Find out what the Murray Bridge Garden and Flora Art Club got up to this month and who won best exhibit

Winner: Phillip Christian with his winning hydrangea, which was judged as the champion exhibit by Joyce Gepp (left) at the MB Garden and Floral Art Club. Photo: Supplied.
Winner: Phillip Christian with his winning hydrangea, which was judged as the champion exhibit by Joyce Gepp (left) at the MB Garden and Floral Art Club. Photo: Supplied.

At the March meeting of the Murray Bridge Garden and Floral Art Club a good attendance of club members was present to hear Mrs Joyce Gepp of Clare address the meeting on pelargoniums.

“Although I am an Adelaide Hills girl through and through, I have lived in Clare for the past 33 years where it was about 25 years ago that I developed my passion for pelargoniums,” said Mrs Gepp when introducing herself to club members.

“Prior to getting into pelargoniums in a big way, I used to grow cut flowers but that was becoming too long a day, so I began to look for something else to get into, so I chose pelargoniums.”

Mrs Gepp is an active member of the South Australian Geranium and Pelargonium Society.

The Society’s key annual event is the club’s annual plant sale which is held on the 3rd Sunday of October at the Payneham Library.  

“We hold our annual sale then because that’s when our plants are really flowering at their best,” said Mrs Gepp.

When reflecting on the history of pelargoniums, “It was right back to the 1500s that the misnomer began calling these plants geraniums when in fact they are pelargoniums,” Mrs Gepp informed the meeting.

“Most pelargoniums originate from those that grow in the deserts of southern Africa, therefore the plants have a very high survival rate when there is no rain,” explained Mrs Gepp.

“There are pelargoniums that are indigenous to Australia coming from the Adelaide Hills and in Gippsland where they grow as a ground cover plant.”

“Gardeners are finding that the geranium and pelargonium plants are indeed making people stop and take notice,” said Mrs Gepp.

“Their wide range of colour and variety simply means that there is a plant for everyone's taste; be it the subtle reds, the bright whites or all the colour variations that can be found in between.”

“February is the time to prune your geranium and pelargoniums and it’s also the best time to do some repotting of your potted plants.”

“For your potted pelargoniums, prune them down to the rim of the pot and those growing in the garden, cut them back to almost ground level,” recommended Mrs Gepp.

“When repotting your potted plants take all the dirt off just leaving the root ball and then proceed to cut off the long roots.’

“Once you have down that, add a handful of fertiliser pellets at the bottom the pot, put back the plant and then fill up with soil leaving enough space at the top of the pot to allow for easy watering,” remarked Mr Gepp. 

“February and March is the best time to propagate your plants.  This is done by taking cuttings from your pruning’s making sure your label the name and colour of your cuttings,” said Mrs Gepp.

“For striking my cuttings I use washed sand.  I cut the flower off leaving about three nodes with a couple of the bottom leaves. Pop these into your sand mix and keep moist.  By using sand you will help prevent the cuttings from rotting and in about a month or two you will have a beautifully rooted plant reading to go into a pot or into the ground,” explained Mrs Gepp.

“When it comes to fertilising your plant, give winter a miss as you are really wasting your time fertilising the plants during the colder months.”

“I use my magic formula for fertilising my plants.”

“To a 9 litre watering can add 1 teaspoon of thrive, 1 teaspoon of potassium and 1 teaspoon of kelp.”

“This is my pick up recipe,” concluded Mrs Gepp.

March competition results - 

A. Floral Arrangement:  1st D Woidt, 2nd J Hansen

B. Fruit: 1st P Crowley, 2nd P Crowley

C. Large Garden Cut: 1st B & D Hoffman, 2nd P Christian, 3rd P Christian

D. Small Garden Cut: 1st R & C Butcher, 2nd P Christian, 3rd B & D Hoffman 

E1. Rose Bloom: 1st R & C Butcher, 2nd R & C Butcher, 3rd D Bolt

E2. Miniature Rose Bloom:  1st P Christian, 2nd R & C Butcher, 3rd R & C Butcher

F. Vegetables: 1st M McDougall, 2nd U Wegener, 3rd D Woidt

G. Home Produce: 1st D Woidt, 2nd B & D Hoffman

H. Pots/Containers/Hanging Baskets:  1st R & C Butcher, 2nd P Christian, 3rd R & C Butcher

I. Craft: 1st B & D Hoffman

J3. Autumn Bulbous/Tuberous/Rhizomous:

1st R & C Butcher, 2nd R & C Butcher, 3rd P Christian

Overall champion: P Christian

Interested in gardening? Would you like to learn more about growing plants and vegetables in the Murraylands? Well why not consider coming along to the Murray Bridge Garden and Floral Art Club.  Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month at the Seventh Day Adventist Church hall in Standen Street Murray Bridge.  Meetings start at 7.30 PM and finish by 10 PM. For further information about the club, please contact Mrs Chris Butcher 8532 3580 or 0419 856 414.