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.

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I'm looking for SEQld-focussed blogs, newsletters or similar publications to promote Get Results Gardening (whether paid advertising or through some other collaboration such as guest posting). Ideally home renovation or home lifestyle oriented, but will consider anything with an audience that's predominantly homeowning adults. If you publish something like this, or you'd simply like to suggest a publication you enjoy, please get in touch.

Garden Events 2019

If you're organising a garden show, open garden or similar event in Qld in 2019 and you already have a date locked in, be sure to submit some information now for inclusion in the Queensland Gardening Events Diary. Dates can be added a year ahead or even more, helping give your event plenty of exposure to potential visitors and exhibitors. Basic listings are free and featured listings are now available for a modest fee. Go to the page for more information.


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Featured News       


 

Al Fresco Homebuying

March, 2018

After commissioning a study into Australian homebuyers' current preferences, garden products company Yates report that desire for outdoor spaces is bigger than conventional real estate wisdom would have us believe.

They say that overall, 39% prioritise these spaces (which include balconies, decks and courtyards), compared to only 12% being most concerned with kitchens.

However, the potential to use outdoor areas for entertaining is important, especially for younger buyers.

16% of all buyers on average are looking for a backyard above all else. There are considerable statewide differences, with South Australians (30%) valuing backyards the most.

The need for "street appeal" also varies, with 9% of Queenslanders considering it the most important factor compared to 15% of Victorians.

Full results of the study don't appear to be publicly available, but you can read more coverage from Yates Australia , Your Investment Property and realestate.com.au.

The Garden Scene

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

Mindscaping

Status of a study's participants living near vacant lots in Philadelphia, USA were recorded before and after the lots received different levels of rehabilitation. Those within a quarter-mile radius of greened spaces averaged a 41.5% reduction in feelings of depression compared to those near lots that remained abandoned. A basic clean-up of trash without addition of grass and trees had no effect. Full report: Effect of Greening Vacant Land on Mental Health of Community-Dwelling Adults JAMA Network Open (July, 2018)

TV Sports Coverage Captures Environmental Data

Researchers have been able to analyse plants growing around recognisable landmarks in video footage of Belgian cycle race the Tour of Flanders recorded between 1981 and 2016, scoring leaves and flowers present on specific days. This showed that prior to 1990, few trees had produced their spring foliage in time for the Tour. After that, more and more trees in leaf were visible, correlating with with average temperatures for the area rising about 1.5°C over the period. This method of observing climate and other environmental changes could utilise footage of events like marathons, golf tournaments or open-air festivals in addition to other cycle races around the world. Source: TV coverage of cycling races can help document the effects of climate change, British Ecological Society (July, 2018)

Queensland Landscape Architecture Awards

The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects has announced the winners of its 2018 Queensland awards. Awards of Excellence in various categories included Palmwoods New Town Square, Wembley Link Pathway Public Art (Logan City), Rockhampton Riverside, Centenary Lakes Nature Play, Home of the Arts (HOTA) Outdoor Stage (Gold Coast) and the Brisbane Airport Landscape Setting Strategy. Full list of awards, recipients and further details: 2018 AILA QLD Landscape Architecture Awards. (June 2018)

Nanango students sunflower stars

Meanwhile, Nanango State High School are the champions for the second year in a row in the University of Queensland Sunflower Competition, beating 102 other high schools across Australia. Using a specified seed variety and pot size, students are allowed to experiment with cultural factors such as growing mix, fertiliser and watering to achieve the heaviest plant possible in a 12-week period. Other awards were made in several categories including the tallest and most ornamental sunflowers. View the full results here.

Queensland pumpkin royalty deposed

Steven Fritz of Marburg has taken out the Royal Queensland Show (Ekka) Giant Pumpkin Competition with a 206kg fruit. Competition veterans Tony and Geoff Frohloff came in second and third. A 40kg entry from Bullyard State School (near Bundaberg) won the school competition.

