This will definitely be my last post from Australia. Having been here seven weeks I am beginning to get to know a few plants. I saw Buckinghamia celsissima flowering in Brisbane Botanic Garden over a month ago. It is by no means common in people’s gardens but there are a couple of small towns just north of here, notably Landsborough, where they have been planted in large numbers on the wide roadside verges. Our hosts have a tree on the verge in front of their house that has died; this is probably the leading contender to replace it, if we can find one to buy.
When it comes to working out what to grow in your garden here, a great place to start is public parks. Roma Street Parkland in Brisbane is a cracker. There’s some impressive landscaping, interesting and effective use of native and exotic plants and well executed parks style bedding. It was here that I realised that effective summer bedding here needs to able to withstand high temperatures for weeks or months. UK summer bedding subjects are mostly more suitable for their winter if at all. Petunias and Marigolds seem to do OK, much of the rest was less familiar to me. Among the exotics I was stopped in my tracks by a couple of double flowered forms of Lotus growing in the main lake.
Another garden we visited calls itself Maleny Botanic Garden. In scale and plant range that is not an outrageous claim but sadly nothing is labelled. Maleny is in the hills of the hinterland, lovely little town. It does mean that it is a little cooler than the coastal plain.
Armed with a little knowledge, we headed off to the local garden centre. It’s getting a bit late for summer bedding but we found a few things; Petunias, a thing sold simply as Vinca and another thing I don’t have a name for. All were doing well at Roma Street. We planted them in three containers, mostly replacing Antirrhinums that didn’t look at all happy. They seem to be doing alright so far.
On another trip to Maleny we stumbled upon a small but excellent native plant nursery, Forest Heart. They publish their plant range on their website and it is extensive and interesting. Leaving without purchasing was not a realistic option so we picked out these two; Cat’s Whiskers and a bottlebrush, Orthosiphon aristatus and Callistemon ‘Firebrand’.