Rambling colour: Sights for visitors to remember
Saturday columnist Neil Fisher is from Fisher's Nursery, North Rockhampton. You can chat with Neil on radio 4RO's Garden Show at 6.30am on Saturdays.
THE Bougainvillea would have to be one the most spectacular flowering plant at the moment. At a recent function a Rockhampton business leader commented on how the use of the rambling Bougainvillea in Rockhampton medians creates such a positive image to visitors to the city.
Traveling from Rockhampton Airport along North St easily highlights the kaleidoscope of colours that Bougainvillea's produce.
And just think of the colour displays the new section of North St will have this time next year.
The Bougainvillea would have to be one the most spectacular flowering plants at the moment. Whether grown as a creeper, a screen plant or as hedge, the Bougainvillea will always be a standout performer.
There are literally hundreds of varieties of Bougainvilleas available to home gardeners throughout Central Queensland.
I would recommend growing the dwarf Bambino Bougainvillea varieties. As these hybrid Bougainvilleas provide prolific flowering, miniature-growing shrubs with virtually no thorns, a task that seems quite impossible.
These Bambino Bougainvillea hybrids will grow to around 1.5m high if left untrimmed.
The colourful displays produced by Bougainvillea's are not by the flowers, but by the bracts that surround the flowers, which are small or non-existent in most flowers. These colourful bracts, developed over thousands of years, attract bees and butterflies to the tiny flowers, after which pollination results.
Bougainvilleas are virtually pest and disease free with only severe frosts impacting on the growth of the plant.
The bougainvillea root system is extremely fragile. The plant doesn't like to be moved. Take extra caution when removing the plant from the pot before placing it in the ground.
It is not just Rockhampton that has created floral features along the streets. Many times it is these plantings that are what was remembered by visiting tourists.
In the little Darling Downs town of Jandowae there are floral features along the fences in the main street. The use of Jasminum polyanthum in the small township has formed one of the most spectacular displays I have seen. Jasminum polyanthum or Pink Jasmine is a very vigorous, beautiful evergreen climber. Clusters of pink buds open to sweetly scented white star-shaped flowers produced en mass during spring.
I always remember the colour of the Plumbagos in the little western community of Bogantungan.
This is a plant that truly suits the season, the Plumbago has been used for flowering hedges in many western communities for years. Plumbago auriculata is a hardy, drought resistant evergreen shrub to 1.2m and bears masses of sky blue or white flowers throughout the year.
Regular heavy pruning of the Plumbagos in late winter encourages flowering and maintains a dense growth. It is ideal for informal hedges or planting on slopes and requires a well-drained sunny position.
In Mackay yesterday it was hard not to notice another spectacular flowering rambling shrub featured in the town.
That plant is the Allamanda which belongs to the family Apocynaceae and consists of a large group of evergreen shrubs and succulent climbers from America.
The Allamanda makes a very colourful feature during this time of the year.
Allamandas tolerate most soil types, though they should be well drained. They are evergreen, tolerating light frost in winter and requiring a little extra water in the hot summer months. It is best to prune heavily in spring to shape the vine and encourage flowers. All parts of the plant are toxic, and the milky sap can irritate the skin.
All Allamandas are very colourful including the showy, yellow-flowering climbers of Allamanda schotti.
Hybrid varieties like Cherry Ripe, a rich pink to red flowering hybrid, and Jamaican Sunset, a unique cros between mauve, yellow and pink, will stand out for miles. There is also the double yellow flowering Allamanda williamsonii that when in flower paints a very pretty picture.