Once again it has been a busy and challenging year in the garden. The small but committed band of garden volunteers has compiled over nine hundred and fifty hours of garden work, more than one hundred hours greater than last year. The weather has been more consistent and greater efforts to weatherproof the garden against the heat have paid dividends.
During the year the bamboo poles on the fence that provides a backdrop to the Meditation Corner were replaced. They had become very rotten and in places had collapsed, showing the metal framework behind. Thank you to board member Andrew Mitchell from Sydney Living Museums for the supply of bamboo and the workers to install it. Thank you also to David Potts who completed the fence and re-worked the twine ties with a more permanent and secure method of attachment.
This year Bruce Walker followed up his previous work of replacing the Shade House roof by the design and construction of interior benches and shelving. All materials were recycled from the local Council Clean-ups. We now have the infrastructure to propagate, store and resuscitate ailing plants. Thank you, Bruce, for all your time and commitment to the garden.
In early September the mammoth task of pruning the front hedge was undertaken for the following reasons; to rejuvenate the component plants, to bring the size of the hedge down to a manageable pruning height, and to facilitate the building of the replacement front fence. It was estimated that the hedge had not been pruned for about thirty years.
Garden volunteer Margaret Pope has spent thousands of hours computerising and upgrading the camellia catalogue (including an iPad version). She has provided the detailed work required to find any discrepancies and omissions. As well she has researched identifications and streamlined the whole catalogue to conform to the International Camellia Register. The standard of detail in this work has been astounding. For the first time both the knowledge and accessibility to our camellia collection are nearing completion. Margaret (an engineer) has also been working hard on the eccentricities of the Fountain. It has developed a number of randomly occurring problems that have now been diagnosed and we are working towards rectification.
In 2014 garden volunteers visited Camden Park to see their volunteers in action and compare ideas. Rosemary Potts also visited the EG Waterhouse Gardens in Caringbah to talk with their Head Gardener and compare approaches to Camellia cultivation.
The last year saw a concerted but ongoing effort to replace some of the old varieties that had been lost from the garden. The Camellia Ark Project and also the Camellia Research Society have donated plants.
With the continuing excellent work carried out by our paid gardener, Craig Newman, the garden has continued to thrive and develop. The normal cycle of tasks has still taken place whatever the weather and has provided a sound foundation for the health and wellbeing of the garden.
Garden volunteers held a plant stall at the Christmas Fair and made a total of $1,066 Thank you to all who gave both their time and plants to make the stall such a success.
Once again we should like to thank both Yates and Judy Horton for the very generous donation of products and their ongoing support of the garden. This year marked the retirement of Judy from Yates and we invited her to our Christmas morning tea where a presentation was made to thank her for her long involvement with the wellbeing of the garden.
I want to say a personal thank you to all the members of the Garden Council, Peter Levick Juliet Muras, Craig Newman, John Pearman and Helen Wallace (Secretary). Everyone has come to monthly meetings and engaged in our garden problems, suggested solutions and continued in the debate on the aesthetics and philosophy of the garden. They are a major component in the successful presentation of the garden.
Rosemary Potts, Chair, Eryldene Garden Committee, June 2015