Toowoomba, Singapore exchanging excellence

Following a visit to the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers by a party from Singapore's renowned Gardens by the Bay, an agreement has been signed for a staff exchange and training program involving Toowoomba Regional Council and TAFE Queensland South West. In addition to the opportunity to share knowledge and expertise, the Council see potential to promote the region in Singapore. Source: Gardens by the Bay, Singapore MOU highlights bold ambitions (March 2018)

Wallabies rock in Ipswich

The brush-tailed rock wallaby is the City of Ipswich's faunal emblem but has been listed vulnerable to extiction. To aid the species' survival, a plan has been developed by Ipswich City Council including reducing pest plants and predators while improving connectivity between habitats. Some 2200ha of prime habitat at Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate has already been purchased. Source: Recovery Plan for iconic brush-tailed rock wallaby (March, 2018)

Avoid Urban Tree Thirst

Researchers in North Carolina USA looked at Quercus phellos to both in the landscape and in laboratory conditions study how urban trees could be affected by water stress. Higher temperatures could increase tree growth - provided the trees had adequate water. Also, scale insects had little effect. On the other hand, if trees were water stressed, growth rate was lowered, even more so if combined with heat and/or scale insects. Source: Lack of Water is Key Stressor for Urban Trees (March, 2018)

Piccabeen Palms Help Transform Palmwoods

Palmwoods in the Sunshine Coast hinterland officially opened its new Piccabeen Green town square. In addition to a boardwalk, seating, shade structures, artwork and historical information, the project includes 54 Piccabeen palms (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) which have inspired its name. Source: New $3M town square transforms heart of Palmwoods. You can get a drone's-eye view of the completed landscaping with this short video. (March 2018)

Geothermally cool koala research

Brisbane City Council has funded and started construction on a new research facility at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. In addition to laboratories investigatong koala disease and genetics, there'll be public viewing areas and interactive learning displays. The centre will be self-powered by solar panels and a geothermal cooling system. Source: Construction underway for Koala Research Centre (February, 2018)

Redlands koala tree vandalised

A high-value koala food and refuge tree in Wellington Point has been vandalised by cutting, drilling and the application of a chemical. One of the suburb's iconic poincianas has also been repeatedly hacked at, possibly in an attempt to speed decay of the tree. Source: Koala food tree and others icons at risk from vandalism (February, 2018)

Birds are coffe lovers, too

While coffee lovers may have a preference between arabica or robusta, what are the implications for birds in parts of the world wehere coffee is grown? A study in India compared bird populations where coffee is grown in shade (usually arabica) with full-sun robusta. While the former supported an greater number of different species, the robusta plantations supported higher densities of certain sensitive species. This is good news as robusta becomes predominant worldwide. Robusta also requires less pesticides. Source:Birds and beans: Study shows best coffee for bird diversity (February 2018)

Yucca Warning

A Melbourne ear, nose and throat surgeon has reported an increase in ear injuries caused by yucca leaves entering the ear canal. In some cases, this resulted in permanent hearing loss. The ABC interview does not specify which type(s) of yucca are the cause. Neither does the first page of the published medical report (free to view without subscription here), but the plant illustrated appears to be Yucca elephantipes. This is certainly the most likely culprit, given how common this species has become in Australian gardens. It can grow many metres tall, so there's a chance it could reach ears at all heights. (January, 2018)

Ipswich preserves an original resident

Ipswich City Council has preserved a huge Eucalyptus tereticornis (Queensland Blue Gum or Forest Red Gum) by during an upgrade to Riverside Drive at Pine Mountain. A low pressure sucker vac was used to locate the root plate of the 35 metre high tree, allowing a concrete floodway to be modified to avoid damage. Council has undertaken to maintain the specimen, an original tree of the area which managed to escape the timber industry. Source: Health of 'pioneer' Blue Gum a priority during roadworks (December 2017)

Another award for Toowoomba carnival

The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers in conjunction with The Chronicle Home Garden competition has won the inaugural Rural Green Space Award at the 2017 Australian Institute of Horticulture national awards, honouring the role these events play in promoting the benefits of green spaces. The carnival is also a current Tourism Australia Major Festival and Event gold winner. Source: TRC wins inaugural national horticulture, Qld Tennis awards (November 2017)

