Vibrant splash of autumn colours

EVEN though we don't live in a southern state where residents have the good fortune to enjoy the gorgeous autumn colours of their deciduous trees, we still have many shrubs and trees providing us with our own "fall" colour.

One of the most outstanding deciduous, autumn trees we can enjoy in our warmer climate is the beautiful Liquidambar, perhaps better known as sweetgum, which has been making a wonderful show for several weeks now. There are several growing along the roadside, a kilometre or so past the Nambour Heights shops, as well as many specimens on the Blackall Range and other areas.

If you know the Nambour Heights area, you will also have noticed the superb crotons (Codiaeum var.) opposite the shops - growing about a metre high and wide, that display their magnificent foliage all year round. The colours include varying shades of yellow, gold, burgundy, orange, red and some mid to metallic green splashes, that make them excellent contrasts for nearby plants with golden, lime green or apple green colouring.

So whether you're looking for statement plants, tub specimens, even low-growing hedges, have a look for the good range of crotons in your garden centre.

Good tips

YOU don't have to learn by your own mistakes. If you buy a new plant to grow in a container, buy good, top-quality potting mix.

It's pointless and costly spending $20 on a plant and using $1 worth of rubbish soil to grow it.

Pressed coconut fibre liners are the best to use in baskets, and to reduce the loss of moisture, add an inner lining of a plastic shopping bag, poke plenty of holes in the base and you'll win the battle.

Don't waste your kitchen scraps - compost them. Everything that's lived except meat is the usual rule, and you'll save yourself heaps over the years.

Open garden

AN Open Garden Australia feature for you to enjoy this weekend, between 9am and 4.30pm, is the Eudlo Cycad Gardens, at 321 Ilkley Rd, Eudlo - UBD Brisbane 77:N13, or map 29:J15 in the new shrunken phone book!

Whether you've visited this incredible garden previously - some 12,000 have done so during their six openings in the past 10 years - or it's your first visit, this is your golden opportunity.

Owners Peter and Clare Heibloem have created a unique display of 3000 of the rarest cycads in the world, along with hundreds of mature palms and many thousands of a very broad range of bromeliads.

The extensive 2.4ha garden also includes many aloes flowering now, huge clumps of some 60 different bamboos, undercover cactus and succulent areas, and hundreds of rare plants in the extensive landscaped rockeries of the garden.

Then there are magnificent large stone sculptures, beautiful ponds, and extensive displays of wall paintings of cycads and succulents.

Besides having been featured in Burke's Backyard DVD of The World's Greatest Gardens, as well as many magazines and television programs, here on the Sunshine Coast, we are only a short drive from one of the most complete collections of rare cycads in the world, certainly the largest in Australia.

This priceless collection containing some of the world's rarest and most endangered plants has been created by the Heibloems over the past 20-plus years, and cannot be duplicated due to changes in endangered species laws.

From our recollection, this incredible collection started some 20 years ago when Peter saw a private advertisement for a cycad priced at $500

His curiosity forced him to go and see what sort of plant would be worth that.

Remember, this was 1990-ish.

He fell in love with it, and the rest is history.

Entry is $6 per person, under-18s free, and refreshments will be available each day. Don't miss it.

>> Read more lifestyle stories.

Topics:  autumn gardening gardens

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