Saturday, 29 August 2015


Apologies Friends for the lack of Blogs, unfortunately I am battling an illness, trying to keep my life on track and fulfil all my commitments. It is one thing to be passionate about something and be involved in many forums but another to neglect one area at the expense of another. Guess I will have to sort out my priorities.

To start off with, thanks to all the residents and Friends who so successfully supported the Recent 10th Anniversary. It was a fantastic success thanks to the Council Staff (well done Christian) and all the volunteers and merchants who supported the event. A common comment was 'we should find other reasons to do this more often" Once again Thank You one and all.

The entrance road turning circle is soon to be turfed and the car park earth works are well underway. The entrances are now at the Western end of the Park along Kuhls Rd and via Scott Street as normal. They tell us approx. 6 weeks should see the job done, weather permitting. DON'T FORGET TO CONTINUE SUPPORTING THE NURSERY THROUGH THIS PERIOD, THERE ARE LOTS OF NEW PLANTS READY TO BE PLANTED IN YOUR GARDEN, MANY IN BUD OR FLOWERING.

There aren't many new flowering plants in the Park at the moment although the Brachychitons are in bud and starting to colour up. There are lots of birds nesting and hollows in trees are in demand at the moment. The frog pond is up and running with it's own waterfall and it was great to see water flowing through the dry creek bed during the Birthday celebration.

A reminder to all Friends that the AGM is being held on Wed 2 Sept. Get involved, active members are always welcome, help to share the load of  running YOUR organisation.


As mentioned in the last Blog, the potted plant has been nurtured/spoiled in it's pot. As a result the roots don't need to go anywhere as they have everything they need in their pot. Your job when planting it is to create an environment to entice the roots out of the root ball and into your garden bed. The main thing you have going for you is the plant is growing/getting bigger and looking for more nourishment/water so it will send it's roots out searching.
Your garden soil needs to be friable (not compacted), have a moisture holding content (humus/compost), have nourishment available and be free draining. Of course Light and Airflow are important also.

Your first step should be to ensure the soil is loosened up/aerated and dig in compost. Your soil composition should be considered, a general soil mix might consist of 1/3 original soil, 1/3 compost/humus/organic matter and 1/3 coarse river sand. I f your soil includes heavy clay a clay breaker should be added now. If your soil is depleted of minerals (as is most Australian soil, long ago leached , washed away or intensively farmed without replacing them) you should consider adding a soil supplement such as "Earth Life" rock minerals (available/manufactured in Toowoomba) at this stage. Dig all this in turning it frequently from top to bottom to ensure an even mix.

A depth of approx. 300mm (a bit more than a spade blade depth) would be suitable for most plants to get them started. After all your hard work don't walk all over it and re-compact the soil. A good idea when planning a new bed is to allow for an access path to service/prune etc, it could be stepping stones, a narrow gravel  or decomposed granite walkway etc.

If you are not in a hurry let the bed sit for a while which has the advantage of letting any weeds/seeds germinate which are then easily removed. It is a good idea at this stage to also water the bed in and mulch it to avoid the ingress of any new weeds/seeds.

If you are like me and can't wait, dig the hole for the plant a minimum of twice as wide as the pot and unlike what the plant label says, 1 1/2 times as deep. Place a small amount of fertiliser (slow release or compost) at the bottom of the hole and then backfill to the depth of the pot (the idea is to prevent root burn but encourage the roots DOWN, the water will wick down through the loose soil and the roots will follow the water).

Now pre position the pot plant in the hole and press it lightly into the soil having first worked out the front/face of the plant. Carefully invert the pot plant into the palm of your hand with the stem between your fingers and gently remove the pot from the plant. Place your other hand on the bottom of the plant and turn it back over supporting the weight of the plant on your lower hand (at no stage hold the plant only by the stem). Lower the plant into the hole ensuring the marks on the bottom of the plant line up with the indentation you made in the bottom of the hole (this is to ensure minimal air space between the two). Now backfill around the plant and press the soil down GENTLY(are you listening gentlemen) around the plant. Do not backfill higher than the original level of soil around the plant, a low mound/moat may be built up around the plant to aid in directing water into the root ball. Water the plant immediately with a Seasol solution or equivalent and repeating the Seasol again in 1 week. This is to settle the plant in and help avoid planting shock. Water the plant daily or as necessary until established paying particular attention to the wetness of the root ball and watering much wider than the plant to keep surrounding soil moist thus allowing new roots to easily penetrate. This method I have described isn't complete as space doesn't allow but I hope I have raised a few points you may not have considered before and thus ensure a higher success rate and produce bigger/better/healthier plants. Any further questions/advice is available from volunteers at the Peacehaven Nursery.

The next Technical article will be about designing a garden from scratch, I might have to break it down over several Blogs as there is a lot to consider.

The majority and content of these articles are directed towards native plants as that is what Peacehaven Park and the Nursery are about but most information is applicable to exotic plants as well.

Hope to see you around the Park. 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015


Despite the chilly weather my latest incursion around the Park revealed some exciting New Blooms. This solitary small shrub off to the left of the Western decomposed granite track is Hovea Acutifolia. It is an open to straggly shrub up to 1.5M tall, it flowers profusely through winter/spring and likes shade or morning sun with occasional watering. The flowers are not inhibited by shade and in fact have a more intense purple colour. A White version is available. Great for adding a bit of colour in a shady area. To the right is a very interesting/colourful small tree Melacope Rubra syn Evodiaella Muelleri. It is a small tree approx. 3m with open foliage, a corky bark and has flowers that form on the trunk and branches directly. It flowers through Winter and Spring, the Lorikeets love it and it is  a food source for the Ulysses butterfly. A protected site from frost and wind is preferable otherwise it will drop some leaves and the remaining leaves will tend to yellow until it warms up again. This fantastic garden tree can be seen just off the cement path down towards the BBQ area. A little bit further on the first flowers can be seen on Grevillea Robusta (Silky Oak). Below is another great plant/small shrub for a shady/protected area, Syzgium Wilsonii. It is a rainforest understory plant that likes protection from frost/wind to protect the flushes of new growth. It has a weeping habit and large leaves that change colour from bright red thru pink to finally green. It has a magnificent red powder puff flower and does best with a bit of additional water. This plant is located to the left of the cement path about half way down. While you are in the area keep an eye open as the first Banksia flower/cone is out as well.

 As you may be aware the Nursery is now stocking a wider range of Native plants. To cater for the extra plants an under utilised area has now been opened up so ensure you check out the whole Nursery when visiting. A few pictures below show the facilities and great volunteers that produce the majority of our plants so please support the Nursery ( best range and prices in town) and thus help develop our beautiful Park.
NOW is actually a good time to plant out suitable Native Plants especially the Dry Land Natives from Western Australia eg Grevilleas etc. Western Aust (Southern areas) receives most of it's rain during winter ( they get very little summer rain) and as a result the plants GROWING SEASON is actually winter. An added advantage of planting now is very little follow on watering is needed, the roots will start to develop and the plant is ready to explode in Spring. A quick note on watering NEWLY planted Native Plants, there is an axiom 'water once a day for a week-once a week for a month then once a month for a year "after that the plant is on it's own. The aim is to keep the root ball moist, remember it was watered every day in the Nursery before it was planted. All this is subject to prevailing conditions, less in Winter, more in Summer, the 'stick the finger in the dirt' trick to check moisture levels and of course leaf droop usually means 'water me please'. As promised here is the FIRST semi-technical article-BUYING/SELECTING GOOD POTTED PLANTS an enthusiasts view. Firstly, plants you buy from your local Nursery are probably not LOCAL. Now you have to consider whether they are suitable for your areas climatic conditions, they just got off a truck, they won't be acclimatised or sun hardened, were probably FERTIGATED (irrigated/watered with fertiliser in the water), won't take kindly to not being watered/fertilised regularly, are probably not ready to be planted out immediately because of insufficient root growth in the pot (I like to gently squeeze the pot from the outside and feel some firmness or at least see some SMALL roots out the bottom), if you see the potting mix break up on the surface the roots definitely haven't developed enough throughout the potting mix. The pots/plants could be root bound-very hard when you squeeze the pot (in which case GENTLY tap the pot off to check the roots). Wriggle the stem of the plant and observe around the stem a cm or two out for separation of the potting mix where the plant may have been potted on from a tube (you will see the outline of a square shape) or planted as a 'plug' and the roots haven't spread out/taken in the larger pot, it will fall apart if you try and plant it. These are just a few things to look out for when buying a pot plant, WERE YOU WONDERING WHY YOUR'S DIED. Having said all that, if you come across a plant like any of those above and you really want that particular plant, (let's face it some native plant's are hard to find) then just leave it in the pot for a few weeks to grow on before it is planted out. This serves 2 purposes-the roots develop or the plant will die as it is a weak plant. I NEVER PLANT OUT A POT PLANT IMMEDIATELY it can save you a lot of time and effort and makes getting a refund easier. If it won't survive in a pot it probably won't survive in the ground. Be careful not to over water 'tubes' their potting mix is usually different and will stay wet longer. Hope that was informative, next BLOG will discuss preparation of the garden bed before planting that newly purchased pot plant.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015


