Spring 2022 Newsletter

NEXT METINGRHGS AGM on Friday 28 October @10.00am

Venue: Mechanics Hall, Red Hill

AGM Guest Speaker: Penny Woodward is one of our popular speakers and she will talk about ‘My life of gardening and writing’. Penny’s much sought-after practical books on herbs, tomatoes, garlic and pest repellent plants will also be on sale.

AGM Committee Reports and elections will also take place at this meeting.

Morning Tea: Please bring your contribution to morning tea table to share, plus your own mug for tea or coffee

Don’t forget: To bring your contributions of produce and floral art to display, some coins and small notes for the Raffle and there will be Trading Table items to purchase!

Membership Dues: Your 22/23 memberships are now due. As explained by the Secretary previously, they remain unchanged at $20. If you haven’t already paid, please feel free to bring $20 with you in an envelope with your name on the outside and give directly to the Treasurer, Linda.

President’s Annual Report 21/22

It was botanically appropriate that our 2021/22 activities be hybrid in form. Some meetings were held online with guest speakers, other months we visited open gardens and as the Covid environment became safer and the Mechanics Hall renovations concluded, we’ve finally returned to our hall to meet in person. The 2021/22 Calendar of activities can be found in the Appendix.

Our membership continues to be 75+. Some members haven’t returned since the Covid interruptions, but it’s been heartening to be able to welcome new members. The sense of connectedness across the Society has continued through a variety of gatherings and via Facebook. Thank you all for your support, interest and encouraging feedback.

RHGS Committee 2021-2022

  • President – Christine Lowe
  • Vice-President – Carol McPherson
  • Secretary – Ann Hull
  • Treasurer – Linda Haller

Regular Committee members: Lee Carmody, Michael Hund and Joe Sirianni.

Our enthusiastic Committee met monthly throughout the year except for December, June and July. Thanks very much to Lee and Joe for providing their homes for Committee meetings. It’s been a pleasure to work with such a cohesive team who manage the organisational aspects of the Society and gatherings with a generous spirit, enthusiasm and good humour. I thank each one of them on your behalf.

The Committee takes on many procedural and organisational tasks, while always seeking to inspire our home gardeners. Arranging entertaining and informative speakers, garden

rendezvous and a bus trip. Organising the hall set up, trading table, garden displays, morning tea and thank you gifts, all contribute to the operation of the Society.

Secretary Ann fulfills an important role in our Society. She has provided not only invaluable input and support with record keeping, member communications, general administration, and liaison with the MP Shire, but also has a calm wisdom and long history to keep us on track. Sincere thanks to Ann.

Vice – President Carol and Lee are to be congratulated on their planning of the recent ferry/bus trip to Geelong. After several cancellations, the weather obliged, the plans unfolded like clockwork and a fascinating and fun day was enjoyed immensely by all. Carol also runs the Member Survey each year and looks forward to your input into planning the year ahead.

In her time as Treasurer, Linda organised a method for electronic payment of raffle tickets and trading table sales. The unreliable internet at Red Hill has unfortunately sometimes thwarted this innovation. My thanks to Linda for all that she’s done, not only as Treasurer but also generally to assist the smooth and profitable running of meetings. We wish her well with her & Chris’ plans to spend more time living near the Murray river.

Morning tea preparation has been willingly managed by Carol with help from Annie, Linda, Donna and Amanda. Thank you for all the setup, production of teas and coffees and efficient clean up. It’s a meeting highlight given the volume of the buzz of conversation and the emptying of multiple coffee plungers.

Michael Hund’s assistance with IT and communications has been an invaluable support, especially the Newsletter production, website updates, online meetings and presentation of slides. My thanks also to Gillian Hund for editing the Newsletter and introducing high profile guest speakers.

The trading table is an important part of our meetings and a source of funds. My thanks to Joe Sirianni for keeping the sales ticking along when we’ve been able to be in the hall. Joe and Donna have both wholeheartedly embraced our Society and contribute on many levels. Special thanks also to Joe for sourcing various raffle prizes and excellent speakers.

Other Contributors

It’s been comforting to finally meet again in the Mechanics Hall sometimes this year, but it’s meant we’ve needed assistance once again with set up and pack up of furniture.

Thank you, Joe, Brian, Michael, Rod, Braeton, Chris, Paul, for your time and extra muscle offered so willingly.

