservation society with the idea of increasing the species. 
I only ordered species that l thought l could grow successfully  e.g. Wilson Davidii, Pumilum, Concolor, Lancifolium, and the yellow form 
There were some quite rare and difficult species, but not for my climate. 
The first batch have been planted out, the later batch l have decided to grow on and plant out in Spring."

Note: I went looking for references to Ed McCrae, and the first "gem" as a reference that I found was this one… - ed.
Jeff subsequently came back with this…

When the Oregon Bulb farm in USA in the 50,s was breeding liliums Ed McRae was one of their top breeders, they collected lilium seed from all over the world and started crossing.
Up Until then hybrids were frowned on and only species the accepted plant to grow.

In the early days of our society we imported bulbs from them, and we also had our own quarantine block at Piccadilly. It belonged to Don Scott-Young."

April 23, 2019 - In Helen and Rob Fairweather's garden…
Great excitement, a small pot of Narcissus viridiflora had begun flowering. A small triumph we know, however the flowers on this little daffodil are not only small (measuring a mere 2.5cm from tip to tip of the petals, and the scape only 16cm high), but is the only daffodil known with green petals!
Marg Jenkins also advised today that she has a bloom just opening at the moment.

Pat Simpson 'phoned me to advise that she had Zephyranthes primulina in bloom today. We now have the pink, white and gold Zephyrances images in our library. Pat also had brought around a pot of Nerine filifolia that she had grown on after Helen had divided a group that was obviously planted in incorrect conditions, and had never flowered for her!

April 29, 2019 In Helen and Rob Fairweather's garden…

Progress in preparation for both the 2019 Down Our Garden Path show, and the 2020 January show has been slow, but a concerted effort over the past week has seen most of the bulbs in their pots for September, and finally, the January bulbs in the ground. There are literally hundreds in the ground plot - some of the bulbs were being very "pushy", and had begun to shoot, so we were forced to complete their planting. Should see them emerge in a week or two, particularly if the current weather forecast for later on this week is to be believed - 30mm has been promised for our area!!

The potting area is stuffed to overflowing - soon to be even worse when all the pots will need to be temporarily moved out to allow some shade area re-construction to protect against high winds and possums during the winter, and excessive sunburn later in the year!


May 1st 2019… Marg Jenkins

Marg reported yesterday that she has two more Nerines blooming in her garden (potted). I didn't see her message until late evening - too late to photograph, so I climbed over the back fence at around 8am today and shot them. The white bloom may have just passed it's best however.

May 3rd 2019… Bulb Committee

We've recently had communication from Yvette Stephens (one of our most recent members who hails from Kapunda). She advised of a problem with bulbs that she purchased from us at our 2019 January sale. It seems that some of our bulbs were infested with Mealy Bug!
Following up on that we've found numbers of the pest in stock that was left over from that sale, and are now checking all bulbs prior to planting.
Now here's a question for all members… What is the best way to rid bulbs of the bugs and their eggs?
We've heard of bleach, vinegar and detergent (not combined) as suitable treatments. Can anybody enlarge on this please?

May 8th 2019… Rob and Helen Fairweather

We've been putting this moment off - where to plant the Belladonna hathor seeds that were taken off plants about 3 weeks ago! We have probably in the order of 240 seeds (but who's counting), 40 of which I've just planted in a semi shaded area in our garden - they'll get strong sunlight in Summer until about noon. I raked away 2 or 3 cm of fallen leaves, and placed the seeds (green side up - this is the more "pointed" part), into slight indentations in the surface damp soil, then threw the leaves back over them. They'll probably be visible through the leaf litter in 2 or 3 weeks.
If anyone would like some of the remaining seeds, please email me quick before their growing tips extend too far and are easily damaged!

May 11th 2019… Rob and Helen Fairweather

No requests - so if you intended to ask for some of the above seed - you're too late! It's now all planted as a bulk lot in a styrene box for separation when next dormant.