I enjoyed yet another lovely walk through the park this afternoon, lots more buds bursting forth/flowering and birds with nesting material in their beaks. Hope that is a sign of an early spring or at least warmer weather to come. Hello and welcome to our new members, not sure I can publish names so I will play safe. A very big welcome to our new member from MIDDLE RIDGE (outside of  Highfields area-Woohoo) they will know who they are. A very eventful POST follows with lots of information.

The NURSERY has a heap of new plants for sale, both different and colourful, some in bud and some flowering. BE QUICK they will be very popular. A range of new plants in 140mm pots is available now with a heap of tube stock arriving before Thursday 2nd July. Our full range of  local/indigenous rainforest trees and shrubs is always available.


 Assuming that most FRIENDS and READERS of the BLOG are interested in Native Plants I thought I might post some information about other related activities. The Native Plants Queensland (NPQ) Plant Show is being held on the 15/16 Aug 9am-3pm at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens (BBG) , it is a real eye opener. For me  it is akin to a 'kid in a lolly shop' scenario. Grab a few friends, jump in the car and drive down there, after you have been to the Peacehaven Bash first of course. The Native Plant Gardens section at the BBG Mt Coot-tha is a great destination by itself.

This beautiful yellow flower is from Hibbertia Scandens which is a fast growing vine that can be quite rampant but prunes readily. It is covered in flowers from end of Winter through to Summer, it can also SPOT flower throughout the year. It does well in shade or full sun and can take light frosts. Check out the one behind the Nursery on the fence line. The Callistemon below is Viminalis, check out the Scaley breasted Rosella in the left hand top branches. It will grow virtually anywhere, including Black Soil, has a weeping habit and is great for the birds. Prune off the spent flowers while they still have a little colour/before the seed pods form, for an even better flowering next time. The next photo shows just how well the Rainforest edged creek line is coming along, it looks very lush. I've decided to write some articles on all aspects of Native Gardening in SERIAL format starting next BLOG. Hopefully that will keep you hooked and the BLOG size and production time, manageable. Thought I had forgotten didn't you, nothing else has developed on the FRIENDS/LOVERS relationship yet, BUT! things are afoot. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015


Tuesday 23rd June 11.35am

New plantings- Hedges??
Grasses at edge of Lake
Hi,I am going to endeavour to walk through the park 2 or 3 times a week and bring things of interest or significance to your attention. The TRC planted annuals are progressing nicely with colour showing through already. I think it will add a point of interest and a splash of colour to what at this time of year is a relatively drab pallet. You may say that it could be done with Native plants, and it could. Maybe that is something that could be looked at in the future. WHAT WILL BECOME OF THOSE GARDEN BEDS AFTER THE ANNUALS HAVE PASSED THEIR BEST ??? Could be an opportunity here.But, bang for your buck in a short time frame, annuals are hard to beat. Overall I think it will produce a great result and help lift visitors spirits during this rather drab time of year. GOOD ONYA TRC.
Acacia at edge of new Frog Pond

Every time I visit the Park I think WOW, how lucky is HIGHFIELDS to have this fantastic facility. The best way to keep it progressing and developing is to support it HIGHFIELDS RESIDENTS. How do we show TRC how much we LOVE our Park. A visitors book/comments perhaps, supporting the NURSERY to increase funds that go towards the Garden development, or Posting comments/ideas on this site ???. THE BEST WAY IS TO USE IT !!! All ideas/comments are welcome.

Petrofile Canescens
Pittosporum berries
You may have noticed I used that LOVE word again in the text, our relationship (Friends of Peacehaven)  still hasn't progressed, we are still only Friends not Lovers  !! I STILL HAVEN'T DIVULGED MY SEX YET, SO HOPEFULLY THE BLOG WILL APPEAL TO BOTH SEXES. Hoping to get my PARTNER to contribute to the BLOG as well. Watch this space, it won't be long and Spring will be in the air. Change will be afoot. Talking of which I watched a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets enlarge a hole in one of the Eucalypts today, potential nesting site. Even the birds love building in Highfields.


Thinking about putting in some articles about growing Natives, preparing soil, watering, feeding, pruning etc. Don't know if that is within the scope of the BLOG though. What do ya reckon  ???

Tuesday, 16 June 2015


Here we go FRIENDS, I hear we will soon become LOVERS, watch this space. Bear with me while I find my way around the site. I will start by posting excerpts of an article I wrote recently about a visit to Peacehaven by SGAP TOOWOOMBA. This will bring you up to date with some of the developments that have occurred around the park. Since then the Council has planted out some Spring flowering colour plants which should add a little glam. A lot of the existing plants are in bud at the moment showing promises of things to come. Future articles will not be this long, I am just bringing you up to date and letting other bloggers in the Toowoomba Regional Council area THE WORLD really, know what a fantastic Park we have.
Callicarpa Pedunculata
The Nursery was kindly opened and manned by Dorelle, it is normally open THU and SAT from 9AM until 12.30PM. There is a large selection of Native plants, dare I say it is the largest Native Nursery in the Toowoomba area. The majority of plants are propagated by cutting or grown from seed by the 'Friends' and supplemented by tubestock ordered from wholesale nurseries. Quite a few plants were bought which was a pleasant surprise considering most SGAP members have well established Native gardens. This means that the plants bought were different, interesting, the 'right price' or all three. For those that haven't been to the Nursery a quick rundown on activities/facilities there-it consists of a shade cloth covered Retail/plant display area, a Greenhouse and a Hothouse where many hundreds of seedlings grow on before being moved out to the shade cloth area to harden up. Everything is done Inhouse from washing/disinfecting pots, mixing up our own potting mix  and striking our own cuttings. The Nursery has a high success rate due to the expert supervision of Joy Sheath, the facility Manager and the very experienced/dedicated Volunteer staff. Most members of the 'friends' supply cuttings and seeds from their own gardens which generates a diverse supply of often hard to get plants. I highly recommend dropping into the 'Peacehaven' Nursery from time to time to find 'Gems' for your garden and if not, just to talk to the friendly/knowledgeable staff/volunteers. The setting of the Park has to be mentioned, the Park slopes gently downhill where the eye is immediately drawn to the magnificent vista of the distant Bunya Mountains. You need to explore the fabulous gardens/facilities that 'Peacehaven'  has become to fully appreciate it, and allow yourself a bit of time. The Park is child and Pet friendly, has nice clean modern toilets, plenty of parking, has  BBQ facilities and 3 New Pergola/Under cover areas with seating/tables in addition to a large Rotunda with seating. The Gardens have wide winding pathways that are suitable for all levels of personal mobility. Along the pathways you will find features such as ants carved into large sandstone blocks, large free standing ants that the kids will love and great Mosaic depictions of Native animals/birds set into the concrete paths. Most trees/plants have permanent nameplates set into the ground in front of them making identification/education easy. Some of the standout/flowering plants were a Sturts desert pea in full flower, a Callicarpa covered in red berries that hadn't quite turned their typical candy pink colour yet, an apricot flowering Hibiscus Splendens, Cats whiskers in purple and white, Syzgium Wilsonii with a vibrant new flush of colour, Cordyline Petiolaris in flower/fruit as well as Native Gingers and several Wattles. Further along in the dry creek bed there were Bangalow palms, Cyathea Cooperi and Dicksonia Antartica tree ferns, this area will be fantastic with a bit more growth, it is already starting to get that Rainforest feel. All in all it is not only a great Botanical Park but a great destination that one should allow a couple of hours to visit, and have a cuppa, especially on a Thursday or Saturday morning where yours truly will be labouring away in the Nursery looking for an excuse to take  a break and sell you a PLANT OR TWO. All of this is surrounded by magnificent Gums of different varieties backed up by a cacophony of Birdlife and their calls.  WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR  !!!

          cunjevoi in creek line 

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Frog Pond Fills

Frog pond in the making
Cumulative rainfall of more than 140mm from March 25 to 28, 2014 produced enough runoff at Peacehaven Park to fill the recently built frogpond. TRC staff Wayne and Dan'l handpicked suitable stones and rocks from a rural site then painstakingly sorted and set them to create an attractive and frog-friendly lining. As you can see the pond is full. Subsequent heavy rain on Sunday March 30 should have tested the bywash design.     Now all we need are some                                                                                            plants and frogs for a raucous                                                                                           chorus.
Filled Frog Pond 27-3-14

Monday, 27 January 2014

Ants Abound

Ants exploring Peacehaven
Have you seen the army of massive ants along the new rainforest path? If not they're worth a visit. We're told by Robert Campbell, Toowoomba Regional Council Parks and Gardens, that these aren't anything compared to some expected a little later this year. Keep your eyes open.
What a whopper! 
Can you see the little honey bee on the ant's abdomen?
Click the image to enlarge in a separate window.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Stinking out the place

Adults and at least three instars of
Lychee Stink Bug, 
Lyramorpha rosea. 
These little beasties were found on the Small-leaved Tuckeroo Cupaniopsis parvifolia last week. They are all the same species, Lychee Stink Bug, Lyramorpha rosea. The adults are obviously the larger, less-colourful ones. However underneath they are a beautiful apple green as you can partially see on a couple of them. 
The smaller ones are three different stages or instars of the bug. (An instar is a developmental stage between each molt until sexual maturity is reached.) These little fellows are quite attractive in their orange and blue uniform.
It is found on trees, as shown by the photograph, but also on the ground. There are lots of them on the trunk, branches and leaves of our Tuckaroo. They are sap suckers and leafeaters. There didn't seem much damage to the Tuckeroo. We'll have to keep an eye on it. Another species they like, Red Ash or Soap Tree Alphitonia excelsa has been badly attacked by something. Perhaps it is the stink bugs. They also like Leopard Ash Flindersia collina, and as its name suggests, lychees. It seems they are not a real problem in commercial orchards.
An interesting fact about Shield or Stink Bugs is that the adults take care of their young. In the case of Lychee Stink Bug older instars help as well. No wonder they are so plentiful.
Older instars guarding younger ones.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Such a darling

Queensland Darling Pea, Swainsona queenslandica flowering in September
Isn't this a stunning little darling? It was flowering beautifully in the Dry Rainforest Area of the Park in September. It was only planted in February so it is still quite small. Now its seed pods are decorating the little vine. This is the red flowering form. You may have seen the pink form in your garden. To find out more about this little plant go to Pretty Pink Darling Peas on member Trish Gardener's "Toowoomba Plants" blog.
Queensland Darling Pea, Swainsona queenslandica. Just a small plant in the mulch
The decorative seed pods

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Community Tree Planting — 9 am, 5 October 2013

Members of the Friends at one of our earlier planting days.
Come along and plant a tree!

Members of the public will have the opportunity to actively contribute to the revival and improvement of Peacehaven in October. 

On Saturday, 5 October, Toowoomba Landcare Group, together with the Friends of Peacehaven Botanic Park and Toowoomba Regional Council will host a community tree planting day in Peacehaven Botanic Park.

In an area of existing, large eucalyptus trees, about 200 native shrubs and ground story plants will be established. This will result in a pocket of bush representing the layered vegetation of a native dry sclerophyll forest that once dominated our local landscape.

Everybody is welcome from 9am to help with planting. All tools and gloves will be supplied and volunteers can enjoy a free sausage sizzle after the activity.

Our community nursery will be open and it will also be an opportunity to take a walk through the park to see recent developments.

(For those who’ve always wondered sclerophyll is derived from the Greek skl─ôros hard  and phullon a leaf. Sclerophyllous plants are prominent throughout Australia, the Mediterranean Basin, Californian woodlands, Chilean Matorral, and the Cape Province of South Africa.)