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The Queensland Gardening Pages
Information & resources about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld
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WELCOME to Queensland's gateway to gardening - a collection of news, information, resources and ideas of interest to gardeners, especially residents of Queensland, Australia

News for Gardeners

News about plants and gardens in Queensland, plus other interesting horticultural news from around the world.

Veggies in urban soils - how dangerous?

A study measuring uptake of various pollutants suggests the risk of growing vegetables in contaminated urban soils may not be as high as previously thought. Root crops remain a slight concern but were considered a minor risk at normal levels of consumption. Good horticultural practices and thorough washing of produce is also helpful in reducing risk. Read more: Gardening in a polluted paradise (May 13, 2015)

Posh trees

A study has looked at the the number of trees and income levels in seven U.S. cities. The findings? "Simply put, wealthier neighborhoods, regardless of their ethnic makeup, are more likely to have more and denser trees." Source: Boise State Economist Gets to the Root of Urban Tree Cover (April 2015)

Origins of the bisexual papaw

Analysis of papaya (papaw) chromosomes, in particular the male chromosome and the altered form of the male chromosome which gives rise to hermaphrodite (bisexual) plants, has indicated that hermaphrodites arose about 4000 years ago. Papaya has been cultivated for more than 6000 years, and no hermaphrodites have been found in wild populations (Central America). It seems that this trait was selected during domestication of the crop, possibly by the Maya people. Source: Cultivated papaya owes a lot to the ancient Maya, research suggests. (March 2015)

Sweet potato leaves nutritious, too

Tissue analysis reveals the vitamin B6 content of sweetpotato leaves is comparable with other produce such as broccoli, carrots, avocados and bananas as well as being a valuable source of other vitamins. Source: Sweet potato leaves a good source of vitamins (January, 2015)

Into Horticulture Issue 17 online now

This online newsletter is aimed at the expert amateur gardener plus professionals in the nursery and garden industry, especially in Queensland. View the latest online edition here: Into Horticulture - Issue 17. To find out how to subscribe to the email edition (it's free!) or view archived online editions, go to Newsletters.

Origins of the peach

In spite of their popularity worldwide, or perhaps because of it, nobody has ever been sure where the crop was first domesticated. Radiocarbon dating of ancient peach stones found in the Lower Yangtze River Valley in Southern China indicates that selection for larger fruit size was going on there at least 7500 years ago. Its likely that people selected for other characteristics such as flavour and productivity, too. As peaches have a relatively short time to fruiting from seed this would have been quite feasible, but early orchardists would have probably also developed methods of vegetative preproduction (like grafting) to multiply the improved forms. The researchers think it took about 3000 years of breeding for the peach to be developed into the fruit that we recognise. Source: It's the Pits: Ancient peach stones offer clues to fruit's origins September 2014

UQ investigates office greenery

A collaboration between the University of Queensland and several international universities has studied the effects of plants in offices. The results suggest that increases in worker happiness and productivity will make the investment in office greenery worthwhile. Source: Leafy-green better than lean (September 2014)

For healthier people, plant trees

A US study has estimated that trees save the lives of more than 850 Americans and prevent some 670,000 acute respiratory incidences per year by removing air pollution. These positive health effects were valued at nearly $7 billion annually. Source: First national study finds trees saving lives, reducing respiratory problems: Air pollution modeling reveals broad-scale impacts of pollution removal by trees (July 2014)

Torres Strait Islands heritage on display in new Mackay garden

The newly-opened Torres Strait Islands Garden has been developed within the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens to acknowledge the culture and history this community in the region. Design o the precint reflects the islands' geopraphy and the community's culture and lifestyle, including a meeting place where traditional cooking and feasting can tale place. Source: Garden pays homage to Torres Strait heritage (July 2014)

