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 2011

February 11th

Speaker: Peter Abell
Topic: ‘ Breeding and Development of Native Plant Varieties’

Peter Abell has been involved with Native Plants for most of his life, from tagging along with his father to SGAP activities in the 70's, through to working at the Botanic Gardens & later the Sydney University Plant Breeding Institute, and also at IP Australia assessing Plant Breeders Rights (PBR) applications.  

Peter is currently the editor (& main photographer) of the "Gardening with Native Plants" magazine, and he still is actively breeding and developing new Native Plant varieties.

The talk will cover things like, what makes a good plant variety,  how to breed and select your plant, and how to market, promote & protect your new plant variety.


Unfortunately, for health reasons, John Martyn is unable to give his talk as planned. We wish him a speedy recovery.

The March presentation will now be a video: "Longstem Tube Stock Planting".

The video was produced by Bill Hicks who developed & tested the method. This is an interesting and counter-intuitive method for stream bank revegetation using native plants, rather than willows & other exotics.

This will be followed by a short presentation by Mark Abell (our President) on "Responsible Gardening" This will lead into a discussion & thoughts around what we do in our gardens.

Speaker: John Martyn
Topic: Field Guide to the Bushland of Lane Cove Valley

John Martin is the author of the long awaited and extensively revised full colour "Field Guide to the Bushland of the Lane Cove Valley". This is the first time this iconic publication has been revamped and updated. The contents have been reviewed by experts and augmented with many new entries, making it the most authoritative publication of its kind in the region.

John was born in Cornwall and came to Australia in 1970 after mapping in the Rift Valley of Kenya for his PhD in geology. Although he has lived in Sydney since 1979, much of his fieldwork as a minerals exploration geologist over the last thirty years has been in Western Australia. John's first experience of spring in the goldfields left him stunned by the colour and variety of the flowers in the bushland. It was the beginning of a lifetime enthusiasm for Australia's flora and fauna. Moving to Sydney he was amazed by the beauty and variety of landscape and wild habitats within and around the city's suburbs. He has been exploring, mapping and photographing Sydney's natural world ever since. John has been on the STEP committee since 1986 and has been responsible for the production of three walking maps and this field guide.

April 8th


Dennis Collins

Topic: Plant and Insect Interactions

Dennis Collins used to capture interesting samples of insects and marine life and set them in plastic moulds to use as educational tools. Currently he is more involved with live specimens. Dennis is a part-time interpretive ranger at the Bushland Education Centre at Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden, St Ives. He is equally at home with introducing pre-schoolers to bugs and beetles amongst wattle blossoms or discussing the complexities of pond life with budding scientists from the local high schools. Imparting an appreciation of their environment to young people is one of his skills.

May 13th


George Adams


Birdscaping Your Garden


Our May speaker, George Adams, is an architect, landscape designer, wildlife photographer and artist and author. George is the author of the very well known book Birdscaping Your Garden and has just completely revamped the book. It is now called, ‘Birdscaping Australian Gardens – A Guide to Native Birds and the Garden Birds they attract’ (D & G Publishing). The book is to be released in July, however George will have an advance copy at the meeting and he will take orders.

The following is an extract provides an apt summary of the book [from BRDPICS: Bill Schmoker's Nature & Birding Blog]:

Birds and habitat are intricately connected and this book helps gardeners appreciate and enjoy our backyard feathered friends, and is full of ideas to make their gardens more bird-friendly.
Wake up to the sound of birdsong- turn your garden into a refuge for feathered friends by growing the native plants that attract them. Take a bird's eye view of your backyard with native plant and bird expert George Adams as he shows you how to create a sanctuary with year-round avian appeal. Featuring full-color photographs throughout and the author's superbly detailed illustrations. Birdscaping for Garden Spaces will help you identify resident and visiting birds and show you how and where to grow the native trees, shrubs, grasses, groundcovers, and the wildflowers that they love. Plus unique birdscaping calendars will show you how to select plants for a continuous supply of fruits, flowers and seeds to keep your bird guests happy. It's easy!

So come along and get some tips on attracting more birds to your garden.

June 10th


Dr Edward Liew

Topic: Diseases in Myrtaceae

Our June speaker, Dr Edward Liew, manages the Plant Pathology Section at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. This includes the disease diagnostic unit and the plant pathology research program. Dr Liew’s research interests include studies of soil-borne fungal diseases including phytophthora root rot of Wollemi Pines. As well as extensive publications, Dr Liew has contributed to a manual on Best Practice Management Guidelines for Phytophthora cinnamomi within the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority Area, NSW.

July 8th


Bill Jones & Wendy Grimm


Orchids of the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden


Bill and Wendy are both active members of the North Shore Group and will be giving a talk filled with photos of local orchids from the Wildflower Garden. Bill will surprise you with the diversity of orchids of KWG, drawing on his extensive knowledge of the plants and ecology of the area. He has lead Walks and Talks there for many years and inspired others with his interesting observations. Wendy is an excellent natural historian with a keen eye, able to spot a cryptic ground orchid at 40 paces. She will focus a short part of the talk on the genus Genoplesium.

August 12th


Cas Liber


Banksias: what to grow in Sydney from a horticultural and conservation perspective


Cas Liber is a past leader of ASGAP's Banksia Study Group, a group of plants in which he has a keen interest. He spends most of his time accumulating data about species, forms and cultivars of this iconic genus of Australian native plants. Cas is a medical doctor who has a wide interest in all aspects of nature in addition to banksias. He has competed on The Einstein Factor three time and has appeared on Gardening Australia. Cas enjoys contributing to Wikipedia on Banksias and has shared his informative photos of many different species of plants with APS web sites.

A link on Banksias

September 9th


Geoff Sainty


Estuary Plants: who are they and what can we do to keep them?


Geoff Sainty is an environmental consultant with an extensive knowledge of wetlands and waterplants and is an authority on aquatic weeds. He is the author of several books including an oral history of the Lachlan River and ‘Waterplants of Australia’ — an indispensable field guide for anyone with an interest in waterplants.
Geoff will be talking on estuary plants which are coming under increasing pressure from Australia’s growing population.

October 14th


Alison Hewitt

Topic: Biology and Conservation of local Melaleuca species

Melaleucas are popular garden plants and especially worthwhile for their bird and insect attracting flowers. Alison Hewitt, a PhD student at the University of Western Sydney, was our Val Williams Scholarship in Botany recipient for 2010. Alison is studying the reproductive biology and ecology of five Sydney basin Melaleuca species, including the rare ridgetop species, Melaleuca deanei. Alison will present her progress and findings on each of these species at our October meeting.

Photo of Melaleuca thymifolia


November 11th


Mark Abell


Plants of the Alpine Region


Whilst representing only a very small portion (0.15%) of Australia, the alpine & sub-alpine areas contain a diverse and distinctive flora.
A diverse range of habitats within the alpine zone has resulted in a correspondingly diverse range of plant species, this includes many rare species, and many others which are not found outside of the alpine regions. Each summer, there is a spectacular mass flowering concentrated over the short growing season.
This talk is based on a visit last summer to the area and covers primarily the alpine & sub-alpine flora of the Kosciuszko area.


Snowy Mtns scene

December 9th
  Christmas Party at the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden

Down load 2011 speakers programme

Other Past speakers