We’re all going on a summer holiday …


Over the summer, Ecotone will be taking a break … and won’t be returning to the soon-to-be-redeveloped nursery space at 51 Mollison Street in 2016.

You will still be able to order plants through our website stocklist, get in touch or find out about our plans for 2016 by liking us on Facebook.

In the meantime, here: Have a SUMMER SALE!

To make the move easier we’re selling all plants in megatubes and 10-12cm round pots for $4 each this week.

Orders can be placed via Facebook, emailing ecotonenursery@gmail.com or calling us on 0423 201 884, and collected from the nursery at an arranged time.

Or, come in and see us at the Mollison Street nursery space for the last time — Saturday 5 December!


Seasonal colour and interest — Spring

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

—Margaret Atwood

Hardenbergia violacea below a spring sky

A South East Queensland spring tiptoes in before winter ends, bringing brilliant skies, surprise storms and that quickening of senses we feel when green is reunited in bloom with its other friends on the colour wheel.

Our special spring post pays tribute to the bursts of colour appearing in our gardens at this time of year, making it impossible not to want to spend more time in them. So, let’s take a stroll and find out what’s flowering in white, pink, crimson, violet, gold, and indigo …

Butterfly bush (Pavetta australiensis flower)Double flowers on Bower of Beauty (Pandorea jasminoides)Little kurrajong (Brachychiton bidwilli)Hardenbergia violaceaeDogwood (Jacksonia scoparia)Patersonia sericea_native_iris


What’s flowering white?

Butterfly Bush (Pavetta australiensis)

Butterfly bush (Pavetta australiensis) — floweringLiving up to its name, the Butterfly Bush attracts pretty visitors to the garden, including the impressive (yet vulnerable) Richmond birdwing butterfly which feeds on the nectar. Well loved as an ornamental shrub growing up to 3 metres, the BB offers firework blasts of fragrant white flowers in a spectacular show of light lasting until November each year. When this brilliance retires, spherical green fruits will begin to appear in the early new year.

See Butterfly Bush on Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants.

What’s flowering pink?

Bower of Beauty (Pandorea jasminoides)

Double flowers on Bower of Beauty (Pandorea jasminoides)Once at home on a trellis or fence, Bower of Beauty will strive vigorously for the sunshine that brings forth its gentle floral splendour. Abundant in pastel pink bells of generous proportions, an established Beauty will bloom well into the summertime.

In the early days, dedicated watering in well-drained soil will set Beauty up to be fairly self-sufficient, so that a post-flowering pruning will be one of the few things you need to do to keep this sweet rambler just where you love it.

See Bower of Beauty on the Ecotone stocklist.

What’s flowering crimson?

Little Kurrajong (Brachychiton bidwilli)

Little kurrajong (Brachychiton bidwilli)Striving for maximum impact, the Little Kurrajong flings off its foliage before bursting forth crystalline clutches of deep crimson buds. Tuberous roots make these variably sized shrubs or trees (of up to 4 metres) remarkably drought tolerant. As Little K ages, its flower production intensifies so much that blooms may sprout from its trunk in addition to its naked branches.

See Little Kurrajong on the Ecotone stocklist.

What’s flowering violet?

Hardenbergia/False Sarsaparilla (Hardenbergia violaceae)

Hardenbergia violaceaeSet against ultra-green leaves, the violet pea flowers of Hardenbergia pop with eye-pleasing contrast. Plant Hardenbergia where its sure to catch some-to-plenty of sunlight and it will reward you with plumes of delicate petals which sing of spring’s imminent arrival. In garden design, the cooler floral tones help to breathe openness into narrow places. And this innate coolness, combined with hardy Hardenbergia’s compact sprawl, makes it a dreamy addition to the romantic gardener’s menagerie or the practical spacesaver’s square metre alike.

See Hardenbergia on Australian Native Plants Society.

What’s flowering gold?

Dogwood (Jacksonia scoparia)

Dogwood (Jacksonia scoparia)Despite not being a wattle, the Dogwood (which is actually another member of the pea family) lacks little patriotism in its colour scheme. Populous shoots of pea flowers cascade from the upper part of the Dogwood, bathing its grey-green foliage in gold from late spring through to summer’s end. This weeping shrub can reach a tree-height potential of 3 to 4 metres in an open aspect. For those with room, the vociferous Dogwood won’t let you forget what season or country you’re in.

See Dogwood on Australian Native Plants Society.

What’s flowering indigo?

Native Iris (Patersonia sericea)

Patersonia sericea_native_irisWatch the wavering indigo of Native Iris petals as they catch some breeze and you’ll understand why this clumping belle also goes by the name of Silky Purple Flag around the rockeries. Plant Iris in a well-drained, sunny to part-shady spot with promised moisture, and you’ll find that the bittersweet briefness of each bloom (one day) will be offset by generations of three-petaled wonders throughout the warmer months.