May 20th 2019… Marg Jenkins

My job every day now is moving vine leaves from the pavers to the compost heap. A good bit is checking the colours of these Oxalis each day. Marg

May 20th 2019… Helen Fairweather

This is to show why and how the bulb committee does so much work behind the scene. They're fed and watered very well (mainly bring their own food), and a lovely pot belly heater is operating in the background. There's an opening for a new subcommittee to run the newsletter… Just think of the fun you could have if you modelled your committee around this one!
Committee members are seeing significant occurrence of a virus in some of the Freesias that have been potted.
Marg says that "The Iris bible says that there is no cure for virus diseases and infected bulbs/corms should be burned. This is referring to dutch iris, but also applies to other iridaceae". All affected plants are being destroyed.

May 24th 2019… Rob Fairweather

On April 29, we published a photograph of potted bulbs being grown on for the "Down Our Garden Path" later this year.
During the last week progress has been made on shading the benches (rather than use tree shade including attached possums). One of the trees had to be removed (stump still visible in the current image), and now all things are "go" again - maybe some re-organisation as time permits…

May 31st 2019… Alan O'Leary

Here's a bit of very interesting news from one of our "Speciallist collectors".
This bulb, being grown by Alan is from Peru, and is in the Amaryllidaceae family.
Common name is “Daffodil on steroids”.
Grows well for me outside through the winter in a frost free spot. Needs really good drainage.
Flowers reliably mid May.
Unfortunately it is self sterile, in previous years I’ve swapped pollen with several growers in the eastern states who have different clones.
This year I was the only one to get a flower , I’ve frozen pollen for swapping next year.


June 1st 2019 Bulb Group

Marg Jenkins spotted an article in the Friday Advertiser about a plant sale being held near Kersbrook by the Kersbrook Landcare Group. Amongst the range of local native plants offered, ( Adelaide Hills and Barossa districts) were a range of bulbs! Since the bulb sub-group have been looking for a source of native bulbs, Helen suggested that some of the group (Marg, Helen and Pat) make a day of it on the following day.
The sale was a real eye opener - the range of plants in general, the continuing production area and the obvious dedication of this group of volunteers. We came away with a boot full of tubes (mostly for our group, but some also for personal use.)
Group protocol required that food was called for, and since none of us had found time for lunch, we called in to the Uraidla Bakery (quite a trek through the wilderness, and next door to "The worst Pub in Uraidla") for a mid-afternoon meal, and a long awaited coffee. (I had been demoted from barista to driver).

June 5th Trevor Nottle (via Facebook)

BLOODY RABBIT.................
I was all set to snap my bulbs of Narc x FYNO and have been watching them every morning so I didn't miss the opportunity. BUT a little baby bunny that I've seen scampering through the garden most mornings has nibbled every last bud; didn't touch the leaves or the flower stems - just the flower buds. Golly I'm feeling frustrated and rather cross. I don't have any kind of fire-arm having had that experience when I was in the Army. I was hopeless as a rifleman due to my close signtedness - not bad enough to keep me out of Nasho but bad enough when trying to hit a target with an SLR rifle. even when switched to rapid automatic fire. I failed grenade throwing too. Too hesitant and a rotten throw, so eventually I was given an F1 machine gun!!!

Trevor… They tell me that the pen is mightier than the sword (or the F1)…ed.

June 5th Monthly meeting - Two presentations
Following a unanimous decision by two senior members of our committee two members were presented with awards this month.
Marg Jenkins was awarded life membership of the Society, following a very long membership, more recently as a very efficient Secretary.
Helen was presented with a Garden Clubs of Australia medallion for services rendered, particularly as leader of the Bulb Sub-Committee.

June 7th Barb Field reports……..

When we left for a trip overseas in the second half of April the garden had a surprising amount of vibrant colour from deciduating leaves, despite the earlier unpropitious seasonal conditions.

I was pleased upon our return at the end of May to find carpets of coloured leaves and several trees & shrubs - including some maples, flowering cherries, birch & Liquidambar formosana from China - in full colour.
The drooping branches of Euonymus europaeus the European spindle, are heavily laden with pink round fruits that have split open to reveal the orange seeds. This shrub which looks nondescript most of the year is well-worth growing for its autumn display.

Sasanqua camellias growing in many parts of my garden are still colourful & I have picked branches in several flower shades to put inside with the previously mentioned leaves and berries [fruits].

Many azaleas are showing colourful flowers of all typical shades & the first of the Iris unguicularis have appeared. The white are weaker than the common blue shades of this delightful species which flowers for about 4 months & picks well to last several days. Pick, or rather pluck, them while they look like rolled up umbrellas & watch them unfurl in a warm room. Cut back the grassy foliage so they show up better on their brittle stems & are easier to access.

