Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Wilful Younger Child!

I look upon my garden areas rather like a parent looks upon their children.

First, there's the older kids ... the adult children who've left home and you have almost no control over their lives any more.  While you drop in to visit every now and then, you really can't do much other than watch over them as they mature ... that's my outdoor garden beds which include the Front Garden Beds,

the Driveway Garden Beds,

 the Pergola Garden Area,
the Back of the Courtyard Garden Area,

and the Hill Garden Area.
These are well-established beds that don't need me any more ... well, maybe only for an occasional watering or general tidy-up.

Then there are the young teenagers ... the ones that are trying to find their own identity but still rely on you for the essentials like food, shelter, money for clothes and you still have a say in who they can play with!  That's my Shadehouse/Greenhouse garden ...
and my Courtyard Garden.
I work almost daily keeping them watered, fed, free from pests and just generally behaving!  They each have their own character ... which I have a hand in forming.  So I can do things like change the colour scheme of the plants out there and choose new plants to add to the collections.  These are the places where I spend most of my time gardening.

Finally, there's that rather obnoxious, wilful and prone-to-temper-tantrums toddler.  You really love them, but they just won't do what they're supposed to ... and it's exhausting!!!  Well, that's my new outdoor garden bed.

The relationship started off really well when it was a baby ... hubbie built these new garden beds in a spot that was ugly and unsightly.
I was so excited and planned out just what these beds would look like ... I chose a different colour for each section.  I was looking forward to seeing my 'rainbow' garden develop ... and for a while, things were just great!

I spent money and filled it with lots of lovely plants ... Scaevola, Pelargonium, Gazanias, Bracteantha, Daisies ... the list goes on and on!   Mmmm ... well ...  'rainbow garden' has turned out to be more like a wilful toddler who's screaming for attention and all you want to do is ... give it to someone else until it's grown!!!

The long 'wet' season wreaked havoc with lots of my carefully chosen plants and there's no resurrecting them ... just like a toddler that won't wear something because it's yellow!!!!   It's just not going to happen!

All I can do now is look lovingly over the photos and reminisce about how this darling used to be!!

So, I've been very busy lately ... hence the relatively few blog posts.  After spending a couple of weeks getting my favourites into shape ... the Shadehouse/Greenhouse Garden and Courtyard Garden ... I just couldn't keep on avoiding the new garden bed anymore.

I've now removed all the dead plants with tears in my eyes ... the lovely Calibrachoas, Buddleia, Celosia spicata, Gomphrena leontopodioides and Kalanchoe pumila.  Why, oh why???

I've checked over the critically ill ...and trimmed them (hoping they come back) .... the Osteospurmums, Plectranthus and Saliva farinacea.  I'm keeping fingers crossed and hoping I'll see the return of the Sprekelia formosissima and the Gladiolus callianthus too.

I've removed all the invaders ... that Giant Sword Fern has a lot to answer for!!! I've added fertiliser and compost to the soil.  I've tried digging over all sections  ... but parts are now totally root-bound from something and I haven't quite figured out what it is yet!

Finally, today, I did a stocktake.  The Daylilies survived ... the Poinsettias survived ... the Angelonias survived ... the Gerberas still there ... the Turnea Ulmifolia is still thriving ... and the Mesembryanthemum 'Pig face' is still hanging in there!

So, while there's some good out of all this, I'm now left with the next job ... trying to decide on what I should try now!!!  This bed is proving to be the proverbial pain in the ####!!!!  Now that the day is drawing to an end, this is how the toddler looks ... rather grotty, with a grumpy look on its face and looking decidedly unloved!  Mum needs a sleep!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Monthly Garden Bouquet ... for the month of May.

What can you do with the leggy stems of Dragon Wing Begonias that you've just spent a hour trimming?  Well, this is what I do.  

They make a great arrangement with some Giant Sword Fern and maybe a Yellow Walking Iris.

Now I know it's not fancy ... I don't have the beautiful tulips, primroses or muscari growing in my garden ... but I think it looks great in my kitchen.  This bouquet will last for quite a few days.  It's amazing just how long these stems last before they begin wilting!!!

So ... even though I'm a bit late (sorry Noelle! ... but I only did the trimming today!), I thought I'd include it in the MGB meme.

To view other beautiful floral arrangements, make sure you visit Noelle's meme May's MGB ... Monthly Garden Bouquet!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Flower Flaunt on Friday - late Autumn in north-east Oz.

Autumn is drawing to a close and the usual Autumn weather has now kicked in!  The daytime temperatures have finally dipped below 30 deg C (86 deg F) ... some days we're getting down to 27 deg C!  The humidity has dropped waaayyy down ... around 50% these days!  The sun is out nearly all day, every day and the number of cloudy days are dropping. 

Let's have a look at what's blooming out in the garden today.

Senetti 'Magenta Biclolour' on the left and 'Baby Blue' on the right.

This is an unknown Orchid that I was given by a dear old lady who had no idea what this was ... the flowers are tiny - smaller than my thumb nail .... and I just love those tiny freckles!

 My gorgeous Cleome spinosa hybrid 'Senorita Rosalita' ... it just keeps on blooming.

Pelargoniums and Federation Daisy (Argyranthemum frutescens 'Sunray').

Scutellaria suffrutescens (Pink Texas Skullcap) and Passiflora.