Tourists to zip through Brisbane trees

A new zipline tourist attraction is being planned for Brisbane's Mt Coot-tha, including what will be the longest treetop canopy zipline in Australia. The Southern Hemisphere's longest pedestrian suspended bridge walk will also be constructed through the treetops above JC Slaughter Falls. Source: Zipline proposal ready to fly through Coot-tha tree-tops (November, 2017)

Logan gets more walkable

A shared pedestrian and cycle pathway in Logan Central, connecting Railway Parade and Logan Gardens, is officially open. It features landscaping, seating, shade structures and arbours at both ends. New pathway officially opens (November 2017)

Toowoomba's beautiful rubbish

Toowoomba are extending their beautification commitment to their waste facilities with an annual garden competition involving staff and Ability Enterprise (providing employment to the disabled and long-term unemplyed). Ravensbourne Waste Facility has taken out first prize in the 2017 competition. Source: Ravensbourne Waste Facility takes out garden gong (October 2017)

Community gardens get thumbs up in Moreton Bay

Following a successful trial at The Hills District Community Garden in Bunya, Moreton Bay Regional Council has officially undertaken to allow more community gardens in the region. A guide and expression of interest form is available on the council’s website. Source: Community gardens to blossom in Moreton Bay (October 2017)

IndigiScapes set to grow

A five -year upgrade of the Redlands IndigiScapes Centre has commenced. The first stage is an expanded nursery to supply Redland City Council with stock of local native species for its planting program as well as the public. Stage two will include expansion of the cafe and other amenities. Sources: First sod turned on IndigiScapes expansion (August, 2017), Redland City Council secures funding for lndigiScapes expansion (October, 2017)

Excellent vibrancy on the Scenic Rim

The Boonah, Beaudesert and Tamborine Mountain town centre master plans for have won an Australian Institute of Landscape Architects Award of Excellence in the Landscape Planning category. The project forms part of Scenic Rim Regional Council's Vibrant and Active Towns and Villages initiative. Boonah town square and the Village Greens at Tamborine Mountain are the next stages in the plan slated for commencement. Source: Town centre master plans judged Australia's best. (October 2017)

Adopt a tree on the Western Downs

Western Downs Regional Council report that response to their "Adopt a Street Tree" program has been very encouraging. Registrations for 2017 are now closed, but interested residents can register for 2018 online here or phone the council. Source: Community gets behind leafy initiative (August 2017)

Ants not anti-plants

Ants on plants are often bad news as they "farm" sap-sucking insects, but can benefit in various ways, including as a fertiliser source. Researchers installed weaver ants in isolated coffee plants and fed ants with a form of traceable nitrogen (15 N). When ants were allowed to travel from one tree via bridges, it was found that visited trees became larger and had more nitrogen. What's more, leaves that where wrapped to protect them from ants nevertheless contained 15N, showing that waste from the ants was taken up and moved throughout the plants. In certain ecosystems, ants may thus contribute to plant nutrition by catching and digesting insects and foliar-feeding the trees in which they live. Source: Profitable cooperation: Ants protect and fertilize plants New research shows that ant fecal droplets serve as a valuable fertilizer for plants, absorbed directly by the leaves (August 2017)

Pollinators deterred by street lights

There has been a lot of concern about the decline of bees worldwide, but many pollinating insects operate at night. Experiments in a Swiss meadows showed that illumination simulating street lighting reduced pollination visits by 62%. One of the plant species (Cirsium oleraceum), which is visited by insects both day and night, exhibited 13% lower fruit set. this shows that showing that daytime pollination can't compensate even if the species is capable. These findings could have environmental and agricultural implications as residential areas expand worldwide. Source: Light pollution as a new threat to pollination (August, 2017)

