A Visit to the Roma St. Parklands in July 2020 …. Brisbane

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NOTE: My wife Harriet and I spent a wonderful afternoon in these gardens. I would like to share with you some photos and writing with you. These gardens are the worlds largest urban subtropical gardens showing a great diversity of plants from arid climate succulents to rainforest ferns, coastal wetland species, and a spectacular, ever-changing display of annuals in the aptly named Spectacle Garden.

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See the website for Roma Street Parklands at:
http://www.romastreetparkland.qld.gov.au/ which says in the Frontpage:  The world’s largest urban subtropical garden, Roma Street Parkland is a garden lover’s paradise with distinct precincts showing off a diversity of plants – from arid climate succulents to rainforest ferns, coastal wetland species and a spectacular, ever-changing display of annuals in the aptly named Spectacle Garden. Wide-open spaces perfect for a picnic or barbecue, children’s play stations, unique artwork, and fabulous city views ensure there’s something for everyone. Explore it on foot or catch a train ride … it’s yours to enjoy.

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GARDENS …. Subtropical Garden ….

Subtropical gardening is a style of gardening in which an attempt is made to create a garden in a temperate climate such that it appears to be in a much warmer climate. “The lure of the beauty of tropical landscapes like those found in Hawaii, Key West, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Bali, and other exotic locales is undeniable. Such beauty has an almost irresistible appeal . . . It is the stuff dreams are made of” (Riffle, 1998).

This style of gardening is based on what has been dubbed the “tropical look.” “The tropical look is a bit difficult to define with words alone, but its components include all palms” as very important and distinctive subjects, “all plants with relatively large or boldly shaped foliage and flowers, and all plants with colored or variegated leaves and large and spectacular flowers and flower clusters . . .The tropical look is also based generally on evergreen plants, especially large-leaved herbaceous plants like bananas, bold-leaved trees, and ferns. In short, the tropical look is one of flamboyant forms and contrast.” (Riffle, 1998).

The tropical look can also be considered to include many exotic xeric plants, not just plants that give the appearance of a rainforest or jungle. “The climax community aspect of [desert] areas is uniquely exotic, tropical and colorful” (Riffle, 1998).

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SECTION 1: BY GARDEN THEMES

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GARDENS …. Fern Gully:

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Ferns and plants that thrive in sheltered locations thrive up this specially man-made gulley that goes under a portion of the bridge that crosses the Parklands as shown in the photos and below.

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Ferns thriving up this specially man-made gulley. They make a Fern Gully of ferns as shown in the photos below.

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GARDENS ….. Subtropical Garden ////:

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Impatiens planted en-mass makes for a colourful display.

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Spathipyllum:

Spathiphyllum is a genus of about 47 species of monocotyledonous flowering plants in the family Araceae, native to tropical regions of the Americas and southeastern Asia. Certain species of Spathiphyllum are commonly known as spath or peace lilies.

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Lilies in big terracotta pots, make an impact on the walk through the gardens. The impact is three dimensional with the few pots and the stepping stones across the small pool.

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Lilies with red flowering spikes which contrast with the emerging broad green leaves, adds to the subtropical feel of the gardens.

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This is a different lily to the ones shown above. They are different in that the leaves are multicoloured.

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Cordyline rubra:

Cordyline rubra, known as the palm lily is an evergreen Australian plant. It grows as a shrub to around 4 metres tall. Found in warm rainforest and moist eucalyptus forest. The range of natural distribution is from Lismore to near Bundaberg, Queensland.

Add a touch of the tropics to your garden with this small, evergreen shrub. Grown for its decorative foliage, the Cordyline Rubra produces glossy, broad, dark red leaves that are streaked with rose pink when new. It is the ideal garden shrub in warm climates, and it also makes a great indoor plant in cooler areas. Grow it in your garden, in a container on your verandah or in your favourite pot inside. Choose a warm, sunny to partly shaded position that has well drained, fertile soil.

