North Shore Group

Walks & Talks
Coming events


Friday Night Meetings

Meetings are held at 8.00 p.m. on the second Friday of the month
Plant sales from 7.45 p.m.

  At the: "Willow Park Community Centre"
25 Edgeworth David Ave.
NSW Australia

Speakers and Topics for 2010

February 12th

Speaker: Doug Rickard
Topic: ‘Wildflowers of the West’

Doug Rickard and Margaret Bradhurst’s tour of south west WA started with the WA Orchid Spectacular and the Kings Park Festival at the end of September 2008 in Perth. This talk will be a photographic tour of the region. Margaret has an interest in terrestrial orchids and there are many good images of orchids in this talk.

In the south west corner of WA, there are four main vegetation zones, each with their own distinctive mix of species

• Banksia-Eucalypt woodland on the eastern coast. Look out for Banksia grandis with purple new growth.
• Jarrah-Marri forest made up of Eucalyptus marginata and Corymbia calophylla.
• Karri-Tingle forest on the southern coast made up of Eucalyptus diversicolor and E. jacksonii (red tingle) which has large swellings called burls popular with wood turners.
• Wandoo woodland inland in the WA wheatbelt has islands of native bush such as Dryandra woodland.

Eucalyptus wandoo regenerates after fire by growing new bark from its lignotuber up the outside of its burnt out trunk. It also has a symbiotic relationship with termites.

March 12th


Lisa Xian / Charles Morris


Response of Native and Exotic Grasses of Cumberland Plain Woodland to a Nitrogen Gradient


Liza Xian is the recipient of the Valette Williams Scholarship in Botany. Liza has been a BSc honours student at the University of Western Sydney. Her thesis work concerns the restoration of the native grasses of a local area, with a project entitled Response of native and exotic grasses of Cumberland Plain Woodland to a nitrogen gradient. The scholarship grant of $2,000 has funded the necessary soil testing, along with a similar grant from the University.

Dr Charles Morris is Associate Professor, School of Natural Sciences, University of Western Sydney. Dr Morris has conducted research into the restoration ecology of Cumberland Plain Woodland, particularly the role of elevated levels of soil nutrients as a barrier to restoration, and on the germination mechanism of Grevillea species. He has been supported by a research grant from the Penrith Lakes Development Corporation.

April 9th


Margaret Hamilton, Noel Rosten and Bill Jones

Q & A Session: Hardy natives for Sydney Sandstone

These three members possess a wealth of knowledge on how to propagate and grow native plants in this area, so come along and put them through the ringer. This should be a rewarding evening and an opportunity to resolve your gardening problems. Noel has a wonderful garden in Berowra, Margaret runs the propagation house for the Group and Bill has a wealth of knowledge of native plants and how to grow them.

May 14th


Phil Keane


New Grevillea Hybrids and other Plant varieties for the Garden


Phil runs the Ausplants nursery in Gymea where he specialises in grafted native plants for the garden. Many of these are spectacular flowering varieties from Western Australia that are unreliable on their own roots in Sydney. Phil is a member of the Sutherland Group where he runs the 'Plant Table' session, identifying and discussing cut flowers in much the same way that Ross Doig did for our group. He also regularly sells plants at the regiional meetings.

There are many new hybrids and cultivars appearing on the market and Phil Keane will be introducing some of the best at this talk.

June 11th


Gordon Rowland


Aesthetics and Ecology - Gardening with Australian Plants


Gordon is a landscape designer whose intention is to inform and inspire people to “create a truly beautiful garden, where aesthetics and ecology live together in harmony”.

He has been working as a landscape designer since 1992, mainly in Sydney and the NSW mid-north coast, and established ‘Indigenous Landscape Design Australia’ in 1998. Gordon was the Australian Plants Society representative on the Olympic Coordination Authority plant selection advisory panel for the ‘Look’ of the 2000 Olympic Games and compiled the species list for the Games. He is also a former ‘Landscape & Garden’ columnist for Sydney’s Inner Western Suburbs Courier and occasional contributor to other publications, including Backyard Design Ideas, Green Garden & Home, Landscape Australia, Landscape Outlook, Native Plants for New South Wales, Nature & Health, Our Gardens, Prevention, Public Works Engineer, Sussex Life (UK), Sydney Morning Herald and The Tablet Educational Supplement (UK). Gordon is a visiting lecturer in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, University of Technology, Sydney.