This is one of my favourite hanging basket plants .... Nematanthus glabra  (Gold Fish Plant).

Finally, I thought I would just pay homage to the rather forgotten and unnoticed little blooms on my Coleus plants.  I rather love these little beauties ....

For many more great posts where bloggers are flaunting their flowers on a Friday, please make sure you visit Tootsie at Ferlitizer Friday/Flaunt Your Flowers

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wildlife on Wednesday .... Brush-tail Possum.

The Brush-tail Possum, Trichosurus vulpecular, is the most common marsupial here in eastern Australia.  We often see these cuties ...  as there's usually at least one living somewhere under our roof!  

This one came out the other evening and seemed slightly lost and bemused!

Back in January last year we were seeing two possums ... a mother and her young.  I think the possum we saw last week - pictured above - might be the young one spotted last January.

Here's a shot of the mother and baby from just over a year ago ...

The size and colour of the Brush-tail Possum varies from a copper colour to a silver-grey back with a white to pale grey belly. Here in North Queensland we commonly see the copper coloured ones.

The Brush-tails have large eyes with pointy, prominent ears.  The tail is bushy, although the underside is partly bare with either a black or white tip.

This Possum is an arboreal (tree-dwelling) nocturnal animal that lives in hollow trunks and throughout open forests and woodlands.  We do, however, often seen them living in the towns and cities where they will find shelter under house roofs. 

At night this possum will spend some time on the ground in search for the fresh growth of 
trees. Their diet consists mainly of leaves, but is supplemented with fruit and blossoms.

Breeding normally only one young in autumn, the young will stay in the pouch for 4-5 months and then remain with its mother for another 6-8 weeks in the nest or on the mums back.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Flower Flaunt on Friday.

For great posts where bloggers are flaunting their flowers on a Friday, please make sure you visit Tootsie at
Ferlitizer Friday/Flaunt Your Flowers

Right now in my corner of north-east Downunder ... it's the last month of Autumn and the first bloom on my so-well-loved Bauhinia Variegata 'Alba' has appeared.
 The first gorgeous faces of the Violas have appeared.

There are blooms on the Bracteantha bracteata, also known as Helichrysum bracteatum, or as they're commonly known ... Paper Daisies.  These are from the seeds grown from last year's flowers.

One of my favourites ... the Gomphrena globosa is showing it's beauty.  Some may know it as Globe Amaranth, but here it's common name is Bachelor's Buttons.

At this point I'd like to sing the praises of a blogger from Malaysia ... Jacqueline has a very informative blog that I often visit when I'm wondering about the right conditions for plants in my garden.  This blog has a terrific tropical plant database which I find so easy to read and really helpful.  They have a great post on the Gomphrena if anyone is interested .... John & Jacq's Garden

Back to my garden ... the last blooms I'm adding this Friday are the vibrant New Guinea Impatiens which are adding bright spots out in the Courtyard Garden right now.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wildlife on Wednesday ... Slimy Snails. A beauty or a beast?

Would you believe it ... I had never seen a real snail in my life until I moved to this property around 10 years ago!

No ... really ...  I had never, ever spotted one before!  Now I know many would react to the sight of a snail with utter disgust and start looking for a frypan and a dob of butter!!!!  But I have to say that I was rather excited and delighted when I did spot one for the very first time leaving its glittery silver trail all over my kitchen window screen.  Actually I stood and watched it for ages and ages marvelling in the sight!  I thought then ... and still do think ... that they are simply amazing creatures.

Now that was, as I said, about ten years back and while I don't see them often, I do see them at least a few times a year ... mostly during a decent 'wet' season.

I don't know anything at all about the different types of snails, so there are no identifying captions on the photos that follow ... these are just photos of various snails spotted in the last few years.

We do tend to see mostly these darker coloured ones.

Every now and then we spot snails like this ...

I do also see snail shells lying around the property every so often.  It seems that our resident kookaburra family enjoy a 'snail snack'. I've seen the kookaburras picking them up and smashing them on nearby rocks.  This fellow was hopping around a garden bed searching for snails ... unfortunately my camera's batteries went dead just after this shot and that was when he had snatched one up with that fabulous beak.

I do hope I get to see many more slithery, slimy snails in the future ... but I guess I'll have to be lucky before they're spotted by very keen kookaburra eyes!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mosaic Monday - A Tribute To Mum on Mother's Day

As I sit here waiting for Mother's Day to draw to a close, my thoughts inevitably turn to the Mother I never really knew.  Taken to a better place over forty years ago when I was very young  ... there still remains a sense of loss.  Today is a day to pay tribute to someone who never got to see her children grow up to have families of their own, a mother who was not part of her children's lives for long at all.
She was born in the early '20s ... was the second youngest of six children ... grew up in poor circumstances ... worked hard for many, many years ... married in her mid-30s ... had two children ... was ill for many years ... and left this mortal world before she was 45.  She loved music, flowers, sewing and cooking.

"A mother holds her children's hands for a while...their hearts forever."

I do hope all mothers out there had a fabulous day.
For other great Mosaic Monday posts, visit Mary at Little Red House.

POSTCRIPT:  I'm adding a link to a beautiful post at one of Ginny's blogs ... thanks very much Ginny.  It is a very touching post for anyone who lost their mother when they were young.  The post is called "The One You Keep Looking For" at The Blessing Bowl
Related Posts with Thumbnails