See Native Iris on Australian Native Plants Society.

Seasonal colour and interest — Autumn

“Autumn … the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

—William Cullen Bryant


While less dramatic than some parts, the crisp blue days of a South East Queensland autumn offer many quiet changes to ponder, and reassuring signs of what will follow in the fullness of time.

Our special autumn post points out some of the colour and interest you can enjoy in our little corner of the world at this time of year … So, let’s take a stroll and find out what’s flowering, changing colour, thriving, seeding and just being plain beautiful right now.

Wax Flower Vine (Hoya australis) — flowering  Bolwarra/Native Guava/Copper Laurel (Eupomatia laurina)Wombat Berry (Eustrephus latifolius)Brisbane Laurel (Pittosporum revolutum)Beauty Berry, Velvet Leaf (Callicarpa pedunculata) berries


What’s flowering?

Wax Flower Vine (Hoya Australis)

Wax Flower Vine (Hoya australis) — floweringIn the cooler months, the Wax Flower Vine erupts clusters of perfumed, waxy white flowers with delicate pink markings. Equally happy in sun or shade, the WFV will flower best with some sun and — if the soil is well-drained — will do very well in containers and hanging baskets, attracting butterflies such as the Common Crow butterfly for which it is a foodplant.

Note: As with some other poisonous plants, be wary of the WFV’s milky white sap.

See Wax Flower Vine on the Ecotone stocklist.

What’s changing colour?

Bolwarra (Eupomatia laurina)

Bolwarra/Native Guava/Copper Laurel (Eupomatia laurina)A lush shade-loving plant with glossy young foliage and arching branches, Bolwarra’s leaves can change colour in cold temperatures, lending it the pseudonym of ‘Copper Laurel’.

Pruning Bolwarra for a more compact form also turns it into a beautiful container plant for shady balconies, so that you can look forward to the warmer month’s perfumed white flowers, followed by fruit which is widely recognised as a bushfood and referred to as ‘Native Guava’.

Note: For safety’s sake please research all bushfood before consumption.

See Bolwarra on the Ecotone stocklist.

What’s thriving?

Wombat Berry (Eustrephus latifolius)

Wombat Berry (Eustrephus latifolius)An evergreen scrambler which grows vigorously as a vine or groundcover without taking over, Wombat Berry continues to thrive in autumn and is tolerant of some sun with its shade. The Wombat Berry’s small star-shaped flowers appear in spring, followed by bright orange berries which dot their sunshiney colour throughout the garden before opening to show black seeds.

See Wombat Berry on the Ecotone stocklist.

What’s seeding?

Brisbane Laurel (Pittosporum revolutum)

Brisbane Laurel (Pittosporum revolutum)The Brisbane Laurel requires little water, making it low maintenance in the drier months when its bright red bird-attracting seeds are ripening (March to May). Less water keeps the shrub smaller, making it perfect for pots in full or filtered sunlight.

In spring, the Brisbane Laurel’s yellow flowers put forth sweetly scented blooms followed by interesting orange fruit that open on the plant to again reveal the autumnal seeds.

See Brisbane Laurel on the Ecotone stocklist.


What’s beautiful?

Velvet Leaf/Beauty Berry (Callicarpa pedunculata)

Beauty Berry, Velvet Leaf (Callicarpa pedunculata) berriesWhen in fruit this shrub is very decorative; at other times it blends in to the vegetation. Plant now to establish and look forward to seeing a summer transformation when the Velvet Leaf decorates itself with small pale pink flowers followed by bunches of lustrous purple bird-attracting berries that last into early autumn.

See Velvet Leaf on the Ecotone stocklist.


Dianella — Featured plant

Dianella (Dianella longifolia)

Dianella longifolia

The resplendent Blue Banded, Teddy Bear, and Carpenter bees are some of the specialised pollinators that visit the nodding flowers of Dianella plants.

Whilst the pollen of many flowers simply sticks to insects that brush past it, Dianella pollen needs to be extracted from its hiding place inside the hollow yellow anthers. Some bees have evolved a technique known as buzz pollination for this purpose: clinging to the anther, the bee vibrates with a loud buzzing sound, shaking the dry pollen out as it does so. Attracting buzz pollinators to the garden could also mean a better crop of tomatoes – research has shown that they could help with large-scale agriculture too.

View the Australian Museum’s short video on buzz pollination:

The genus Dianella is named after the Roman Goddess Diana, ruler of the forest, wild animals and the moon, among other things.
South East Queensland has several species — varying in form, colour and growing conditions; they all have strappy leaves, blue (sometimes white) flowers with yellow anthers, and brilliant blue or purple berries.
Locals include Dianella longifolia (pictured), caerulea, brevipedunculata and congesta, as well as several others. Dianellas host the Yellow Banded Dart butterfly, and the berries are eaten by fruit-eating birds. Small animals take shelter amongst the foliage.
They can be planted singly or en masse in the garden, providing a range of linear textures, depending on which species is used.