Gordon and his wife have constructed a mud-brick house on 10 acres on the edge of Wallingat National Park on the mid-north coast and are establishing a wildflower garden and wildlife sanctuary.

July 9th


Margaret Bradhurst


The Sex Lives of Orchids


Margaret is a long time member of the Sutherland Group and has many years experience of looking for and photographing our local orchids. Margaret contributed many of the photos on Sutherland Group’s CD-Rom Coastal Plants of the Royal National Park.

August 13th


Ken Rubeli




Ken is the proprietor of an environmental education and holiday centre called Wangat Lodge, on the edge of Barrington Tops National Park.

Ken is a poet, artist, photographer and teacher, among other things, but his greatest passion is Rainforests. Ken's formal training as a forester, led him into conservation and environmental education. He lived for 13 years in the tropics, in Peninsular Malaysia, in a huge tropical rainforest park, Taman Negara, and wrote a book about the South-East Asian Rainforest. Since returning to Australia in 1986, he has continued to explore, write about and photograph the natural world, especially rainforests. In recent times, Ken has been pre-occupied with the campaign to prevent the construction of the Tillegra dam on the Williams River. He also has a particular fetish for strangler figs and snakes …

September 10th


Clare Betts


Trials and Tribulations-Growing the "Must-have" Australian native plants at Confetti Gardens


Clare is a member of the North Shore Group. Clare manages the horticultural side of Bunnings at Belrose and Artarmon. She has a ‘confetti’ garden of a mix of mainly native plants at Berowra which she opened to the public for the first time last year under the Open Garden Scheme.

"Confetti Gardens", at Mount Colah, began its transformation in 2002 from a "Lunar Landscape", as described by neighbours, to an experimental garden indulgence by a passionate gardener/horticulturalist.
The "confetti' relates to colour and diversity!

Rock gardens, meandering paths and rest areas invite exploration and discovery of an extensive collection of unusual trees, shrubs, orchids, grasses and groundcovers, approximately 45% being Australian native plants.

Acidic,clay soils, poor drainage and increasing shade areas are some of the challenges to successful native plant growth.

"Confetti Gardens' is truly a work in progress!

October 8th


Anthony O'Halloran


Plants of Gundabooka and Lednapper


Last year, the North Shore Group spent a weekend in the Pilliga and Warrumbungles under the guidance of Anthony O’Halloran. Anthony and his wife, Annabel Greenup, run a native plant nursery called Bilby Blooms outside of Binnaway on the Central West slopes. Here they propagate Australian native plants to supply to landscapers and regeneration projects. The pair have a keen interest in plants of the inland and go on regular expeditions to remote parts of the country collecting plants and seeds to grow at their nursery. In his talk, Anthony will speak of the flora of two reserves in this region – Ledknapper and Gundabooka.

Ledknapper is an unusual area, a sandy dune system north of Bourke, which is a relic from a more arid climate. It is full of interesting plants and animals. Gundabooka National Park is to the south of Bourke, near Louth. It is red Cobar Penneplain with the rugged, rocky Gundabooka Range running through it, sheltering some well-preserved Aboriginal art and a healthy Kultarr population (Jeboa hopping mice).

November 12th


Alec Fisher


The 50 years of the North Shore Group   logo for celbrating 50 years


The last meeting for the 50th year of the Group will be a ‘This is your life’ type retrospective. Concentrating on the more recent years it will highlight the activities and the people who made them possible, past and present, which make the Group so vibrant and successful.
Compères Alec Fisher and Neroli Lock will bring up the highlights through the remembrances of present members and tributes to those departed, both serious and humorous along with pictorials. Who knows what you will learn about the Group, its members and its goings-on that you never knew about!
The evening will end with a surprise supper – finishing our 50 year meetings as we started them!

December 10th
  Christmas Party at the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden

Other Past speakers