DIGGIN’ IT

WHAT’S HAP­PEN­ING

Townsville Bulletin - Townsville Eye - - Garden -

W O R D S A N D P H O T O S : The pur­ple clouds of flow­ers about at the mo­ment are Jacaran­das (Jacaranda mi­mosi­fo­lia). While many peo­ple seem to be­lieve this is a na­tive tree, Jacaran­das orig­i­nate from Brazil where they are de­cid­u­ous; briefly drop­ping their leaves at the end of the dry sea­son and then leaf­ing up again when the rains come. Lovely as a shade tree for large gar­dens and parks as they can spread as much as their height of 10-15m. For the most re­li­able blue colour and faster-flow­er­ing look for grafted plants. Other than some for­ma­tive prun­ing while they’re young, avoid prun­ing Jacaran­das. Prun­ing tends to cre­ate spindly ver­ti­cal shoots. The nor­mal shape for a jacaranda is that of an el­e­gant um­brella.

WHAT TO PLANT

Pom-pom Bush is botan­i­cally Cal­lian­dra haema­to­cephala. The spe­cific name means blood-head in ref­er­ence to the colour of the flow­ers. This is a very hardy, easy to grow shrub which grows to a cou­ple of me­tres tall and has spec­tac­u­lar flow­ers. They of­ten flush with their deep pink to red-tipped fluffy blooms. Th­ese don’t last more than a few days, but they are well worth grow­ing. Honeyeater birds also favour them.

WHAT’S NEW

Once to know a plant as La­gu­naria meant it was La­gu­naria pa­ter­so­nia. Prior to 2006 there was only one species (there were two sub­species), grow­ing nat­u­rally in coastal Queens­land (and maybe north­ern NSW) and on the two is­lands of Nor­folk Is­land and Lord Howe. Cur­rently the main­land plants are La­gu­naria queens­landica. Those of the is­land pop­u­la­tions are known as L. pa­ter­so­nia. The Queens­land pyra­mid tree (La­gu­naria queens­landica) can be dis­tin­guished from Nor­folk Is­land hibis­cus (La­gu­naria pa­ter­so­nia) by its cup-shaped flo­ral bracts that are quickly shed.

DON’T FOR­GET

Nau­clea ori­en­talis (Le­ich­hardt tree) is a grand tree from 10 to 25m tall so it is too large from most ur­ban gar­dens. Al­most every creek or river cross­ing from Townsville to Cairns has one grac­ing its banks. The dis­tinct flow­ers are borne in golf-ball sized heads and carry a pleasant per­fume. This tree is de­cid­u­ous in dry con­di­tions.

JACARANDA FLOW­ERS

POW­DER PUFF BUSH

0427 331 395

NAU­CLEA ORI­EN­TALIS FLOWER

LA­GU­NARIA QUEENS­LANDICA

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