Tropical Landscape Grounded in Natives

John Sullivan


The below item complements this article read in the current issue:

Tropical Landscape Grounded in Natives (pp. 10-13)

Tropical Landscape Grounded in Natives Supplement




The brief for the landscape around the proposed pavilion house was for a native tropical garden with low water requirements, and to work with the architectural design to enhance the ambiance of this new home. In Far North Queensland the term ‘native’ is often ambiguous, especially when a client hails from a different climate. To determine the type of landscape it was essential to first assess the proposed site.

Situated on the magical Four Mile Beach close to the heart of Port Douglas the site is only 40 metres behind the tidal zone and protected by the Monsoon Vine Thicket Forest along this coastline. To the south, the site faced a golf course. The soil is sand, with little organic matter and the region having an eight-month dry season lends itself to the use of dryland tropical plants. If the site had contained heavy clay soils, it may have been too wet for some of these plants during the wet season.

From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Seventeen
Cairns Birdwing butterfly
Stepping stones lead you past a low pool wall with bamboo channelling water into the feature.
Do Japanese gardens make sense in Australia?
Brian Sams



The Japanese garden style has widespread appeal to the general gardening community and to landscape architects. The Japanese notion of a garden being a reflection of nature is a constant theme and one that has great resonance to most people involved in working with plants and working in gardens. Wild mountains, water courses, ponds, impossibly old trees and well tended plants together with tranquil areas for reflection and meditation have a strong international and intergenerational appeal.

Most Japanese gardens use plants very simply. Plants are selected and grown according to their cultural relevance. Plants are selected that will grow well in the local area. In other words hardy proven performers were used that were suited to both climate and soils.

Nearly all Japanese gardens use water to create a balance between soft and hard, to stimulate the senses of sight, sound and smell and above all else to reflect the changing scenery that is a garden throughout the day.

From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Seventeen
Moss temple - Zen garden.
The two-legged snow lantern in Kenrokeun, Kanasawa.
Philosopher's Walk - Kyoto.
Onwards and Upwards
Marian Hammond



The modern gardener is spoilt for choice these days. There are so
many plant species and cultivars available – sometimes dictated by the season.

However, it is easy to make the wrong choice and a moment of nostalgic passion can lead to a future crisis in the garden.
Climbing plants help gardeners create the desired effect – enhancing the planting without dominating the whole area and cohabitating nicely with surrounding plants and structures

The article features:

  • Chinese Evergreen Jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum)
  • Rangoon Creeper (Quisqualis indica)
  • Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)
  • Grapevine (Vitis vinifera)
  • The Climbing Frangipani (Chonemorpha fragrans)
  • Madagascar Jasmine (Stephanotis floribunda)
  • Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
  • Queen of Sheba (Podranea brycei)
  • Carolina Jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens)
  • Firecracker Vine (Manettia bicolor)
  • Snail Creeper (Vigna caracalla; syn. Phaseolus caracalla)
  • Native Wisteria (Callerya megasperma)
  • Sarsparilla Vine (Hardenbergia violacea)
  • Roaring Meg Creeper (Tecomanthe sp. ‘Roaring Meg’)
From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Seventeen
Bower of Beauty (Pandorea jasminoides).
Chinese Evergreen Jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum).
Tropical Cordylines - Cordyline fruticosa

By The International Cordyline Society Images by Kristy Clarke



Cordylines have become a must-have landscape plant in the tropics and
subtropics with their colourful foliage.

They are one of the most versatile of plants with species and cultivars that complement almost every gardens’ growing condition.
Cordyline fruticosa, known as Ti to the Polynesians, was carried by them during their migration throughout the entire Pacific region.

The Ti plant is still important to their everyday life – as a token of good fortune, in religious ceremonies, for medical purposes, food and clothing.

Cultivars of this species, also commonly known as ‘King of Foliage Plants’, have been selected and bred over many decades to produce almost every conceivable combination of colour and leaf size. The range of colours is absolutely stunning with shades of red, green, pink, orange, purple, yellow, black and cream – colour that lasts all year round.

The article also covers:

  • Cordyline Diversity
    • Three basic sizes to cordylines – miniatures, standard and tall
    • Three leaf types – Juno, Kahili and Intermediate
  • Culture
  • Watering
  • Fertiliser
  • Pests & Diseases
  • Propagating
  • Garden Soil
  • Light
  • General Care
  • Native Cordylines
    • Cordyline cannifolia
    • Cordyline congesta
    • Cordyline fruticosa
    • Cordyline manners-suttoniae
    • Cordyline murchisoniae
    • Cordyline petiolaris
    • Cordyline rubra
    • Cordyline stricta
  • Summary Calendar

From an 8 page Feature Article in Issue Seventeen

C. ‘John Klass’ needs semi shade.
C. ‘Kiwi’.
C. petiolaris  Image Paul Plant
A Midsummer Night's Garden
Noel Burdette

For the many passionate gardeners, there never seems to be enough
hours in the day to complete the tasks we set ourselves when given the opportunity. It’s not uncommon for us to become distracted when spending time in the garden. Our eyes catch sight of a colorful bloom or we pause to notice the luscious new growth on a plant that up until now has been stubborn to grow. We may stumble upon a batch of seedlings emerging where seeds were strewn several weeks beforehand and yet we cannot remember what species they might be.

It is not often that we consider the evening as a time to enjoy
our gardens. Yet we overlook the fact that in this large country of ours, being outdoors and entertaining friends and relatives is virtually a way of life while the weather permits.

The article features also:

  • Angel's Trumpet
  • Brugmansia x candida
  • Queen of the Night (Cestrum nocturnum)
  • Madagascar Jasmine (Stephanotis floribunda)
  • Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)
  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera cultivars)
  • Wax Flower (Hoya australis)
  • Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)
  • Night Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris)
  • Liquorice Plant (Helichrysum petiolare)
  • Wormwood (Artemisia species)
  • Lavenders (Lavandula species)
  • Persian Shield (Strobilanthes gossypina)
  • Dianella ensifolia ‘Border Silver’
  • Dianella ensifolia ‘Gold Streak’
  • Matchstick Cactus (Aechmea gamosepala ‘Lucky Strike’
    and ‘Mardi Gras’)
  • Neoregelia ‘Sheba’
  • Night flowering waterlilies (Nymphaea cultivars)

From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Seventeen

Dianella ensifolia ‘Border Silver’.
Madagascar Jasmine (Stephanotis floribunda).
Persian Shield (Strobilanthes gossypina).
Boundaries, Borders & Barriers…thorns, spikes and spines

Paul Plant



Defining the edge of your property may simply be a case of marking
your territory. However, for many people the boundary of a garden also acts as a barrier – to keep unwanted people and animals (such as cattle or rabbits on rural properties) out or to keep children and pets in. Edging plants along walkways can direct people where to go and restrict them from deviating from the path.

The article features the following:

  • Bougainvilleas (Bougainvillea cultivars)
  • Natal Plum (Carissa macrocarpa)
  • Native Finger Lime (Citrus australasica)
  • Kei Apple (Dovyalis caffra; syn. Aberia caffra)
  • Native Holly (Graptophyllum ilicifolium)
  • Barbed-wire Vine (Smilax australis)

From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Seventeen

Native Holly (Graptophyllum ilicifolium).
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