“Young Australians need to be educated about what a Bunya tree looks like, what the sound of snapping cones and breaking branches sound like, and to avoid lingering underneath them in high summer. When I was at primary school, we had a Bunya in the schoolyard. We knew what to do, how to harvest them, and no one was ever hurt.”
Rarity Is Commoner Than You Think
I own a critically endangered plant. It comes from Madagascar, an island degraded by human activity and peppered with endangered species. When I discovered the news that my Gerold’s Thornless Crown of Thorns was on the brink of extinction, I had a flashback to planning the Rare & Endangered Plants Garden for the Royal Botanic…
Hippeastrum: Somewhere Over The Rainbow
If ever there was a plant perfectly suited to the sets of the Wizard of Oz, it’s Hippeastrum. These flamboyant flowers are dead easy to grow and Australia is fortunate to have the likes of Mick Maguire, a dedicated hybridist and grower.
Father’s Day 2014: Concerning Seaweed And Quadratic Equations
This is a fictional letter. My father, John, who had been living for some years with Alzheimer’s, died shortly after I emigrated to Australia. My sister and I looked after Dad at home for several years until he required full time professional care. During the period when his mind was failing, remembering our family and things…
Hedge on the Edge: Is This The Ultimate Hibiscus?
I have been instructed by Denise Horchner of the Perennial Poppies Garden Club to write about my Phillip Island Hibiscus, Hibiscus insularis. This Australian species could be described as the ultimate hibiscus. As far as I’m aware, I’m the only person who uses this critically endangered wildflower as a flowering hedge. Planted to welcome visitors and to shelter my front garden from desiccating wind, birds and people love its blooms. I make jam and a soothing tea from a species that has become my signature plant.
Want A Rainforest Garden? Then Plant Dry, Not Wet…
Once established, dry rainforest species survive longer, hotter, drier spells and erratic rainfall better than wet rainforest.
Succulents: Chlorophyll With Character
My first flower memory is of a cactus. I was about three years old and peering up into a huge, red Epiphyllum flower. It sprouted from an old, much-loved plant belonging to my Grandmother. My sister still grows a cutting from the plant Nan acquired during the Great Depression (around 1929). It’s been in my…
Pride of Bolivia/ Shame of Queensland (Or How Civic Weed Trees Cost Ratepayers Twice)
Question: “Dear Jerry, This seed blew into my garden on this week’s westerlies. Any clues would be gratefully received. I have no intention of eating or planting it till I know more about it. Hope you’re enjoying the chill as we are here in Ipswich. Cheers” Pat P. Answer Hi Pat, Thanks for the photo…
In Flower This Mid-winter’s Day At Bellis, Brisbane
For Brisbane to skip one winter is forgivable, but to skip two winters in a row seems somewhat careless. May was the hottest month on Earth since records began. June 2014 is the 352nd consecutive month of above average global temperatures.
Cathedral Fig Walk with Redcliffe Tree Society
Today I joined the recently formed Redcliffe Tree Society beside Moreton Bay. We met at Prince Edward Parade to admire the ‘Cathedral Fig Walk’ of native fig trees (Ficus benjamina) planted over half a century ago by (now former) Redcliffe council.
Right Plant, Right Place: Wynnum Branch of Queensland Transport
I love seeing well grown plants used to maximum effect. Outside the Wynnum office of the Queensland Transport grows Callistemon ‘Little John’, a native bottlebrush. It’s growing as a boundary hedge, and it’s the only living feature on the property.
Plant Heartsease For World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
If subtropical gardeners sow seed of ‘Johnny Jump Up’ this week, they will be flowering just in time for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15th June 2014.