The Screens and Hedges Garden

The Screens and Hedges Garden is one of the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens first trial gardens to display Australian native plants as hedges and privacy screens. Plants have been selected – mainly from the Central Queensland Coast Bioregion – that naturally display characteristics suitable for this style of horticulture – including dense vegetation, the ability to be pruned regularly and naturally compact form. More than 40 different species have been trialled – with unsuccessful species removed and replaced with new trial species from time to time.

This is a garden when sometimes extreme forms of pruning are practiced – from lopping plants low, to shaped pruning into box and mound traditional styles, all in the name of horticulture to test the suitability of these species in the hands of the ‘average gardener’. In today's cities of smaller gardens and high density living – creating privacy without the luxury of large trees is becoming a common problem. Many of these trial species are not readily available but may one day replace less suitable plants commonly used that can cause problems, such as exotic plants escaping into local bushland.

Highlighted species include:

  • Eumundi Quandong – Elaeocarpus eumundi – a large rainforest tree that in cultivation, makes an attractive screen of pink and red new growth especially suited for narrow areas
  • Several Native Hibiscus – Hibiscus spp. with their stunning large flowers in pink, yellow and white and variable leaves both soft and prickly that attract colourful Harlequin Bugs and many insects to your garden
  • Vines as hedges and screens – including the sweet smelling flowers of Native Wax Jasmine – Jasminimum simplifolium var. australiense and Milla Milla Vine – Eleagnus triflora showcasing that some vines can be grown without a trellis and still create privacy through regular pruning.