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 the 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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Roma street parklands map: see this website

 

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From Climate Glossary

Seasons

In Australia, the seasons are defined by grouping the calendar months in the following way:

  • Spring – the three transition months September, October and November.
  • Summer – the three hottest months December, January and February.
  • Autumn – the transition months March, April and May.
  • Winter – the three coldest months June, July and August.

These definitions reflect the lag in heating and cooling as the sun appears to move southward and northward across the equator. They are also useful for compiling and presenting climate-based statistics on time scales such as months and seasons.

 

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SECTION 1: BY GARDEN THEMES

Some photos may be repetitive in SECTION 2: BY WALKING ALONG PATHS. Some plants are not named but are just there to be enjoyed for their subtropical brilliance. Where does the garden start and stop?

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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, add 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 the 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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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 blooming 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 the 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 its 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 day’s 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 that 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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GARDENS … SUBTROPICAL … Continued:

Ixora’s:

Ixora’s 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.

Ixora’s 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 give 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 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: Some photos may be repetitive as in SECTION 1. Some plants are not named but are just there to be enjoyed for their subtropical brilliance. Where does the garden start and stop?

First entry off Albert Street:

 

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

 

 

 

A raised garden of subtropical plants.

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

Pyrostegia venusta, also commonly known as flame vine or orange trumpet vine, 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.

Colorful planted flowers greet you walk into the Parklands from the Roma St. entry …. very cheery.

 

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 the summertime.

 

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 traveling 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.

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

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Flame Bottletree  in full flower:

  • 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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Walking along the path, you suddenly come upon the sound of falling water. There is a small waterfall that cascades down a series of ledges of eath-coloured terracotta tiles 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 a species of magnolia.

 

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

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THE TOPIARY GARDEN:

 

Clipped shrubs planted in the ground and in pots of the Topiary Garden surround an area of seats and a tiled floor, forming a  square Concentric Garden.

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Up the Path from the Concentric Garden:

It goes into tall shrubs, small trees, and eventually tall trees with gardens at eye level.  Where does the garden start and stop?

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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This stone topiary form is in direct contrast o the surrounding clipped small leafed plant.

 

 The path from the Concentric Garden goes into tall shrubs, small trees, and eventually tall trees with gardens at eye level. 

 

 

A sign for the Wickham Terrace Entry = Gate 5

After a long walk, the path leads to the Wickham Terrace Entry  = the fifth entry point.

Old style house from the 1930’s in the Wickham Terrace Entry near the back entry into these extensive gardens.

A city skyscraper reminds you that you are close to the city.

A table and seats under some shady trees near the back of the Albert St. entry. This is a convenient eating area where you can eat and stow all the meals in your car and then enter the extensive gardens. 

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Bridge Across the Gardens:

 

 

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The Hub is a central meeting place on the long bridge. It has seats for resting and waiting.

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Open Spaces:

 

 

Magpie-lark

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

The magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca), also known as the peewee, peewit or mudlark, is a passerine bird native to Australia, Timor and southern New Guinea. The male and female both have black and white plumage, though with different patterns. John Latham described the species in 1801. Long thought to be a member of the mudnest builder family Corcoracidae, it has been reclassified in the family Monarchidae (the monarch flycatchers). Two subspecies are recognized.

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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 reticulated as streams and waterfalls

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The Central Lake:

The Central Lake with the big fountain in the foreground.

BBQ tables and umbrellas with the big fountain in the background.

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There is to be no swimming, diving, or fishing in the lake.

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The boardwalk around the edge of the lake near the BBQ area

 

 

 

Egrets fossicking the lake edge.

The edge of the Lake near the BBQ area with built balconies. A portion of a garden bridge is in the background.

Reeds in a shallow edge of the lake.

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Looking across the lake towards the Fern Gulley bridge that leads to the observation tower = the Lookout. Pandanus Point is in the foreground.

 

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The Flying Duck Lookout at water level on the far side.

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Looking down on the Central Lake from the Observation Lookout at the end of the Fern Gully bridge.

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Looking down on the Central Lake from the Observation Lookout at the end of the Fern Gully bridge to the nearby apartments.

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LAKESIDE PICNIC, and BBQ Areas:

 

Frangipani tree in a deciduous state. See the website: How to grow frangip anis

A water fountain near the BBQ areas. There are two sporadic water jets giving a sense of movement above the sound of falling water.

 

 






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Roma Street Train Station

 

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View on the City:

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Poppies:

 

A view of a distant skyscaper in the city across a bed of flowering poppies and a taller bed of red leaved crotons.

See the website: How to Grow Crotons

 

 

 

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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 ……

Kangaroo Paws in flower

From  Kangaroo Paws

With their distinctive flowers and diversity of colours and forms, Anigozanthos kangaroo paws are among the most rewarding Australian plants. They grow from an underground rhizome and produce beautiful flowers on long stems mainly during spring and summer. There are many new varieties of kangaroo paws and Melissa visited a nursery on the central coast of New South Wales to show us how to get the best out of them. Growing naturally only in the south west of Western Australia, they’re now widely available to gardeners, thanks to the efforts of plant breeders such as Angus Stewart. (See the rest of the website).

 

 

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Tall Trees in the Garden:

 

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