Valentine Lovers
             
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Thursday 14th February may be celebrated by lovers as Valentine’s Day with a gift of chocolates or a bunch of flowers, but to gardeners romance can be found in heart-shaped leaves, flowers or fruits that extend the romance period a full 365 days of the year.

 
From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty
 
 
 
Beefsteak Plant (Acalypha wilkesiana).
 
Flamingo Flower (Anthurium andraeanum).
 
 
 
 
A  walk on the WILDSIDE
             
Noel Burdette

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A view into a professional horticulturist’s private garden is a rather rare event. Noel Burdette who admires romantic cool climate gardens, explains how his subtropical garden has been created over the years and how it has evolved to survive drought and flood.

Ask any enthusiastic gardener what they wish for the most, and the answer is bound to be the same – space to develop a bigger garden.

This was one of the governing factors which prompted our move to our present 2,500m2 block in 2004 in the Ipswich region. Underutilised and somewhat unkempt with an assortment of weed species that would keep any environmentalist endlessly busy, the potential to create a larger garden was highly evident to our eyes. However it was the unseen events that have been instrumental in the development of our garden.

Every garden has its positives and negatives regardless of its location. The thing that binds it all together is the undying urge to garden by the owner(s). Every gardener has a vision of how their garden will look, yet the reality is that gardens are in a constant state of flux as trees mature or are removed; as shrubs become taller and wider; so-called perennials become annual visitors; manicured lawns become less of a priority; and the availability of time becomes but a dream.

 
From an 6 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty
 
 
 
Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) with scarab beetle.
 
A natural grass pathway lures visitors to the bridge and beyond.
 
 
 
African Violets
             

African Violet Society of Queensland Inc.

   
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Few gardeners cannot but be impressed by the lovely African Violets. Collectors espouse their hardiness and perpetual flowering habit and beginners soon learn how to propagate one of the easiest plants around. For these reasons, it’s time to reacquaint ourselves with these delightful plants.

African Violets are members of the Gesneriaceae family. These plants are native to the African countries of Kenya and Tanzania but are now grown world-wide as an ornamental plant.

Botanically, nine species are recognised, along with eight subspecies and two varieties. Several of these are endangered or threatened in the wild due to clearance of their native cloud forest habitat for agriculture.

There are however thousands of cultivars due to diligent work of plant breeders and collectors.

Topics looked briefly at:

  • Light
  • Water
  • Nutrition
  • Temperature
  • Potting
  • Propagation
  • Potting On

For more information visit these sites:

Queensland – www.africanvioletsocietyqld.happyo.com
Australia – www.africanviolet.org.au
Canada – www.avsc.ca
America – www.avsa.org
Europe – www.african-violet.eu

 
From a 5 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty
 
 
 
‘Buckeye Candy Striper’.
 
‘In My Fashion’.
 
'Pow Wow'.
 
 
 
Native plants for small gardens
             
Joan Dillon

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In today’s world of smaller house blocks and larger dwellings, there is not much space left for a garden. In these circumstances gardeners often look for the well known, predictable plants, many of which if not most, are non-native in origin. The result can be a rather restricted species list and a tendency towards ‘sameness’. Native plant enthusiast and horticulturist Joan Dillon takes a look at some fabulous natives for small gardens. Images John Dillon.

To prevent ‘sameness’ there is a remarkably large number of colourful natives well suited to small gardens in warm climates. Many of these can be grown in the ground while others are better planted in pots or larger above ground containers made from steel, timber or other available materials.

Soil type is very important as many warm climate beauties have their origins in coastal areas and do require excellent drainage. However, not all are fussy and several have proved surprisingly tolerant of clay based soil on a sloping site. Gypsum and organic matter can help. Decorative organic mulch rather than cane or hay is preferable for small areas and pine bark which comes in at least two grades works well. Air does need to reach the soil and the microflora needs all the encouragement they can get. Inorganic mulches do not do much for either.

 
 
 

From a 5 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty

 
 
 
Melaleuca thymifolia.
 
Yellow Buttons (Chrysocephalum apiculatum) and Matt Reed (Lomandra cultivar).
 
