The best gardeners are just as busy in winter as they are in spring, and our board members are no exception. Below are a few brief updates and news items from across the board.
Graham Ross AM VMM, Founding Chair, NSW Director
On Easter Saturday 2020, I was fortunate to speak to the Hon David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, on my 2GB gardening radio program. I asked if the Minister would include Australian garden centres in his ‘Essential Services’ list to remain open during the pandemic, and in turn received a strong, positive reply based on ‘community health and mental stress’ reasons alone. This put Australia in a globally unique position as the only country to have its garden centres open supporting communities and reducing mental health challenges and improving wellbeing. Unfortunately, Victoria has closed its garden centres on each of its five lockdowns.
Most recently, I spoke again to the NSW Government with the same request as NSW ‘lockdown’ approached. The identical reply was received, with “Hardware, nurseries and building supplies” allowed to remain open. This decision enables home gardeners to briefly visit garden centres, practicing all Covid safe protocols, and keep gardening.
John Mason, Queensland Director
It's a pleasure to announce that upon release of this newsletter, the Botanical Bazaar on the Gold Coast is still going ahead this coming weekend at Country Paradise Parklands in Nerang. This garden and sustainability festival is a real highlight on the garden calendar, and plant-lovers are looking forward to attending the two-day event after 2020's Covid-19 cancellation.
This year, the Australian Garden Council and the Australian Institute of Horticulture will be joining forces on one stand to offer guidance on careers, offer advice on plant health and soil issues, assist in identifying plants, as well as offering landscaping and propagation advice. Some of our southern members may no longer be able to attend, but we look forward to the support of our QLD contingent and growing our local community.
Trevor Nottle, South Australian Director
With two other members of the Horticultural Media Association Australia SA, we’ve been working building up a reference base of garden related events, open gardens, regional agricultural shows, garden clubs etc for South Australia. This information will be collated and built into a garden tourism project for South Australia, that will be able to go full-steam-ahead once publication and distribution matters are signed off and a release date set for the first edition. The Covid lockdowns have delayed our planning somewhat as we have been prevented from meeting face to face with some of the key players. Zoom meetings are all very well but first contact should always be in person, as everyone knows. It looks as though restrictions in SA will be lifted at midnight on the 27th July and we are ready to hit the ground running.
Colin Barlow, Western Australian Director
With record rainfall in the west over winter, we are looking forward to a spectacular wildflower season this year. Many areas north of Perth and in the south of the state are reporting colourful mass displays much earlier than normal. Sadly, these will only be enjoyed by us in the west, but we will be encouraging locals to make the most of our amazing wildflower state.
The Garden Clubs and Societies Plant Fair is going ahead again this year in September. This two day plant sale allows exhibitors the opportunity to promote and showcase their gardening clubs and societies to the public including new gardeners, collectors and hobbyists. There will be plenty of new, rare, exotic, interesting and old fashioned plants on offer and hopefully this will encourage them to become members of these valuable community clubs and organisations. The Australian Garden Council will be helping to promote this event and local wildflower tourism through both local print media, radio and social media.