Events Gippsland Local Attractions Stories

Winter Garden Feature – Why Not?


In the southern hemisphere we are blessed with a lot of ocean keeping winter quite mild for most of us. Unlike our friends in northern countries who spend, sometimes, months, waiting for the soil to un- freeze, we can continue to toil with soil improvement, winter veg, pruning, hacking, transplanting, allowing an early start on spring. That’s if we have time between weekends of winter sport and a number of annual festivals. But just like up north, as soon as the days lengthen and the sun starts to get warmer, everything takes a great leap forward. Ancient gardeners, keen kiddies, hopeful organisers of fund raising garden walks, all sally (or shuffle) forth. Garden club memberswho often go into semi- hibernation from winter meetings, reappear like jonquils. While ‘gardening’ is a highly individual activity, garden clubs are a great place to share ideas and information, plants and seeds, and what not. Plus social activities like bus trips and, of course, suppers. Information sharing is paramount and club meetings can cover any- and everything from aphid and apple to ziziphus and zanthoxylum. The clubs themselves may be formal, as in the East Gippsland and South Gippsland regions of established horticultural societies affiliated with RHSV (Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria). While this affiliation represents the ‘gold standard’ of serious horticulture, the clubs themselves are always keen to welcome members who have no gardening experience at all. Members have very divergent interests and are always keen to share knowledge and experience. Some of these interests are quite specific, so that daffodil aficionados may also be members of the Victorian Daffodil Society, or camellia lovers part of Camellias Gippsland. There are also an unknown number of informal clubs – some just get-togethers for casual chats to organise a fund raising activity. Many garden clubs and other groups, like hall committees, organise special events, and spring is the prime time. The ‘event season’ in southern Gippsland starts with two major horticultural shows: The Leongatha Daffodil and Floral Show (and Festival) and the South Gippsland Orchid Show, held in Wonthaggi and organised by another of the specialist clubs mentioned above. Then another specialist group, APS (Australian Plants Society South Gippsland), holds an annual show and sale, mid season. Followed by Welshpool Spring Flower Show and ending, more or less, with the Leongatha Rose Spectacular in November. These long running annual events attract several thousand visitors to the region throughout the spring season and dozens of other garden walks, community and church events and informal open gardens attract many more. This is why the Spring is South Gippsland website was created. Already heartily promoting their respective spring events, the organisers saw the value of tying them together and offering the opportunity for others, including independent local garden businesses, to join in. Now in its third year, the website is currently being updated for the 2017 spring season. To make sure the site includes as many gardening groups, events and small businesses as possible, the working group, supported by South Gippsland Shire, will hold a Pop Up Horticulture Expo on a main street in Leongatha on July 27th. Check the website: www.springissouthgippsland. and pop in to the Pop Up.