Gympie Municipal Horticultural Society’s Bruce and Joy Priddy hold a pieris ryukuensis temple bells.
Gympie Municipal Horticultural Society’s Bruce and Joy Priddy hold a pieris ryukuensis temple bells. Contributed

Wallu Nursery’s great offering

HAVING a garden like Wallu Nursery would be a wonderful way to escape from the pressures of daily life.

Situated among large palm trees and complemented by the use of under-storey plants such as heliconias, gingers and clivias, Wallu Nursery is the perfect place to unwind.

Owner Kevin Thornley told members of the Gympie Municipal Horticultural Society last weekend this beautiful garden was the result of many years of transforming a bare block of land, with everything planted from seeds.

In his garden there is an unusual raphia palm with its massive leaves. This palm originates from Africa, Madagascar, Philippines and Nigeria, and is the largest in the plant kingdom, being made of nearly 100 leaflets on each side of the central stem.

Gardeners need to wait patiently as it takes approximately 40 to 50 years to produce flowers and fruits for the first and only time before it dies.

Despite this, the plant keeps on living due to the development of new suckers.

The raffia fibres are obtained from the raphia palm tree by stripping off the freshly cut pale green leaflets. Drying them in the sun changes the colour from green to beige.

Take notice when you are shopping for presents - the raffia fibres are often used as a decorative item for tying a little bow around oil, jam,vinegar, wine bottles, soaps, candles and boxes.

Since this material is soft, pliable, strong, durable, easy to dye and biodegrable it has been widely used for weaving baskets, hats, mats, rugs, making doll hair, ribbons, Hawaiian skirts and more.

For the bromeliad lovers, there was a magnificent alcantarea divineplum positioned in full sun and proudly showing off its spectacular flower spikes which can last up to 18 months.

The deep red leaves are extremely hardy and can handle a fair amount of stress as they hold a large volume of water in the centre of the plant. This would make a lovely addition to any garden.

If interested in lilly pillies you may like the giant lau-lau (also known as syzygium megacarpa) as the leaves, flowers and fruit tend to be much larger than other varieties.

Pieris ryukuensis temple bells have similar requirements to azaleas and rhododendrons in that they grow best in part shade with a preference of having a slightly acidic, free-draining soil.

This is evergreen shrub blooms in early spring with its large drooping clusters of creamy-white bell shapes that attract bees, followed by reddish new growth.

Horticultural society tour director Val Vidler has organised a coach trip to visit Heaton's Nursery at Nambour as well as Noela's Garden at Beerburrum on Wednesday, August 28. For more information contact Val on 5482 7146.

Gympie Times


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