Ruth Stephan has been able to spend more time in the garden since moving into the city in 1980.
Ruth Stephan has been able to spend more time in the garden since moving into the city in 1980. Contributed

Garden dream now a reality

RUTH Stephan always wanted a garden but finding the time was difficult when working on a dairy farm.

The dream became a reality in 1980 when she decided to sell and move into the city, resulting in less time spent travelling on the road and more time spent on gardening and pursuing other interests.

This was not without challenges, especially after more recently having to adjust to a small urban block at Southside near Gympie Bowls Club.

Ruth was so inspired by one of her gardening trips overseas she fell in love with mass plantings of colourful flowers. In spring, her garden will come alive drawing attention to the spectacular groupings of one or more types of annuals with the added bonus of minimising weeds as well.

Ruth turned her love of flowers into a rewarding hobby by learning how to create beautiful floral designs and flower arrangements for special occasions such as Red Cross Chelsea flower shows, the bowls club and recently the Gympie Garden Expo.

When asked what her favourite plant in her garden was, Ruth said she really liked the desert roses as they were amazing plants which required little attention and also admired their architectural shapes.

The naming of desert roses (also commonly known as adeniums) was correct in part as they originally came from Africa and the Middle East, but the term roses was wayward because they were actually more related to alamandas, oleanders and frangipanis.

A few useful tips to know about desert roses:


  • They need to be positioned in full sun and rich, well-drained soil
  • Water needs to be monitored - in winter water less and in summer water more, especially in humid conditions, either early in the morning or late in the afternoon only on the soil. Leaves must be avoided. Also make sure it is not resting in water as this may cause the plant to rot.
  • Use white oil for aphids or mealy bugs.
  • Susceptible to getting rot in the open wounds if pruned in the wet season. Pruning encourages more branches and flowers, and also improves their shape.


Another interesting fact is the floral emblem for the Northern Territory is Sturt's desert rose.

This was named after Captain Charles Sturt as he was the first European to collect the rose during his trip to central Australia in 1844-1845.

Members of the Gympie Municipal Horticultural Society were required to pay Val $5 for the next trip to Curra leaving Jaycee Way at 1pm on Saturday, June 16.

Any questions, phone Val Vidler on 5482 7146.

Organic gardeners might like to consider applying one of Jerry Coleby-Williams' suggestions for the month of June by growing plants such as calendula, sunflower, paper daisy and chamomile.

Gympie Times

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