Jars and terrariums

plants_for_terrariums_signIf you’re pressed for space or just looking for some local greenery you can keep within gazing distance, lidless terrariums are a great indoor gardening idea that can cost very little. By upcycling your old jars (or ours) you can create a simple piece of paradise for the office or study corner in next to no time.

We’ve picked out four local native South East Queensland plants that look peachy in a jar — and will thrive in a lidless terrarium environment.


Jar lover number 1:
Love Flower (Pseuderanthemum variabile)

Love flower (Pseuderanthemum variabile)

Shower with a mist of water and watch your Love Flower bloom brighter. See more pictures of the Love Flower on the Australian Tropical Rainforest website.

Jar lover number 2:
Ivy Leaf Violet (Viola banskii)

Ivy Leaf Violet (Viola banskii)

Keep the soil moist and your Ivy Leaf Violet will drape dainty tendrils with white-and-lilac flowers across your desk. See Ivy Leaf Violet in bloom on the Australian Native Plants Society Australia website.

Jar lover number 3:
Tripladenia (Tripladenia Cunninghamii)

Tripladenia (Tripladenia Cunninghamii)

Tripladenia grows low, spreading its beautiful foliage out in every direction. Keep Tripladenia’s rainforest vibe alive with shade and moist soil.  See Tripladenia’s sweet little pinkish-purple flowers in Mangroves to Mountains online gallery.

Jar lover number 4:
Scrambling Lily (Geitonoplesium cymosum)

Scrambling Lily (Geitonoplesium cymosum) Scrambling Lily is a light climbing vine with deep green leaves that are similar to those of bamboo. Scattered clusters of small white and yellow flowers in spring/summer. See Scrambling Lily’s flowers and berries on Save Our Waterways Now.

Top tip for a happy jar terrarium

Ecotone keeps pre-jarred plants you can buy ready-made. Or, if you’re just buying the plant, remember to add a few centimetres of drainage pebbles to the bottom of the jar before filling it with some good-quality potting mix.

Terrarium and jar garden materials

Terrarium and jar garden materials all ready for potting up some local jar-loving beauties.


Web Peperomia blanda_Karesansui

1. Peperomia blanda var. floribunda

Common name: Peperomia

Strong, forgiving, curious and quietly stylish: if Peperomia turned up on your doorstep with a bottle of wine you’d be intrigued and pretty quickly wooed. This semi-succulent rainforest herb* thrives in the shade, tolerates filtered sunlight, and loves a little company. Often found in clumps on mossy rocks or boulders, Peperomia cohabits happily with ferns and vines. At 30 cm tall, Peperomia’s delicately structured form unfurls with the elegance of origami, and throws the kind of rainforest shapes that would flatter any room. *But please don’t try eating it.

Find out more about Peperomia — Australian Native Succulents, Attila Kapitany


2. Lindospadix monostachya

Common name: Walking stick palm

With edible red fruits*, a trunk that was used as a sturdy cane for ex-service men after WWI, and a readiness to adapt from moist rainforest to sunlight-dappled inner-city Brisbane lounge-rooms (aka ‘heavenly havens’), the Walking Stick Palm really should be in line for a Duty to Service medal itself. Show your appreciation by composting the container, allowing for lots of drainage, and … one day (in the quite far away future) the tips of your palm’s crown might just grow to tickle the ceiling. *Please don’t try this without guidance.

Find out more about — Linospadix Monostachya: The Walking Stick Palm, Len Butt


3. Hoya australis

Common name: Wax flower vine

Rainforest, eucalypt forest or kitchen corner, the Wax flower vine will entrance you with her gently twining tendrils and pastel clusters of dainty petals*. She finds no fault with containers or hanging baskets that constrict her roots and, in fact, will reward you all the more with bundles of fragrant flowers throughout the spring. You will find your little Hoya uncomplaining if well lit, well drained and rarely pruned. Give her a trellis or beam to entwine and watch her succulent-leaved loveliness extend for up to 5 metres in length. *Be sure to keep those possibly poisonous petals and tendrils away from the mouths of babes and pets.

Find out more about— Hoya Australis, Australian Native Plants Society, Australia

Blue Triangles and Lolly Bushes

Blue Triangle Butterfly

Photo: Coby Cole Stegman

A Blue Triangle butterfly (Graphium sarpedon) in a shady garden of marginal rainforest plants. Nearby is one of it’s caterpillar food sources, the Lolly Bush (Clerodendrum floribundum) — also a butterfly nectar tree.

Find out: