CHECK IT OUT: The path leading to the canopy walk at Mount Archer.
CHECK IT OUT: The path leading to the canopy walk at Mount Archer. Neil Fisher

GARDENING: Time to visit Mt Archer and take in the scenery

DID you know that the road to Mount Archer, Pilbeam Dr and the Canopy Walks on the summit of Fraser Park are open to the public now?

So today, why not visit Mount Archer? You will notice quite a few changes and all are good. The most noticeable is the new concrete pathways from the carpark to those magnificent canopy elevated viewing platforms that have views to the west of the city of Rockhampton, views to the north towards The Caves and to the east of the Capricorn Coast.

All of this great infrastructure has been due to the wonderful support of the federal and state governments. And there is more to come with the federal government funding a new all abilities amenities block.

The tree foliage around Mt Archer's canopy walk.
The tree foliage around Mt Archer's canopy walk. Neil Fisher

The cool mountain air along the new concrete pathways will reveal more than great views. You will notice the excellent work being conducted by the Capricorn Catchment's team regeneration of some of the mountain's most unique plant species. This is not easy work as after decades of weed growth and even the build-up of predator native plant varieties the regeneration work involves developing a specialised plan that is paired with a new training program.

At the same time you will notice some beautiful flowering native plants. Blooming along Pilbeam Drive and on the summit of Mount Archer you will find banksia integrifolia.

Banksia integrifolia, or commonly called the mountain or coast banksia, is a small to medium sized tree that can grow up to 15m tall. When in full bloom it is hard not to notice the aroma of the nectar rich yellow flowers. The foliage of this plant can also provide a feature being dark green with a silvery white reverse.

Grevillea banskii.
Grevillea banskii. Neil Fisher

Then as you arrive at Fraser Park carpark the first flowers you will see is the red grevillea brushes of the grevillea banksii or the red silky oak. The plant could have been the Queensland floral emblem. In 1959 just before Queensland's centenary it was decided to conduct a poll for a floral emblem for the state and the grevillea banksia was pipped by the cooktown orchid. Grevillea banksii is a very hardy and quick growing shrub for sunny positions. This medium sized bushy shrub has silvery/grey divided leaves and spikes of bright red open brush-type flowers all year. It will attract numerous honeyeaters and is best to prune off spent flowers for better flowering in the next year. It should be noted this Grevillea in not naturally from Mount Archer.

As you follow the new pathway from the amphitheatre you will find one of the most delicate wattles with a graceful weeping habit.

The acacia fimbriata or fringed wattle is a medium to tall shrub that may grow as high as 5m.

This shrub will become covered in masses of yellow scented ball-like flowers during winter and spring.

The nature around the newly opened Mt Archer.
The nature around the newly opened Mt Archer. Neil Fisher

Then in amongst the small boulders beside the new concrete pathway is the hardenbergia violacea or native sarsaparilla. This is a vigorous climbing or scrambling vine for average to well drained situation. Masses of purple pea flowers will appear in spring making spectacular display. But last Thursday you could find some unseasonal flowering. Native sarsaparilla is deal for covering logs or embankments in home gardens. Native sarsaparilla leaves are high in vitamin C, and boiled can be drunk as a tonic for coughs and chest troubles.

At the start of the other pathway you will find the lemony brushes of the callistemon salignus or willow bottlebrush. It is a medium to tall dense shrub 3-5m x 2m high with bright green leaves and pink new tips.

It requires a sunny moist position and bears clusters of lemon bottlebrushes, which cover the plant in spring. It also attracts honeyeaters and other birds to the garden.

I am sure that everyone who visits Mount Archer this weekend will enjoy the experience. I am very proud of what has been achieved so far at Mount Archer just like the rest of my council colleagues. I hope you will enjoy your visit.

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