W O R D S A N D P H O T O S : The bright yellow flowers of the native Kapok (Cochlospermum gillivraei) are currently obvious on rocky ridges near the coast in the region. Typical of trees of the dry tropics it flowers on bare wood. While usually a small tree it can grow to 12m tall in good soil. Green ball-shaped fruit to about 10cm across develop after flowering. Fruit is brown when mature and then splits into segments, releasing cotton-like fibre containing embedded black seeds. This fibre is known as Kapok (the true Kapok is Ceiba pentandra and is native to Central America and the Caribbean). The fibre is light, very buoyant, long lasting and resistant to water; but highly flammable. It can’t be spun so it was used to stuff a range of household furnishings and life jackets. The seeds germinate readily, with better results achieved after soaking seeds in hot water
WHAT TO PLANT
Indian Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis intermedia) never ceases to impress in regard to hardiness and almost perpetual blooming with clusters of white flowers in this region. It’s a tough evergreen shrub with thick leathery leaves that tolerates sandy to well drained clay soils as well as frost, drought and coastal conditions. It needs three to four months to establish with regular watering. Prune to shape if required after flowering.
Bacopa (currently Sutera cordata) is a neat ground cover or trailing plant with heart-shaped leaves. A plant can spread to 1m wide with flowers in white, pinks and mauve. Apparently it grows well in most well drained soils, and tolerates dryness well, once established; although regular soaks during extended dry periods are recommended. New plants are can be easily grown by using sections that have already taken root.
The bonsai photographed is a Moreton Bay fig developed by the president of Townsville Bonsai Society. They hold their meetings every third Sunday of the month (the next is on September 17) at 2pm at St Josephs, Mundingburra. Everyone is welcome from beginners to those just needing some specialist tools or advice.
0427 331 395
BONSAI MORETON BAY FIG
GOT A GARDENING QUESTION? WANT TO IDENTIFY A PLANT?
ASK JULIE! TEXT YOUR NAME, QUESTION AND A PHOTO TO