Despite the lack of a Flower Show this year, Rosie Kenny led and judged the Horticultural Section of the Red Hill Show and encouraged our members to enter floral arrangements and horticultural exhibits. Rosie is also conducting a floral art workshop for 10 people on 11 November 2022. Deb Collett represented us by exhibiting an award-winning arrangement titled “Silver Threads” at MIFGS and also showed her dahlias at numerous shows with outstanding success. Deb’s online workshop on making Christmas wreaths for the Community Christmas Tree Festival was also a hit with locals. My thanks to both of Rosie and Deb for encouraging floral art and horticultural excellence. Perhaps it’s time for the Society to reinvigorate a floral event!

Rendezvous Excursions

Our rendezvous excursions around the peninsula have become a special feature of our Society offering glimpses into a wide range of garden related enterprises. Trips to Boneo Wetlands, Hawkes Farm, Colin Hyett Succulents and Red Hill Cast Iron provided something for everyone – discovering the importance of wetlands, education about the difficulties facing growers of farm produce, landscape design with succulents and the old-fashioned craft of iron garden art using a forge.

Although it didn’t occur in the 20221/22 financial year, I wish to acknowledge and thank Jo & Geoff Oates for opening their stunning garden to us. We had planned to visit during the year but with weather and Covid, the rendezvous had been postponed until Sep 2022. What a treat with a wide variety of natural and garden types, terrain and features across the beautifully presented property. Painting car parking places and providing mulled cider at a fire pit set a very high bar. A highly memorable rendezvous – thank you both!

Elizabeth Begg Achievement Award

The Elizabeth Begg Achievement award was created in memory of life member and Society stalwart, Elizabeth Begg. Elizabeth’s family donated an amount of $500 to the Society following Elizabeth’s death in 2019. At the instigation of former vice-president Diana Farmer, a member of the Society is

selected to receive the award. Criteria has been developed which includes: management of the Society and/or/events; representations of the Society; and involvement with the Society’s public profile. Bambi Hanson received the inaugural award and Deb Collett was the 2020 recipient. The award was not made in 2021 due to Covid. The Committee has chosen Ann Hull to receive the 2022 Elizabeth Begg Award in recognition of her many years as a pivotal person of the Society in her role as Secretary and go to person.

Community Engagement

Assisting and exhibiting at the Red Hill Show and the Red Hill Christmas Tree Festival has provided an opportunity for the Society to engage with the community.

Thank you to those members who are working on creative decorations for the festival, which is to be held on Dec 10, 2022 at the Pioneer Pavilion at the Red Hill Show Grounds. My thanks to Sue McNab for joining the organising committee.

Jim Mills Prize

Special schools across the peninsula were approached to submit a suggested garden project to use a donation of $500 for a gardening project. Regrettably all the schools declined to be involved citing that they were under too much pressure following the Covid lockdowns. Perhaps it will be possible to revisit this award in 2023.


It’s always gratifying to see that our members enjoy getting together, sharing ideas and conversation. The Committee looks forward to presenting an interesting programme in 2023 which reflects members wishes expressed in the survey.

During the last year we’ve been saddened for members Annie McLennan and Diane Williams by the death of their husbands Colin and Peter. Graham McPherson’s stroke was also a sad occurrence. Graham’s determination to rehabilitate, with Carol’s support, has been inspiring. Our thoughts are with you all and our gardening community is always here to provide you with comfort and support.

RHGS is a welcoming and dynamic group of home gardeners. I’ve been so grateful for the constant encouragement and appreciation for our efforts shown by the membership. Thank you all. Some may not know that a rare inflammatory muscle disease called Myositis is making me progressively weaker and very fatigued. Check out www.myositis.org.au for more information. Some energy needs to be conserved for gardening! With a reduction in the President’s work load that has been discussed with the committee, I have agreed to serve for another year, with the membership’s blessing.

Christine Lowe – President – October 2022

Upcoming Events

Creating Pretty:
Spring Vase Arrangement Workshop with Rosie

Friday 11 November @ Mechanics Hall

Roses and Callistemon budding. Callas spiking. Perennials showing first leaves, and Peonies feathering into fronds. Spring is bursting.

When placing these mature beauties in a vase, we want to show them off fully. At this Workshop we’ll be making a pretty arrangement with seasonal blooms. Hopefully, you’ll bring your own pickings. You could also purchase flowers. Additionally, we can supplement from Cherry Road Flower Farm, Red Hill, where Claire uses only organic methods. We are already chatting about what she will be picking at this time. If you have a glut of items, you might like to bring extra to share.

Having blundered along myself where vision mismatched reality, in this workshop I’ll share techniques that I’ve learnt along the way. Keeping it simple and sustainable there will be no foam, no wires. All materials can decompose happily in your compost. Just your use-again vase, water, and plant material.

The group is limited to ten participants so that I can assist you where needed. We want you to walk out with a vase of prettiness in shape, line and emphasis that holds together for the duration of the blooms. I will demonstrate the techniques as we go; provide a list of botanical ingredients (including Claire’s supplementary offerings), and the gear you need to bring.

