GARDENING: African daisies make eye-catching addition
It is always good to get out of town for a while to see different ways that gardeners have established gardens and created colour effects in the garden, and particularly to see plants commonly grown around our area out of their own habitat, so to speak.
This can be the ideal opportunity to see how plant varieties survive in conditions that differ from what we experience around Rockhampton.
I find that plants have obviously not read the horticultural books on how they are supposed to behave in certain conditions, this last month I have travelled to Tambo to judge the communities garden competition.
The unique natural climate of Tambo has allowed Tambo gardeners to develop a gardening style that is a blend of the tradition flower gardens to a more western country garden style that is common in most West Queensland towns.
But it was interesting to see the way that a number of gardeners have used Arctotis or African Daisies in garden displays. For some reason gardeners have not warmed to the beauty of the Arctotis in the Rockhampton region like to the areas to the west and south of Rockhampton. In fact last week I was on admiring a collection of Arctotis in Mount Morgan.
There are many spectacular flowering Arctotis hybrids that are ideal as ground covers, boarders or even as a colourful cover for sloping gardens or embankments.
Being hardy, sun-loving plants, they can handle just about any type of environment, though being well mulched may be required in certain well-drained soils. Commonly known as African Daisies, they are not to be confused with Osteosperma that was formerly known as Dimeothecas.
The dense silver foliage and colourful blooms of the Arctotis make an eye-catching feature in any garden.
The range of flower colours includes variations of red, white, yellow, pink, orange and mauve, with contrasting centres. It should be noted that on cloudy days, or even as the afternoon shadows fall upon the plant, the flowers will close up, and sometimes they will tend to flower on the sunnier side of the garden first. Many of our country gardeners could even select this plant as a western-side feature in their gardens without fear that it will collapse after the first hot dry winds of summer.
So this weekend, while browsing at your local nursery or garden centre, look out for the green and silver foliage forms available of the African daisy.
SHADES OF BLUE
One question is have been regularly asked over the years is about the beautiful flowering tree growing on the corner of Thozet Road and Kerrigan Street, or near the Yeppoon Showgrounds.
It is of course the Tree Wisteria, or Bolusanthus speciosus. When in flower, I believe this tree rivals the Jacaranda for beauty, but its flowering time is only short-lived.
One of the types of trees most needed these days are the small, compact shade trees that have the ability to be grown in small yards or along our roadways. You will find that the Tree Wisteria fits this description very well.
One of the largest specimens that I have seen would be no more than 12m high, and you would usually expect this tree to be smaller than this height. The flowers are unique, as they are pea-shaped and range from a pale blue through to violet in colour and flower in long drooping clusters like bunches of grapes.
It has the ability to be grown in a variety of conditions, and has proven to be quite drought-resistant over the last few years.
Even when it is not in flower, its glossy foliage and slight weeping habit can create an attractive feature. For those gardeners looking to design a new landscape utilising plants that have water-wise qualities, this tree is one of best.