Students get down and dirty for end of year ritual
LAST Thursday I joined the graduating year 6 students of Frenchville State School in planting a garden with bird attracting plants.
The planting of trees or shrubs has become a yearly feature for the graduating students.
This year the students planted a clump of Callistemon Little Johns plus a number of Syzygiums and Pittosporums. All these plants will attract a variety of birds to this garden. Even though Callistemon Little John will only grow to 1m high it will be a magnet for Honeyeaters. Callistemon Little John is a dwarf hybrid of Callistemon viminalis. Masses of dark red flowers will appear during spring and autumn. Callistemon Little John will grow relatively slow at first but worth waiting for as this shrub matures.
During the time at the school I noticed numerous birds flocking other flowering shrubs within the school grounds. Like the Callistemon sp Injune.
This semi-weeping shrub with silvery-grey foliage had a profusion of pink flowers that fade to white. This bottlebrush will grow to around 3m high and will tolerate quite dry conditions. It responds to annual fertilising after flowering. Although the plant can be pruned, this can have the effect of destroying the weeping habit.
Callistemon viminalis can be found in gardens across the world yet this local native was proving a colourful display. Callistemon viminalis is a medium to tall shrub with narrow foliage and an extreme weeping habit.
Clusters of red flowers will appear from spring to autumn that are very bird-attractive. It will grow in most positions but thrives in black soils and is best pruned after flowering. Note Callistemons are now known as Melaleucas.
With stunning foliage and flowers Graptophyllum ilicifolium or Holly Fuchsia is a must.
This shade-loving shrub grows 2 to 3m and is also intolerant of frosts.
At the end of spring beautiful deep pink tubular flowers engross the entire shrub. The flowering season is short, but very showy.
A light prune after flowering will encourage a compact shape to the shrub as well as provide more flowers next year.
Grevilleas are always one on the best bird attracting plants for home gardens.
The school has over a dozen varieties of Grevilleas flower this week and all would be highly recommended for home gardens. Those varieties in flower included Grevillea Honey Gem one of the most bird-attractive shrubs that can be planted in local gardens. This outstanding shrub has large orange flowers that will attract many birds to your garden.
In a more exposed part of the grounds the Grevillea banksii or the Red Silky Oak was in flower.
This 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.
The creamy white flowering Grevillea Moonlight will flower throughout most of the year. Grevillea Moonlight is an upright bushy shrub for most, well-drained soils and growing up to 4m high in full sun.
Then there was the Grevillea Orange Marmalade, one of the hardest grevillea for local gardens. It produces terminal heads of orange flowers in spring and summer that contrast well with the plant attractive lime green leaves. It can be a useful plant for screening or providing a visual break and it will tolerate radical pruning.
In some of the dryer areas around the school Eremophila maculata or Spotted Emu Bush are planted. This probably one of the hardiest shrubs available from well-drained gardens. Whether you are gardening on Great Keppel Island or west of Longreach, this is one shrub that you will grow successfully.