Saturday, October 30, 2010

Flower Flaunt on Friday - mid-Spring Downunder.

The weather has definitely turned the corner and the patterns are becoming very 'summery' ... our mid-Spring days are once again clear, bright, sunny, hot and humid. 

Gardening time is now reduced to an hour of watering in the morning or evening.  Quite a few of my potted plants are coming to the end of their time, so there's not as much colour out in the Courtyard Garden any more.  They have not flourished as well as last year, possibly due to the overcast, showery days we experiences throughout the Autumn to early Spring. The outdoor garden beds are drying up quickly ... and with the ongoing watering restrictions there's not a whole lot I can do about it.  Thankfully the plants out there are survivors.

Anyway, right now the Lilies, the potted Salvias and Angelonias are powering on and still showing their lovely blooms.  They don't mind the intense sunlight, the heat and the humidity ... and they survive on the occasional watering.

Hemerocallis 'Sabine Baur'

 Oriental Lily - unknown variety
Angelonia serena

Salvia guarantica 'Black and Blue'

Salvia splendens

To see what other gardeners have to flaunt for Flower Flaunt Friday, pop over to visit Tootsie's blog  

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mosaic Monday ... Some mid-Spring Colour.

Our mid-Spring month is coming to an end and that's definitely NOT something to celebrate in my part of the world!  Just as northern hemisphere gardeners are putting their gardens 'to bed' for the Winter, here in parts of Oz, gardens are about to be put through the end of Spring and Summer hell!  In my corner of north-eastern Australia the months from November to February are a horrid time for gardens and gardeners, so I'm enjoying the garden before it all goes pear-shaped with the heat and humidity ... and possibly the monsoonal rains.

Here's some of the lovely colour around the garden.  These are the best performers as we approach the end of our Spring.

Bougainvillea ...  I don't have as much of this in my garden now as I did in previous gardens as they do take over very quickly here in the tropics and are so difficult to trim back.

Hemerocallis ... I only started the Hemerocallis bed last year so they're only quite young plants and there are not many flowers on each plant yet.  This is the latest one to bloom ... Hemerocallis 'Jamaican Me Crazy'.
Ixora ... all the Ixoras are blooming again and they will keep on blooming through the horrid end of the year.  This is my favourite Ixora 'Twilight Glow'.

Plumeria ... my Plumeria rubra and Plumeria obtusa are showing flowers again and they will also continue to flower through the Summer.

Now for other fantastic Mosaic Monday posts, make sure you visit Mary at Little Red House

Friday, October 22, 2010

Flower Flaunt on a Skywatch Friday - another mid-Spring flaunt from Downunder

This is the time of year that makes gardening such a joy.  Every day I head out to the Hemerocallis bed to see if there are any surprises.  I only started this bed late last year and while the clumps of Hemerocallis are so small, there's the promise of great things to come.  This week it was Hemerocallis 'Jamaican Me Crazy' that opened up ... such a cheery sight!

As our middle month of Spring is drawing to a close, the weather has remained unpredictable.  We've been experiencing gusts of wind that have whipped leaves off trees and showers of rain that have drenched the garden albeit rather briefly. The morning skies have been quite dramatic.

I'm going to take a detour from my property first and head out into the bushland surrounding my home.  I know I can't take credit for these blooms, but I would love to share them anyway.  Right now, out in the bush, our native Planchonia careya or Cocky Apple trees are blooming profusely.  I've never seen so many flowers on these trees in the years I've lived out here ... an indication of just how our usual 'dry' season did not really eventuate this year.
While the tree itself is rather an untidy scraggly looking thing, the flowers are magnificent.

The bees are loving the profusion of blooms ... and they're buzzing around the trees every evening as the sun goes down.

The reason the bees don't turn up until early evening is because the flowers on the Cocky Apple won't open up until around 5.00 or 6.00 pm in the evening.  It's a strange quirk of nature that the stunning Cocky Apple's flowers will only open at night and will fall off the next morning.

Alright, back onto the property now.  One of the huge trees that's flowering right now is the Albizia lebbeck, sometimes called the Siris Tree.  It's a very tall tree, reaching well over 30 feet, so it's difficult to get great shots of the flowers.  They look like greenish-yellow pompoms.

Another one of the tall trees on our property that's covered in flowers is the Tabebuia pallida.  These flowers are not all that noticeable on the massive tree as they are such a delicate pale pink colour.  But if you get up close you can see how lovely they are with their yellow throats.

 Elsewhere around the property, the Bougainvillea is putting on its display ....

and the first flowers are appearing on one of my Plumeria rubras.

This is the gorgeous pink Plumeria rubra or Frangipani. 

My Brunfelsia latifolia syn. bonodora or the more commonly known 'Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow' shrub, has begun to bloom.