Fracking weeds

Shale gas development in Pennsylvania forests (Marcellus Shale) has been linked to invasion of non-native plants. It appears that the invaders were introduced in gravel used to build roads and well pads as well as mud on trucks and tyres. Source: Shale gas development spurring spread of invasive plants in Pa. forests (July, 2017)

Parklands on the horizon for Chinchilla

An important step towards making Chinchilla Botanic Parklands a reality has been made with $2.85 million in funding secured from the State Government. A draft masterplan has also been developed with "liveability, tourism and economic development" objectives. Source: $2.85 million funding boost to bring Chinchilla Botanic Parklands to life (July 2017)

A natural Gold Coast city

The City of Gold Coast has endorsed a strategy aimed at acheiving 51 per cent native vegetation cover by 2020, developed in response to strong community support. "Our Natural City" will encourage partnerships between government, business, institutions and residents to develop infrastructure, monitoring and participatory programs. More information at Our Natural City Strategy. Source: Connecting, protecting and partnering to preserve our natural city (June 2017)


collection of microscope images of marginal leaflet transections used in the new Key
Some of the microscope images. Credit: Larry R. Noblick CC BY 4.0
Leaves a key to palm ID

Microscopic differences in the edges of leaves could be a useful way to distinguish palms. Comparing sections of the leaf margins of the palm genusSyagrus revealed characteristics distinctive enough to be used in a species identifcation key. This leaf slicing technique, which is readily done by hand, could be useful for identification when other plant parts (such as flowers) are not available or inconclusive. It may even be applicable to other plant groups. Source: First few millimeters of the leaf margin identify palm species in a new key to Syagrus (June 2017)

Australia gave NZ pohutukawa

Rata species and the revered pohutukawa (AKA New Zealand Christmas bush all belong to Metrosideros. Native members of this genus are found throughout the Southern Hemisphere, except for Australia. Fossil evidence from Tasmania showed it once occurred here, too. Newly discovered fossil species of Metrosideros now suggest that the genus first evolved in Australia. Why these species subsequently became extinct is unknown. Source: Australian origin likely for iconic New Zealand tree (June 2017)

Water restrictions - think of the trees

A recent analysis of data collected in Los Angeles in 2010 shows that the city was losing approx 100 gallons per person per day to the atmosphere that summer, through lawns (70%) and trees (30%). The lack of watering restrictions at the time meant lawns were being overwatered and using as much water as they could. Trees used much less due to factors including leaf area and ability to regulate water loss. The amount needed to maintain tree cover may be far less than perceived and a more nuanced approach to urban water allocation, especially in droughts, could be worthwhile for the long-term benefit of the environment and community. Source: LA lawns lose lots of water: 70B gallons a year City's rich and famous lose twice as much as poor; trees relatively efficient (May, 2017)

Check out Chelsea
Although it's not held in quite the same esteem as it once was, Britain's Chelsea Flower Show is still the world's most celebrated garden event. Few plants will be suitable for SE Qld, but the elaborately staged show gardens are inspirational and can hold clues to more general landscape trends. Judging choices often create controversy and this year is no exception, with an exhibit representing an abandoned Maltese stone quarry winning Best Show Garden. Good websites for pictures and commentary include:
RHS Chelsea Flower Show - Official website, Royal Horticultural Society
Chelsea Flower Show - The Telegraph, which always has extensive coverage
A search of news websites and social media will deliver many more images and opinions from garden experts and the public. The show runs until 27th May 2017.
Mediterranean style on show

A new European show with potentially more relevance to us than Chelsea is the Radicepura Garden Festival on now in Sicily, Italy. This is "the first international event dedicated to Mediterranean garden design and landscape architecture". Although there are some important differences between those conditions and ours, many of the same plants can be grown. Arguably, the Mediterranean style has more relevance to us going forward (more on this in a future edition). Meanwhile, take a look at the Radicepura Garden Festival website and keep an eye on social media. This event runs until October 2017. (May 2017)