Growing in the garden several stems of the white & the yellow flowering South African bulbs Massonia have appeared. These are a great surprise as I’d forgotten I’d planted them there a few months earlier! I have “gathered” these from the raffle table at meetings from time to time, donated by our Sth African bulb specialists.

June 14th Fred Dolan

Noticed this post from Fred this morning. An article in the American B&D Lilies page…

[Updated February, 2019] - Wild Lily bulbs making up the genus Lilium belong to the family Liliaceae comprising of approximately 20 genera made up of approximately 750 species. There are in the neighborhood of 110 to 115 distinct Lilium species. Robert J. Gibson began this project in 2008, with the assistance of 85 individuals in 16 countries and it is now nearly completed; however editing and cross-checking ...

June 18th Marg Jenkins

Some of our members are exceedingly industrious… Marg just can't get enough of growing new plants - and that means accepting the laborious preparation and care of small pots of seeds gleaned from all over the place… The seedlings shown in the images below were sown between the 16th and 17th of March.
From time to time, we'll re-visit some of these seedlings to monitor their progress.

June 19th Rob Fairweather

Not to allow Marg to claim all the glory… I decided last year to have a "crack" at propagating Lilium candid using the scaling method.
Since I'm no where as organised as Marg, I didn't record the date that I took the scales off the parent bulbs, however it was during a transplant session, the original bulbs having been supplied by an old local fellow who had them growing in his garden in very harsh conditions. Possibly early 2018.
I placed the scales onto a potting mix, and after slightly moistening the mix, forgot about them for weeks at a time, until early October, I noticed some tiny bulbils forming on the edge of one of the (almost) dried scale. By mid November more bulbils had grown on other scales, and I transferred those that were "moving" into a larger pot (see image). Now 7 months later, the pot looks like the (right) image below.
The potting mix through most of the development time, has been very much on the dry side of damp.

June 19th Marg Jenkins

Marg is determined to make this page work! On being asked to proof-read today's update, she's come up with another subject that members may be interested in. She's been playing with leaf cuttings for some time now, and earlier this year she took some leaf cuttings of Lachenalia.

She tells me that fresh new leaves are the most successful. So… the "go" is to…

  • Fill a small pot with very well drained seed raising mix with plenty of grit in it, dampen it down so that it holds it's shape, and then to insert a label well down into the centre of the soil to a depth of about 30mm.
  • Carefully clip a new leaf near it's base from a healthy plant, then slide the label from the pot, and carefully insert the new leaf cutting into the slot that is left by the removal of the label.
  • Gently tamp down the soil around the inserted leaf and set aside in a shady area, keeping it slightly damp for the next few months.
(Don't forget to insert a new label into the edge of the pot to record what is in it, and when the cutting was taken).

Marg says that the cuttings of pallida were taken about a month ago just after the good early rains caused the bulb to burst into life with new leaves.
The viridiflora leaf bulbs (about 10 of them), were produced from a leaf taken from the parent plant last year, and which is now in flower (see below).

June 23rd Rob and Helen

The first (real) frost this morning… There've been icicles in the garden for the past few days, but this morning the local weather station reported 0 degrees. The surface of our bird baths was just starting to ice over, the front garden could have been an English one in winter, but outside our dining room window, we were brought back to Australia, with some of the slate paving ripped up overnight by a very hungry echidna.
We don't often see our little fellow, but a few weeks ago, I noticed it snuffling around near the ford over our creek. It didn't mind me sitting about 3 metres away, but refused to stop and pose - hence the slight blur in the photograph!
On a more sombre note - I think that or spuds and nasturtiums are history!

June 30th Podcast interview with Greg Ruckert

Plant Expeditions, International Quarantine and the Future of Houseplants w/ Greg Ruckert.
In this episode, recorded on June 19th, Jo Howzki sits down with Greg Ruckert, owner of www.elitebulbs.com.au, former aroid collector/hunter and currently the President of the Lilium and Bulb Society of South Australia, a national committee member of the Garden Clubs of Australia and Vice President of the Horticultural Media Association, to talk about Greg's experiences on expeditions through China and Burma to catalogue and discover new plant species, the process of international quarantine (importing plants/bulbs into Australia) and where he thinks houseplants are moving in the future.


