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Gardening on the Range


What is so special about gardening in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland? A new book called Range and Hinterland Gardening, by Dr Nita C Lester and Joan Dillon, provides ideas of how you can succeed in your planting and at the same time attract the birds, bees and butterflies.


Nita has been approached by a number of gardeners over the last few years, “They would say ‘there is no book that helps me’, ‘my plants die’, ‘why is gardening so different here?’ and so forth,” said Nita. These questions were often asked by new hinterland residents.


After much research, Nita found the gardeners were right – there is no text that provides assistance for those new to the region.


“I began to compile texts of not only native species, but also exotics that will grow successfully,” continued Nita.


“The wide range of soil types, from the red volcanic to clays to grey sandstones, influence the gardening outcomes. The humidity, altitude and prevailing winds must also be considered when selecting plant species.”


Images started to be collected from locals who freely gave permission for their use in the developing book. Specialist writers were sought to cover the areas that Nita knows little about: camellias, magnolias, orchids, roses.


At this stage, Nita advertised for other locals who might like to join her to write this book, and Hunchy local, Joan Dillon, accepted the challenge.


“For over 18 months we have worked together selecting successful species, writing notes, sourcing images and deciding upon the final book layout,” shared Joan.


Both Joan and Nita are Australian native enthusiasts, but combined with exotics, they do increase the biodiversity in any garden and hence homes and food for the native fauna.


Their gardens are quite different, one being on the base of the eastern escarpment of the Range in Hunchy and the other on top of the Range at Mapleton, but both authors know the importance of selecting a wide variety of species that flower, fruit and seed throughout the year along with minimal grassed areas.


“This new book has 220 pages with over 450 species detailed and well over 700 colour images,” said Joan.


Joan and Nita are gifting this text to the community. Hence when the printing costs are covered, all money will be donated: 50% to the Montville Village Association and 50% to the Mapleton Library and Community Centre.


There are three book launches to which you are invited to attend: Mapleton Library and Community Centre Wednesday 6pm on April 26; Rosetta Books Maleny on Friday April 28 at 5pm, and Montville Village Hall on May 3 at 6pm.


Booking are essential as numbers are limited: lester.publishing@gmail.com and state your preferred date.


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