GARDENING: Flowering Eucalypts for western gardens
This weekend I thought I would highlight some very interesting plant varieties that will make coastal gardeners envious.
Have you ever taken the time to walk around the streets of you own town or suburb?
Some of the most interesting trees and shrubs can be seen growing within walking distance on our homes.
It does not matter if you live in Biloela, Rockhampton or Winton all our towns have some spectacular street plantings.
I spent Friday night in the town of Roma in the Maranoa Region.
So Saturday morning I decided to go for for a very long walk through the town.
Roma has one of the most colourful native plant streetscapes, including a large selection of small Eucalypts.
The streetscape of many towns in western Queensland can be defined by the trees planted in those towns.
Some streetscapes have these trees grouped to enhance the foliage colour of the different trees and this alone can be striking.
In Central Queensland many of these small Eucalypts will grow quite successfully even with the wide variety of soil types found throughout the western districts.
Most of the small Eucalypts will handle our region’s dry times, summer heat and the chilly winter winds and this provide fantastic seasonal displays.
Of all the varieties available, the following would be my most recommended suggestions:
Eucalyptus erythrocorys or the Red Capped Mallee, this spectacular Western Australian native adapts very well to the western districts, growing to a small ornamental tree.
Its outstanding feature is blood-red flower buds, followed by spectacular yellow flowers, usually starting at this time of the year, to the start of winter.
However, in mild winter years, it has been known to flower right through to spring.
This particular gum has a wide range of tolerances, including drought, lime and salt soils, and is only frost-tender when young.
Most interesting, a Los Angeles nursery catalogue lists it as being “smog tolerant” - something that won’t concern Central Queenslanders.
Eucalyptus forestiana or Fuchsia Gum is a highly decorative small tree with smooth, brown bark with unique flowers that resemble the exotic hanging Fuchsias.
During the warmer months of the year it produces a profusion of pendulous red buds and yellow flowers, and the display is quite spectacular.
This attractive small bushy tree is suitable for western home gardens, landscape plantings and windbreaks.
Eucalyptus forestiana can grow up to 5m high and as much as 4m across and will tolerate drought and light frosts.
Eucalyptus leucoxylon Rosea or Yellow Gum is a medium-sized tree that is perfect for parks, gardens and street plantings in Western Queensland.
It is a wonderful tree with flowers that are usually seen in autumn and winter and may be pink, red, white or cream that attracts birds to the garden.
This tree has cream to grey coloured bark that sheds in flakes with narrow shaped green leaves.
Eucalyptus miniata of the Darwin Woolybutt is an attractive, medium to tall tree is a native of northern Australia, from Croydon in Queensland through the Northern Territory to the Kimberlies.
Due to its natural habitat, this tree does require a well-drained position, and it is also a wise suggestion to take care if you have severe frost.
Otherwise, this gum makes an outstanding feature for dry conditions.
You can always expect a profusion of orange-red clusters of flowers from Easter through to the end of winter.
Eucalyptus setosa or Rough Leafed Bloodwood is a small growing gum with showy large green foliage.
When it flowers, it makes a spectacular display, with each flower being 40-50mm or 2 inches in diameter and colours ranging from red, pink, salmon, apricot and white.
These flowers will appear during the whole summer period of the year, usually finishing after the first cold weeks of winter.
In one shopping centre car park, I saw at least eight different flower shades, all still heavily in bloom.
The tree itself has an upright, semi-weeping habit, growing to around 4-5m in height and 3m across.
Eucalyptus sideroxylon rosea or Pink Flowering Ironbark is a stately large tree with striking deep furrowed jet black bark that contrasts with its greyish green foliage.
Flowers appear from late autumn to spring and range in colour with pink to red or cream.
It is frost hardy requires full sun and will cope with dry conditions.
Eucallyptus torquata or Coral Gum is one of my favourite of all ornamental small eucalypts, with its attractive display of colourful flower buds, and dark pink flowers.
However, pale pink and white flowering varieties have been seen.
It makes a successful ornamental street tree planting, with the drive through the country town of Injune being proof of this.
Any area that has low rainfall, reasonable drainage, or even a little salt could still grow this eucalypt successful, though it is still frost tender when young.
Eucalyptus torwood is a natural hybrid of Eucalyptus torquata, crossed with Eucalyptus woodwardii.
This small, evergreen tree will provide the gardener with a wide range of flower colour is a bit like a lucky dip!
For example, if you were to plant three trees, it would not be uncommon to end up with a yellow, a pink, and an orange flowering tree, or even ranges of shades between three colours. The tree can sometimes have a slightly willowish appearance from a distance, making it quite suitable as an ornamental specimen.
It is frost, drought, lime and salt resistant.
Eucalyptus woodwardii or Lemon Flowered Gum is a showy, small tree or Mallee and a pendulous habit with blue-grey leaves.
Spectacular large yellow flowers occur between July and November that will birds to the garden.
In Central Queensland Eucalyptus woodwardii will survive in very dry conditions and is also frost tolerant.
Then last week local Nurseryman Chris Handford showed my pictures of a very attractive silver leaved Eucalypt he photographed in Mount Isa.
The tree is the Silver Leaf Box or Eucalyptus pruinosa. This showy small Eucalypt is also growing in Roma.
Eucalyptus pruinosa or Silver Leaf Box is a very attractive small tree with large silvery blue leaves and blue-white buds.
Clusters of creamy white to pale yellow flowers occur from March to October.
Eucalyptus pruinosa has showy but rough, fibrous to flaky tan bark on the trunk and branches. This tree is very useful for fire wood and was almost wiped out in many early northern Australian communities last century.
All of these Eucalypts will be hard to grow in most of the Rockhampton Region they are still worth a try.