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Royal poinciana:

Delonix regia is a species of flowering plant in the bean family Fabaceae, subfamily Caesalpinioideae native to Madagascar. It is noted for its fern-like leaves and flamboyant display of orange-red flowers over summer.

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Bougainvillea (Purple flowering):

What many people think of as the blooms of bougainvillea are not actually blooms at all. The showy paper-like structures are a modified leaf called a bract. These three bracts hide the true flowers inside, which are small, trumpet-shaped flowers in whites and yellows. The showy bracts are typically found on new growth, with the biggest display following their winter dormancy. Typically, you will see the best display of blooms following a dry winter. If you are using bougainvillea as an indoor houseplant, make sure to keep the plants mostly dry during winter months.

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GARDENS … Native Bush Garden:

From 11 native Australian garden design ideas to inspire

Australia’s geographic isolation has resulted in it being home to an extremely unique range of flowering plants, trees and shrubs. The diverse assemblage of native Australian flora has resulted in an inspiring array of landscapes that cannot be found elsewhere. Drought-resistant and sculptural, these gardens feature a harmonious spectrum of native Australian foliage.

Australian Bush Gardens  are  characterised by the use of plants native to the Australian continent. Because these plants often have to survive during many dry times, the plants have leaves that are fine leaves often with leaves that have  outer tough surfaces to minimise  water loss.  They often have hard woody seed pods eg. banksias  or the hard woody capsules eg. all the many species of gum trees. The seeds inside these woody seed pods are released by hot bush  fires. The seeds are released by the heat so that the seeds fall out in a few days time and fall on fresh burnt ground. The bush quickly regenerates after bush  fires.

These plants often have unusual flowers in bright colours to attract birds eg. grevilleas. See the photos below. The birds dip into the flowers for the nectar there and at the same time pollinate the flowers. Seeds develop as a result.

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Xanthorrhoea australis, the grass tree, southern grasstree, Australian grasstree, or black boy, is an Australian plant. It is the most commonly seen species of the genus Xanthorrhoea. Its trunk can grow up to several metres tall and is often branched. In certain Aboriginal languages, it is called bukkup, baggup or kawee.

These are transplanted grass trees which have been dug up and transplanted from the dry Australian bush. They are worth a fortune now and take many years to reach the size here. It is now illegal to dig them out of the ground to sell them.

See the website:  The Grass Tree: Its Uses and Abuses  …..

Several grass trees together …. note the long strands of leaves like hanging grass.

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Banksia robur (Swamp Banksia): Banksia robur, the swamp banksia, is a dramatic looking banksia with large serrated leaves. The new growth has a felty coating of brown hairs, which is an attractive feature. It naturally occurs in damp areas on sandy soils, but is very adaptable to a wide range of conditions and soils. It needs full sun for best flowering, but will grow in part shade. The flowers are bluish-green, and turn yellow-green as the flower ages. It is hardy to frosts once established, but may need protection from frosts when young. It is a fast-growing plant.

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GARDENS … SUBTROPICAL … Continued:

Ixoras:

Ixoras are native to the tropical and subtropical areas throughout the world, with many of them in tropical Asia. These plants typically can’t handle frosts, so if you are in a frost-prone area these may not be for you. Some Ixoras are more prone to being cold affected, while others can handle a little bit of cold.

Ixoras have dark green leathery leaves and produce large clusters of tiny flowers in the summer and autumn. The more common Ixoras usually have orange, gold, pink or red flowers.

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Plants with broad green leaves reflect the subtropical nature of the garden.

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Like the plants above,these plants with broad green leaves reflect the subtropical nature of the garden.

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Quandong:

A fast growing Australian rainforest tree bearing distinctive blue edible fruits. The Blue Quandong has a large buttressed trunk with vertically flat visible roots which are as much a feature as the actual tree.

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A very subtropical look in the garden with the bright red band of shrubs at the base a hedge of dark green plants.
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A subtropical look in the garden with the bright red band of curving shrubs in the garden.

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Two dark green trees in the open lawned area gives a subtropical look in the garden overall … especially when they have colourful flowers on the trees.

