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March Meeting

posted Mar 28, 2014, 4:42 AM by BoxHill GardenClub   [ updated Mar 28, 2014, 4:47 AM ]

           Cait Montgomerie

   Yvonne & the winning exhibit

        Show Bench exhibit

        Show Bench exhibit
                                            18th March 2014
                   Topic - Winter Vegetables
                Presenter - Cait Montgomerie

Fresh, home grown vegetables are the envy of everybody. To plan and grow continual crops that feed the whole family is an achievement most gardeners strive for. Vegetables free of chemical sprays and picked on the day they are eaten have a taste not achievable from the commercially grown products.

Cait Montgomerie cares for her young family, and two years ago obtained a plot at the Nunawading Community Gardens. With some hard work she improved the soil by adding lots of compost, animal manures and humus. Her soil now is alive with worms providing the nourishment required to grow crops quickly. Cait's knowledge has been gained through research and trial and error. She researched ideas from the Web and found a website called "" This site provides her with accurate information on what to grow, when to grow it and how to grow it well. As a member of the community gardens she also receives quarterly newsletters and she finds this information practical and well worthwhile.

The members enjoyed her talk and left the meeting motivated to give home vegetable growing another try. Thank you Cait for sharing your experiences with us and for all the tips you offered.

                         The Betty Knox Award (Best Exhibit)

Members raided their gardens to once again fill the show bench. Some great exhibits were on display and the judges took some time to select the monthly champion. It was a vase of flowers from the "Snail Vine" Vignacaracalla. This vine is an ideal plant to grow if you want to cover a vast fence. While it is a bit slow in its first year, it takes off vigorously after that and will quickly hide any eyesore. In early summer it can grow 30cm a day. Once it has reached the extent of the area that you want it to cover, cut the leaves and tendrils back and it will flower profusely. As long as the tendrils are running it won't set much flower.

The flowers are white coloured as they unfurl, turning lilac as they blossom out into little snail-shaped blooms. As they age and fall they turn cream coloured. The flowers are quite fragrant and are mostly pollinated by ants - if you have no ants you'll have no pods and therefore no seeds.

The Snail Vine thrives on any hot exposed site, in clay or loam soil and even on quite alkaline sites. It is almost deciduous in southern Australia, shooting each spring from a permanent root or stump. A single plant can be kept for at least 10 years in one spot, with not much more attention than clipping the tendrils back in November-December. That will induce it to flower from January through to March. It is one of the hardiest fragrant vines grown in Melbourne. This vigorous fragrant climber requires a hot exposed location, a trellis or fence to grow on and a trim every year.

This exhibit was staged by Yvonne Chapman - a new member this year and she proudly took home the Betty Knox Award for best exhibit on the day.

                                       Popular Vote Award

Members had no hesitation in picking the Snail Vine as their choice for the Popular Vote Award. Congratulations to Yvonne for taking off both awards with the one exhibit!

              The Snail Vine

    Show Bench exhibit

          Show Bench exhibit