DIGGIN’ IT

WHAT’S HAP­PEN­ING

Townsville Bulletin - Townsville Eye - - Books -

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.

WHAT’S NEW

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.

DON’T FOR­GET

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.

MAUVE BA­COPA

0427 331 395

BON­SAI MORE­TON BAY FIG

GOT A GAR­DEN­ING QUES­TION? WANT TO IDEN­TIFY A PLANT?

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EYE@TOWNSVILLE­BUL­LETIN.COM.AU

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