Arno King

About Arno King

Landscape architect, horticulturist, journalist and keen gardener, Arno is a regular contributor to Subtropical Gardening Magazine. Based in Brisbane, Arno grows a wide diversity of unusual plant species and has particular interests in growing edible plants in creative settings and biological and organic gardening. Brisbane, Queensland

Fijian fire plant – how to grow Acalypha and its many cultivars

If you travel through the Pacific Islands or northern Queensland a plant you’ll find hard to miss in the gardens, parks and streetscapes, is the brilliantly leaved Acalypha, also known as Fijian Fire Plant, Beefsteak Plant or Salt Bush. These plants have large, medium or small leaves with flashes of red, yellow, pink and bronze. The leaves may be margined or striped with colour, and they may be rounded, narrow, triangular, rectangular, heavily toothed or quite lacy in shape. Continue reading

BIGS 2016 is almost here!

The Brisbane International Garden Show starts this Thursday, 6 October 2016, and will run for four days. It’s located at Pine Rivers Park at Strathpine, and readily accessed off the motorway, with the main entry at the intersection of Gympie and Kremzow Roads. Continue reading

Jam of the tropics: growing and using Rosella

Rosella makes one of my favourite jams and as it is such an easy plant to grow in the tropics and subtropics I try to grow a crop each year. Over summer and autumn, the plants look stunning in the garden as they come into flower. The brilliant red fruit are eye catching, particularly when backlit by the western sun. Continue reading

Spargelzeit: asparagus season in Germany

It’s spring in Germany with those beautiful, mild, sunny days; the trees clothed in tender, luminous, green leaves; and colourful flowers, such as azaleas, hydrangeas, laburnums, lilacs, rhododendrons and wisteria everywhere you look. It’s also ‘Spargelzeit’, asparagus season, and the Germans are mad about asparagus. Not just any asparagus, but white asparagus, the ‘vegetable of kings’, ‘edible ivory’, or ‘white gold’. Continue reading

Vera Blakeman returns, with her siblings

Vera Blakeman is back and this time she has an entourage of siblings. You don’t know Vera? Well its time you made her acquaintance, for Vera is a particularly attractive Bougainvillea, however she doesn’t climb, she doesn’t have thorns and, when grown well, she is one of the showiest of plants for the garden. Continue reading

Hidden Design Festival comes to Brisbane

Hidden all around Australia are stunning gardens, designed, constructed and maintained by landscape professionals – gardens which are rarely seen, other than by their owners and friends. The Hidden Design Festival, Queensland showcases these gardens to the public. After two years of sell-out success in Sydney, Hidden is set to open here in Brisbane on Saturday 5 March 2016. If you love seeing high quality gardens and want to see the work of some of our top garden designers, you will not want to miss this event. Continue reading

Brookfield Garden Centre rises above

At the recent Nursery and Garden Industry Awards in Melbourne, Queensland’s Brookfield Garden Centre was awarded both ‘Industry Business of the Year’ and ‘Large Retailer of the Year’. I happen to know this garden centre very well as its my ‘local’ – the nearest garden centre where I can get my garden fix. For years the site in the western suburbs of Brisbane was run down and over grown. The eight years ago, it was reborn, when owners Robin and Scott McLay purchased the business. From that time, it has gone from strength to strength. Continue reading

Growing beans in the tropics & subtropics

Green beans remain one of the most popular of garden vegetables in Australia. They are certainly easy to start from seed, grow readily into large and vigorous plants and are very productive – particularly the climbing cultivars. But do you know which ones to grow in subtropical climates? Continue reading

How to grow and use Iresine

I have found that pet shops can be great places to find interesting garden plants. I’m referring to the plants being sold in the aquarium section – for these plants are not necessary water plants at all, and in fact many will gradually deteriorate if grown continuously submerged. While searching through some aquariums yesterday, my score was Iresine diffusa ‘Lindenii’, a plant for which I have been searching quite some time. Continue reading

How to grow pineapples for flowers, fruit & foliage

Of all fruits, the pineapple is probably one of the most recognisable. You will see it in fruit shops or supermarkets around the world, often far away from its place of origin. I have a confession to make, I am biased in writing this article, as the pineapple is my favourite fruit. I enjoy slurping on the tangy, turpentine flavoured mango; chewing into the exquisitely, fragrant, translucent litchi; and I’m addicted to the rich, custard flesh of the durian; but a good, fully ripe and fragrant pineapple reigns supreme in my books. Continue reading

Guilfoyle and his warm climate plants

A few years ago, whilst researching Polyscias (commonly called Aralia) cultivars for a magazine article, I came across mention of their discovery and introduction by William Guilfoyle during his voyage on the HMS Challenger in 1868. I was surprised to learn this was the same W R Guilfoyle (1840 – 1912) who later became the famous curator at the Melbourne Botanic Garden. Continue reading