Nanning Garden redevelopment underway

The former Chinese Friendship Gardens in the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens is undergoing a makeover to better express the culture and garden aesthetics of sister city Nanning prefecture. After input from Nanning craftsmen and engineers the renamed Nanning Gardens will incorporate a traditional entryway and walkway bridge. Source: Work underway on redesign of Nanning Gardens (May 2017)

Tree policy towards an economic future

Toowoomba's Regional Council has approved a Street and Park Tree Policy to ensure its tree population continue to enhance the region for residents and visitors well into the future. Besides environmental and social benefits, trees are an important economic asset. (Travel site Expedia declared Toowoomba one of The 25 Most Beautiful Places in Australia). Source: Toowoomba’s ‘green’ image remains a top priority for Council (May 2017)

Ancient Egyptian garden discovered

Excavations in Luxor, Egypt have uncovered a 4000 year old funerary garden. This is the first garden of its kind to be found, except in illustrations. The garden is located in a courtyard at the entrance to a tomb. It consists of a 3m x 2m raised area divided into a grid of small beds and two trees planted nearby. Seeds found on the site are yet to be identified, but the plants grown in the garden probably had a symbolic or ritual significance. Source: A first-ever find by the Djehuty Project in Egypt: a funeral garden known of until now only through iconography (May, 2017)

Robots quietly taking over lawn mowing

The first robotic lawn mower, which was also solar powered, was introduced by the Husqvarna Group in 1995. In April 2017, the Group celebrated 1 million robotic mowers sold. This includes the Husqvarna, Gardena, McCulloch and Flymo brands. Over the years, developments included noise reduction and ability to control the mower via a smartphone. Source: Celebrating 1 million robotic lawn mowers on a growing market (April, 2017)

Kilcoy Koalas

An area at Kilcoy is to be protected from cattle grazing and planted with blue gums. Besides supporting the local koala population, it's hoped that the trees will eventually attract the grey-headed flying foxes currently roosting at Anzac Park. The forsted area will also help protect water quality in the catchment. Source: Koala Tree Planting to Occur in Kilcoy (April 2017)

Witton Barracks continue to serve

The derelict Witton Barracks site is on the way to becoming a new "destination park" for the western suburbs. While developing play areas and cycle facilities and open space for use of the community, the historical significance of the 1.9 ha Defence facility to Brisbane's role in World War II will be preserved. Source: Works begin on landmark Witton Barracks park (March, 2017)

Rare plant for Tondoon

A Yarwun Whitewood (Atalaya collina) has joined Gladstone Tondoon Botanic Gardens' developing demonstration gardens (opening in 2018). A collaboration between the gardens' nursery team and Gladstone Region council to propagate 400 plants to help preserve this endangered small tree. Since it was discovered on a Yarwun property in 1982, less than ten mature inviduals have been recorded. It's a small tree that is said to be tolerant of draought and poor soils. Source: World first planting at newly constructed demonstration gardens (March 2017)

New bottle trees for heroes

Four Roma bottle trees requiring removal due to poor health will be replaced in time for Anzac Day. Two of the trees are in Heroes Avenue and the plaques will be retained and associated witht he new trees, continuing the tradition of the memorial. Source: Bottle tree removal in Roma - this Saturday & Sunday (February 2017)

Award for Carnival

The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers won best national major festival or event at the 2016 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards. Source: Golden night for Carnival of Flowers at 2016 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards (February 2017)

New garden competition for Douglas Shire

The Councils new initiative to encourage beautification of the region will include categories for small and large gardens residential, commercial properties and edible gardens. Entries can be submitted from 1st July 2017. Source: 'Let It Grow' for inaugural Douglas Garden Awards (February 2017)

Rainforest attraction opens on Sunshine Coast

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Rainforest Discovery Centre has opened at Maleny. In addition to spectacular views of the Glasshouse Mountains, there's a an elevated rainforest walk and Rainforest Education Centre. The "sensitively designed" building will house various displays and interactive experiences and is expected to become a major Sunshine coast attraction. Source: Governor of Queensland opens the new Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Rainforest Discovery Centre (February 2017)

