After a cancellation last year and two postponements to 2021, the Tatura Garden Club was delighted to hold its annual Garden Seminar at the Ballantyne Center on Wednesday, July 14.
Well-known Trentham gardener and presenter Simon Rickard was the guest speaker this year, with more than 130 guests from across the region to learn his ultimate gardening tips for planting in the harsh conditions of the Goulburn Valley.
Mr. Rickard used his speech to discuss the creation of beautiful gardens in dry climates and explore the history of gardens in Japan.
âI encourage people to rethink their climate and to look at plants with new eyes, so that we can improve our gardens,â he said.
âAnd I help people understand Japanese gardens – because you can look at a Japanese garden and just think it’s a bunch of stones, but there’s a lot of history there.
âJapanese gardens can be replicated in this climate, but you have to understand the motivation behind them and the rules they follow. . . the most important elements are rocks and gravel, and negative space, vacuum.
âIn Japan, they say that a garden is not finished until you can leave nothing else out, whereas English gardens love to sink into plants. “
Mr Rickard said he had tried to encourage gardeners to “shake things up” and to look at a garden with different eyes.
âWe grow up with English garden literature – and that’s not the climate we live in,â he said.
“I want people to rethink the characteristics of their climate, look at plants with different eyes, and find beauty in what we can grow, instead of ugliness in what we cannot do.”
He said looking for plants for Shepparton’s harsh climate didn’t just mean looking at native varieties, either.
âWe forget that Australia is an entire continent – some plants native to rainforest regions will not grow well here,â he said.
âBut there are parts of the world that have really similar climates to here, like South Africa, California, Chile, southern Europe. . . other Mediterranean climates.
âPlants from these regions will grow very well here – look at climates similar to ours and choose plants that suit your lifestyle. . . try things like flowering cacti, daffodils, and lavender.
Tatura Garden Club president Cath Carter said gardeners came with a “vision” that was often disputed by guest speakers.
âI love the colors of the perennials, but in the shrubs, so when you drive my way any time of the year, it’s going to be beautiful with foliage in different colors,â she said.
âIn Shepparton, you need plants to thrive in summer, winter, and frost – with high winds.
“People grow up with certain views of gardening and come home experimenting with different plants – they always get something out of it.”
Ms Carter said while her group had 68 official members, a Facebook group created during the COVID-19 pandemic had reached more than 200 people.
âIt’s amazing to get together, our event was two days away when we were closed,â Ms. Carter said.
âWe have a seminar every year and generally have excellent speakers. . . we’re just a small non-profit club but people come from all over to our seminars, they are very popular.
âWe’re not making money, but it’s a great opportunity for people. “
Ms Carter said memberships were open to young and old, with no pressure to attend each meeting.
âMost of our club members are older and we try to get the younger ones to come,â she said.
âPeople don’t have to attend every meeting, but for $ 15 a year they’ll receive a newsletter and you don’t need to be a financial member to join the Facebook group, where people ask questions and seek gardening tips. “
Each month, members get together for a meal at the community center and enjoy supper, with a Christmas gathering and skipping the hot month of January until the weather cools down.
âIt’s a big club, it’s a friendly club, a lot of our older members live on their own and it’s a social outlet,â Ms. Carter said.
“And if you miss six meetings but come in two, it doesn’t matter, it’s all about gardening.” And if you work all week but love gardening, we’ve expanded it so everyone can get involved.
Ms. Carter thanked the sponsors of the Tatura Gardening Club for their help.
To join, go to the Tatura Garden Club Facebook page.