GARDENING: Beefy floral colours put on a show
One of the largest industry events in regional Australia is underway with Beef Australia 2021.
Three years ago at Beef Australia 2018, we had more than 100,000 visitors over seven days including about 1200 registered international delegates from 43 countries across northern and southern Asia, North and South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and the Pacific region.
With so many people travelling to Rockhampton for the event, many of the region’s tourist attractions will add to the great impressions the Rockhampton region will imprint in the minds of our visitors.
It is more than just our tourist attractions that will leave lasting impressions of the visit to the Rockhampton region.
Even our trees, shrubs and ground covers are doing their bit to showcase the region’s beauty.
Just look at the sea of gold along George Street and Gladstone Road, Yaamba Road or Norman Road that greets all our road visitors.
The plant making many of the medians in our major roadways a picture is the ground cover Gazania.
This plant is a member of the family of Composite Daisies.
The Gazanias are easily grown in hot full sun positions and flowers in a large range of brilliant colours and bi-colours.
But it is the vivid golden yellow flowering varieties that have been a stand out this year.
While the Gazanias form such a fabulous floral feature there are many other plants that maybe lesser known but still providing a great display.
Driving from Rockhampton Airport in Hunter Street you will notice the decorative apricot-pink trumpet flowers of the Allamanda Jamaican Sunset.
It is an attractive and vigorous evergreen scrambling shrub growing to about 1-2m tall.
Jamaican Sunset grows best in warm sunny sites, however, it will tolerate partial shade.
It will withstand very light frosts and wind and makes an ideal tub specimen.
Just near Stockland are some great specimens of Bauhinia blakeana or Butterfly Tree.
With masses of beautiful purplish red orchid like flowers from February to November, they look great at the moment.
The Bauhinia beautiful flowers and likeness to orchids and the foliage’s likeness to butterflies gave the trees common name.
Bauhinia blakeana is a dry season deciduous small tree growing up to nine metres in height.
It grows well as a street tree and in medium to larger gardens where it makes a strong feature.
Driving along Lower Dawson Road you will notice a shrub with masses of orange pompom flowers.
The shrub is Combretum constrictum or New Guinea Bottlebrush a broad-leafed shrub that grows to about two metres high.
The common name of this plant confuses many gardeners, as it is not from New Guinea but actually a native of Africa.
This spectacular Autumn flowering shrub will attract all nectar feeding birds.
Looking great in the car park at Rockhampton Airport is the Heliconia Golden Torch.
This is a very hardy and vigorous growing tropical ornamental plant.
The golden coloured bracts and wide leaves makes the Golden Torch a great filler and splash of colour in tropical gardens.
Flowers appear for much of the year and are perfect for cut flowers or landscaping.
Golden Torch should grow up to 1.5m in either part shade to full sun position with well drained soils.
Flowering in Col Brown in Victoria Parade is a spectacular flowering Crepe Myrtle.
Lagerstroemia archeriana or Queensland Crepe Myrtle is an attractive small deciduous tree that is native to Northern Australia.
During the warmer months of the year showy clusters of lilac mauve flowers appear in clusters.
After flowering the seed pods that produced attract birds like cockatoos to the garden.
Growing in Frank Forde Park is the Malvaviscus arboreus or Turks Cap.
A weeping red flowering shrub that is great under trees where you want some colour but will also take hot afternoon sun.
This shrub looks much like a hibiscus which flowers are ready to open.
In fact, the flowers never open much, hence the common name of ‘Sleepy Hibiscus’.
The Turk’s Cap is drought resistant and adaptable to clay, sand, sun, or shade and may take some frost.
Giving a mass display in the medians in front of the Rockhampton Showgrounds is one of the prettiest flowering Melaleucas.
The Melaleuca Pink Lace is a small growing shrub 1m x 1.5m with small, oval, bluish leaves.
Soft, pink, lacey flowers appear along the stems throughout the year.
These hardy Melaleucas require a sunny but average position.
There is also a white and purple flowering forms called White Lace and thymifolia.
In William Street there is a shrub with pretty cherry-red flowers that will add a delightful aroma to the garden in the evenings.
This small shrub is Rondeletia Caprice and has been used for a number of years in southeast Queensland but rarely in Central Queensland.
Rondeletia Caprice will grow to around 1m x 1m in size and flower in full sun and part shade and require regular pruning to provide the best flowering appearance.
Planted around the fence line of the Rockhampton Showgrounds is the Xanthostemon chrysanthus or Golden Penda.
It is best described as a small pyramid shaped tree, with bright yellow, almost pom-pom-like flowers.
The plant is actually a relative of the bottlebrushes and melaleucas, which grow so successfully in local gardens.
Widely used as a footpath and street tree throughout Queensland, it has become one of the most popular trees available.
For those people who find that the most rewarding part of creating a garden is the birds that it attracts, Xanthostemons will be a magnet for honey-eating birds, attracting to the nectar-laden flowers.