More on gar­den­ing with Neil

Neil Fisher’s fo­cus on gar­den­ing

The Morning Bulletin - - NEWS - Week­ender colum­nist Neil Fisher is from Fisher’s Nurs­ery, North Rock­hamp­ton. You can chat with Neil on ra­dio 4RO’s gar­den­ing hour af­ter the 6am news on Tues­days. NEIL FISHER

THIS week I had the chance to visit the Roma Street Park­lands. On a very hot day by Bris­bane stan­dards there were thou­sands of peo­ple en­joy­ing these fa­cil­i­ties.

Rock­hamp­ton Re­gional Coun­cil is about to start work on the cen­tral precinct of the Ker­shaw Gar­dens. Most gar­den­ers will re­mem­ber that Ker­shaw Gar­dens was dev­as­tated by the cy­clone - the re­de­vel­oped Ker­shaw Gar­dens will give Rock­hamp­ton it’s very own Roma Street Park­lands

The key fea­ture of the cen­tral precinct of the Ker­shaw Gar­dens is a shal­low wa­ter play area.

That is de­signed to rep­re­sent the Fitzroy River with its cross­ings and fea­tures like the Bar­rage.

One of the most asked gar­den ques­tions about the re­de­vel­oped Ker­shaw Gar­dens is will the em­pha­sis on Aus­tralian na­tive plants dis­ap­pear?

While the plant­ing plans have not been fi­nalised the in­ter­dic­tion of ex­otic plants would be un­ac­cept­able to many sec­tions of the gar­den­ing com­mu­nity.

Then when you con­sider that grow­ing within the Fitzroy River sys­tem the unique va­ri­ety of Aus­tralian na­tive plants that can pro­vide colour mass flow­er­ing dis­plays through­out the year.

Added to these blooms these plants will pro­vide the ad­di­tion of an ar­ray of dif­fer­ent bird life to Ker­shaw Gar­dens. Plants like the aca­cia pod­layri­ifo­lia, or the Mount Mor­ganWat­tle or the Queens­land Sil­verWat­tle.

That is best de­scribed as a fast grow­ing small tree or large shrub, with beau­ti­ful rounded sil­very-grey fo­liage and gold ball flow­ers that mass over the plant in win­ter, mak­ing it an ideal fea­ture plant in most gar­dens.

The Cal­lis­te­mon vim­i­nalis Daw­son River can be found in gar­dens across the world yet this flo­ral em­blem of the Banana Shire is still a favourite of Queens­land gar­den­ers. Cal­lis­te­mon vim­i­nalis Daw­son River is a medium to tall shrub with nar­row fo­liage and an ex­treme weep­ing habit.

Clus­ters of red flow­ers will ap­pear in spring and au­tumn that are very bird-at­trac­tive. It will grow in most po­si­tions but thrives in black soils and is best pruned af­ter flow­er­ing.

One of the truly spec­tac­u­lar bot­tle­brushes is from the In­june area of Cen­tral Queens­land. The Cal­lis­te­mon sp In­june is a semi-weep­ing shrub with sil­very-grey fo­liage and with a pro­fu­sion of flow­ers af­ter rain.

The flow­ers them­selves are quite unique as they be­gin as a pretty shade of soft pink, then fade to white over two or three days, cre­at­ing an eye-catch­ing spec­trum of flower colour. This bot­tle­brush will grow to around 3m high and will tol­er­ate quite dry con­di­tions.

Driv­ing to­wards Duaringa you will no­tice the un­usual aroma from the blooms of the Pan­dorea pan­do­rana or Wonga Vine. This is one of the hardi­est creep­ers for lo­cal gar­dens. What made this plant so in­ter­est­ing was the flow­er­ing was so heavy and the flow­ers were so pure in colour. If no trees or shrubs are near, they will scram­ble down em­bank­ments. Reg­u­lar prun­ing will en­cour­age new growth and will pro­vide an out­stand­ing dis­play when in flower dur­ing win­ter and spring.

Other lo­cal plants could in­clude the Grap­to­phyl­lum ex­cell­sum or Na­tive Fuschia, a na­tive plant species found within the Berserker Moun­tains, and a small dense shrub grow­ing on av­er­age to 1.5m high. It has small bright green shiny leaves and large red tubu­lar waxy flow­ers that form along the branches in spring. This shrub will grow in a sunny or lightly shaded po­si­tion and is able to be pruned and shaped for even the most mod­ern gar­den styles.

Hakea trineura is na­tive only to the Canoona area of Queens­land and the mid-north coast of NSW.

It is not cul­ti­vated in great numbers lo­cally, but would be avail­able dur­ing this year. The plants have Gre­vil­lea-like brown and yel­low­ish to green flow­ers, broad gum-like leaves and clothes peg like seed pods.

All of these lo­cal Aus­tralian Na­tive Plants could give Ker­shaw Gar­dens the edge from just be­ing generic park­land to this re­gion’s pre­mier botan­i­cal and fam­ily recre­ation lo­ca­tion.

What made this plant so in­ter­est­ing was the flow­er­ing was so heavy and the flow­ers were so pure in colour

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

FLOWER FEVER: Hakea trineura in Seeney's gar­den.

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