Donations make a huge difference…
Donations of money from individuals and groups make a big difference for reGrowth garden recovery in both the short and long term. They mean that people can get plants to start the rebuild, and that they have the protection and infrastructure to get the plants well established.
Since I needed to head to Kangaroo island for last week’s filming, I took the opportunity to drive myself over a couple of days early and take a carload of plants and anti-transpirant for the fire affected gardeners of the Island. Earlier in the year, Anne Morrison, President of the Kangaroo Island Garden Club, asked these gardeners what they needed, and citrus, avocados and passionfruit was on the list. However, these are subtropical plants which need to be planted into warm soil so there was no point in looking to source them till now, with the optimal window for planting on the Island between November and February.
By the way if you want to know how to plant your own citrus, this is what I shared with the gardeners on KI – it shows the Ian Tolley method of planting which is quite shocking, but works, and how to create protective shade cloth tree cages which I have only just removed after three years in my own citrus grove Here is the Ian Tolley method of planting citrus. https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/sophies-citrus/9555442
A short while ago I was approached by Unley Gardener’s Plant Rescue who wanted to donate $3500 to specifically assist the fire affected gardeners of Kangaroo island and they didn’t know where it could be best used. I have known this group since they started back in 2003, even filming with them back in 2006, and applaud the wonderful work they do. Based at a plot of land at the Fern Avenue Community Garden at Fullarton, their main aim is to collect unwanted plants from people who are changing or downsizing their gardens, moving to a new house, or going into residential care. These plants are re-potted and nurtured and then sold during their spring, summer, or autumn sales, donating all proceeds to different smaller charities or organisations that do not receive other funding. Since 2003, they have raised over $40,000. Check them out on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Unley-Gardeners-Plant-Rescue-410026472492996/. The group meets fortnightly on Tuesday mornings. They are always looking for rare and different plants which would be of interest to purchasers at their sales, as well as the more common plants found in many gardens, so if you have something excess, why not contact them.
So, I suggested that I could purchase these plants wholesale on their behalf and as I knew I was heading over I could even take the plants across. Now I would love to say that we supplied all that was needed, but we couldn’t due to a limited range of varieties being available (as you probably know, vegies seeds, seedlings and fruiting or productive plants have been as scarce as toilet paper during COVID), we were at least able to start this replacement of needed citrus and avocados. I also purchase anti-transpirant so that these trees and other fruit trees already supplied could be treated monthly to help get them through summer. On many properties where new fruiting trees are going in, the windbreaks, shelter and protection was destroyed by the fires and the plants are very exposed. Anti-transpirant sprays, such as Droughtshield or the commercial equivalent called Envy, give new or tender plants extra protection from summer’s harsh elements. Products such as Droughtshield form a clear protective polymer film over the foliage to stop the leaves from losing moisture and as a result stops the plant from stressing and wilting in response to heat and drying winds. In this way it acts as sunscreen for your plants but is it not suitable for vegies.
Anne Morrison is coordinating the distribution of these plants and sprays, as well as a load of organic based rose fertilizer (54 x 24kg bags of Sudden Impact for Roses) that was donated by Neutrog to nurture the bare rooted roses donated by Wagner’s Rose Nursery a few months ago. She was one of the instigators of an Open Garden Festival on the Island that ran from September to late November. It proved to be hugely popular, inspiring gardeners on the island, particularly those who are starting from scratch. As part of this she opened her own lovely garden called ‘Cockatoo Cottage’ and raised some funds through a gold coin donation. I was able to help her purchase 500 corflute tree guards at cost price with these funds, and she has donated them to the fire affected gardeners to help protect young garden plants & trees this summer.