Cities become concrete watersheds

The trend for United Kingdom homeowners to pave their gardens to provide parking or reduce maintenance, combined with urban densification, is increasing the risk of floods. Modelling of several cities show that existing drainage will be unable to cope with the amount of runoff in the future, especially if storm events intensify due to climate change. Depaving gardens and enhancing vegetation cover would help absorb storm water naturally and reduce severity of flooding. Source: Homeowners must depave gardens or face flooding (January, 2017)

Dingo link to weeds

Overgrazing is not the only cause of woody shrub invasion into semi-arid Australia, a new study finds. Comparison of habitats either side of the dingo fence in outback NSW showed a proliferation of woody species in the absence of dingoes. It's believed that foxes and feral cats reduce numbers of small mammals which eat the shrub seed, thus preventing its germination. Exclusion of dingoes removes a way of controlling these feral predators. Source: Detective work across dingo fence reveals new factor in woody shrub invasion (December 2016)

Dry Tequila

Like many other plants adapted to arid habitats, the tequila agave uses Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) to be able to photosynthesise while avoid opening its stomates during the day. Genetic analysis of tequila has indicated that CAM plants and regular plants have the same genes regulating these processes, it's the timing with which these genes are switched on and off. Scientists speculate that if the triggers can be identified, it may be possible to induce this water-saving mechanism in mainstream crop plants. Source: How tequila could be key in our battle against climate change (December 2016)

Gold Coast more than beaches

A survey of Gold Coast residents has should a hight level of satisfaction with the city's parks. Feedback indicated a need for more good "destination" parkland projects. Local parks need pedestrian links, high quality turfed areas and trees. Shade is very important and council says it is responding with more tree planting throughout the city. Gold Coasters love their parks (December 2016)

Steam Weeding the Cassowary Coast

Cassowary Coast Regional Council is introducing steam as a control measure for weeds in public areas. An advantage of the steam unit is that it can be used in all weather conditions, as well as reducing chemical use. It can also be used for killing mold on pathways and other cleaning. Source: Controlling Weeds with Steam on the Cassowary Coast (October 2016)

Horticultural therapy promising for the aged

Elderly women who took part in a 15-week gardening program showed improvement in physical health and mental function while nonparticipants declined, a South Korean study shows. Satisfaction with the program as a physical activity was very also very high. Source: The many health benefits of gardening for elderly women (October 2016)

Brisbane trials community composting

A new trial launched by Brisbane City Council aims to reduce organic waste going to landfill by allowing residents new community gardens to contribute food scraps for composting. Participants near each of the trial hubs will receive a caddy to collect the waste. Volunteers will assist in the gardens. Source: Community composting trialled in gardening hubs (October 2016)

Shrubs' Keys to Success

Shrubs occur on 40% of Earth's land surface, making them more common than trees at 28%. Theoretical modelling has shown that it is the multistemmed nature of shrubs that makes then so successful. For a given volume of above-ground wood, the greater cross-sectional area at the base means water and nutrients can be transported faster to the leaves. The larger area of bark, from which buds sprout, is also believed to be advantageous because a canopy of twigs and leaves can be developed faster. Trees can ultimately attain the height that allow them to compete, but not before the faster shrubs have flowered and spread their seed. The growth form of shrubs are also better suited to extreme environments. Source: Shrubs More Expansive Than Trees (September 2016)


Some older news items of continuing interest have been moved to appropriate subject pages Check the Guide to Pages or use the search function at the top of the page.


Get Results Gardening is a weekly newsletter-style email publication especially for the new, inexperienced or reluctant gardener in SE QLD.

Simple and achievable ideas, reliable plants, shortcuts, inspiration and motivation for a beautiful garden that compliments your house and makes your whole property more enjoyable to live in.



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Get Results Gardening is a weekly newsletter-style email publication especially for the new, inexperienced or reluctant gardener in SE QLD.

Simple and achievable ideas, reliable plants, shortcuts, inspiration and motivation for a beautiful garden that compliments your house and makes your whole property more enjoyable to live in.


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