Colour your world with pretty tibouchinas
SUNSHINE Coast residents will be well aware that if you wish to enjoy some of the lovely gardens in our part of the world, the best way is to take visitors for drives around the different parts of our region.
There's so much to see and interstate and overseas visitors are very enthusiastic about many of the plants they see here that won't grow in their part of the world.
The flowering shrubs and trees - some of which were seasonal, and others all-year-rounders - caught our eyes wherever we were during the past week with our interstate family. Tibouchinas, grevilleas, hibiscus, roses, gerberas, azaleas and camellias - the varieties are almost endless.
Tibouchinas, also known as glory bush or lasiandra, are great eye-catchers and are looking unbelievably beautiful at this time.
The 5-6m tall, rich purple variety (lasiandra) was the first variety we were introduced to, often complemented by softer shade forms, and one we really love is the T. chameleon.
Chameleon is a multi-coloured form that will grow about 1.5-2m tall and similar width, with the flowers opening white, through mauve and finally pink to rich pink tones.
We saw this beauty growing in the grounds of Flaxton Gardens restaurant this week as a metre tall hedge, which was coming into flower and creating a magnificent effect.
Tibouchinas enjoy the full sun, and will grow in part-shade.
They're pest-resistant, making them even more attractive for the home gardener.
They should be pruned after flowering and do best in light soil containing humus.
The flowers really glow against their background of rich deep-green, heavily-veined leaves.
This variety is also ideal for garden beds, informal hedging, as a tub specimen, and alternated with other forms such as the purple flowering T. Jules, which will grow about 1.5m tall and wide.
In the vegie patch
THOSE folk who have already planted their tomato seedlings can give them plenty of encouragement by starting to feed them some Yates Thrive Tomato Liquid Plant Food, which encourages healthy leaf growth as well as flowers and fruit.
Follow the instructions on the container - they're excellent. Also, keep your Yates Tomato and Vegetable Dust handy, as it will control powdery mildew and blights, as well as caterpillars and aphids.
While we're talking vegie patch, our mixed lettuce plants are growing like there's no tomorrow, and the one punnet is keeping us and a neighbour or two happy at this time, so get down to your favourite garden centre and buy some to get a good start to the season.
Another good tip is to plant some borage seed now, where you're growing or about to grow pumpkin, cucumber and zucchini.
Borage attracts bees, so those vegetables will be well-pollinated by the buzzie ones you have brought in specially for them.
You can grow borage in pots or directly into the garden, as long you have it where it's needed most, because it is one of those plants that does not transplant easily.
The eye-catching blue flowers attract both honey bees and the Australian native blue banded bees.
The flowers are edible and good to add to salads, but don't eat the leaves.
Prune dead flower heads as they appear, to encourage more flowering.
DON'T forget the special Father's Day event coming up on September 4 at Noosa Botanic Gardens that overlooks Lake Macdonald, next to Cooroy.
The Friends of the Noosa Botanic Gardens raise funds to provide improvements to their 8.1ha gardens along the lake shores, growing many plants to tempt you on that day.
So do drop in between 9am and 3pm, and help them as well as yourself.
The Brisbane International Garden Show will have its next popular event over the four days of October 6-9 at Pine Rivers Park, Strathpine.
There'll be something for everyone, so watch this page for more information, and mark it in your diary now.