Gardening / Entranced by the perfection of plants

The intricacy of Echinacea or cone flower petals.

THE intricacy of flowers never ceases to amaze me. We can land men on the moon or make mobile phone calls to anyone anywhere in the world, but we can’t replicate the perfection of plants.

Cedric Bryant.

Just look at the intricacy of Echinacea, with the added uses of its medicinal properties – perfection personified. Equally, the minute detail of the pictured Banksia ericifolia flower.

Echinacea self-seed easily, which brings me to the point of collecting seed from our summer and autumn flowers now finished.

Many flower seed heads can provide an interesting autumnal display in their own right and can be left for a while.

The only way to collect seed is to place a brown paper bag (never plastic bags) over the seed head when the flowers are dead and just before the seed heads are totally dry. Write the name of the plant on the bag with a waterproof marker pen and tie it round the stalk of the plant. Store in a cool, dry place until the next sowing time.

LAST month marked my 31st anniversary of writing garden columns in Canberra. Starting in 1986 in “The Chronicle” with my “Let’s Go Gardening” column when we owned our nursery in Yass. We moved to Canberra and I then wrote for the “Sunday Canberra Times” from 1997 to 2005 when they terminated my services along with many other contributors.

Fortunately for garden lovers, “CityNews” decided they definitely needed a garden page and within a week I was writing for “CityNews” with the added advantage for readers of my garden column being readily available online. [Congratulations and thank you, Cedric – ed]

No artist using any material could replicate Banksia

MANY gardeners wouldn’t realise that garden centres have already selected their roses for the coming winter season. Orders need to be placed from the wholesale rose growers in October at the latest, even though roses are not offered for sale until June/July. This is when they are dormant and can be lifted from the ground.

Most, but not all, new roses are developed overseas, especially in Europe and grown on through commercial rose nurseries in Australia.

However, are they suitable for our climate? Well, this is determined by being grown for two years in the National Rose Trial Garden of Australia in Adelaide. Here they are independently assessed no less than 14 times by professional nurserymen, garden designers and rose society experts from the various states. The charter of the rose-trial garden is to promote roses best suited to Australian conditions.

HERE’S a fact; more people garden on a weekend than play sport in Australia. Garden tourism research has identified that 300 million tourists travel the world each year to visit garden attractions and events. It’s a market Australia has barely tapped. Ecotourism is the fastest-growing tourism sector in the world. Yet here our Floriade is shrinking both in size and budget, while our town council is promoting Civic events with our Chief Minister suggesting it could be bigger than Floriade.

TOOWOOMBA is stealing the march on us with its annual, 10-day Carnival of Flowers each September, which attracts more than 200,000 visitors.

The star attraction is the street parade of floral floats with more than 100,000 people lining the streets. Our shrinking-budget Floriade, about to disappear if a new site is not found, takes a month to get 400,000 visitors. Maybe our town councillors should take a trip to Toowoomba, with a population of just more than 95,000, to see how it is done.

Jottings…

  • Plant spring bulbs without delay.
  • If your lemon tree is in a container and not too large, move it to a frost-free location or cover with shadecloth.
  • The Melbourne International Garden and Flower Show, the biggest garden show in the southern hemisphere, is on from March 29 to April 2.
  • Remove dead wood from shrubs while it is easy to see before leaf fall.

 

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