Sustainable Gardening is Australia Post's 2019 Stamp Collecting theme
Every August, Australia Post runs Stamp Collecting Month (SCM) to promote the hobby of stamp collecting, while simultaneously engaging middle to upper primary school students with themes aligned to a curriculum area such as history, geography, science and the environment. The 2019 theme, In the Garden, focuses on sustainable gardening.
2019 Stamp Collecting Month: In the Garden
About Stamp Collecting Month
Every August, Australia Post runs Stamp Collecting Month (SCM) to promote the hobby of stamp collecting, while simultaneously engaging middle to upper primary school students with themes aligned to a curriculum area such as history, geography, science and the environment.
This year’s theme
The 2019 theme, In the Garden, focuses on sustainable gardening and was chosen after feedback from primary school teachers.
Sustainable gardens are constructed and cared for in ways that minimise environmental impacts, encourage biodiversity and promote sustainable living. Sustainable gardening principles can be applied anywhere, whether in a residential garden, school kitchen garden or community garden – even in a small rooftop garden on an apartment building!
The stamps and educational material were developed with expert assistance from Sustainable Gardening Australia (SGA), a not-for-profit community organisation and volunteer group that exists to encourage and support sustainable gardening by providing online guides, resources and offering regular community workshops. For more information on SGA, visit their website: https://www.sgaonline.org.au/
About the stamp issue
In the Garden is an issue of five stamps. The stamps form part of a sustainable garden scene within a fictitious Australian suburb with a mild climate. The stamps present gardening projects that contribute to sustainability, as well as a variety of plants that attract helpful animal species such as pollinating birds and insects. The stamp topics are:
- $1 Rainwater garden
- $1 Nest box
- $1 Worm farm
- $1 Pollinators
- $2 Veggie garden
Rainwater garden: As its name suggests, it makes use of rainwater. It is a specifically designed and constructed garden bed that takes rainwater directly from the roof – the downpipe goes straight into it and overflow is directed into the stormwater system. A filtering mechanism is used to remove pollutants, which is how it assists with waterway health. Featured on the stamp is a rainwater garden made from recycled materials, with a layer of sand and gravel at the bottom. It houses Dianella caerulea and Green Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos viridis), with pebbles surrounding the plants to retain soil moisture.
Nest box: One way of attracting and protecting the small birds in the garden is by constructing a nest box. This allows the birds to live, breed and build their nests in a protected environment. This stamp features the native Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus), a small and brightly coloured insect-eating bird, which helps keep down pest insects in the garden. This nest box is smaller in height and longer in depth than the typical upright variety and includes a perch at the front. A pond gives this and other bird species somewhere to bathe and drink, as do bird baths. Nest boxes can also be constructed for other wildlife such as bats and possums.
Worm farm: The wonderful work of earthworms is on display in this stamp. The worms process kitchen and garden scraps to produce nutritious fertiliser for the garden. The worm farm is made from non-treated timber from pallets to make a box to house the farm and has three layers: a layer for food waste and leaf litter, a layer for the worms to digest and sleep, and a layer to collect the worm “juice”, which becomes the concentrated liquid fertiliser that is so beneficial to the garden. Worm castings (waste) can also be used as a slow-release fertiliser. The worms are regularly fed with well-chopped food scraps, being careful not to include citrus scraps, bread, meat, garlic or onions. The worms also like to eat old mulch, small, soft garden prunings and even shredded newspaper.
Pollinators: Pollination is a vital process. While some crops such as cereals are wind-pollinated, many crops that we eat such as fruits, vegetables and nuts require animal-assisted pollination to grow and reproduce, as do many native plants. In the garden, birds, butterflies and bees move pollen from the male structures of a plant (anthers) to the female structures (stigma). This results in fertilisation, which in turn allows the flower to produce seeds and bear fruit, enabling new plants to grow.
Featured on this stamp is an Eastern Spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris), a honey-eater found in south-eastern Australia that feeds on the nectar of Bottlebrush (Callistemon) flowers. The Brachyscome daisies in the garden are not only pretty to look at and help to prevent weed growth but also attract pollinators such as honey bees, Painted Lady butterflies and native bees, such as the Blue-banded Bee (Amegilla cingulata). The Blue-banded Bee performs “buzz pollination” on plants such as the strappy-leafed, purple-flowered Dianella.
Veggie garden: This stamp features a raised, contained garden bed made from recycled materials, which is a great way to grow pesticide-free vegetables all year round – no digging up the ground, no trampling through and compacting the soil and no extreme bending when tending to the garden. It also makes it harder for pets and pests to enter.
At various times of the year, a variety of vegetables are grown to eat, including tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, pumpkin, broccoli and broad beans. There’s a companion flowering plant, too – a marigold that attracts bees for pollination and pest-eating ladybirds such as the Common Spotted Ladybird (Harmonia conformis) and Fungus-eating Ladybird (Illeis galbula). The garden is irrigated with water from our rainwater tank, mulch is made from garden waste and the garden is fertilised with the nutrient-rich fertiliser from the worm farm. A small wooden windmill is used instead of a traditional scarecrow to discourage garden creatures from eating the veggie crops without scaring away the smaller birds.
About SCM Ambassador Stephanie Alexander
Stephanie Alexander AO is regarded as one of Australia’s great food educators. Her reputation has been earned as an owner-chef in several restaurants, as the author of 17 influential books including her iconic work, The Cook’s Companion and Kitchen Garden Companion, an inspirational family guide to growing and using edible crops. Stephanie established the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation to help educate kids to grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh, seasonal, delicious food in order to form positive food habits for life.
Purchasing the stamps
In the Garden stamps and associated products are available from 1 August 2019 at participating Post Offices, via mail order on 1800 331 794, and online at www.auspost.com.au/stamps while stocks last.
Why people collect stamps
Stamp collecting is often an inter-generational hobby, with grandparents and parents sharing and passing down collections. Many begin collecting because they like the artwork on a particular stamp or are especially interested in a specific topic covered. Some people collect stamps because philately (stamp collecting) is a great way to learn about culture, geography, history and design. In many cases, stamp collectors organise their albums like small art galleries for them and others to enjoy.
The Australia Post Collectables website, auspostcollectables.com.au, offers online education resources such as curriculum-linked lesson plans for primary school students, information on each species featured, as well as activities, a video resource, stamp images and much more.