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This is a repeat of the garden theme above …. a very subtropical look in the garden of the bright red band of shrubs at the base a hedge of dark green plants.

The same red flowers are planted in large terracotta pots on the left-hand side as you walk through to the picnic / BBQ area and lake. See the several photos below.

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The subtropical look maintained in this small garden with the bright red band of curving shrubs with a mix of yellow, orange and green annuals in the garden.

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SECTION 2: BY WALKING ALONG PATHS:

First entry off Albert Street:

A colourful subtropical vine grows over a portion of metal fence …. it gives the fence a very soft outline.

A raised garden of subtropical plants.

A rich dark green vine grows over an embankment.

The colourful subtropical vine as above grows densely over an embankment.

Pyrostegia venusta, also commonly known as flamevine or orange trumpetvine, is a plant species of the genus Pyrostegia of the family Bignoniaceae originally endemic to southern Brazil, Bolivia, northeastern Argentina and Paraguay, but now a well-known garden species.

This vine is very prolific and has been used to cover a concrete sprayed embankment. Wires help support the vine.

Colorful planted flowers greet you walk into the Parklands …. very cheery.

A very prolific vine has been planted around the base of a big tree to hide an embankment as shown in the photos above and below.

The Garden Room where get something to drink like tea or coffee and get something to eat.

The outdoor area from the Garden Room where you can get a single table with seats and umbrella which especially useful from the hot subtropical sun in summer time.

At a certain point in this extensive garden, you come to the Colin Campbell garden. See the sign below on who Colin Campbell was.

Colin Campbell:

Colin, born in New Zealand, always had a connection with the land. Arriving in Brisbane in 1977, he soon became heavily entrenched in the horticultural industry, receiving numerous awards along the way.

For almost three decades, with his radio, print, television, and speaking commitments, Colin was well known throughout the country. He also loved travelling to visit gardens both within Australia and overseas.

When the rail yards on this site were decommissioned, Colin recognised the site would be ideal as a garden for future generations. After much discussion with the Government, his vision became a reality and the Roma Street Parklands was opened in 2001.

Three clipped shrubs.

The trunk of a Jacaranda tree. Jacaranda is a genus of 49 species of flowering plants in the family Bignoniaceae, native to tropical and subtropical regions of Latin America and the Caribbean. It has been planted widely in Asia especially in Nepal.

See the website Gardening Fact Sheet: The Jacaranda with Brian Burke’s Backyard for the lovely purple colour on the trees when they flower.

Flame Bottletree  in full flower:

Brachychiton acerifolius is its botanical name, commonly known as the Illawarra flame tree, is a large tree of the family Malvaceae native to subtropical regions on the east coast of Australia. It is famous for the bright red bell-shaped flowers that often cover the whole tree when it is leafless.

A creek flowing through the parklands. The Central Lake which is shown below, collects all the rainwater runoff in the Garden which then is used for:

  • Irrigation of the whole garden
  • A central aesthetic centre to the garden
  • The water is the reticulated as streams and waterfalls

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Roses in the Garden:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

A rose is a woody perennial flowering plant of the genus Rosa, in the family Rosaceae, or the flower it bears.[1] There are over three hundred species and tens of thousands of cultivars.[2] They form a group of plants that can be erect shrubs, climbing, or trailing, with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles.[3] Flowers vary in size and shape and are usually large and showy, in colours ranging from white through yellows and reds.[4] Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwestern Africa.[5] Species, cultivars and hybrids are all widely grown for their beauty and often are fragrant. Roses have acquired cultural significance in many societies.[6] Rose plants range in size from compact, miniature roses, to climbers that can reach seven meters in height.[7] Different species hybridize easily, and this has been used in the development of the wide range of garden roses.[8]

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A wonderful website I would recommend you to look at and read is:

A Guide to Growing Miniature Roses Indoors

Jen Reviews in new Zealand has just published an updated, comprehensive guide on how to grow miniature roses indoors on their sister site, Happy DIY Home.

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As you walk along the path in the Colin Campbell, you come upon these wedged shape patches of colour or white or red from massed planting of annual flowers. The wedges are between the path and carefully clipped shrub hedges .

