GREEN THUMB: Michael Elgey is the new curator at Rockhampton's Botanic and Kershaw Gardens
GREEN THUMB: Michael Elgey is the new curator at Rockhampton's Botanic and Kershaw Gardens Jann Houley

New curator says Rocky gardens are bloomin' beautiful

THE youngest of four boisterous kids, Michael Elgey, who grew up west of Sydney, didn't spend much of his childhood indoors.

"My parents probably didn't want us in the house,” he said.

"We went bushwalking in the Blue Mountains or down the beach.”

Runners wend their way through the Botanic Gardens at the Rockhampton parkrun second anniversary.
Runners wend their way through the Botanic Gardens at the Rockhampton parkrun second anniversary. PAM MCKAY

Mr Elgey traces his interest in horticulture to riding his bike around the suburbs and coming across an isolated stand of trees.

"I remember thinking 'Why are these trees here but nothing else?',” he said of the decision to undertake an apprenticeship in horticulture.

Appointed curator of the Rockhampton councils' gardens six months ago, Mr Elgin now enjoys meeting with locals who regularly bring their children to the gardens.

Kim Dexter-Sondergeld shared this shot from Rockhampton botanical gardens.
Kim Dexter-Sondergeld shared this shot from Rockhampton botanical gardens. Kim Dexter-Sondergeld

"At the Botanic Gardens, we tend to see the same people walking in the mornings and, at Kershaw Gardens, it picks up after school as lots of people bring their children to wind down on their way home,” he said.

"It's lovely for our team because people want to stop and tell us how the gardens are looking, and talk about their experience with plants and gardening.”

So what's it like to go from Sydney Botanic Gardens to the sub-tropics?

Thousands gathered at the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens for this morning's dawn service.
Thousands gathered at the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens for this morning's dawn service. Neil Fisher

"My initial impression was being amazed at the advanced specimens of species which we worship down south,” he said.

"In Sydney we had one tabebuia [sometimes called a trumpet tree] growing in a pot in a glasshouse; here, you've got them growing everywhere.

"Kershaw is one of the best native gardens I've seen; the size and scope of the council's collection is amazing.”

Opposition leader Bill Shorten is in Rockhampton today for the Labor Party Country Forum. He started his day running with locals at Rockhampton parkrun at the Botanic Gardens.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten is in Rockhampton today for the Labor Party Country Forum. He started his day running with locals at Rockhampton parkrun at the Botanic Gardens. Contributed

"And the Botanic Gardens, which turn 150 this year, have preserved original plantings of banyan pines in the back corner which is outstanding.”

He say the Council continue to work on improving paths and other facilities around their gardens to encourage more people to visit and explore.

Sharon Casey shared an image of the Japanese Gardens at the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens.
Sharon Casey shared an image of the Japanese Gardens at the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens. Sharon Casey

Mr Elgey accepted the Capricornia Native Plants Society's invitation to present a seminar on soil pathogens during their January meeting.