Friends turn out to keep Stan Maley’s garden going

Edward ScownMidwest Times
The FrOGGs team were hard at work Saturday morning.
Camera IconThe FrOGGs team were hard at work Saturday morning. Credit: Edward Scown

A week after the passing of their founder, the Friends of Geraldton Gardens are keeping Stan Maley’s botanical garden dream alive, even at over 40C on a Saturday morning.

It was a long to-do list. Number one was to repair the reticulation which was setup by Mr Maley, who made it his business for more than a decade.

Unfortunately, he didn’t leave his long-time friend Ray Morton with any instructions, so it was guesswork with the help of TAFE Horticulture lecturer Vivek Bhat to get the system going again.

With the recent heat, founding member Cheryl Galloway said even the 100 per cent native garden was starting to suffer.

“The heat is punishing everything. I’ve lived here for 23 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Ms Galloway said.

The Maitland Park grass is a constant problem for the demonstration garden. Noria Jefcoate explained that if left unchecked, the roots would encroach on the native plants’ space and starve them of nutrients, so it was vital to get down with the secateurs to clip it all back.

“The grass just wants to take over everything,” Ms Jefcoate said.

Mulching is next on the agenda, but with the stifling heat and uncertain of volunteer numbers, FrOGGs chair Irene Ghannage opted to enlist the help of Mr Bhat’s horticulture students, who will do the work as part of their course.

“(Mr Bhat) is above and beyond, I’m so glad we managed to get him on board,” Ms Ghannage said.

The group’s main priority is to maintain the garden through regular busy bees while they prepare for phase two of the botanical garden project.

Starting in autumn, FrOGGs plans to expand their garden further into Maitland Park.

This is the optimum time for planting the native seeds, which are being cultivated and collected from the current garden, as well as sections of the Geraldton Community Garden.

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