Rare species flourish

YOU don't need to travel to the Blue Mountains to view the region's rare Wollemi Pine just head down to Ipswich's Queens Park this weekend.

The rare specimen and more than 50 other plant species are permanently housed in the Queens Park Glasshouse, which is open to the public every third weekend of the month.

Built in 1941, the historic building was given a facelift and reopened by council in November last year.

Glebe Garden Club president Mavis Wakefield said the transformation took place when club members realised the structure's potential.

"It started when there was a party of about five of us, who were invited to the official opening of stage two of Nerima Gardens," Mrs Wakefield said.

"And we saw the state that the Glasshouse was in it hadn't been used in years so as a garden club we thought we could do something wonderful with this.

"So we approached council and we came to an arrangement that Ipswich City Council would do all the structural repairs and we would take care of getting the plants and their maintenance."

She said the glasshouse now housed a range of tropical, sub-tropical, unusual and rare plant species, which were watered from a rain water tank that was recently installed by council.

"We've had a few rare and endangered plants donated by Lloyd Bird, our local botanist," she said.

"He's given us the Cunjevoi and the Noteloea Lloydii, which is Lloyd's olive."

Mrs Wakefield said the club's efforts were rewarded with the glasshouse receiving merit at the recent Ipswich Awards for Excellence 2007 in the category of community greening.

The club also received further recognition for its Home Gardener's Workshop and Expo, which this year will be held on August 25.

The Queens Park Glasshouse is open this Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm.

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