Sound as pest control

Test plants exposed to recordings of feeding vibrations later showed greater production of mustard oils when fed on by actual caterpillars. Other types of vibrations did not increase these chemical defences. Besides revealing new ways that plants interact with their environment, the research points to ways that natural defences might be stimulated by growers. Source: Plants Respond to Leaf Vibrations Caused by Insects' Chewing, MU Study Finds (July 2014)

Axinaea stamens an unusual bird treat

An unusual form of bird pollination has been described in the genus Axinaea from Central and South America. Instead of the more usual nectar, the stamens carry bulbous appendages which provide birds with a food reward. However, the structures incorporate a "bellows" action which eject pollen on to the bird in the process. Most of Axinaea's relatives in the family Melastomataceae are pollinated by bees. The researchers speculate that the strategy adopted by Axinaea may be an adaptation to growth at high altitudes , where bird pollination may be more efficient. Source: Flower's bellows organ blasts pollen at bird pollinators (July 2014)

2014 Garden Competitions
More links will be added to this list as information comes to hand. If you're organising a comp and it doesn't appear here, get in touch. Public tours of competition gardens can also be submitted for inclusion in the Queensland Gardening Events Diary.
Betascapes Spring Garden Spectacular, Rockhampton Regional & Livingstone Shire Councils Entries close 5 September. More: 2014 Betascapes Spring Garden Spectacular
Seniors Week Garden Competition, Cairns Entries close 7 August. More: Garden comp open to senior green thumbs
Cassowary Coast Regional Council Garden Competition Entries close 1 August. More: Green Thumbs! Get Your Garden Competition Entry Forms In Now!
Some roses tested for salt tolerance

18 popular rose cultivars promoted by Texas A&M University under the Earth-Kind® brand for their pest tolerance and landscape performance have also been tested for salt tolerance. The cultivars varied, with 'Sea Foam' being one of the best and 'Cecile Brunner' one of the worst. Source: Earth-Kind roses analyzed for salt tolerance. (June 2014)

Acacia seeds tough it out

Two wattles planted at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney represent the durability and future potential of the genus for deployment in extreme conditions. One (Acacia pycnantha), was grown from seed that survived the microgravity and ionising radiation of 2800 Earth orbits in space, the other (Acacia obtusata) was grown from seed stored since 1899. Source: Wattles - to infinity and beyond (June 2014)

New hope for late blight resistance

The centre of origin of potato late blight, Phytophthora infestans has been genetically tracked to a valley in central Mexico. The cause of the devastating Irish Potato Famine and a serious and costly crop disease worldwide today co-evolved with relatives of the potato in this valley, from where it spread repeatedly. The discovery presents tremendous opportunities for finding resistance genes. Source: Tracking potato famine pathogen to its home may aid $6 billion global fight (June 2014)

Ornithophily at least 47 million years old

The oldest known example of ornithophily (the pollination of flowers by birds) has been recently described. Even though structural features of bird fossils had previously suggested a such relationship, pollen found in the stomach contents of a bird from the Messel Pit (Germany) has confirmed that it goes back at least 47 million years. So far, there are no plant fossils of this age suggesting ornithophily, but typical indicators like red flowers of lack of scent are not preserved by fossilisation. Source: Age-old: Relationship between Birds and Flowers- The world's oldest fossil of a nectarivorous bird has been described (May 2014)

Antioxidant roses
Rosa canina
Rosa canina. Photo by Valentina Schmitzer

A Slovenian study in which several rose species and modern cultivars were compared, showed differences in levels of phenolic compounds, Among those tested, Rosa canina leaves exhibited high and varied content of the antioxidants. This could be an underlying reason for the popularity of this species in traditional medicine. On the other hand, the modern cultivar 'Schwanensee' had the lowest levels of those tested, which might explain its susceptibility to disease. Differences in phenolic makeup of indigenous rose species and modern cultivars (May 2014)

