Saturday, April 25, 2015

An Interesting New Blog

You might like to have a look at this new local blog.
It is called Moths of Toowoomba.
It illustrates how growing local plants in gardens enriches the local fauna.
Moths, both adults and larvae, are a major food for birds and micro-bats, so every plant that attracts moths, besides bringing some delightful little creatures to the windows at night, enriches the total biodiversity.

This moth's host plants are Psydrax species (also known as canthiums), which are very attractive garden plants in their own right.
(Use the search box top left to find what I've written about several Psydrax species, on this blog).

Box Leafed Canthium

Psydrax odorata forma buxifolia
This small tree species had one of its magnificent flowering years, all around the district, this year.

Having delighted us with its lovely fragrant flowers, as well as delighted the insects (and the birds which feasted on them), it is now ripening fruit. There will be a second feast for the birds, shortly.
This is a plant that is rather slow-growing, but very pretty from infancy, with its geometrically neat, paired branches.
Here is a pretty specimen in Peacehaven Botanic Park at Highfields.

Its small rounded shiny leaves have a (very) vague resemblance to the English box which is the reason for it’s common name. (Won't it be nice when English-speaking Australian culture has matured to the point where our plant names reflect a love for our native plants for their own sakes, rather than always having to compare them with something from the "old country"?)
Some people call it “native jade”, because it can fill the “jade niche” in gardens for those who would rather grow a local native plant. I find it much prettier than jade. Here it is as a pot plant on my patio.
Like so many local dry rainforest plants, it is very long lived, so makes a good pot specimen for many years.
It prefers a sunny position, and is drought and frost hardy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Your Own Copy

of the
Crows Nest Community Nursery Stock List.
Some people have requested this.
It's easy enough to email out, so you can print it out for youself.
It is slightly better than the list below, as it includes an (approximate) count of the plants on the shelves which warns you if numbers of the plant you want are low so you need to get in fast.
It includes a list of plants that are "coming up" to being ready to go on the shelves.
And it tells you what shelves the plants are on. Some people like to walk in with the list in their hands and go straight to the shelves to look at the plants they think they might want.
Contact me if you'd like to go onto the email list.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Latest Stock List

Crows Nest Community Nursery
What great rain we’re having!
And there’s time for another round of planting before winter.
The Toowoomba Regional Council’s environmental nursery ( Crows Nest Community Nursery) is the place to buy indigenous plants. It specialises in plants of local provenance to the TRC area.
The current seed season has resulted in a large supply of fresh new plants, in “bottomless” tubes and ready to go in the ground straight away.

         Tubes, $2.50 and $4.00

THE NURSERY’S ADDRESS: Depot Road, Crows Nest Industrial Estate
TO FIND IT: If coming from the south on the New England Highway, turn right, into the Industrial Estate - BEFORE you get to the town proper. (If you cross the creek at Bullocky’s Rest, you’ve gone too far. Turn back.)
Follow Industrial Ave - the road parallel to the highway - then turn right into Timber St. At the end of that, turn right into Depot road. The nursery is at the end.
Thursdays 9.00aam-1.00pm (Tel 4698 2990)

•    Unable to get to the nursery during those times? You can make arrangements to obtain plants from the nursery by contacting the manager (see below).
•    Enquiries and larger orders should go to the Lisa Churchward at


