Gardening with Batty Betty

After an unpredictable summer, it’s a pleasure to get out in the garden on a warm but not hot day, and to have Mother Nature providing the watering system. The work and planning you do now will provide the groundwork for the coming year.

Perennial plants are the gardener’s friend as they provide lovely displays for years on end with little work required to keep them at their best. There are two kinds, those that lose their leaves every year and those that are evergreen.

The main thing they have in common is that they keep multiplying and getting bigger. They need attention at this time of the year and by dividing them you get more plants for either your garden or to give to other happy gardeners. Who can resist a freebie?

By digging and dividing the plants you keep them at manageable sizes and ensure that they will keep flowering. Prune all the visible foliage to just above ground level and make sure that the soil is moist before digging them out.

Plan to dig them out either early in the morning or late in the day so they don’t dry out; this reduces stress on the plant. Cut them into sections (or some can be pulled apart by hand) before replanting them in the garden. If you’re not sure where they are to go, put them in pots to plant at a later date or to give away.

Your roses need to be dead-headed, which will encourage the plants to flower more freely.  Shrubs such as lavender and buddleia need to be trimmed and shaped, and new trees and shrubs are best planted during the coming months when there is less likelihood of stress to the plants.

Bulbs for your spring display should be planted over the coming months, with a staggered planting to ensure a continuous flowering period. Check your local nursery to see what seedlings are available and choose your colour scheme for the coming spring.

In the vegetable garden

Now you need to dig the vegetable garden over prior to planting the new season’s crops, but there is a problem. What on earth do you do with those green tomatoes left on the plants that never seem to ripen?

One answer is to place them in a paper bag or cardboard box and store in a warm, dark spot. The trapped ethylene gas they give off will turn them red. To speed up the process, include a ripening banana. Just don’t forget to check on them every couple of days or you may get a nasty surprise instead of the lovely red tomatoes you expect.

This season is a vegetable planting bonanza with seeds for beetroot, carrots, parsnips, radishes, turnips and swede due to go in and seedlings for broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choi/pak choi,

cabbage, cauliflower, celery, coriander, fennel, herbs (all except basil), kale, lettuce, peas, rocket, silverbeet, spinach, spring onions and strawberries. Garlic bulbs may also be planted now – just plant them in a drier spot so they don’t get them too wet and go mouldy.

Norlane is blooming

Norlane residents Lorraine Miller and Carolyn Slevin have featured in the annual state-wide Victoria in Bloom competition.Victoria in Bloom recognises and celebrates the gardens of public and community housing tenants.  It is an opportunity for tenants to showcase their gardens, and to celebrate the work they do to create brighter neighbourhoods for all Victorian residents.

The Department of Health and Human Services, Barwon Area, had 16 entrants in the 2019-20 competition with four winners and five commendations, who were awarded their certificates at the Barwon Awards Ceremony in early March.

Lorraine Miller was highly commended in the Best Edible Garden category and Carolyn Slevin was highly commended in the Best Creative Garden.

Lorraine has been gardening at her Norlane property for 45 years, producing more than 20 varieties of fruit, vegetables and herbs to share with family and friends – she used a lot of her produce for Christmas dinner last year.

Carolyn has created an ‘imagination garden’ in the backyard of her Norlane unit.  Her low-maintenance garden provides a space where Carolyn feels grateful and relaxed.

If you are a public or community housing tenant and interested in finding out more about Victoria in Bloom, or would like to register your interest for the 2020-21 competition, which will open in October, email

Leadership role for Farzana

Corio’s Farzana Hussaini has been elected as the City of Greater Geelong’s second Junior Mayor. 

Farzana, 15, is one of three Windermere Ward youth councillors and was voted to become Junior Mayor by her fellow Youth Council members.  Kardinia Ward representative Ashley Delaney, 15, is serving alongside Farzana as Junior Deputy Mayor. 

Farzana is a Year 9 student at Northern Bay College and this is her first experience as a youth councillor.  She said the skills she brings to the Youth Council are communication, being good at listening and critical and creative thinker.

The 12 young people, aged 12-17, were inducted to the Youth Council after their selection and will serve as an official ‘youth voice’ for City of Greater Geelong council.  The other Windermere Ward junior councillors are Carmen MacLeod and Logan Chandler.

The Youth Council meets once a month at City Hall to discuss priorities including social and community connections, mental health and wellbeing, and capability; such as skill development, education and employment. 

As Junior Mayor, Farzana will appear before the Council on a quarterly basis during 2020, to present the Youth Council’s findings and recommendations.  Mayoral duties also include chairing all meetings, representing the Youth Council at official functions, and acting as the group’s spokesperson.

In 2019 the Junior Council successfully presented four reports to the Council, including recommendations for the City’s new Civic Precinct, and improvements to the region’s bike lanes and network.

Volunteers playing an important role

Have you ever wondered about who is responsible what happens at our local Neighbourhood Houses? Volunteer community members play an important role as members of the Board or Committee of Management.

These are people with an interest or passion for their centre and a desire to contribute to their running. They are also community members who want to share their positive experiences with others.

Committee of Management or Board members set the direction of the organisation, then work closely with the centre staff to put their plans into action. Participation can be rewarding and enjoyable – it also provides good experience for other parts of life, such as work or other community service.

The current Norlane Community Centre board comprises Adam Fratantaro as the new Chair, Sandra Anderson (Secretary), Krystine Canny-Smith (Treasurer), Monique Hurley, Naomi Furlong, Stefan Manche and Bruce Warner.

Norlane co-coordinator Esther Konings-Oakes said there is room for more general members to come on board. “We are also looking for an experienced bookkeeper or accountant to take over from Krystine,” she said.