 
 
Trees in Cities
             

Jan Allen

   
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Imagine a world without trees. It might look something like Mars, no water, no topsoil, no protection from searing UV rays or temperature extremes, dry, hot and lifeless. If life as we know it could exist in such a place we would expect it to be only the most resilient forms. If humans were to survive in this extreme world Arborist Jan Allen proposes that it would likely be in an artificially modified and contained environment, perhaps not too unlike the average air conditioned city apartment that the majority of the world’s urban population now inhabit.

A long way from where we are now? Perhaps but you might not be so certain following the record breaking heatwaves cooking the country this January. It is increasingly apparent that we are vulnerable to dramatic weather events that include the threat of more frequent heatwaves of
longer duration.

How hot can it get? Well that is a hotly debated topic, pardon the pun, but it has been hot enough over the past weeks for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to add another colour to their temperature range maps to account for temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius.

Do we sit back and crank up our air conditioners? Maybe its time we learn to appreciate nature in all its moods and begin to make simple changes to build resilience in our communities; I am arguing that trees can help us do exactly that. Local governments across the country are fast realising that the humble tree is a valuable asset that has been overlooked. As city assets, trees deserve a prominent place in our urban areas.

Topics examined further are:

  • Ecosystem Services
  • Economic Benefits
 

From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty

 
 
 
King Edward Parade, Ipswich, along the Bremer River.
 
Creek Street, Brisbane.
 
Grey Street, South Brisbane.
 
 
 
Aloe wonders
             
Images Mike Dent
Aloe-Aloe Horticulture

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Few plants can claim to produce stunning bird-attracting flowers throughout winter and spring, never have a need for pest control and rarely need fertilising, pruning or watering. Some specimens change the colour of their foliage during different seasons adding an extra bonus to the garden design. Long gone are the old fashioned aloe plants tucked away in forgotten parts of the garden. With so many species and improved cultivars now on the market, it’s time to show off these glamour gals for all to enjoy.

Aloes come from Africa. They are native to the full spread of climate zones from temperate to tropical and herein lay the secret to success. Selecting the right species for the local climate will guarantee success. Many of these species suited to warm climate areas were featured in Issue 11. However most species can only be sourced from specialist growers or collectors.

The good news is that hybrids (a cross between one or more different species) are now on the market and have been bred to withstand a wide range of climate zones. More importantly, they tend to flower much longer or have more vibrant colour tones. They also are bred to be more compact and therefore better adapted to gardens and landscapes.

 


 

 
From a 6 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty
 
 
 
Aloe ‘Moonglow’.
 
Bird attracting Aloe ‘Southern Cross’ and ‘Big Red’.
 
Aloe marlothii in bloom in winter at Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens. Image Paul Plant.
 
 
 
Cycads II
             

Heather Knowles

   
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Following on from Issue 29, Heather Knowles continues with her article on the diversity of native cycads suitable for gardens and landscapes.

MACROZAMIA
Endemic to Australia, there are currently 41 species in the genus Macrozamia. Three are native to Western Australia, one to the Northern Territory, eighteen to New South Wales and nineteen to Queensland. The name comes from the Greek makros meaning large and the genus Zamia.

These cycads are dioecious – there are separate male and female plants. Plants have thick fleshy stems, sometimes subterranean, which are capable of holding up to 150 leaves on the larger growing mature plants.

On the Australian east coast, Macrozamia habitats stretch from the Rockhampton region in Queensland to the north, to Bega in southern New South Wales. Most species are suitable for cultivation in the subtropics, either inground or in pots. Many are ideal specimens for northern Australia or protected gardens in colder climates.

Species featured are:

  • Macrozamia communis
  • Macrozamia johnsonii
  • Macrozamia lomandroides
  • Macrozamia lucida
  • Macrozamia macleayi
  • Macrozamia miquelii
  • Macrozamia moorei
  • Macrozamia mountperriensis
  • Macrozamia pauli-guilielmi
 
From a 3 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty
 
 
 
Macrozamia miquellii seed before cleaning the flesh from the seed.
 
Macrozamia pauli-guilielmi.
 
     
 
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