The Cairns Fathers Day Plant Show is fast approaching, on Sunday the 1st of September 2013. Cairns has always had 3 plant shows. There has been a Mothers Day show, a Fathers Day show and a Show/Sale for Collectors held the first Sunday in December. The Cairns Fathers Day Plant Show started more than a decade ago and was initially run by the Friends of the Botanical Gardens.
It was established primarily as a plant show for small vendors to cater for the strong botanical and gardening interest in tropical Cairns. The vendors are accommodated on the road at the front of the Botanical Gardens, Collins Avenue. Societies and nonprofit organizations are catered for in the grounds of the gardens. In the sound shell they have a series of bands to cater for those that want a more relaxed afternoon.
The organization has now been taken over by the City Council and is run from our popular Tanks Entertainment Precinct. There is a bold new contemporary administration centre here with the restored old fuel storage tanks from the second world war. The ‘Carnival on Collins’, as it is now known, incorporates stalls selling arts and crafts. There is also a section for sustainable living. Children are catered for with various activities and street entertainers. It has become a great family day.
At the heart of it though are the plants. Various vendors specialize in tropical palms, flowering trees, orchids, carnivorous plants, succulents, foliage, bromeliads and fruit trees to name a few. Equatorial Exotics will again be there with their wide range of interesting tropical and subtropical plants.
Tabernaemontana pachysiphon has always been popular with its large, crystalline white flowers. The scent is what wins people over. It’s a large shrub or small tree with dark lush foliage that likes a lot of food. It flowers all year round and is usually placed where the perfume can waft into the living areas in the evenings. Another small tree suitable for the contemporary house block is Brownea macrophylla. This has a hemispherical mass of iridescent orange flowers and filaments. The flowers come straight from the branches. Seeing is believing when one experiences the intensity of the colour.
Theobroma cacao is another small tree with attractive new foliage and striking pods. Its seeds are used to produce chocolate. For those that like small growing palms, Calyptrocalyx pachystachys (Bedang Dawn Noda Noda) is a winner. With its mottled foliage, you could be forgiven for thinking it is a Pinanga.
Foliage lovers have been catered for as well. Medinilla miniata has huge, highly veined bullate leaves. The new leaf is colored. In addition, the red hanging inflorescences with purple stamens are eye catching. Medinilla grows freely down to mid NSW on the coast and probably beyond in the right microclimate.
Alocasia ‘Spotted Papua’ has interesting foliage with its white markings. It grows well in landscape as well as in pots. Other aroids for foliage fiends are the Anthuriums.
Anthurium veitchii is well known but there is also Anthurium warocqueanum, and Anthurium furcatum, a less common species with a trilobed leaf. There are many other species with leaf shapes and textures too varied to describe.
Zamia skinneri with its ribbed leaflets and leaves held erect make it a feature plant for moist shaded areas. It is one of the South American rainforest cycads.
Cyclanthus bipartitis also makes a bold statement in the landscape. It can be seen growing in the Brisbane Botanical Gardens. Its large bifid leaves are are complemented by unusual flowers. Lastly Labisia. This small understory plant is from Borneo. It grows to about 45cm high. The foliage is dark grey with pink infusions.
All in all, it’s a great day out for the tropical and subtropical plant lovers, whatever your obsessions or need. The Cairns Fathers Day Plant Show is always well attended, not only by locals but people come from Darwin and Brisbane and beyond.