THIS WEEK'S FEATURE ARTICLES
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Go native with Aussie plant sale
Gardening trends go in and out of fashion. But our Australian climate, environment and conditions should mean that planting Australian natives is always in vogue.
Australia is blessed with a wide diversity of endemic plants. There are plants for all places, soil types, climates, and colours; and of all leaf, flower and bush shapes.
It is important to preserve the flora of Australia and especially Tasmania. Australian plant species have evolved to suit our climate and soils. Plants of local provenance will thrive best in their locations. Given the right conditions, they will often out-perform introduced species.
They support indigenous creatures. Native birds are happiest when feeding in and on our native plants.
The need for growing Australian plants – especially if we care for our Australian environment and our wonderful and precious Australian animals and birdlife – is becoming imperative as native habitat is constantly under threat.
For decades, groups of dedicated, knowledgeable gardeners and horticulturalists have championed the use of Australian plants on the mainland and in Tasmania. The Australian Plants Society Tasmania Inc (APST) is the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Native Plants Society Australia Inc. It was formed as the Society for Growing Australian Plants Tasmanian Region (SGAP-Tas) in 1971 as a breakaway from the Victorian group.
SGAP-Tas became APST Inc in 1999. Today there are about 220 members throughout Tasmania, and around 90 in the Hobart group. Tasmania also has groups in the north and north west.
Sites for propagating Australian plants evolved as the groups grew and their activities increased under the care of various members. In the south of the state, the nursery has been located in Mount Rumney, then in Howden after 1996. As the society and its needs grew, new premises were sought in 2003.
In 2004, the nursery was moved to its current location at Kingston Primary School. Last week I had the pleasure of a guided tour by Bruce Champion, nursery coordinator for the Hobart group.
“We have provided landcare classes for four to six students from grades 5/6 each term,” said Mr Champion.
“In recent years, we have donated about half our plant sale receipts to the school for projects to enhance their grounds or activities. These have included
a wheelchair-access outdoor table; large sandstone blocks for seats; removal of very large conifers; supply, installation and irrigation of a greenhouse; and supply and installation of a paved path, all in the school’s vegetable garden.
“In my landcare classes, students learn all aspects of Australian plant propagation, soil mixing, seed and cuttings growing, potting up and on, repotting big pot plants, weed identification and removal/treatment, caring for the environment, and respect for plants at home and in the wild.”
As we walked through the school, Mr Champion was hailed by cheery students calling, “Hello Bruce”. It was a delight to discover a system that creates good educational outcomes for kids, preparing young people to be good environmental citizens.
October plant sale
Propagation is a much-loved part of the APS’s work. The nursery is full to the brim, ready to provide wonderful native plants to the public. I asked Mr Champion what happens to all the plants. Can growing natives become an addiction?
“Definitely yes,” he said. “Plants grown in the APST Hobart Group nursery are available for our propagators to take home.
Some are planted in the Kingston Primary School grounds. Some are given to outside organisations, such as Friends of Knocklofty, who are members, for planting in their reserve. The majority are sold at our plant sales in April and October for planting in private gardens. We were due to have a big plant sale in April this year but were prevented by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.
“Ella Haddad MP arranged for a few of us to visit the nursery to save the plants we had ready for sale by potting them on into larger pots. We thank her and the state government for that permission. Now we have a much larger collection of plants in very good condition for sale on 17 October and look forward to greeting buyers from 10am to 3pm in the Kingston Primary School
The second time around
Remember March? When COVID-19 was just making itself known? Life was changing; we were forced to modify, discard and cancel so many of our plans and events we’d been looking forward to. Well, now it’s spring and we’re able to plan once more, and look forward to some of those events we’ve been missing. Kettering Concerts have been back for
a couple of months, and the Piano Duo concert planned for March, an early casualty of Covid-19, will return on 4 October. However, news
of its return had hardly begun to circulate when it was sold out. Now, this lovely double act of husband and wife, Gergana and Tuncay, the Yildiz Duo, will be literally a double-double act, their performance being presented twice, back to back, with a good break in between, on the same day.
The sold-out concert was timed for 3pm. Those who missed out have a second chance to enjoy this little taste of Turkey at 12 noon.
The Yildiz Duo
Both classically trained pianists, Gergana and Tuncay will be playing solo piano and piano for four hands. After completing studies in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Turkey, Gergana recently completed her PhD at the University of Tasmania. She’s performed in many concerts as soloist, has actively participated in prestigious master classes, and teaches and researches music. Tuncay has studied with various famous maestros and completed his PhD in Bulgaria. Since coming to Tasmania, he has performed at many concerts, including more than ten at MONA, and opened his piano studio in Hobart, teaching students from age five to seventy-five. Both he and Gergana love their life in Tasmania. At Kettering they have chosen pieces from Brahms and Dvorak, Valery Gavrilin, Fazil Say, Fikret Amirov, and Rachmaninoff, Mozart
Spanning Asia, Europe, and 1833-2020
Sketches for Piano Four Hands is by the Soviet composer Valery Gavrilin, who specializes in music of the 1960s and evokes modern Russians, their hopes and their sorrows. Together, Gergana and Tuncay will also play Fazil Say’s Ballade, Winter Morning in Istanbul. Tuncay’s solo performances include Four Fantasy Pieces by Fazil Say and Miniatures by Fikret Amirov, a prominent Azerbaijan composer of the Soviet period. A selection from a new genre of music Amirov created, the Mughan Symphony, was sent into Space with Voyager to represent world music and has been added to the UNESCO Intangible Heritage list. After delightful selections from Mozart, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No 1 in G minor ends the program and follows a composition it inspired, Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances. Brahms wrote the eternally popular and famous Hungarian Dances as a tribute to the charm of the folklore of Italy, where he was living at the time. Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances are equally famous and are actually Bohemian in style, lively and full of character, and followed the huge success of an earlier work for piano four hands.
