Garden Club

Cherry Gardens Garden Club June Meeting

Camellias, camellias, camellias…how gorgeous they are, and what a lot of history, facts and figures we absorbed when our expert camellia speaker, Kevin Bowden, ably supported by his equally enthusiastic wife Anne, shared with us his quite phenomenal knowledge of camellia facts, figures, types, names, characteristics, their breeders, growers, and gurus, acquired in the course of a lifetime of growing camellias, with us.  

More latterly Kevin has gained even greater knowledge through travelling the world, participating in camellia conventions, conferences and visiting famous camellia nurseries. We lapped up the amazing amount of knowledge and tips he gave us.  For example Camellias need well drained, acid soil to flower well and are much more resilient as regards pruning than most people give them credit for. Kevin is Chairman of the Friends of Stangate House where the Camellia Society are tenants.

It was truly wonderful to view Kevin’s interesting and colourful presentation, accompanied by his rich commentary, of the history of the Gardens from the arrival of the Thomas family in South Australia on 3/1/1836 through until 1966 when Gwenyth Thomas’s donation to the National Trust, of the house, and 7 and a half hectares, which had been the summer residence of Edwin Thomas, Mayor of Brighton.  

Work began on the gardens in 1977 when pine trees were cleared and 45 tons of stone for retaining walls arrived.  Each year in September, the Azalea bank growing in one of the beds, supported by one of those walls, is a spectacular sight. Since then, as well as hundreds of new seedling camellias, many fully grown plants have also been transplanted to the gardens, when the opportunity of acquiring these from donor’s estates and/or redevelopments have arisen.  

For example, The Camellia Society bought 300 camellias from the estate of David Max Schultz probably SA’s foremost Camellia grower.

Groups of dedicated volunteers developed and maintain the gardens which are open to the public every Tuesday, as well as every Sunday in September. Volunteers are always warmly welcomed.

The display flowers of the month were appropriately, some beautiful camellias brought from her garden by our Treasurer. We did not have the customary auction at the end but there was a great table of donated giveaway plants, garden paraphernalia and books, and of course…. an even greater table of ….supper!


If you missed pruning your roses or fruit trees in July they can still be done, however don't prune Winter flowering rose Lorraine Lee, which should be done in November. Fruit trees can even be pruned once the flowers are fully out!

• Hydrangeas should be pruned now before new growth appears.
• Bulbs are starting to bloom now - it signals that it is time to set up the slug and snail offensive against all those daffodil bud-chewing pests. Some bulbs can become expensive slug food, so if you are keen to reduce your dependence on poisons why not try using sharp sand around your tulip, daffodil and other bulbs - slugs and snails avoid the sharp sand!
• Plant Asparagus crowns, beetroot seed, carrot seed, lettuce seed and seedlings, potted strawberries and spinach seed.
• In the flower garden, later this month, plant seeds or seedlings of alyssum, carnation, African marigold, petunias and portulaca.
• If you love gladiolus as much as Dame Edna, remember to plant the bulbs 100 days before you would like them to flower.
• Spray stone fruit trees at bud-burst with a copper based spray to manage fungal and mite attack.
• Fertilize citrus now with a specific citrus fertilizer.

Next Meetings

Monday 13th August A.G.M. - all positions become vacant. Annual subs $12 are due on the night. Followed by an interesting gardening quiz

Monday 10th September - Amanda Reynolds from Green Platypus Gardens speaking on garden design and permaculture