July 5th Helen Fairweather
A week ago, (Friday), Helen invited Rob (no longer a member), along to the monthly Strathalbyn Garden Club meeting to hear Dr. Uwe Stroeher Ph.D. (Microbiology), and R&D Manager at Neutrog Biological Fertilisers.
Uwe presented a fascinating talk on the "goings on" under our gardens, and has allowed us to use his projected presentation. Unfortunately his spoken words are not available. (Maybe we can talk him into presenting to us at a future date?).

July 11th Helen Fairweather
A selection of potted Hyacinths now blooming… too late for the January show, and too early for the August show.!

July 27th Trevor Nottle (as seen on FaceBook)

"UP NICE AND EARLY, QUICK BREAKFAST AND ESSENTIAL COFFEE. Dress warmly, Check Wallet, Check cash, check credit card, check ticket. GO GO GO. To Mt Barker and Cornerstone College by 9.45. Guess what? No-one there. The rare plant fair is next month!!!!🤪🤪😟🤣"

(You can imagine the flack that was posted as a result of this!)

July 28th Rob and Helen

Some of the smaller bulbs are just breaking through, and beginning to flower. Here's just a few of those that are moving.

July 30th Rob and Helen

June-August is a great time in our garden. Not only for the newly emerging bulbs, but the spring natives. Looking out the kitchen window this morning (washing last night's dishes), and marvelling at the splashes of colour. Included with the native mix (see pics below), but in the near foreground was the beautiful Chasmanthe just waiting for a New Holland Honeyeater to fertilise it… All back-lit by there rising sun.

Hey troops… Surely we're not the only Society members that has something happening in their garden! How about a report with some pics… Use this link to contact me!


August 7th Meeting
We returned from our winter break to find that winter had finally arrived last night… Heavy rain (at last), but nevertheless, we had a reasonable membership turn-up for Mary Ann's USA gardening presentation (covered elsewhere in the past presenter's page).

June 2020

Recently we received a communication from Matthew Stevens who is in Thornleigh NSW… He says…

"I have several RHS Lily Year Books from the 1960s that I inherited from my grandmother (d. 1986), who was an award-winning Lilium breeder in Victoria in the 1960s. I have no need for them and would like to give them to someone with an interest in lilies.

I have:
The Lily Year Book 1960 (nº23)
The Lily Year Book 1961 (nº24)
The Lily Year Book 1962 (nº25)
The Lily Year Book 1963 (nº26)
The Lily Year Book 1964 (nº27)
The Lily Year Book 1965 (nº28)
The Lily Year Book 1968 (nº31) [my grandmother features in this volume]
Lilies of the World; Woodcock & Stearn; Country Life London, 1950

I'm happy to post them from Sydney to SA. Would you be interested? Alternatively, can you recommend someone who would appreciate them?

Matthew has provided some background information that will interest members…

"My grandmother, Cecily Davidson, lived in The Patch, east of Melbourne, from the mid 1950s to the early 1980s. She was an enthusiastic Lilium breeder and won some awards. I have a few photos of some of her Lilium cultivars (in glorious black and white).
I recall visiting her beautiful garden a few times as a child in the 1960s. Cecily bred the award-winning ‘Anzac Glory’ and four others. It was family lore that the fifth was named ‘Jennifer’ for my sister.
I have been able to confirm these details in the RHS list of Lilium cultivars. - But whatever happened to the five cultivars? - I imagine they all ultimately went extinct, but it would be nice at least to track down ‘Jennifer’ to give to my sister!

It would indeed be great to be able to help Matthew in this regard… Are any members able to assist?

Aug 2020
We've spoken at length about how gardeners need to operate in inner suburbia where space is at a real premium. Many would be gardeners these days, find that they're needing to live in hi-rise units where there IS no yard. The other day, walking along an inner suburban street, past some flats, I noticed some flowers blooming behind a security fence. Behind it there was little more than a metre to the front wall of the unit.
But what do you know! That metre was enough to house a small garden of hanging baskets and having pots. Some with flowers in them, and one with a number of broad bean plants that looked to be doing very well! So there you are… not only functional, but also adding a bit of colour and softness to the front of the unit!