Help preserve Picnic Point history

Toowoomba Regional Council are researching the century-old Picnic Point Parklands are are appealing to the public for photographs (copies), stories or information so that its history can be preserved for future generations. The insights gained will also guide preservation and management of the park into the future. The area under consideration includes Picnic Point Lookout, Lions Park, the waterfall, the flagpole island, Tobruk Memorial Drive, Heller Street Park and the Tourist Road memorial avenue. More information at the Council's website: Share your memories of Picnic Point (May 2014)

Please mow the footpath, asks Bundy council

Bundaberg Regional Council is urging residents to mow the own footpaths outside their own homes to keep Council maintenance costs down and improve the look of the region. Source: Footpath maintenace slashes Council costs (May 2014)

New nickel collector

A new plant species has been discovered in the Philipines that can accumulate nickel in its tissues at levels up to 1000 times higher than other plants, without being poisoned. Only about 450 species worldwide have exhibited nickel hyperaccumulation, a property which could be used for phytoremediation of contaminated soils, or even phytomining. Source: New species of metal-eating plant discovered in the Philippines (May 2014)

Temperature effects on plants can be complicated

In cold climates, warm temperatures might be assumed to increase growth. However, a study on two shrub species on an island south of New Zealand showed that episodes of activating warmth during winter are actually detrimental. Elevated respiration, especially by the roots, depletes plant reserves. If this were to occur repeatedly over many years, it could affect on the survival of these species. This indicates one of the unexpected consequences that a warming climate could have on plant life. Shrub growth decreases as winter temps warm up (May 2014)

New Timber Trees Arboretum for Mackay Gardens

A new planting of 75 trees along Lagoon Street of the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens will form the Timber Trees Arboretum. Besides provifing an attractive and shady entrance to the gardens, the Timber trees will be educational. Most of the new trees are native to the Mackay and Whitsunday regions and have are significant to the past or future of the timber industry. Some trees will be removed to make way for the installation, but most of these are considered weed species. Source: Gardens plant the seed for education (April 2014)


Exposed complex mixture of plant aromas in a greenhouse of tomato plants, confused whitefly had trouble feeding in a UK study. The effect was temporary (no more than 15 hours), but could point to ways to delay attack until plant defenses can be activated. Source: Whitefly confused by cacophony of smells (April 2014)

Plants in glass houuses

Glass formed naturally in the extreme heat of a comet or asteroid impact in what is now Argentina has been found to contain plant matter. This has preserved detail down to the micron level, Scientists think that looking at impact glass on Mars could pould potentially reveal signs of former life if it existed there. Source: Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years (April 2014)

Good gardens reduce crime

A study in Philadelphia has correlated well-maintained vegetation with lower rates of certain crimes such as aggravated assault and and burglary. This could be partly due to the calming effect of greenery on behaviour, and partly due to the strengthened sense of community leading to greater vigilance by residents. Furthermore, the message that people care about their community - and are watching - is communicated with well- maintained gardens and public spaces. Source: Study examines deterrent effect of urban greening on crime (April 2014)

Lignin biotechnology may revolutionise paper production

North American scientists have engineered poplar trees with modified lignin that makes processing for paper and biofuel easier and more environmentally friendly. Importantly, the strength of the trees was not adversely affected. Attempts to reduce the lignin content of trees by gene suppression have resulted in stunted or weakened trees in the past. Poplars are a useful species for growing on land not suitable for food crops. Sources: Poplars "Designed for Deconstruction" A Major Boon to Biofuels and Researchers design trees that make it easier to produce pulp (April 2014)

Trees green anti-depressants

A survey of Wisconsin residents has shown that, independent of social factors like age and income, those who lived in a neighborhood with less than 10 percent tree canopy were more likely to feel depression, stress and anxiety. The findings suggest a simple way to improve mental health in urban communities. Source: Wisconsin Research Shows Green Space Keeps You From Feeling Blue (April 2014)