Around the walls
Audiences will have a chance to browse the artwork which always accompanies a Kettering Concert. For these sessions, John Redeker’s photography will be on display. John will also have available for sale copies of his recently published books, filled with many of his favourite photographs of Tasmanian scenery, birds and other wildlife, and buildings from our pioneering heritage. His enjoyment in the many photographic gifts Tasmania has to offer is evident in these, as is his enthusiasm in transforming his photos into works of art. John never tires of expressing his gratitude, through his photography, for the privilege of living in such a special part of the world.
From Turkey to Tasmania
Early in the twentieth century Turkey was declared a Republic. Change was in the air and in the musical field this came by direction from the top down.
According to Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, “a number
of talented young people were sent by the Republic to various cities in Europe to study music. The common aim of the group was to use the themes of traditional Turkish music together with the values of Western classical music that they had studied to produce a new polyphonic structure.” Blending the
old with the new, developing
a contemporary sound while retaining the unique essence of their culture, were the challenges. Turkey’s ethnic diversity ensured a vibrant music scene. For many Australians, Turkey is most often associated with Gallipoli and the Anzac tradition. For Australian travellers who venture beyond Anzac Cove, their experience will be coloured by a culture
that is ancient, and yet modern, exotic and unlike their own.
But many will never visit Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar with its colourful, aromatic spices and brightly-hued glass lamps; or sip apple tea from delicate, waisted glasses.
However, a tiny taste of Turkey - through its music and musicians - can be enjoyed at Kettering on Sunday 4 October. Tickets at $15 for the 12 noon concert - online bookings only - are available at www.trybooking.com/BLKLL.
Afternoon tea is available after each concert.
500 words... Jasmine Smith-Browne holds forth on matters close to her heart
I recently had a very informative chat with a dog groomer.
I have always thought of groomers as miracle workers and dog whisperers but they are human like the rest of us, albeit with a dog grooming diploma.
What we see as a lively, cheeky puppy can cause difficulties for
a groomer who has to use scissors, dryers and other tools that some dogs just don’t appreciate. If the doggy client is naughty or snappy, it is not easy for a groomer to keep them calm.
It’s a tough ask for some dogs to stand patiently while being handled. Yet others rather enjoy the pampering. The more they visit a salon and get to know the groomer and sense they are safe and in capable hands, the more they understand and stay calm.
A good groomer gives their doggie clients little breaks to take care of their toilet needs or walk around the salon to shake it off. A loving, placid tone helps too.
It is often helpful to take your dog for a run or play before they’re groomed, as this will tire them
a little, which helps anxious or excitable dogs.
Dog nails naturally wear down on cement footpaths which can be a solution for canines who don’t like having their nails cut. Many groomers find nail clipping is the most distressing aspect for a lot of dogs as many don’t enjoy having their paws touched. Good-quality dog nail clippers are available in pet stores, so you can try trimming your pet’s claws at home if they are prone to anxiety at a salon.
A quick daily brush reduces matting, making grooming sessions quicker and less stressful.
Summer is a notorious time for dog fur to pick up sticks and burrs during walks. A summer clip helps ensure fur is manageable and tangle free.
If a full groom seems a little steep, then a bath and tidy keeps dogs’ coats clean and knot-free.
It is important to communicate with your groomer and to discuss what you want for your pet at all times, just as you do when you visit your own hairdresser.
I commented to my coffee buddy that dog grooming sounds like a dream job for animal lovers, but in fact this is not so. It is physically hard work, with lots of bending. Handling many dogs of different sizes every day is tiring. You may think groomers spend their days patting and playing with doggies but it is more like trying to be
a hairdresser while babysitting.
The most difficult moment for
a groomer is when they have to advise the owner the session cannot proceed because of bad behaviour or a hyperactive dog. The danger to both dogs and groomers is real. Those moments may happen in any salon from time to time. Owners
should listen to the reasoning and not judge the groomer. They must
also understand that session lengths may vary greatly depending on the temperament of the dog.
In the past I thought paying hard-earned money on dog grooming was a bit much, but after this discussion I will be glad to pay for the hard work groomers do. I will be sure to show my appreciation for the time and effort they lovingly put in to make my little family dog
a handsome, well-kept fellow.
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