By now you should be applying frost protection sprays such as the polymer spray Envy along with the Bull Kelp derived Seasol.
Seasol needs to be reapplied every 7 to 12 days to get the best protection. It lowers the temperature at which cells freeze. You could say it acts as a organic anti-freeze. It will also be present within the plant system when frosts are over, thus helping the plant to return to full productivity. TO ACHIEVE OPTIMUM RESULTS YOU NEED TO MAINTAIN THE APPLICATIONS.
For those of you that like unusual plants I suggest you try this one. From the rainforest and foothills around Innisfail to Cairns comes Phaleria clerodendron. (Phaleria from “Phaleros” in reference to the shining white of the clerodendron like flowers). Common name as per the supplier is “Scented Daphne”, however “Native Scented Daphne” might be more appropriate.
In its natural habitat, growth is around 8 metres plus with a spread of 4 to 5 metres but in a garden situation, considerably smaller, around 4 metres x 3 metres wide often multi-trunked. Foliage is glossy and dark green with the new flush being a dark plum colour. Mature leaf can be up to 20cm long and up to 5cm wide.
The flowers are fine tubes, up to 4cm long and in mass clusters. And now the interesting bit. It flowers directly from the branches and trunks right down to ground level the whole plant gets completely covered in bloom up to 5 times a year. Plus…wait for it…the flowers are highly perfumed, somewhat like pineapple (apparently). All this display gives way to brilliant 2.5cm red egg-shaped fruit. At times on mature plants you get the display of maturing fruit amongst new flowering. In the garden it will need ample water during the warm weather. Its tolerance to temperature change is excellent, from 5°C to 40°C. Best suited to full or partial shade, but with ample water, will tolerate full sun.
Another interesting tree I have managed to get is the “Smooth Leaf Davidson Plum” Davidsonia johnsonii. This variety is found growing in pockets around Mt Warning, NSW and the very eastern edge of S.E. QLD (I understand it is on the endangered plants list) D. johnsonii is regarded a small tree when planted in the garden.
Unlike other Davidsonia that produce flower and fruit from the trunk D. johnsonii produce its fruits from the branches. It can take up to 6 years to produce fruit which unfortunately may not be viable. The “plums” produced are very acidic and regarded as too sour to eat raw, but apparently make great jam or wine. In all, a nice looking tree which can be used to enhance your rainforest zone plus help to save this endangered plant.
NOTE: All parts of P. clerodendron are regarded as poisonous. And with D. johnsonii the hairs on the plant may irritate sensitive skin.
Photo courtesy of John Grey