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Convention Program

Hosted by Toronto & Districts Garden Club Inc.

Convention Speaker Program

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Wednesday 13 September

Keynote Address 

Kevin Stokes, Hunter Region Botanic Gardens

Kevin Stokes is one of the founding fathers of the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens. He is a botanical professional    who has made an intellectual and leadership contribution to the layout and development of the gardens. Kevin has a deep love and extensive knowledge of our Australian environment, especially of its unique flora. He has been an ardent advocate of ecosystem preservation and promotion against its ever present and continuing destruction.


Friday 15 September

Guest Speakers 

Angie Thomas, Horticulturist and Author

Angie Thomas has been a horticulturist for more than 30 years. She is the horticultural communications manager at Yates and will be speaking about fragrant plants. Angie has also written 3 Yates gardening books as well as editing the most recent edition of the Yates Garden Guide.


David Fripp, Living Edge Garden


David Fripp is a well-known plant expert and a contributor to the Nursery and Garden scene in the greater Sydney area and interstateDavid has had multiple appearances as a guest presenter on the ABC program Gardening Australia and his featured segments on Better Homes and Gardens.


Costa Georgiadis, Australian Television Personality

Costa Georgiadis is a well known landscape architect and TV presenter who has an all-consuming passion for plants and people – he knows how to bring out the best in both of them, and takes great pleasure in bringing them together. His holistic approach is all about gardening, the soil, and the soul.

Garden Visit Program

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Hunter Region Botanic Gardens

Easy walking trails provide access to the natural bushland with its mature blackbutt, angophoras and swamp mahogany forests and its understorey of more than 150 native plants. These forests are the natural habitat of goannas, wallabies, lizards, brushtail and ringtail possums, sugar gliders, bats, a small group of resident koalas and many birds. Insect repellant essential.



The Newcastle Memorial Walk commemorates the ANZAC landing in Gallipoli. Adorned with steel silhouettes of soldiers the walk consists of two sections: the first is a flat, 160-metre-long bridge from Strzelecki Lookout to another stunning viewing platform, great for whale watching; the second section is a stairway that connects it to the beach. Stunning cliff-top views and an important message for all.

Chris and Tim Kirkness

Here is “a home among the gum trees, with lots of plum trees”, and many bird species, with resident magpies, kookaburras and dollar birds when they migrate from New Guinea in spring each year. Along the property borders there are plantings of evergreen ashes, cascade lilli pillies and camelias.  There are many plants and a fragrant rose garden along the front of the house.


Susan Mingay’s ‘Lugano’

Named after Lake Lugano in Italy, where the original owners loved to holiday, the house has quite a history and was once used by the WAAFS in WW11 when they were at the Rathmines Catalina Base. The garden has both native areas and exotic plants. Camelia japonica, avocado, kentia palms, lillypilly and a native tree fern. Advanced pistachios provide shade and the pergola is covered with 25 year old wisteria.

Cherie Platen Glass Gallery and Studio in Kilaben Bay.

A tranquil quiet setting with a working glass studio. Demonstrations will be happening during the convention visits. And Trevor Thompson – The Honey Man will display a bee hive and honey is for sale. To quote Trevor “I’ll be here to answer all your sticky questions”. Trevor has had all his hives destroyed in the recent veroa virus crisis.


Susan and Len Laplain.

 This garden is an unfenced corner block, mainly planted with natives, some under large gum trees, others in full sun.  The rear garden, which is terraced from a veranda, has two fishponds with plenty of goldfish and a fountain.  The garden has a tropical feel with lots of tree ferns and palm trees. Features are a Japanese Maple and a Circes (forest pansy).


Tinkat Alley Art Studio  

A creative hub for decorative and fine arts in the historic Station Master’s Cottage at Fassifern in a garden setting. Tinkat Alley not only offers a place to create, it offers artists a venue to sell their art and a very special place to make new friends! A working creative workshop can be seen here.


Museum of Art and Culture, yapang

Located within 5 hectares of leafy grounds with sculptures throughout the park. Walk through the park and enjoy the view and the sculptures. There is a café, retail shop, and a reference library and an exhibition space to reflect on the works presented and absorb the surrounds.


Lake Macquarie Landcare Resource Office

The office provides support to volunteer Landcare groups through resources, information and advice. You will hear Lois Simpson talk about garden escapees and view the propagation area and raised garden beds.


Bronwen Tyler’s garden ‘Mulchalot”

Situated in a small valley backing onto a temperate rainforest. This award-winning property has native plants, abundant birdlife and artworks throughout the garden. The ecofriendly house is surrounded by deciduous trees that provide shade in summer and light in winter. A fernery provides cool airflow through the house and a large water tank and dripper system provides water. The mulch keeps the moisture in the soil and the weeds out and turns the clay base into beautiful soil.


Trees In Newcastle (TIN)

Visitors will see tube stock and plants at various stages of development, nurtured at each stage by the staff and volunteers. The plants have local provenance so they are well adapted to local conditions. TIN works with local councils to assist in seed collection and revegetating roadwork sites, with developers who wish to re-establish native habitat after establishing housing estates and landholders who have suffered losses from severe weather such as wind, floods and fires.


Lake Macquarie Cruise

On a Lake twice the size of Sydney Harbour, there’s a lot to fall in love with and, of course, the best way to see the lake is to be on a Lake Macquarie Cruise. The "Lady Mac" and her proud crew are ready to welcome you aboard and show you the spectacular waterways of Lake Macquarie before returning you to Booragul/Speers Point wharf to continue your journey.


13 September 2023 at Warners Bay Theatre, Lake Road Warners Bay

Arrive from 4.30pm for a 5pm start



An inspiring and groundbreaking film that reveals the first viable solution to our climate crisis.


                    Intermission: Tea/coffee and biscuits


A consciousness shifting film about the mycelium network that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet. 

Trailer for Kiss The Ground
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Trailer for Fantastic Fungi
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Download Convention Program

A pdf version of the Convention Program can be downloaded here:

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