As you walk further along the path you come an area of colourful annuals.

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In this flower bed, there is something unusual. Decorative cabbages were used in a very artistic manor. They were arranged in artistic lines. The purple / pink centres of the cabbages is very unusual compared to round green shapes of vegetable cabbages.

More colourful annuals.

A piece of sandstone sculpture, explained below.

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Walking along the path, you suddenly come upon the sound of falling water. There a small waterfall that cascades down a series of ledges coloured a terracotta colour into a long shallow pool. The pool is crossed by a series of stepping stones in a terracotta colour. The garden theme is maintained by big well shaped terracotta pots planted with colourful annuals. See the photos below.

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A big winged metal sculpture creates a sense of movement in this quiet garden space as it hovers over some plants.

Colourful annuals in curves near an area with the winged metal sculpture.

At the back of the curves of colourful annuals is a row of tall shrubs of Australian rainforest lilly pillies. See the website:

Lilly Pilly Hedges, Trees and Plants – Growers Guide

A nice band of low under planting in broad-leaved shrubs with a cream leaf with green edges.

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Concentric Garden:

A scrub turkey makes it way nonchalantly along the path we are walking on. See this website:

 Australian brush turkey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Australian brushturkey or Australian brush-turkey or gweela (Alectura lathami), also frequently called the scrub turkey or bush turkey, is a common, widespread species of mound-building bird from the family Megapodiidae found in eastern Australia from Far North Queensland to Eurobodalla on the south coast of New South Wales. The Australian brushturkey has also been introduced to Kangaroo Island in South Australia. It is the largest extant representative of the family Megapodiidae, and is one of three species to inhabit Australia.

Despite its name and their superficial similarities, the bird is not closely related to American turkeys, nor to the Australian bustard, which is also known as the bush turkey. Its closest relatives are the wattled brushturkey, Waigeo brushturkey, and malleefowl.

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Topiary Garden:

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Up the Path from the Concentric Garden:

Walking along Albert Tce. Entry the second entry point:

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Bridge Across the Gardens:

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Open Spaces:

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LAKE, PICNIC, and BBQ Areas:

The Central Lake ….. collects all the rainwater runoff in the Garden which then is used for:

# Irrigation of the whole garden

# A central aesthetic centre to the garden

# The water is the reticulated as streams and waterfalls

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The Lake:

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PICNIC, and BBQ Areas:








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Path Up From the Picnic / BBQ Area:

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Up the Path from the Topiary Garden:

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Roma Street Train Station

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View on the City:

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Poppies:

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Agapanthus: (From this website)

The commonly grown agapanthus flower, often called Lily of the Nile, was introduced to Australia from South Africa. There are now more varieties of this genus than ever before, so if you’re like me and summer goes hand in hand with these happy blue sparklers, you’ll be delighted to discover the new varieties are as easy to grow as the common sky-blue form.

The genus name means flower of love, from the Greek agape, meaning love, and anthos, meaning flower. Agapanthus have long, fleshy leaves that form dense clumps of evergreen or deciduous foliage (choose evergreen forms for all-year action). Tall stems tower above, bearing heads of bell-shaped or tubular flowers, in shades of blue, purple or white. In frost-free climates, flowers of evergreen varieties appear over a long season; in cooler zones, summer is the principal flowering season. Agapanthus ranges in height from 20cm for dwarf forms, while giants can be up to two metres.

….. A subtropical section of the garden with a dark green Allamanda vine growing up some trees.  It has yellow tubular flowers on the vine ……

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Ixoras are native to the tropical and subtropical areas throughout the world, with many of them in tropical Asia. These plants typically can’t handle frosts, so if you are in a frost-prone area these may not be for you. Some Ixoras are more prone to being cold affected, while others can handle a little bit of cold.

Ixoras have dark green leathery leaves and produce large clusters of tiny flowers in the summer and autumn. The more common Ixoras usually have orange, gold, pink or red flowers.

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Tall Trees in the Garden:

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