GARDENING: Flowers everywhere in town

IT IS such a pleasure to take a drive around Rockhampton during this time of the year with our skyline a blend of blooming trees in every colour imaginable.

While most of these trees are a little too big for the average home garden, they would make a worthy addition to a small acreage.

Some of the most spectacular trees in the garden are just starting to display their floral features.

Brachychiton acerifolius
Brachychiton acerifolius

Trees such as the Illawarra Flame Tree, or Brachychiton acerifolium, are now in full bloom. Being a semi-deciduous this tree will give the appearance that its entire canopy is engulfed in flames.

Brachychiton acerifolium, is a hardy tree, which you would expect to grow no more than tem metres in a local garden.

Barklya syringifolia John Leak
Barklya syringifolia John Leak

Always a feature at this time of year is the Barklya syringifolia or Bajool Rose.

A bushy, very ornamental tree for most soils and will grow from only a short distance from the beach to being able to handle the western heat.

Barklya syringifolia grows best in full sun but is a little slow growing, with deep green, almost heart-shaped leaves.

A height of 6m should be expected with a width of 2 to 3m.

When the tree flowers in late spring it becomes a very spectacular crown of gold as the bright golden fingers of flowers contrast well with the dark green foliage.

One of the most distinctive flowing trees in full bloom at the moment is that of the Jacaranda. While the flowering of some of these trees is a bit early this year they do make an impressive display.

This deciduous tree, grown for the sake of its delicate, misty lavender flowers and fern-like foliage, has a comfortable spreading habit.

Most gardeners could expect their Jacarandas to reach a height of 8 to 10 metres high, and up to 8 metres across when fully mature.

Delonix regia
Delonix regia

Like a vivid beacon the flowers of the Poincianas or Delonix regia of the Rockhampton region are having one of best flowering seasons in years.

Most commonly, the flowers are a bright to orange red, and often exhibit yellow spotting on one of the petals.

There is also a yellow-flowering form of this tree growing in the region that is just as spectacular.

Poinciana has been grown in Central Queensland for more than 100 years and its beautiful umbrella shape and almost perfect shade cover in summer has made it an icon.

The Poinciana will grow to in excess of 10m high and almost as wide.

Grevillea robusta
Grevillea robusta

Then in contrast is the Grevillea robusta or Silky Oak.

This stately and very ornamental fast growing large tree has timber that is prized for furniture making.

The Silky Oak has showy rich green fern like foliage with a slivery underside.

From late spring masses of golden yellow orange flowers engulf this tree and attracting many birds.

Prefers medium to heavy soils in an open sunny position and is drought resistant but frost tender.

Throughout the Rockhampton region from along the Fitzroy to lining the highway west of

Lysiphyllum hookerii
Lysiphyllum hookerii

Westwood, the Lysiphyllum hookerii or Native Bauhinia, is producing spectacular floral displays.

Currently you will find this plant covered in soft, lime new growth, and budding and flowering prolific large white blooms with purple stamens.

Growing naturally throughout Central Queensland, it has been able to develop to endure the best and the worst that our climate throws at it.

This large spreading tree, which can grow to 9m high in garden conditions, seems to always look at its very best when the rest of the plants around it are struggling to survive.

Schizolobum parahybrum
Schizolobum parahybrum

A little more unusual tree flowering well at the moment is the Mexican Tree Fern or Schizolobum parahybrum.

With masses of yellow flowers at the moment that will cover the entire canopy of the tree that makes a delightful contrast to the trees green trunk.

A native of the Brazilian rainforests, in its natural habitat it acts as a canopy tree, but if planted in an open situation, it will grow up to 10 metres as a single stem.

It is not unheard of for this tree to grow at the rate of two metres per year, and it has foliage that is similar in appearance to the Poinciana, only longer.

Pruning the juvenile tree at around head height, making a multi-trunked specimen helps to control the height.

The Mexican Tree Fern will adapt to quite a wide variety of conditions, from being in full hot sunlight to cool heavy shade, making it suitable for a number of garden styles.

Entering Gracemere at the moment it is hard not to miss the blooming Cassia Grandis or Pink Shower Tree.

This is a shapely canopy tree suitable for most Central Queensland gardens.

During Spring and Summer this tree will become completely covered in masses of pink and white flowers.

Cassia Grandis
Cassia Grandis

Cassia Grandis will often explode into flower after the first rains arrive.

Also flowering at the moment is the Schotia brachypetala or Parrot Tree.

It is a medium sized semi-deciduous tree that I have gained great respect for with regard to its cooling shade, that I have taken enormous advantage of during this week.

Schotia brachypetala at Gogango
Schotia brachypetala at Gogango

It has dark green foliage and spectacular red blooms, making it quite picture.

Though, in many situations, care needs to be taken in the positioning of this tree, because during flowering, hundreds of rainbow lorikeets descend to feast on the flowers, as well as making quite a racket.

Just coming into flower now is a unique tree with Wisteria like flowers.

Bolusanthus speciosus flower
Bolusanthus speciosus flower

This tree is called Bolusanthus speciosus or Tree Wisteria, and has purple pea-shaped flowers that will hang like bunches of grapes.

When in flower, I believe this tree rivals the Jacaranda for beauty, but its flowering time is only short-lived.

It would have to be one of the types of trees most needed these days, that are small and compact provide shade and have the ability to be grown in small yards or along our roadways. You will find that the Tree Wisteria fits this description very well.

One of the largest specimens that I have seen would be no more than 12m high and you would usually expect this tree to be smaller than this.

Spring is always the time of the year to notice the floral beauty of the trees and shrubs growing in our city but this year it is just so much better.