Sugar dominant in branching mechanism

A new study in which scientists from University of Queensland were involved has challenged the long-accepted theory that auxin is the key regulator of apical dominance. Instead, demand for sugars appear to be primarily responsible. Tracking the movement of sugars with the radioactive C11 isotope (applied as carbon dioxide which was converted into sugars via photosynthesis), it was found that decapitation of the plant produced a rapid increase of sugar delivery to previously dormant buds. The sugars move about 100 times faster than auxin. which the researchers now believe plays a secondary role. The demand for sugar by growing apical shoots, limiting availability, may be what suppresses growth of lower buds. Source: Tracking Sugar Movement in Plants (April 2014)

New plant protection rules in Qld

Following a review of the management of protected plants, the Queensland Government has introduced a simplified "risk-based approach" it says will reduce compliance costs and create new opportunities for harvesting and trade in native plants. Meanwhile, the state's most threatened species will still be protected via "tangible conservation outcomes". Anyone seeking more information should check the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection website. Source: Protecting native plants in a growing Queensland (April 2014)

Plan for koalas

University of Queensland researchers have studied how tree cover and roads affected koala gene flow patterns across eight local government areas in SE Queensland. They found that "genetic connectivity" dropped rapidly once forest cover fell below 30 per cent. The presence of highways also had a dramatic effect. The findings indicate that forest cover and incorporation of habitat underpasses and bridges can help urban planners accommodate the needs of koalas. Source: Better urban planning can save koalas (March 2014)

Plants too, fight in the mating season

Examination of an Oxypetalum species (Apocynaceae) from South America has revealed horn-like structures on the pollinia (pollen sacs) with which appear to have no other function except to prevent the hooks which the pollinia attach themselves to pollinators becoming entangled with rival pollinia. Researchers think this is the first example in the plant kingdom of males physically fighting over a mate in a way comparable to many animals. Source: First evidence of plants evolving weaponry to compete in the struggle for selection (March 2014)

Ipswich tough on mossie breeders

A local business owner has been taken to court by Ipswich City Council for failure to comply with directions to clean up mosquito breeding sites. Source: $550 fine is a warning to others (March 2014)

Urban gardeners lack information on soil contamination

One of the potential drawbacks of edible gardening in urban areas is the possibility the soil may have be contaminated from prior industrial uses or fallout from heavy traffic. A study conducted in Baltimore (USA), in which community gardeners were surveyed about their knowledge of these issues, has shown insufficient knowledge and expertise in assessing the risks of a site and how to minimise exposure to contamination that may be present. Source: Urban gardeners may be unaware of how best to manage contaminants in soil (March 2014)

New floral emblem for Bundaberg

The Golden Penda has been selected as the Bundaberg region's floral emblem. Besides the attractiveness of the flowers and foliage, its ease of cultivation in the region's conditions and the suitability of the tree for both private and public spaces was taken into consideration when making the decision. Golden Penda blossoms as Region's Floral Emblem (March 2014)

Study reveals unwelcome side effect of biochar

While stimulating marked increases in plant growth associated with brassinosteroids and auxin gene activation, a biochar study also showed that plant defence genes were suppressed by the soil supplement. This could have serious implications for the suitability of biochar for crop enhancement and carbon sequestration. Source: New study finds biochar stimulates more plant growth but less plant defence (March 2014)

Nitrogen and flowering in Phalaenopsis
The moth orchid cultivar used in the study at a nursery in Taiwan
The moth orchid cultivar used in the study at a nursery in Taiwan. Photo by Yao-Chien Alex Chang

A study on the use of nitrogen by Phalaenopsis (moth orchid) shows that adequate nitrogen fertilisation is required at all stages of growth for good flowering. The uptake and use of the nutrient throughout the growth cycle was followed by using the N15 isotope. It was found that a substantial amount of nitrogen taken up by the inflorescence was derived from fertiliser applied during flower development, but that some of the nitrogen applied in earlier vegetative growth stages also ended up in the flower spike. Source: Nitrogen source determined significant for inflorescence development in Phalaenopsis (March 2014)

Kitchens to compost at JCU

A composting scheme is being introduced at two James Cook University campuses to deal with food waste. The Bio-Regen units grind the material, add water and microbes. Digestion converts the material into a form suitable for use as a fertiliser, which the University plans to sell the public. Source: Food scraps to fertiliser at JCU (March 2014)

With the rain, mosquitoes

As the number of dengue cases rises, Cairns Regional Council warms residents that failing to empty water containers can earn property owners a fine. Water pooling in a tarp resulted in one of the recent Public Health Orders issued, so be sure to check everywhere. Read more at the Council's website: Hefty fines for allowing mosquitoes to breed (February 2014)

Tree plans for Garnet Lehmann Park

Designers of the detention basin (a flood mitigation measure) in Toowoomba's Garnet Lehmann Park will strive to remove the minimum number of trees necessary, and replant at least two trees nearby for every one removed. Toowoomba Regional Council streaa that the park will still be available for recreational activities. Source: Council working with community on Garnet Lehmann Park (February 2014)

New coconut policy for Cairns

Cairns Regional Council manages more coconut palms than any other council in Australia. The cost of regular de-nutting is significant, but so is the aesthetic value, including to tourists. A Coconut Management Policy is set to be adopted for land managed by CRC. Palms that a high risk to people or property will be removed, while others in key areas will be retained and maintained. Palms of a lower aesthetic value may receive less attention or be removed. Coconut policy to mitigate risks (February 2014)

Gardens gets more than a little help from its Friends

Cairns volunteer group Friends of the Botanic Gardens, has raised nearly $100,000 toward a new conservatory for the city, with additional funds from Cairns Regional Council. Replacing the current orchid house and fernery, the new structure will feature butterflies and barramundi in addition to palms, orchids, ferns and carnivorous plants. The design was inspired by the licuala palm. Source: New conservatory to showcase botanical beauty (January 2014)

Next generation for Isis Scrub hoop pine
Seeds from a survivor of the original Isis Scrub, a giant hoop pine 200 or more years old, have been collected so that seedlings can be planted in the Childers district as well as Bundaberg Botanic Gardens. Source: Relic from Isis Scrub gives new hope to rare Hoop Pine (January 2014)
What makes a petunia blue?

Researchers have discovered that if a newly-discovered type of cellular pump is defective, failure to acidify certain compartments (vacuoles) within petal cells makes petunia flowers blue instead of red or violet. The information may be useful in manipulating the colour in other flowers and fruits. Ways for plants to store toxic compounds within the vacuoles might also be developed. Source: Roses are red -- why some petunias are blue (January 2014)

Super plum from Queensland

The first commercial harvest of a new high-anthocyanin plum bred in Queensland is set to take advantage of the market for antioxidant-boosted foods. Production of the new Queen Garnet plums has started on the Southern Downs. The fruit is destined for processing into juice and other health foods. Queensland plum set to pack a powerful punch in the health food market (January 2014)

Origins of Corn

The grass teosinte looks so different from corn that many have doubted the theory that it is the grain's ancestor. However, researchers growing teosinte under temperatures and carbon dioxide levels similar to those 10,000 years ago have observed more corn-like growth patterns. These characteristics were probably those expressed in the past and selected for by early farmers. Source: Greenhouse "Time Machine" Sheds Light on Corn Domestication (January 2014)

Nodulation - not just for legumes?