The RHGS is sponsoring this event for members at the Red Hill Mechanics Hall. It is a generous opportunity to spend a morning in a creative mode. Please text me your name by November 6th. I can then track attendance numbers and send you the necessary information.

Let’s have some flower fun and create something pretty.

Rosie Kenney

Recent Meetings

RHGS Meeting – 26 August 2022

Another delightful presentation by John Patrick on designing for small gardens, flower displays, and lovely morning tea, what could be better!

Recent Events

Geelong Gardens Visit

14 October 2022

Twenty three intrepid gardeners boarded the ferry at Sorrento at 7:45am bound for Yarrabee Gardens, Roraima Nursery and the Geelong Botanic Gardens. Fortunately, the weather obliged, the gardens were fascinating and prolific purchasing occurred. What a fun day.

Congratulations Carol and Lee for all your planning. We’ll hear more from Amanda Francis about the trip at the AGM.

Garden Rendezvous to Jo and Geoff Oates’ Garden

23 September 2022

September Rendezvous
Jo and Geoff Oates kindly opened their garden for us in September. What an extraordinary achievement in 12 years! We took in the view of Westernport from the front deck and then made our way around the wondrous 20 acres – amongst the walled vegetable garden,

Japanese garden, meadow, maze, wetlands, boardwalk, dam with beach, rejuvenating bushland, waterfall, frog ponds, fern gully, covered orchard, rose garden and stand of remnant gums. The fire pit in the bush, with mulled cider was a VERY popular attraction.

Our thanks to Jo & Geoff for taking a garden visit to a new daunting level – spending months in preparation, painting lines for car parking (measured according to the Vic standard!), supplying a personalised mud map on waterproof paper and very generous hospitality!! Many thanks also to Joe Sirianni for supplying chairs and transport up and down the hill. A morning to remember!


RHGS Highlights 2021-2022

August 2021

Dr Peter Sommerville presented on Preventing Soil Compaction

September 2021

Lynsey Poore – President of Friends of the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens presented an uplifting talk and slides – Paris in the Spring.

October 2021

Deb Collett provided an online presentation of Christmas wreath making.

AGM – Held online. No changes to committee members

John Fitzgibbon from Metro Trees spoke on the importance of canopy trees to mitigate the effects of climate change.

November 2021

Guided walk at Boneo Wetlands followed by Christmas Morning tea at Arilla Restaurant.

December 2021

Lions Red Hill Community Christmas Festival. RHGS and members entered hand made decorations, trees and wreaths. Members helped organise, set up and dismantle the trees.

January 2022 Cancelled due to Covid.

February 2022

Visit to Colin Hyett Succulent nursery and Garden tour and discussion of landscaping with succulents.

March 2022

Red Hill Show– provided sponsorship for John Patrick to speak at the HortZone and a $50 prize for the Flower section. Members entered in various sections and won a range of prizes.

Pruning demonstration by Jane Varkulevicius at Lee Carmody’s orchard.

April 2022

Rendezvous to Hawkes Farm

John Patrick presentation on landscape design for larger gardens.

May 2022

Red Hill Wrought Iron rendezvous

Presentation by Pam Heard & Susan Clark Education Officers of Birdlife Mornington Peninsula

June & July 2022 Winter recess

August 2022

Rendezvous at Rohan Cummings Indigenous plants nursery

Presentation by John Patrick on landscaping for smaller gardens.

September 2022

Rendezvous to Jo & Geoff Oates Garden

October 2022

Bus/ferry trip to Geelong – Yarrabee Gardens, Roraima Nursery and Geelong Botanic Gardens.

AGM and presentation by Penny Woodward – My life gardening and writing.

Lemony Monkey Bars

As requested, this is one of those easy recipes you can make for a morning or afternoon tea that is lemony delicious.,



1 cup plain flour

125 gms butter, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted


2 eggs

1 cup castor sugar

2 tbsp plain flour

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp grated lemon zest

½ tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 180C and grease and lightly flour a square 20cm baking tin


  • For the base – combine base ingredients together till mixture is crumbly. (Can carefully use a food processor)
  • Press mixture evenly into the base of the baking tin, bake for 15-18mins till golden
  • For the topping – In a small bowl beat eggs and sugar together till light in colour
  • Stir in flour, grated lemon zest, baking powder and lemon juice
  • Pour mixture over the cooked base (if it’s a little under cooked then the bars come out a bit more chewy)
  • Cook for a further 18-20 mins, cool completely
  • Cut into squares and dust with extra sifted icing sugar

Lovely with a cup of tea or coffee