Saturday, February 13, 2010

Summer's almost over ... and the 'wet' season is coming to its end.

Our great country envelopes your soul,
From the bush, rainforest, desert or shoal.
Wet season, dry, cyclones, deep blue sky,
Breathtaking beauty that makes you cry.

('Our New Mates' by Dave Delaney)

I love this first verse from Dave Delaney's poem ... if truth be told it's the only verse I know by heart!  But this simple yet somehow evocative string of words clearly paints a picture of what we live with .... particularly here in my corner of this vast country.  

Here I'm surrounded by the bush .... the shoals are not far away ... the rainforest is a day trip away and to see the desert we would only have to travel for a few days.  

But it's those next few words that articulates what it's like for me as a gardener living in this place and living with the worst and the best of our climate:  Wet season, dry, cyclones, deep blue sky ...

There are only two distinct seasons here:  
  • the 'dry' which is a long period of warm temperatures, at least 300 days of sunshine, fresh breezes, low humidity and almost no rain (March to November).  This is the time when the area surrounding my home looks dry and brown ...

  • the 'wet' which is a short period of intense tropical downpours, possible flooding, high levels of humidity, overcast skies, the occasional dramatic electrical storm, thunderstorms, and possibly cyclones (December to February).  It's also known as the 'green season' as everything looks refreshed, lush and alive.

To garden successfully in these conditions means you must nurture many drought hardy, heat hardy, sun hardy and humidity hardy plants through a very long 'dry' and then cross your fingers and hope that they all survive the days without the usual sunshine and the torrential monsoonal rainfall that can last anything up to a month.

Well it's almost the end of 'wet' right now and as it draws to a close, it's time to take stock and get ready for the approaching 'dry'.  As a few of my January/February posts indicated, we had monsoonal rainfall and flooding, storms and monsoonal troughs but the cyclones didn't visit our area ... and I did lose plants again.  It happens every year without fail ... but I'm learning as I go and the losses are not as bad as last year.

So right now it's time to begin planting my seeds .... for my potted annual display ... 
the fertilizing is done ... now that it won't all just get washed away ...
and the re-potting is done ... out with the old and dead and in with the still alive and kicking!  

But still one more h..u..g..e job left ... I've just gotta get into the greenhouse garden and start trimming back some of that jungle ... now that's one part of my garden that loves the 'wet'!


  1. Wow Bernie - what fantastic views!
    Sorry to hear of the garden losses, but looking forward to the new annual display!
    We've had quite a humid week for Victoria, so between that and reading the gardening challenges you face, I'm a tiny bit less jealous of you living in the tropics right now!

  2. It's times like these GG ... the dreary wet end of summer ... that I wish I was much much further south!! Of course I'll change my mind when our mild winter rolls around.
    Yes I'm looking forward to lots of potted annuals this year ... they last around six to eight months up here and I just love all the colour.

  3. Your post is very interesting and informative. Our hot season is also starting now- we are already having scorching heat during the day.

  4. wow, your land looks very lush indeed, you have chosen very well to have this beautiful must be challenging but i also enjoy mediterranean gardens and plants...we are having severe drought here in hawaii so i may have to start thinking this way also and get rid of the water thirsty plants which is alot of my garden currently :(

  5. Hi Bernie,

    Right now I am looking out at the snow! I am envious that you are beginning to plant. I will need some advice when I plant for my hot dry areas. We do have some in zone 5 and it's a challenge.

  6. Hi Noel ... it's been largely a matter of trial and error finding the right plants for this garden ... those that don't survive rarely get replaced anymore ... instead I try to find a more drought tolerant alternative.

  7. Hi Gatsbys Gardens ... yes I am starting to plant some seeds right now and potting up little seedlings ... still have to keep them out of the rain though as we still get downpours. My area would probably be comparable to Zone 11 over there ... so I hope I can help with some advice about planting in hot dry areas ... hopefully my ideas will translate and be useful to your conditions.

  8. bernie
    ops, i had ask a wrong question early on, sorry.
    3 months wet and the remains are dry, really challenging u did your gardening. over here greenary can be seen whole year long, less than ten days here come the rain, occasionally heavy rain, but no flood here. tropical weather here is perfect for all kinds of plants from mini climber to huge three,its all grow well here. i am contruction my blog, will show u soon.

  9. Kelvin ... thanks for dropping by to visit my blog. Yes it's quite challenging to garden in this spot of Australia ... but I could never be without a garden, so I keep on trying to get the garden areas through all that Mother Nature dishes out!!! I will be looking for your blog ... so keep working on it!


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