Scientists have tested various non-leguminous plants to a chemical signal from rhizobia bacteria and found that the same inhibition of immune response as occurs in legumes. Perhaps a mechanism also exists for form nodules. If a way could be found to activate it, perhaps tomatoes or corn might one day be engineered to fix nitrogen like beans and peas. Source: First Step to Reduce Plant Need for Nitrogen Fertilizer Uncovered in Science Study (September 2013)

Hills District Community Garden

Moreton Bay Regional Council has provided a site and a three-year licence for a community garden in Bunya, within the Bunya Waste Facility grounds. Participants at the The Hills District Community Garden will have access to off-street parking and an "endless supply" of mulch. Source: Community Garden for The Hills District (December, 2013)

Redlands landmark safe for now

A 130 year-old Cook Island Pine at Wellington Point will continue to be protected by a Vegetation Protection Order (VPO). Redland City Council decided not to revoke the VPO after more than 70 submissions were received from the community. The tree is a local landmark and is appreciated by bird life including Eastern Osprey. Source: Council decision protects 130 year-old tree (December, 2013)

Clewley Park to help prevent Toowoomba floods

A redesigned Clewley Park Stage 2 in Toowoomba has been officially opened. In additon to other park improvements, a water detention basin has been incorporated. This forms part of a larger flood protection strategy for the city. Source: New-look Clewley Park opens for all to see (December, 2013)

Rare tree sheds light on floral evolution mystery

Amborella trichopoda, a small tree from only one island in New Caledonia, has provided insights into the origin of flowers. This species is of significance because it is the only survivor of an evolutionary lineage tracing back to the last common ancestor of all flowering plants. The genome sequence indicates this ancestor arose following a doubling of the genome about 200 million years ago. Some of the duplicated genes then evolved new functions, including floral development. Genome doubling may therefore explain the relatively sudden proliferation of new flowering species. DNA of Storied Plant Provides Insight into the Evolution of Flowering Plants, Study Finds (December, 2013)

Springwood Conservation Park reopens

Storm-related landslip damage in Springwood Conservation Park (Logan City) has been repaired. New works including a rock wall and drainage improvement has also be undetaken to prevent further problems. Springwood Conservation Park restoration complete (November 2013)

Planter boxes to enhance Lockyer towns

Lockyer Valley Regional Council are installing planter boxes in the main streets of Laidley, Withcott and Forest Hill with Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements funding. The design of the boxes is sympathetic witht the rural and heritage character of the towns and will have seating on the sides. Initally two will be installed per town, with the possibility of more to follow if they are received well by the community. Source: Planter boxes throughout the region (November 2013)

Free fish for ponds in Logan

Logan City residents with ponds or dams can apply to Council for free native fish to assist with mosquito larvae control. More on this and other mosquito control advice at the council website: Pests' abuzz this summer (November 2013)

Some older news items of continuing interest have been moved to an appropriate subject page at www.calyx.com.au. Check the Guide to Pages.

The editor would like to hear from anyone who has news to share on the topic of plants or gardens. Contact Details


Garden Product Showcase


Known for its durability and aesthetic appeal, Keperra granite is fantastic for landscaping applications. In addition to its exceptional drainage properties, there's just something charmingly rustic about the look and sound of gravel underfoot on a path, or by having boulders placed architecturally in a garden. Even used to border a path or driveway, Keperra granite product can form an integral part of a garden. To view our product range, visit www.lantrak.com.au


Blooming constantly through the warm months, yet easy to grow, Amistad is great for cottage gardens or mass planting. Reaching approx 1m x 1m, it has a better growth habit than other guarantitica types of Salvia. Learn more at www.australianperennials.com.au


Queensland-made Easy Stake provides secure yet flexible support for your veggies or ornamental plants. The unique, easy-to-open clamp eliminates the need for ties. Easy Stake is also height-adjustable. High quality galvanised wire construction means they can be reused year after year. Learn more at www.puzeygardenproducts.com


A new Callistemon viminalis cultivar for the modern garden, SlimTM has a narrow growth habit, making it great for hedges, screens or tight planting areas. It's also highly resistant to Myrtle Rust. Learn more....