At Cloverdale Community Centre the committee of management has undergone quite a change in recent years.  Kellie Spark is in her first year as Chair and is supported by Steve Taylor (Deputy Chair), Mary Budd (Secretary), Peter Jewell (Treasurer), Dianne Johnston, Samuel Johnson, Matthew Pavelis and Helen Smith.

For more information about the Board and Committee of Management roles, call Cloverdale Community Centre, phone 5275-4415 or Norlane Community centre, phone 5275-8124.

Luke’s plan for helping others

Corio resident Luke Anderson is a young man on a mission to inspire people to set goals for themselves, and put in the hard work to achieve them.

Luke was part of the official proceedings at the opening of the renovated and extended Cloverdale Community Centre. The opening event also included a community barbecue, followed by a meeting of the City of Greater Geelong Council.

In the first of several public speaking engagements, Luke explained how he used time he spent in prison to set out a plan for future achievements. He also spoke about what community centres like Cloverdale mean to people who don’t have all the answers themselves when they want to make serious and lasting change.

“I haven’t always done the right thing in my life, but I want to use my mistakes for good in the future,” Luke said. “I want to use my experience to help others with motivation, overcoming barriers and achieving goals despite societal labels.”

Luke is a participant in the City of Greater Geelong leadership program. He is also working as an electrician in a business he co-owns, as well as working on another business plan that will supply approved apparel to Victorian prisoners.

“I really want to use my life experiences as a starting point for having a positive influence on others,” he said.

Peace of mind for isolated

Do you know someone who lives alone and feels isolated?  The Community Support Regster can help.

First established in 2006, the Community Support Register operates from the Corio Police Station and is staffed by a dedicated group of volunteers, supported by local donations and sponsorship.

The register collects health and other personal information to be accessed if the person cannot provide it themselves due to an accident, fall or illness.  Police, ambulance, hospital and fire services can quickly access the register, but only in an emergency.

Information may include:

  • Doctor/pharmacist details.
  • Medical history and details about any disabilities.
  • People to contact in an emergency.
  • Pets and who is to care for them.
  • How access can be gained to property in an emergency.

Participants can choose what information they wish to provide.  Regular phone calls can be arranged with the volunteers to people who are feeling isolated and would benefit from social contact.

The Community Support Register is open to people of all ages and abilities and is a free service – there is no cost to register.

To find out more contact: Geelong register, phone 5275-1607 or email

Save your bottle tops

The Lions Club of Corio Norlane is taking on another venture to help others.

Members are collecting plastic milk and soft drink bottle tops to give to a company called Envision, who are making colourful hands for children in third world countries. The hands are made with a 3D printer and are life-changing for children.

Residents can organise a collection, contact the club and they will collect from you.

Meanwhile, the club is continuing its many other activities, including:

  • Opportunity Shop.
  • Road Home Geelong project for homeless.
  • Bike maintenance project.
  • Bike Education trailer.
  • Computer donation project.
  • Peace Poster competition.
  • Collecting gate takings at North Shore Football Club.
  • Supervising car parking at the Royal Geelong Show.
  • Trivia Night in October supporting local charities.
  • Supporting Northern Christmas Carols.
  • Selling Christmas cakes.
  • Running barbecues.
  • Collecting unwanted eye glasses.
  • Collecting stamps.

Club members are continually striving to achieve more in their local community and if you have some spare time on your hands and wish to make a difference, contact Richard Walter on 0402-409-895 or

Richard said anyone who has other ideas or suggestions to help the community but doesn’t know how to achieve them, can contact the club and it may be able to help.

“We are also looking for members with multicultural backgrounds who are interested in helping their own communities,” Richard said. “With this support we can make a difference.”

A place to buy, learn and meet

A new opportunity shop arrived in Norlane earlier this year, with Opportunity Rocks Op Shop opening at Dorothy Thompson Centre.

A project of Uniting, the op shop is open Monday to Thursday from 10am until 4pm under the guidance of Peter Wheeler and a small team of volunteers.

“Our volunteers are learning retail skills and to be more active in their community,” Peter said. “The shop is also a social outlet for our volunteers, and we always have room for more.”

The shop stocks a large range of clothing, toys, books and household goods and all proceeds go back into the local community.

There are plans to introduce other community activities at the site, including playgroup and yoga. For more information, call 0402-602-939, or drop in during opening hours.

Free legal advice

Canny Legal provides free general legal advice for 3214 residents, at Norlane Community Centre.

Residents can apply for help with legal matters including tenancy, wills, power of attorney and deceased estate advice. To apply for help, fill in an intake form at reception of Norlane Community Centre and you will be contacted for a session time.

Canny Legal’s aim is to provide some general advice on legal issues to help you manage the issue in the future. The program is limited and if your issue is unable to be resolved, you may be referred to another service that may be able to help. For more information and to apply for some help, call into Norlane Community Centre in Rose Avenue or call 5275-1824.

Fishing for new members

A new fishing club has formed in Corio, offering a family-friendly environment for all anglers.

Corio Bay Anglers Club meets fortnightly, on Wednesdays from 6pm-7pm, at Cloverdale Community Centre. The club already has 30 members involved in a variety of activities.

President Mick Conway said the club is for all-weather and all sorts of fishing and will host 12 to 14 fishing competitions each year. They also have plans to clean-up around the bay, including North Shore and St Helens beaches.

“Our members also share their knowledge, so it’s a good place for young anglers to come and get support and advice,” Mick said. “We encourage families to come along to our social events, which include our weigh-ins and barbecues at Moorpanyal Park.”

Mick said young anglers can learn from older members and can also access equipment for a day if they want to try fishing.

For more information, call 0421-739-618, email or look for Corio Bay Fishing Club on Facebook.