Saturday, November 8, 2014

Back After A Bit of a Break.

Well it's certainly been a while since I last posted.  I've been a little busy at work this last semester, but my dear OH and I did manage to take time to visit with our youngest son overseas.   We spent nearly four weeks driving around Ireland and I can highly recommend the Wild Atlantic Drive if you're ever over that way.  Such spectacular views!

 County Donegal

more County Donegal

 County Clare

We've been busy with a few painting and updating jobs around this old Queenlsander house of ours as well.  It's time for a lot of re-painting which involves a whole lot of preparation first.  We started with the kitchen.


Everything, including the walls, the ceiling, the window frames, the door frames and the cupboard doors had to be sanded back, undercoated and re-painted. 


There was mess everywhere on the verandah, out in the courtyard and there was stuff strewn in various corners of  the house.


The kitchen looked like a work site for a couple of weeks.  When you're heading off to work every day and coming home to this, it can wear you down just a little.  Thankfully my dear OH managed to get most things finished in record time, with a teeny weeny bit of help from me.

I think the job that really tested dear OH's steely will and determination was the rubbing back and cleaning up all the brass knobs, window catches, door handles and window handles!!!  I could hear cries of pain and moans of exhaustion from the workshop every evening for a week! 


Anyway, the kitchen started looking very respectable again this past week.  Those 28 knobs are gleaming beautifully!


Soon we're moving on to re-painting the main bedroom.  We've got another two of three rooms to do after that and it's going to take some time.  I'm not sure I'll be able to blog regularly, but I'll do my best during the coming months.

Of course, while all this updating is going on in the house, the poor plants have been doing it tough. Not only have they endured the usual long dry season since around April, but I've barely had the time to get out there and provide any sort of care and attention.  Consequently, things have slowed down considerably around the garden. 

As most of my usual readers know, my garden is not a candidate for lots of fantastic long shots.  It's not that sort of garden.  I very rarely show long views of anything apart from the courtyard garden and the shadehouse garden.  I'm showing neither of those at the moment, or indeed in the foreseeable future.  They are both looking absolutely terrible, and I really do mean terrible.

Thankfully, despite the neglect by the resident gardener, there are just a few lovely blooms and terrific foliage plants I can share by adding some close-up shots.














I have so much work to do out in the garden to try and bring things back to a point where it all looks decent once more, but I know that won't be happening any time soon.  Once the house is in tip top shape, I can get back to my gardening jobs.  That will probably be after the coming summer and wet season.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Flower Flaunt ... On A Mid-Winter's Friday.

I'm a little late in posting this.  Whilst I started the post on Thursday, unfortunately I spent most of Friday until today laid up with the flu and I just didn't get the chance to finish.  Anyhoo, here it is at last ... late but I'll still call it a Friday Flower Flaunt post.

July is the second of our very mild winter months.  Our winter solstice occurred on June 20 and while we're waiting for the days to get longer and longer, we're still waiting for our chilly tropical winter temps.


We did have a couple of rather cool and drizzly days around the middle of June ... the daytime temps dipped down to around 19 - 20 deg C and we didn't see the sun for at least three days.  But since then the usual clear blue-sky, pleasantly comfortable days have returned and our daytime temps have risen once again to the 25 - 26 deg C mark.


There is a little bit of dew dribble on our verandah hood in the mornings, which is clear indication that our night time temps have been dropping.  Lately the overnight temps have been dipping down to the mid-teens, but it doesn't mean we've pulled out loads of blankets or that we're rugged up to the eyeballs in winter woollies. 


Some signs that it's tropical winter time include the appearance of bright red berries on the Ardisia elliptica, also known as the Shoebutton Ardisia.  These berries can be seen during our winter and spring.


Another sign that it's winter is the show of coiled seed pods forming on our native Acacia mangium. 


Of course, the show on the Euphorbia leucocephla, or Snowflake Bush, is a dead giveaway that it's winter here.
 

My shrub is covered in bracts and tiny blooms at the moment and has been for weeks now.


The Dracaena godseffianas are blooming, and this is a common sight during the early part of our tropical wintertime.


The flower sprays can go unnoticed by those who are not in-the-know, but they are quite a pretty sight close up.

The potted Azalea, out on my courtyard, has always put on a great show during our winter. There used to be a matching pair out there for many years, but I've moved the other one into one of the new garden beds and it's only now starting to show blooms.  That means the two little shrubs are no longer in sync with their blooming.


The few potted plants I have left out in the courtyard are all putting on a lovely show at the moment.  They're all covered in flowers.


The plants that I've added to the larger of the new garden beds have all settled in nicely, and there are a few blooms scattered here and there.



Crossandra infundibuliformis flowers pretty much all year round here.


There's a little Salvia hidden at the back of the bed that's in bloom.


There's also a Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana' blooming,


and it's scented flowers are filling the air with a heady perfume.


In one of the other new garden beds the Salvia involucrata is blooming. 


I just love those hot pink flowers.


I've planted a Euphorbia 'Hip Hop' next to the Salvia.  It's planted in the high end of the garden bed, out of reach of the marauding hordes of Agile wallabies that just seem to love nibbling this plant to the ground.  Thankfully the Euphorbia is doing really well now that it's allowed to grow and flourish.


There are some Salvia splendens in another part of this garden bed, and they're flowering too. 

Elsewhere at my place,


there's a Bougainvillea blooming,


an old double Gerbera flowering,


the Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum' has flowerheads,


the Thunbergia erecta 'Tru Blu' has begun another blooming cycle for the year,


as has the Polygala,


while the Russelias, both red


and cream, continue to bloom.


There are always Hibiscus flowers to be found somewhere,


and I just love catching a glimpse of the wonderful colours on the back of the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis blooms.


Near the pergola, my variegated Bougainvilles has started blooming again,


and my Hibiscus schizopetalus continue to show their wonderful flowers.


I can spot the very last of the Mussaenda philippica 'Aurore' bracts and flowers at the back of the courtyard garden,


while the white Impatiens walleriana and


the Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender' put on a show out on the courtyard pavers.


I have one potted Eucharis sitting out in the courtyard.  It began throwing out a flowerhead a couple of weeks ago,


and it's now almost fully open and the perfume is simply adorable.. There are more flowerheads on the way.


My two potted Schlumbergera, or Zygocactus plants, are coming back from a horrendous ordeal suffered earlier this year.  When they're not in bloom, I stash them in my shadehouse garden out of the way.  Unfortunately they had been knocked over by a mother and joey Agile wallaby who took up residence in there for about a month or so.  I hadn't noticed the poor plants until it looked like they were well and truly on their last legs.


 Thankfully they have both risen from the dead, and are now showing some blooms.

Out in the shadehouse garden,


another of my Dracaena fragrans 'Mussangeana' plants, also known as Happy Plants, is blooming.  The perfume occasionally wafts into the house in the early evening or morning when I open the door on that side of the house.

So that's a round-up of what's flowering at the moment.


I thought I'd just add this shot, as the wonderful pattern created by some rather hungry little critter caught my eye.

I'm joining Tootsie for her Fertilizer Friday / Flaunt Your Flowers meme



and I'm joining Today's Flowers

 
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