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Almost the end of spring and I want shade 2016

I've decided I need a shade tree to go in the backyard.  Let's face it - I want some grass, but I also want to be able to sit out in my backyard and enjoy it.  Hence a shade tree.   It must be deciduous, relatively small, not necessarily productive (if it is - can't have fruit fly prone fruit as I will not be keeping small enough for netting) but beautiful if not.  Jacaranda's and Poinsettia's are out -> Jacs are too big and the Poins are too wide.  Something about the poinsettia's height or a little smaller though would be great.  This is the area it would go in.I think I've narrowed it down to a few in a possible order of preference.

  • Crepe myrtle Tuscarora: about 6m high - 4m wide.  Con: multistemmed.  How hard is it to train to 1 or 2 main stems?
  • Tabebuia palmeri: about 10 meters.  Con: I've seen conflicting heights up to 20m.  Not as pretty as crepe myrtle
  • Another pecan:  Con: greater than 10 m - could I keep pruned

Any thoughts would be appreciated.  Just remember that I have mulberries, persimmons and stone fruit already planted around the yard so they're out.

In other news, I'm getting heaps of capsicums and Chilli.  I've been procrastinating this weekend but I'm making that chilli jam this weekend.  I've got about 3x this much in the freezer all from a little bush I picked up at one of our garden visits.

Since working out that I could put capsicums under fruit fly netting last year, I haven't looked back.  These are the mini-mix from Bunnings but I have some seed grown ones that have heaps of green normal sized fruit as well that will hopefully be coming on soon.

Finally got my act together and created the A-frame climber for my melon's.  Got the idea from Gardening Australia.

The tromboncino's are reaching for the sky.  They are extremely prolific and flowers and fruit are enjoyed in this house - my zucchini needs are well met.  They are susceptible to fruit fly though.  I find if I pick them youngish (just after their flower closes) I'm good.    Currently I have a black bucket 1/2 filled with water where all the rotting fruits (not just troms) go so I drown/boil the little suckers.  It then gets tipped on my compost after a few days - smelly but effective. 

Found my first set of grapes that have set - Yay!  Had a look around and quite a few bunches.

Peaches have been divine but are nearly over and done with.  Got some really good sized, perfect fruit this year.  Still, about 1/4 are marked or have coddling moth but that is less than last year.

And finally, I'll leave you with a shot of my flowers.  Sunflowers, foxgloves and lisianthus.  The foxgloves are a definite replant item.  The plants themselves are a very neat whorl like pattern with their leaves and make an excellent border and then the flowers!!! Pretty!  I know they are poisonous - they are planted in fenced off areas but next Autumn, I'm definitely planting more of them.  The lisianthus are left overs from last year.  Most sites say they are an annual, but this is the second lot of flowers out of these guys.  Have planted more!Well guys, this chilli jam ain't gonna make itself! Happy gardening folks and be kind to yourselves - Don't make the mistake of staying out doing "just one more job" without sun protection.  I got a touch of sunstroke yesterday with major headaches and sunburn because I started in the garden at 5.30 when you don't need anything and kept working through till 11.30.

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Comment by Dianne Caswell on November 21, 2016 at 8:52

Hi Susan, Have you thought about growing a 

Tabebuia impetiginosa  Synonyms-Handroanthus impetiginosusTabebuia palmeriTabebuia avellanedaeTabebuia avellanedae  Common Names-

Pink Trumpet Tree, Purple Tabebuia
They really are a beautiful little shade tree and not too dense allowing the sun to come in
Comment by Susan on November 21, 2016 at 7:01
Hi everyone. Some interestingchoices you've given me to think about. Initially dave, i was going to do an old pergola frame with grapes ytained up it. Cant get the mildew resistant varieties from daleys due to quarantine restrictions and already have muscadines. I want the area to be pretty as it will be part of our entertaining area. I did look into those grafted eucalypts christa. While not deciduous, they dont look like they have an overly dense/large canopy so grass should still grow. I may get one - thinking about the summer beauty though as it is just a little taller than the summer red and the pink would look better in my garden.
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on November 21, 2016 at 0:42

I feel your pain Dave ... when it's slow to load that has happened. One work-around is to select all of your text and save that. If it doesn't load fast enough then at least you have your text to have another go with.

An up-side with she-oaks is that the needles are useful for covering the mix when growing Strawberries. They don't break down readily and are similar to pine needles in their usefulness with Strawberries.

Comment by Dave Riley on November 20, 2016 at 23:53

I just wrote a simply stunning contribution on this topic and lost the lot.

Bloody Ning!

I'll precis it:

  • "A' single tree may not work in Summer because the sun travels so far across the sky.You also have to wait for it to grow.
  • Also: do you want standing room or is it just a sitting rooms -- therefore less height required.
  • Instead, I think some structure is preferable like four upright posts define your 'room'. Grow climbers over it and use shade cloth while you wait and to adjust shade options.Think tent pieces.
  • Shape it 'U' shape facing north with the option of facing your preferred landscape.
  • Grow any number of climbers (eg: choko, jasmine,edibles, etc) but I do recommend Canavalia rosea. 
  • Then there is -- way outside the square -- a copse of Sheoaks very closely planted.-- Coastal or Weeping or both -- trimmed back in the cooler months.  No weeds. No insects to fall on your head. Can be brutally cut back. New growth from early Spring....and the soundscape! What a soundscape: the rustle of the needles. Who needs Zen Buddhism when they can have  Sheoaks to sit among. Upright tree too: less space issues.Makes its own floor covering.

I better post this in case I lose it again...

Comment by Rob Collings on November 20, 2016 at 19:52

Ah, forgot about the deciduous part... Macas are not deciduous, they thin out a little bit, probably due to our winters being dry.

Comment by Rob Collings on November 20, 2016 at 19:49

Awesome gardening Susan.
Macadamia's can be pruned, and Brisbane is central to it's natural east coast distribution. They have fine (but matting) roots which assist the tree in becoming more tolerant to dry times (once established).
My parents have a large tree, 5 meters from the house with no root intrusion to date (After 25 to 30 years), and lawn grows well in the shade, 1 metre from the base (beyond the garden bed it grows in). The tree has had 2 prunings in its time, the recent being over 50% with amazing recovery.
The pecan would be a tasty choice as well, unsure about the pruning though.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on November 20, 2016 at 19:37

Looking at the need for a deciduous tree, there's few-to-none Australian natives which answer this description. Exotic trees which can put up with our humid summers are few; none spring to my mind.

Shade sails are a possibility, good thinking Christa. They need sturdy uprights concreted into the ground but no watering, weeding or fertilising.

Comment by Christa on November 20, 2016 at 18:27

Backhousia citriodora, 5x4m,  Eucalyptus "Summer Red" 5mx2.5 Bunnies have them at the moment at fair size.    See this site for trees without invasive roots etc,  

Or you could consider a green shade sail, which does not need watering or fertilizing. 

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