Abutilon tubulosum    MALLOW, YELLOW TRUMPET
Acacia concurrens    CURRACABAH
Acacia decora    WATTLE, PRETTY
Acacia falcata    WATTLE, SICKLE
Acacia fimbriata    WATTLE, FRINGED
Acacia granitica    WATTLE, GRANITE
Acacia hakeoides    WATTLE, HAKEA LEAF
Acacia harpophylla    BRIGALOW
Acacia jucunda    WATTLE, YETMAN
Acacia juncifolia    WATTLE, RUSH-LEAFED
Acacia maidenii    WATTLE, MAIDEN'S
Acacia melanoxylon BLACKWOOD
Acacia salicina    WATTLE, WILLOW
Acacia venulosa    WATTLE, VEINY
Alchornea ilicifolia    DOVEWOOD, HOLLY
Alectryon subcinereus    BIRDS EYE, QUINCE LEAFED
Alectryon tomentosus    BIRDS EYE, HAIRY
Allocasuarina inophloia    SHE OAK, THREADY BARKED
Allocasuarina littoralis    SHE OAK, BLACK
Allocasuarina luehmannii    OAK, BULL
Allocasuarina torulosa    SHE OAK, FOREST
Alphitonia excelsa    ASH, SOAP
Angophora woodsiana    APPLEGUM, SMUDGEE
Apophyllum anomalum    WARRIOR BUSH
Araucaria bidwillii    BUNYA
Araucaria cunninghamii    HOOP PINE
Archontophoenix cunninghiamana    PALM, PICCABEEN
Arytera divaricata    COOGERA, GAP AXE
Arytera foveolata    COOGERA, PITTED
Atalaya salicifolia    WHITEWOOD, SCRUB
Auranticarpa rhombifolia    HOLLYWOOD, GOLDEN
Austrostipa ramosissima    GRASS, STOUT BAMBOO
Backhousia angustfolia    MYRTLE, CURRY
Banksia integrifolia    BANKSIA, TREE
Banksia spinulosa v. collina    BANKSIA, HAIR PIN
Brachychiton acerifolius    FLAME TREE
Brachychiton bidwillii    KURRAJONG, RUSTY
Brachychiton populneus    KURRAJONG
Brachychiton rupestris    BOTTLE TREE
Breynia oblongifolia    BREYNIA
Bridelia leichhardtii    IRONBARK, LEICHHARDTS
Bursaria incana    BURSARIA, SWEET
Callicarpa pedunculata    BEAUTY BERRY, VELVET
Callitris baileyi    CYPRESS, BAILEYS
Capparis mitchellii    CAPER TREE, MITCHELL'S
Castanospermum australe    BLACK BEAN
Casuarina cristata    BELAH
Casuarina cunninghamiana    SHE OAK, RIVER
Christella dentata    BINUNG FERN
Cissus antarctica    VINE, KANGAROO
Clausena smyrelliana    GREG'S WAMPI
Clematis glycinoides    VINE, HEADACHE
Clerodendron floribundum    LOLLY BUSH
Cordyline petiolaris    PALM LILY, LARGE LEAFED
Cordyline rubra    PALM LILY, RED FRUITED
Corymbia citriodora subsp. variegata (Corymbia maculata)    GUM, SPOTTED
Corymbia gummifera    BLOODWOOD, RED
Corymbia trachyphloia    BLOODWOOD, BROWN
Cryptocarya foveolata    WALNUT, MOUNTAIN
Cryptocarya glaucescens    JACKWOOD
Cryptocarya triplinervis var. pubens    LAUREL, HAIRY BROWN
Cupaniopsis anarcardiodes    TUCKEROO, BEACH
Cupaniopsis parvifolia    TUCKEROO, SMALL LEAF
Cyclophyllum longipetalum    CANTHIUM, BRUSH
Deeringia amaranthoides    DEERINGIA, RED-FRUITED
Denhamia pittosporoides    DENHAMIA, VEINY
Dianella brevipedunculata    FLAX LILY, SHORT STEMMED
Dianella caerulea    FLAX LILY, BLUE
Dianella longifolia (was D. laevis)    FLAX LILY, PALE
Dillwynia phylicoides    PEA, SMALL LEAF PARROT
Diploglottis cunninghamii    TAMARIND, NATIVE
Dodonaea sinuolata    HOP BUSH, THREADY LEAF
Dodonaea tenuifolia    HOP BUSH, FERN LEAFED
Dodonaea triquetra    HOP BUSH, FOREST
Dodonaea viscosa v. angustifolia    HOPBUSH, NARROW LEAFED
Doryanthes palmeri    LILY, SPEAR
Drypetes deplanchei    TULIPWOOD, YELLOW
Dysoxylum fraserianum    ROSEWOOD
Ehretia acuminata    KODA
Ehretia membranifolia    KODA, THIN LEAFED
Einadia nutans, red fruited    SALTBUSH, NODDING, red fruited
Elaeodendron australe,    OLIVE PLUM, RED
Elattostachys xylocarpa    BEETROOT TREE, SHORT-LEAF
Emmenosperma alphitoniodes    ASH, YELLOW
Enchylaena tomentosa    SALTBUSH, RUBY
Erythrina numerosa    CORAL TREE, PINE MOUNTAIN
Eucalyptus acmenoides    STRINGYBARK, BROAD LEAFED
Eucalyptus albens    BOX, WHITE
Eucalyptus amplifolia    GUM, CABBAGE
Eucalyptus biturbinata    GUM, GREY, LARGE FRUITED
Eucalyptus camaldulensis    GUM, RIVER RED
Eucalyptus conica    BOX, FUZZY
Eucalyptus crebra    IRONBARK, NARROW LEAFED
Eucalyptus eugenioides    STRINGYBARK, THIN LEAFED
Eucalyptus infera    DURIKAI MALLEE
Eucalyptus interstans    GUM, GRANITE RED
Eucalyptus leucoxylon rosea    GUM, RED FLOWERING YELLOW
Eucalyptus melanophloia    IRONBARK, SILVER LEAFED
Eucalyptus melliodora
Eucalyptus microcarpa    GUM, SMALL-FLOWERING GREY
Eucalyptus moluccana    BOX, GUM TOPPED
Eucalyptus montivaga (Eucalyptus andrewsii subsp andrewsii)    BLACKBUTT, TOOWOOMBA
Eucalyptus orgadophila    COOLIBAH, MOUNTAIN
Eucalyptus propinqua    GUM, GREY, SMALL FRUITED
Eucalyptus resinifera    MAHOGANY, RED
Eucalyptus saligna    GUM, SYDNEY BLUE
Eucalyptus siderophloia    IRONBARK, GREY
Eucalyptus tereticornis    GUM, FOREST RED
Eucalyptus viminalis    GUM, MANNA
Euroschinus falcatus    RIBBONWOOD
Eustrephus latifolius    WOMBAT BERRY
Excoecaria dallachyana    POISON TREE, SCRUB
Ficus coronata    FIG, CREEK SANDPAPER
Ficus rubiginosa    FIG, SCRUB
Ficus superba var. henneana    FIG, DECIDUOUS
Ficus watkinsiana    FIG, GREEN LEAFED MORETON BAY
Flindersia australis    ASH, CROWS
Flindersia collina    ASH, LEOPARD
Flindersia xanthoxyla    LONG JACK
Geijera salicifolia    WILGA, SCRUB
Gmelina leichhardtii    BEECH, WHITE
Grevillea banksii, Tree    GREVILLEA, BANKS'S, TREE FORM
Grevillea robusta    OAK, SILKY
Guioa semiglauca    GUIOA
Hakea florulenta    HAKEA, FINGER
Hakea salicifolia    HAKEA TREE, WHITE FLOWERED
Hibiscus heterophyllus, pink and white    HIBISCUS, NATIVE
Hovea lanceolata    HOVEA, LANCE LEAFED
Hovea lorata    HOVEA, SMALL LEAFED
Hymenosporum flavum    FRANGIPANI, NATIVE
Jagera pseudorhus    FOAMBARK
Jasminum didymum subsp didymum    JASMINE, COASTAL
Jasminum simplicifolium    JASMINE, STIFF
Kunzea flavescens (Rare)    KUNZEA, YELLOW
Legnephora moorei    VINE, ROUNDLEAF
Leptospermum brachyandrum    TEA TREE, HARLEQUIN BARKED
Leptospermum polygalifolium    TEA TREE, TANTOON
Lomandra longifolia    MATRUSH, LONG-LEAF
Lophostemon confertus    BOX, BRUSH
Maireana microphylla    BLUEBUSH, SMALL-LEAF
Maytenus bilocularis    ORANGEBARK, HEDGE
Maytenus silvestris    ORANGEBARK, NARROW LEAFED
Melaleuca bracteata    TEA TREE, BLACK
Melaleuca lanceolata    TEA TREE, DRYLAND
Melaleuca liniariifolia    SNOW-IN-SUMMER
Melaleuca quercina    BOTTLEBRUSH, OAKEY
Melia azedarach    CEDAR, WHITE
Melicope micrococca    DOUGHWOOD, WHITE
Melicope rubra    EVODIA, LITTLE
Morinda canthoides    MORINDA, CLIMBING
Myrsine variabilis (Rapanea variabilis)    MUTTONWOOD
Omalanthus populifolius    BLEEDING HEART
Owenia venosa    APPLE, ROSE
Ozothamnus diosmifolius    RICE FLOWER
Panicum decompositum    GRASS, NATIVE MILLET
Pararchidendron pruinosum    SNOW WOOD
Peperomia tetraphylla    PEPEROMIA, SMALL LEAFED
Petalostigma pachyphyllum    QUININE BUSH, THICK-LEAFED
Petalostigma pubescens    QUININE BUSH, NATIVE
Petrophile canescens    CONESTICKS
Pittosporum angustifolium    GUMBY GUMBY
Pittosporum revolutum    PITTOSPORUM, HAIRY
Pittosporum spinescens    WALLABY APPLE
Planchonella australis    APPLE, BLACK
Poa labillardierei    GRASS, TUSSOCK
Podocarpus elatus    PINE, PLUM
Polyscias elegans    CELERYWOOD
Pseuderanthemum variabile    LOVE FLOWER, white flowered form
Pultenaea villosa    PEA, HAIRY BUSH
Rhaponticum australe    AUSTRAL CORNFLOWER
Rhodosphaera rhodanthema    YELLOWWOOD, DEEP
Sambucus australasica    ELDERBERRY, NATIVE
Santalum lanceolatum    SANDALWOOD, NORTHERN
Santalum obtusifolium    SANDALWOOD, SCRUB
Senna acclinis    SENNA, BRUSH
Senna artemisioides subsp. zygophylla    SENNA, NARROW LEAF DESERT
Spartothamnella juncea    BROOM, SQUARE STEMMED
Stenocarpus sinuatus    FIREWHEEL TREE
Sterculia quadrifida    PEANUT TREE
Swainsona brachycarpa    PEA, SLENDER DARLING
Swainsona galegifolia    PEA, SHRUB DARLING
Swainsona queenslandica    PEA, QUEENSLAND DARLING
Syncarpia verecunda (Rare)    TURPENTINE, RAVENSBOURNE
Synoum glandulosum    ROSEWOOD, SCENTLESS
Syzygium australe    LILLYPILLY, CREEK
Toona ciliata    CEDAR, RED
Trema tomentosa    POISON PEACH
Vitex lignum- vitae    SATINWOOD
Xanthorrhoea glauca    GRASS TREE, BLUE LEAFED


at Crows Nest Nursery
Here's a great thing to do on a Thursday Morning.

The Crows Nest Community Nursery (see description above) is run mostly with volunteer labour, under the guidance of our TRC leader, Lisa Churchward, who is an experienced nurseryperson. She comes out on Thursdays from her other job in TRC's Toowoomba nursery.
This is a cheerful group which always enjoys our Thursdays at the Nursery, and has the satisfaction of knowing that we are doing something really useful for our local environment.
Having the "right" plants - which means having local native plant species grown from locally sourced seed - is at the bottom of the food chain as far as any restoration of the local environment is concerned. These plants are the very best choice for a local wildlife garden, so many of our customers are private gardeners and landholders. We also supply bushcare and landcare groups, local commercial nurseries, and TRC itself.
We plant seeds, pot them up when they have grown, and care for them until customers carry them out the nursery gates. 
Potential volunteers need no specialised knowledge. There are always plenty of people (usually 8-10 volunteers plus Lisa) to get you started, and you soon learn the ropes.
Usual volunteer working hours are 9.00 - 12.00, but some of us start from 8.00am when the nursery opens, and work through to 1.00pm.
Car pooling from Toowoomba can be organised, to save on fuel and provide company for the trip.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Pandorea jasminoides
I was amused to hear a backhanded compliment given to this plant, a few years ago. “It doesn’t look like a native!” the speaker said, in a tone which implied that she believed she was bestowing high praise.

Bower vine has become such a familiar sight in our mainstream gardens, that it can be a surprise to discover that not only is it native to Australia, but it is a local plant, growing in the scrubs in the Toowoomba area and along the Great Dividing Range.

These flowers were picked up off the ground in Franke Scrub, Highfields.
As the name “bower vine” suggests, these plants are substantial vines with woody stems, suitable for training over an arch or pergola to make a lovely shady bower. (I suggest planting up to four plants for a quick shade cover.)They are also popular on fences and trellises.

Alternatively, they can be used as a dense, bird-sheltering groundcover, in an open situation where they won’t find anything to climb on. (Let them find a shrub or tree, though, and they’ll take to the heights.)

The pandorea species are named for Pandora, the poor woman who, according to ancient Greek legend, is "responsible" for all the world’s troubles. She was set up, of course. Zeus (a male god, please take note) gave her a box as a wedding present, with the clearly stated aim of tricking humans into accepting an "evil gift".  When she opened it, all unaware of its contents, out they spilled like seeds from the pods of the Pandorea vines. In the myth, these contents were all the troubles of the world, but with Pandorea vines, they are just seeds. They are easy to grow, so if you get hold of one of the pods that are ripening on the vines at this time of year, you can have as many of these lovely vines as you could want.

Bower vines are hardy to Toowoomba droughts, especially if mulched. As with most climbers, their favourite site is one where their roots are in the shade but the canopy is in full sun, where it flowers best.
In a bushfire, these plants are a little more resistant to catching fire than some, which makes them a good plant for fencelines where fires are a concern. No plant is fireproof, though. However, bower vines can be among the first to regrow from their roots once the fire has gone.
They are frost tender when young.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Tree Ferns

The local treeferns will be loving all this rain!
These lovely, lacy fern-umbrellas are wonderful in a shady garden, and some will tolerate a considerable amount of sunlight. It’s a matter of choosing the right species.
We have two local treefern genera – Cyathea and Dicksonia. Of the two, Cyatheas tend to be hardier in our part of the world, and are therefore popular in cultivation.
Unlike Dicksonia antarctica, whose trunk is  covered with soft red-brown hair, the Cyatheas have scales. This surprises me, as what are apparently long narrow scales look like coarse hairs, to me. However, they contrast with the soft hair of the Dicksonia, which is rather nice to touch.

Rough Tree Fern
Cyathea australis

This may be the best treefern for local gardens. It is hardiest local tree-fern, the most widespread in nature (in our district) and the most commonly grown in gardens. It is the best for tolerating sunshine, drought and (light) frost, and can even regenerate after fires.
It was probably once quite common in the Toowoomba area, in the shady forests on both sides of the range. While tree ferns are usually thought of as rainforest plants, this one also grows in the wetter Eucalypt forests.
It is a tall, stout and sturdy plant. Its "roughness" comes from the blunt prickles on the leftover frond bases which clothe the trunk. Its red-brown scales distinguish it from our other local Cyathea species which has straw-coloured scales.

It can be rather slow-growing, but watering, and mulching to keep the soil moisture level reasonably high helps it grow faster.

Coin-spot Tree Fern
Cyathea cooperi  

This species may also have once been common in Toowoomba. A few naturally occurring plants still exist in a stream on the south-west side of Mt Kynoch, which flows into Gowrie Creek. It is considered to be a plant of wet rainforests, so these rather surprising survivors, now growing in a closed forest consisting mostly of privet, probably indicate that Gowrie creek itself used to flow through lush rainforest.

Almost as hardy as Cyathea australis, it differs in having a slender trunk, whose the leaf bases usually (but not always) fall off, leaving large, smooth oval spots which give it its common name.
The bases of the leaves have a distinctive curve, which give the plant a crown unlike any other local species.

Though it is happy with its head in the sun, it prefers a cool, shady, well-mulched root-run, with as much water as the garden-owner can afford to give it.Given these conditions, it is our fastest-growing treefern species.

Soft Tree Fern
Dicksonia antarctica  

This is our thirstiest local tree fern. In our district, we find it only in the damper rainforests on the edge of the Great Dividing Range.
It can be distinguished from our other treeferns, the Cyathea species, by the softness of its red-brown hairs.
It reminds me of an orangutan, but Tasmanians know it as a  "man fern", apparently because the thick trunk is so often about the size and proportions of a man. While there are plenty of upright specimens, the plant often leans, or simply lies down.

The hairy trunk provides niches for lots of little epiphytes, especially little ferns. This could be used to great advantage in a damp garden. Unlike the Cyatheas, this plant absorbs water through its trunk, so it is often grown with help from automatic sprinklers.
In the wild, it has suffered from the fact that it can be transplanted simply by cutting off the trunk at ground level, planting it in its new site, and watering it well. The temptation to plunder nature for a plant which is worth quite a lot of money is too difficult for some people to resist. Unfortunately, in the Australian climate, with its regular droughts and water restrictions, it has proven too easy to kill before it has become properly established.
While it is a lovely plant, its water needs mean that gardeners might feel that one of the Cyathea species is a more environmentally friendly choice.

All three of our local tree fern species grow in the Bunya Mountains, and all of them can be seen at different points beside the short walking track from the Dandabah car park to the Festoon Falls.