This inspirational DVD explores three remarkable Hunter Valley gardens and the story behind them. Buy online at www.ouraustraliangardens.com

Got a plant, product or service to promote to Queensland gardeners? Have it featured below, free! More information


Queensland Garden Blogs
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Mud Pie Brisbane
Gustoso Vegetables in Brisbane
Bountifully Brisbane
Hoya Garden Brisbane
Frog Garden Brisbane
random plantings Samford Valley
The Radish Hampton (near Toowoomba)
Africanaussie North Qld
Garden Product Reviews Queensland

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by Calyx Horticultural Services, publisher of this website

More information: GARDEN IDEAS SERVICE

The SEQ garden in June

Jobs to do, things to watch and other highlights of gardening in SE QLD

Other Months

NB: These notes are under ongoing development. At present, the following applies to the greater Brisbane region only. It's hoped to expand on these notes in future updates, adding more details and (eventually) more regions.

Naturally, this is a general guide only and will vary depending on local conditions, weather, plant variety etc. Ongoing water availability is also a big concern these days, so take this into consideration too, especially if planning new gardens.

With cold temperatures and short days, growth in the garden is particularly slow this month and there isn't a lot to do as far as seed sowing and pruning is concerned. Take advantage of this down time to get those repair jobs, maintenance and hard landscaping projects done. While there's plenty of cold weather ahead, the winter solstice means that by the end of the month, days are already starting to get longer. This is a reminder that spring isn't really that far away!

Physical labour is also a lot more pleasant in this weather than the summer months. Think about:
  • preparation of new garden beds or soil improvement
  • repot patio plants, if necessary (Container gardening)
  • transplant established shrubs (also a good time because the plants are relatively dormant at this time) For more about transplanting see Advanced Plants
  • consult an arborist about questionable trees, have dangerous ones removed or pruned
  • maintenance of lawnmower and other Garden Tools. Keeping mower blades sharp will avoid the tearing and shredding of grass leaf blades that can increase the chances of disease entry and increase water loss. For more information, see Lawn Mowing and Lawn Care.
  • compare features and make an informed choice for new purchases like lawnmowers, shredders, compost bins etc.
  • installation, repair or cleaning of paving, retaining walls, water features, gazebos etc, or hire a landscaper to do it

On the other hand, if it really is too cold and dark to get out there, cosy up indoors and work on some new garden layouts, research any new plants you may be interested in, browse garden catalogues and do some shopping for springtime supplies. The internet means there's a whole world of gardening information and inspiration available in an instant.

One group of plants that are quite active now are, unforunately, the cool season weeds. As with all weeds, prompt removal (whether by hand weeding or spraying) will prevent multiplication and bigger problems in subsequent years.

Don't forget that weeds are also discouraged by good gardening practices - minimise exposed soil with mulches or cover crops and encourage strong growth of garden plants or lawn grass to outcompete weeds. Pay attention to drainage and soil pH. Selective cutting back or thinning out of trees and shrubs to encourage stronger growth of sun-starved lawn or groundcovers could be part of your strategy.

Dead or dying foliage of flowering perennials can be cut back (unless you expect frost), but for the sake of aesthetics you may prefer to delay pruning summer-flowering shrubs and tropical foliage plants until closer to spring when they'll take off again quickly. Just trim dead flowers and stray branches to keep them looking tidy.

Frangipani are losing their leaves, which will almost certainly be carrying the rust fungus. Picking up these leaves and putting them in the rubbish will not prevent the disease entirely but will reduce the potential for re-infection next season.

Spring-flowering shrubs should definitely not be pruned now - you'll be cutting off those developing flower buds. See also Shrubs

It's the season for planting bare-rooted rose bushes. Hopefully you'll be getting yours from a quality grower who has not dug them too early. If you haven't ordered them in advance and are relying on supplies in garden centres now, you'll have to take your chances and make your purchases asap to get the best pick. See also Roses.

