Members of the Coffs Harbour Garden Club before the lockdown.
Members of the Coffs Harbour Garden Club before the lockdown.

Gardeners digging online

THE COVID-19 lockdown has been a time for many of us to discover, or rediscover, the serenity of gardening, to sink a new veggie garden or drag weeds out of the old.

However, knowing what to do once the garden is in can be problematic. While there are lots of websites out there telling you what to do, who do you go to for specific knowledge on how things react in this area?

The answer is the Coffs Harbour Garden Club, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this past year. The club has 83 members with a wealth of local knowledge and a website and Facebook group for information and to ask questions on.

President Margaret Hunt said the club would usually meet every third Saturday of the month at the Botanic Garden Display Room at Hardacre Street, Coffs Harbour, from 1.30pm.

"We are all busy staying home and looking after our own gardens at the moment but we have two Facebook pages and have been making phone calls to each other," Margaret said.

"We only just opened our members only Facebook page. We had a public one but we wanted to have one just for members - we only have 10 members on there at the moment but we've sent out a lot of emails so hopefully it will grow."

Margaret, who has an awesome veggie patch and knows a lot about growing vegetables, is relatively new to the Mid North Coast, having come from the Blue Mountains. She admits it was a steep learning curve learning to garden in the subtropics but said being part of the club helped her adjust while helping her to make friends in her new hometown.

"It is different (gardening on the Coffs Coast) - I was totally against growing palms before I came here - they didn't fit in at the Blue Mountains but people kept putting in pools and putting in palms around them," she said. "But up here we grow all sorts of things that my husband thought I hated - palms, hibiscus… I have certainly grown to love them. What I really love here though is the longer growing season."

As well as their regular meetings and other special activities, the club holds an annual Spring Garden Competition. "We held our 40th one last year - it's one of the largest regional competition in NSW," Margaret said. "We don't just have home gardeners, there are sections for civic spaces and the council puts in their round-abouts and other gardens, we have a waterwise section and two sections for schools."

With the lockdown the event, launched each July, will not take place in it's regular form but Margaret said it will go ahead in some form probably becoming a virtual on-line competition.

She said the 2020 Competition will launch on the last Saturday in July (25th) when the categories will be announced. The Club have organised an out of area Residential/Industrial/Commercial judge who is really looking forward to seeing what the Coffs Coast has to offer in good gardening principles.

Entries will close the FIRST Friday in September (4th) with judging 13-15 September 2020 throughout the whole greater Coffs Harbour Council Area.

For more information on the club, growing tips and information about the Spring Garden Competition head to www.coffsgardenclub.com.au.