[IGS] Letter from OZ.(Australia)

Dear Cindy, Dale, Diana E. Esther, Alan C. and all,
Thanks for the warm welcome it was good to hear from you all.   I am
learning something about U.S. geography and have had to get the map out to
see where you all come from.
Sorry it's been a while since I was last on the Robin  I share the internet
access with a friend and have to put my stuff on a floppy disc  and send it
in to work with him.  I hope to get on the net with my own machine
sometime, but it's still pretty pricey here. We have just had a long
weekend (Australia day).  So there was a bundle of mail yesterday.  Peter
just rang me from the Uni to say that there is a letter from Dale wondering
why I haven't been in touch.  Yes we  did have two cyclones coming, one on
each side of the country.  They have gone out to sea thank goodness.  We
are really a bit low (in latitude) to be affected, they usually stay to the
north of here.  We do get the side effects, rain and strong winds, if they
cross the coast.    The cyclone season has another month or so to run.
Bushfires are our main concern,  we have had some beauties this summer.
Have not had to be evacuated so far this hot season.   My area is in the
hills and has lots of trees and as you may know eucalypts explode when
alight. The fires cross roads with not trouble at all.
Now,  Cindy, (our Cheddar Champion!),  you were the first person to contact
me.  Thanks for the interesting letter.  No I don't grow any Angels,  in
fact they are pretty scarce here.  I must ask a country friend who grows
regals,  she may have some.   In Marj Edwards catalogue  (Bendigo Victoria)
 she only lists only 8 and they are all hybridised in Aust. The have the
prefix 'Charmay' or 'Lara.'  Sancho Panza gets a lot of comment over there.
  You mentioned Freak of Nature.  I have been told that is a VERY difficult
one to grow , so have given it a miss.
Dale,  thanks for the  list of anachronisms/emoticons,  I've wondered about
some of them.  I am interested in your Kelp Concentrate  I must make
enquires over here.  About our humidity.  It only occurs on the coastal
strip, I am only 200 kms from the sea.  believe me is very hot and dry once
over the Darling Ranges. Also  of course, hotter to the north, not south as
in your case.  I have to remember things like that when someone says they
keep their plants on the south side,  which is our shady side.   It has
just hit 40C today (37.5= 100F).  I will try your garlic tip.  I use
various fungicides ,also sulphur.
Esther,  thanks for the tip to keep ants out.  Our ants would walk through
flywire.  Also I use black pots, mostly 140mm, which have several large
holes all around the edge  of the base. I could lay stocking around the
base perhaps,  but I think the little beggars would get in at the top then.
  I have had the 2 main ants identified and they are native ants which are
resistant to a lot of things.  Ag. Dept. recommended  professional strength
 Chlorpirifos  (500ml to the  litre, sorry we're all metric here) I dilute
that to 10 ml to the litre.  I have sprayed all around the place and am in
the process of giving all the pots a drink,  as advised.  Haven't seen any
ants since, so I might be on the right track. By the way we do have large
ants as well.  As for the root mealy bug.  They leave evidence of their
presence with bluish white deposits in the soil and around insides of the
pots.  I think it is a sort of honeydew which the ants like.
Diane, I enjoyed the description of your place .. sounds a bit like OZ.
Our rainfall is 30" pa and our altitude is 1000ft.  I  was brought up in
the country wher the rainfall was 8" and my mother used to grow 'geraniums'
 in kerosene  (paraffin?)  tins painted green.  They got very little water
as we had only that which came off our house roof, but they bloomed
beautifully. I try to remember that when tempted to overwater in this hot
There has been mention of G incanum.  I have it growing everywhere.  It
throws seeds and tends to take over , I even pull it out of the lawn.  We
have about the same climate as South Africa where I have seen it growing in
the Southern Cape.   One came up near a Lady Plymouth and has covered it.
I  have to keep pulling it away. The two do look nice together otherwise I
would pull it out.  I guess it may not be so vigorous with a bit of your
snow around!
Perhaps Vince should try the Balcons for his flower box,   perhaps Balcon
As I said I have got rid of a lot of plants recently because of my back
problems I am trying 'alternative '  methods now,  anything to avoid
surgery! I had a count up today and now am down to  175 Zonals, including
col leaf, 41 miniatures and 25 ivies  plus assorted Deacons, Stellars,
Hybrids,Species etc.  I keep at least two of each, so it still adds up to a
fair bit of work.  I really got stuck into the Ivies as they were in very
large pots with a cylinders of wire 3' tall to climb on. 
  They were just to heavy for me to shift around.  I'll keep some in
baskets instead.  I got the grandchildren busy throwing them out and top
dressing the lawn with the contents of the pots!  I grow  zonals from seed
as well and am hoping for something spectacular one of these days.  Trouble
is they take so long to flower.  Does anyone have any advice for making
seedlings flower under 15 months.  Cuttings from them do seem to flower a
bit earlier.  I dose them up with potash, but it doesn't help much.  I
think I'll just have to wait until it cools down,  there isn't much in
flower at the moment anyway.   My best effort so far is Downlands X
Genetrix . I keep all my plants listed on the computer so it is easy to
delete or add names.
In between writing this I am supervising the removal of a tree (Eu.
citridoria) from my front garden.  $2 to buy and 20 years later $500 to
remove.   They grow to 140ft ( see I still remember feet and inches ...
don't like metric measurement much) and in our stony soil sometimes do not
put down a good root system.  There are a couple more to go, that will have
to wait until I  get more dosh.
Has anyone ever sent scanned material  (such as plant lists)  over the
robin? Could be handy.
The man who taught my grandson hang gliding was killed in an accident
yesterday.  He was in a trike  (like an ultralight )  which tows the H.
gliders up and was a very professional instructor ..  so we're a but gloomy
today.  I was towed up by the same trike three years ago  for my 60th
birthday.  It was a tandem flight,  I'm not that brave.
I have printed out a map of U.S.A. just showing the divisions of the
states.  I will mark you all in!.  (those in the US of course. I don't
understand the zones mentioned,   time zones or climate zones?.
Peter has just arrived with 'the mail' for today.  
Some comments..  Re Painted Ladies I agree with Esther's description. Of
those mentioned we only have Staplegrove Fancy & Ann Southern, but do have
Joans Choice and Paris which are similar .I don't recognise any that Barry
  Diana ..re the stellar Gemini, I have it as well and though I'm not
really into stellars I wouldn't part with that one .. it's a beauty.
Vince ,  so you really do live in Italy. Don't try to plant the Vatican
Angels!    I have a catalogue from  Fibrex Nurseries, Honeybourne Rd,
Pebworth, Warwickshire CV37  8XT  United Kingdom fax 01789721162.  They
list 'Cascade or Balcon type ivy leaved Pelargoniums' 4 colours, red,
lilac, pink and salmon rose., singles.  Well as far as I was aware balcons
and cascades are two different types.  Balcons being brighter and more
prolific.  They also list 23 angels by the way. I have other Uk addresses
somewhere and could look them up if you want them..
Dale,   Thanks for the note querying my survival but as you can see it is a
bit difficult to for to reply straight away.  Peter says that from now on
he will put the robin mail on disc instead of printing it out.  However
weekends are out.   Re rosebuds Apple Blossom Rosebud is a favourite and
I've only had Wedding Royale a few months,  my most favourite is the hybrid
Rosebud Gem and in the Ivies Giroflee
Mustn't ramble on .. past my bedtime.
   best wishes from OZ
Joan Steele

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