Sasanqua camellias are in bloom around April/May, while the Japonica varieties are typically at their peak in June/July. Visit Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha to view the camellias during these months, and keep an eye on the Events Diary for the Queensland Camellia Society's annual exhibition at the gardens. Make a note of any you especially like for planting in your own garden, although you may have to seek out a camellia nursery for the less common varieties.

While bougainvilleas can flower throughout the year in SEQld, depending on the variety (genetic background), weather variations and the treatment they have received by gardeners. However, they are generally at their most floriforous in winter. As you drive around the suburbs, appreciate the jewel-like colours, which look especially brilliant under the clear blue skie we get at this time of year. Take note of the various ways in which they are grown. Larger types may be growing rather wildly up trees, but may also be trained onto fences, verandas or arches. Others may be trimmed into hedges or trained as tree-like specimens. Large gardens might accomodate stand-alone shrubs. Dwarf forms can be grown in containers. The success of any such application application will depend on selection of a suitability of a suitable variety, but it may give you come ideas for how you migth incorporate bougainvilleas into your garden.

The Vegetable Garden

Many veggies are happy growing in the cool conditions of the SEQ winter, but if you didn't get plants started off in autumn, you might find that seed germination will be poor in the coldest months. If you have spaces left to fill, try starting seed off in pots and trays in a warmer pot such as a patio or indoors, (provided they aren't starved of light after emergence), or save time with some seedlings from the garden centre. The exception is those that are normally sown direct, like beans and peas.

In June, try sowing broad beans peas, lettuce, English spinach, silverbeet and beetroot, carrots, onions and garlic, cabbages, broccoli, kohlrabi and turnip. In frost free areas, also regular beans, tomatoes, capsicums, eggplants, zucchini, squash, cucumber.

If growing unusual vegetables, consult the seed packet.

Meanwhile, vegetables sown in autumn should be coming along. Keep up the water if there is no rain (winter is traditionally our dry time) and apply regular supplemental feeding with liquid fertilsers.

Strawberries will be starting to fruit. Mulch around the plants with a loose dry mulch like sugar cane to keep fruit clean and dry off the ground. Chiken wire or vegetable garden nets might also be necessary to keep the local wildlife from getting to your fruit before you do.

See also: Vegetables, Seed raising,

Fruit Trees

Sorry, I haven't prepared any monthly notes for fruit trees yet. In the meantime, you can try the main page dealing with this subject and check the links for the type of fruit tree you're interested in, here: Fruit Trees

The Flower Garden

Why not bring some cheerfulness into the garden with flowers? We're lucky to be able to grow many spectacular tropical flowering trees, shrubs and vines as well as the more traditional English-style perennials and bedding plants.

The cultivation of annual flowers, or even herbaceous perennials, is not as popular as it once was, but with our water problems eased at at moment, why not give it a go? If you don't have much space in the garden, you can still create eye-catching displays in pots and planters and brighten up balconies, patios, and paved areas.

While it's too late to plant most spring annuals from seed, in frost-free areas you can can still sow some for later flowering. A few varieties that are readily available in seed packets to try now include alyssum, nasturtium, pansy, viola, johnny-jump-up (heartease), amaranthus, celosia, lobelia, cleome, salvia, coleus, verbena, petunia, dianthus, californian poppy (eschscholtzia), snapdragon.

Seed of perennials can be started just about any time if you can care for them, especially keeping them away from frost at this time of year, but germination will be slow in cold weather.

If you sow into smaller pots or seed trays you can get them started in a warmer place indoors, as long as you check them regularly and bring them out into the light at the very first sign of emergence (or before) and harden them off to the sun gradually.

An alternative is to buy seedlings from the garden centre, which will save you effort plus several weeks growing time. More advanced plants already in flower are more expensive but the way to go for colour immediately prior to a special occasion like a party or garden wedding.

See also: Annual Flowers and Bedding Plants, Seed raising

Garden shows, open gardens

See what's in the Events Diary for June.

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