Mid North Coast – April 2024

We kicked off 2024 with renewed vigour and are finding our presence at various fairs, community gardens and events overwhelmingly requested. In fact, we have six engagements from now until mid-June.

As we all know, the interest in our native bee species is palpable and attending various venues with our ANBA marquee, photos and information boards, complimented by Jim’s bee-hotel demonstrations, is enticing an unparalleled awareness and appreciation of native bees.

A little modification, however, has happened and we have decided to hold at least three ‘formal-type’ meetings each
year. Perhaps at a member’s home or A garden centre, allowing us to go through our bee-business uninterrupted by
our busy duties at roving field days.

After the wonderful success of our Native Bee workshop at Bonny Hills last year, we conducted another at Nabiac (Mid North Coast NSW)
on Saturday 3rd February. It was the tail-end of school holidays but, even though the numbers were a tad smaller than expected, an enjoyable and creative day was had by all. Our members shared information and sound knowledge about our native bee species – with talks, information boards and gorgeous photographs. But the highlight was a bee-hotel construction workshop/class.
All materials were supplied – bamboo, containers, clay and pipe etc. and we charged a modest $10 per family with all proceeds going to
our branch. Landcare Nabiac also joined our day with information, booklets and loads of free native plants.
Sincere thanks to Greg and Kay Pern who, after relocating from Queensland to Nabiac, are now embedded locals and branch members and organised this day.

The Lost Plot in Port Macquarie surely must be one of our State’s premier community gardens. Everyone associated with this wonderful patch is friendly, helpful, welcoming and well-versed in sustainability, organics and good gardening practices – it’s a delight to be part of their culture.

We were chuffed to specifically invited to join their 10th Anniversary celebrations along with another special guest – Costa from ABC Gardening Australia. He opened the garden in 2014 and has been a regular visitor since, so it was brilliant he was part of the day’s festivities too.

But incredibly it could have all been swept away as the day before was worse than tumultuous. Nearly 300 mm of rain pelted down, and we thought a wash-out cancellation was on the cards. But no! The team from The Lost Plot planned to forge ahead regardless. So, when Saturday morning arrived and the sun was shining, and in spite of the dire forecasts, we were thrilled it went ahead – turning into one of our most favourite days. It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say hundreds of people visited.

As you can see from the photos, we had centre stage and, on their way to meet Costa or seek out delicious pizza or cake, people stopped-by to visit our marquee or join Jim in beehotel crafting. Children got their hands dirty, happily filling repurposed pipes with clay which they could take home in hope of particularly attracting blue-banded bees. As you can see, our setup was deadcentre in the garden which allowed us to show visitors the busy little Tetragonula carbonaria seeking nectar or pollen in the flowers of adjacent vegie or herb beds. Perfect! Our warmest thanks are extended to The Lost Plot’s dedicated committee, especially Kim, for organising this wonderful day and inviting us to join-in.

And there’s more… In the next two months we will be busy and joyfully raising our ANBA tent at no less than six events. The major of these is Tocal College’s field days. Thanks to our neighbouring branch’s kind invitation, we will head down to join ANBA Hunter for a comprehensive native bee exhibit at the three open days.

We are quite invigorated and are having an opportunity to meet some passionate gardeners, naturalists and native bee enthusiasts. If you would like to have a look at The Lost Plot’s wonderful garden, please see their great pics and videos at ww.facebook.com/PMQCommunityGardensInc/.
From Diane Norris

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