Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Aftermath.

Apparently we received over 80mm of rain yesterday ... there was localised flooding as the downpour coincided with a king tide!  This photo is from our newspaper ... don't you just love the look of sheer enjoyment on their faces!   Of course this whole suburb that forms the background of this photo was pretty much under water ... I'm sure the adults were not having as much fun!

Well that was in town ... I live out of town and in the foothills of one of the surrounding ranges, so my street stayed pretty dry.  The highway was closed so we were unable to get into town but that was open again this afternoon ... so no inconvenience really!

On our property there was actually little damage ... a few eucalyptus branches down ... lots of green ants' nests laying in tatters on the ground after being knocked out of the trees by the wind and rain (can't get broken up about that though!)... some soil carried away in our front yard ... but my hubbie's rather ugly retaining wall did it's job and sent most of the rushing water away from our front yard!
The area that suffers the most damage is our driveway ... as it's on a slope the rocks from the driveway are always carried away during heavy rain and we're left with lots of ruts.
The rocks are carried away down the concrete driveway and end up in not-so-little mounds at the bottom       ...

I think I could almost start a rock garden down there at the end of this concrete driveway!!!

Most of the plants have come through .... but I will give it some more time before I'll say positively all have come through.  I've found over the years that some of the drought tolerant plants I grow here because of the mostly dry conditions, suffer terribly during such heavy downpours!

The first bloom on my new Gladiolus callianthus tried desperately to open during the downpour ... it couldn't quite get there, but there are other buds ready to be the next to show off their beauty .. can't wait!
(Sorry the photo's a bit blurry, but I took it during the downpour and couldn't get very close!)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Day of High Drama in the Bush.

Today we woke up to drumming, driving rain and it continued all day.

Wave after wave of torrential rain squalls rolled in from the ranges and over the foothills lashing our house and property with so much rain that there were little rivers running all through our front yard.
The creek which sits at the bottom of our hilly property was a raging torrent today ... it was dry three weeks ago!

The sound of the rushing water just added to the almighty din that pervaded our surrounds ... the rain bucketing down on our corrugated tin roof,

the almighty gusts of wind that ripped through the eucalyptus trees

and the green frogs chorusing loudly!

It's the 'wet'!  Sometimes we are fortunate enough to get decent rain during our summer ... which is our 'wet' season ... and then sometimes we get monsoonal rainfall that reminds us that we are indeed in the tropics!

Below is a link to a video clip I shot today during a bit of a lull in the downpour  - I had to wait for a lull because my camera would have been drenched even on the verandah.  There's no commentary ... I wouldn't have been heard over the din! 

Video:   'Downpour Downunder'

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The steady soaking rain .... turns into a torrential summer downpour!

Such a heavy deluge of rain in just two days ...  The creek bed, which lies at the bottom of the hill that our house sits on, is dry almost all year round.  But with the downpour we've had this week, it is filled with rushing water!  I just love waking up to the sound of the creek flowing through the bushland once more!

Not many of the wallabies brave the downpour to come into the yard to nibble on the new green grass ... this one is the exception and is obviously made of sterner stuff!

So many of the plants around my place are looking rather beaten as the rain pours down ... but not the Neomarica.  It holds it's head up high and shows such a bright face!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie ... oi, oi, oi! It's our nation's birthday today!

Sitting on the verandah ... rain drumming on the corrugated iron roof ...

....  Wallabies munching on the grass while sheltering from the rain ....

... Kookaburra sitting in an old gum tree, a little damp and disgruntled ....

It's a rainy Australia Day here in north-eastern Oz ... and these words from Dorothea Mackeller's famous poem come to mind:

Core of my heart, my country!                                
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

A opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cyclones and other nasties!

It's summertime here in north-eastern Oz and that means cyclone season.  There's one hovering off the coast near Cairns this morning.  It's been threatening the coast for two days now, but we're safe ... for now anyway!  Down here we're just getting wind gusts and some marvellous rain!! 

There's absolutely no better perfume than the smell of rain!  Nor is there a more relaxing way to spend the morning than sitting on the verandah listening to the rain falling softly on the corrugated tin roof .... bliss!

Of course, besides the cyclones, there are other nasties that come our way during summer.  I spotted this gorgeous creature out on the courtyard bricks this morning ... giving it a very wide berth!

 Think I'll just go back to my Sunday morning spot in the rocking chair on the verandah.  Hope you all have a great day.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A visit from a real beauty to start off the day!

Woke up this morning and it felt like there was going to be a break in the atrocious summer weather for today.  It was a pleasant 26 degrees C (78F) early this morning, so I went for a walk around the garden before heading off to work.  That's when I spotted this beauty:

This is the Pale-Headed Rosella (Platycercus adscitus) which is endemic to north-eastern and eastern Australia.  I just love it when these blue-bodied beauties come by ... they are a delight to the eye!

Another lovely sight to greet me this morning were my two pots of Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender' ... they are going wild and are such a pretty plant.  The tiny flowers are such a wonderful sight close-up!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A bush stroll to see a peculiar flower.

Took a stroll out into the bush yesterday evening so I could get a closer look at all the Cocky Apples (Planchonia careya) in bloom.  These are fascinating trees ... native to northern Australia and my region has the largest concentration of them in their native habitat.

At the moment these rather scraggly looking trees out in the bushland are pretty much all in bloom.  The tree itself is not much to look at and while it has these peculiarly beautiful flowers ... you will only see them during the late afternoons into the evenings because the whole bloom drops before the next morning ... so only those in the know will get to see them up close.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Falling branches!

The change in weather is apparent today ... no grey clouds anymore, just bright sunshine.  It's hot and humid ... a real tropical summer's day.

As I walked around the property this morning it was rather quiet ... no wind, no soft rain falling ... all I could hear was the drone of the cicada song.
Then suddenly .... c..r..a..c..k! ... a huge eucalyptus branch split and crashed to the ground out in the bushland.  It's a common occurrence during our summer ... the eucalyptus have come through a nine-month dry spell, conserving all their energy by dropping their leaves and then with the spring the new growth bursts forth and the limbs become over abundant with leaves ... and in many of the older gums with the onset of higher temperatures and rain during the summer, there's sudden limb drop.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A day to appreciate the beautiful clear blue sky.

After a few days of rather overcast rainy weather, the sun shone brilliantly once more and the sky was a  picture perfect blue!

Some words from an Australian poet seemed very fitting:
"The glory of a larger sky
 On slopes of hills sublime.
 That speak with God and morning high
 Above the ways of Time!"

(from 'Orara' by Henry Kendall)

As I wandered around my garden today I was so happy to see my dwarf kangaroo paw hybrid - Anigozanthus ‘Bush Ranger’ flowering.  It's a delight to see the 'paw' opening and those tiny six-petalled blooms popping out.

I'm also really enjoying my new orchid as it grows and blooms.  I've not had much experience at all growing orchids but after potting up this little one it has just taken off beautifully!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mid-summer here as the new decade begins.

We've been having rather lovely summer weather ... temperatures have stayed around 30 deg C (86 F) most days and showers of rain have been sweeping in from the hills.

The garden has come alive again with the rain and there's the faintest hint of green grass around our home once more ... so there have been more wallabies coming in to lunch.

The jasmine has started to flower once more ... I'm seeing little white stars appearing on the top of the pergola where the jasmine vine has covered the entire roof.

I can't wait for the delicate perfume to fill the air in the evenings!
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