Out in the Courtyard Garden my Kaempferia elegans has woken from its slumber and some of its gorgeous little pink flowers are showing their faces again.

Other plants out in the Courtyard Garden that are flowering now include the stunning Ixora 'Twilight Glow', which is covered in flowers once more ...

and the Jacobinia carnea syn. Justicia carnea which is showing its fabulous white plumes again.

Petunias are still flowering out there ...

and so are the Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender'.

My favourite little miniature Dahlia is still flowering ...

... and my Impatiens balsamina is in bloom out in the Shadehouse Garden.

Flower Flaunt / Fertiliser Friday is a reminder for me that it's time to head out and feed those fabulous plants that are rewarding me with such great blooms.  Please drop by Tootsis's blog to see loads of other great Flower Flaunt / Fertilizer Friday posts.

For more fantastic sky posts, pop over to Skywatch Friday

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mosaic Monday ... Playing the Bloggers' Game!

Thanks to Shrylene at The Bunnies' Buffet, Missy at Missy's Garden and Valerie at Gardening In A Sandbox for inviting me to join in the game '10 Things I Like'.   I'm going to try to make this about anything but gardening for a change ... time to try something new.   I wonder how far I'll get before I suddenly mention something about plants or gardens!!!  Alright ... here I go.

1.  I like listening to records playing on our old Marantz turntable.  Our grandchildren find this a novel experience when they visit ... and our friends love to chill out, have a glass or two and listen to the hits from yesteryear crackling away in the background.  Hubbie and I have eclectic taste in music ... on the weekend the selection included -Ian Drury's 'New Boots and Panties', Linda Ronstadt's 'Simple Dreams', Janis Joplin's 'Pearl', John Lennon's 'Rock And Roll', Bob Dylan's 'Blonde on Blonde', the Rolling Stones' 'Some Girls' and Willie Nelson's 'Always'.  How's that for diversity?

2.  I like old black and white photos.  I find them quite fascinating and I find myself yearning to know the story behind the people in them.  In the last few years I've accumulated a pile of these stunning photos from older family members ... but unfortunately there are no longer any living relatives who know just who these people in the photographs are!  So sadly their stories will go untold ... but take a look at these and try to convince me you don't want to know all about them.  What is that uniform?  What did those children grow up  to be? 

3.  I like old Australian Silky Oak wooden furniture.  There's something about the beautiful colour, hue and grain of this wood.  Australian Silky Oak is not actually an oak at all ... it's a Grevillea - Grevillea robusta.  This is a tree native to my state of Queensland and has long been used for fine furniture, flooring, window frames and such.  I'm not much of a housekeeper ... I really don't get excited about cleaning ... but I could spend all day polishing these beautiful pieces.

4.  I like Royal Doulton 'Orchid' china ... for sentimental reasons.  Neither my Mother or Father came from a well-to-do background, quite the opposite in fact. ... and they both took their sweet time finding a life partner, compared to their siblings anyway!  They got married in the late 1950's when they were both in their late 30's.  When they married, the families got together to purchase a dinner set for them.  It was the Royal Doulton 'Orchid' set ... but not a complete set as this was beyond their means.

About 20 years ago, Dad thought it was time to pass it on to me  ... and ever since I've been looking out for the last few remaining pieces to finish off the set.  It will never be worth all that much in monetary terms, but this collection of cream-coloured dinnerware with the yellow and pink orchids means a lot to me.

5.  I like the bushland out here in the foothills of the ranges.  There's something about the lemony smell of the gums when they're in flower, the changing character of the bush as the 'dry' season fades and the 'wet' begins, the sight of wallabies munching of the grass, the kookaburras sitting in the trees, the song of the sunbird and the unexpected sight of beautiful wildlife that has strayed far from home.  All this brings solace to my soul.

6.  I like coming home to my home after a hard day's work.  I like opening up the house, turning on the lamps inside and lighting the candles outside.  There really is no place like home.

7.  I like my verandah. It's the perfect spot to sit with a great book and a cuppa ... or to spend time with friends and family over a glass of wine ... or to just lay back on the squatter's chair and snooze while the rain gently beats on the corrugated iron roof.  It's almost heavenly!

8.   I like movies.  I've been a bit of a movie buff over the years and I've seen so many movies.  I have some favourite actors and I would just never miss a movie they star in ... actors such as Meryl Streep, John Cusack and Emma Thompson.  Put their name on the movie ad and I'm there!!

By the way ... didn't you just LOVE that potager in Meryl's movie "It's Complicated".  To die for!

Oh, yes ... the old poster of "East of Eden" is there for a reason.  That was the first movie I ever saw when I was a young teenager ... and I still remember every little bit of that classic. 

9.  I like strolling through Botanic Gardens and Parks.  OK ... so I'm back to a sort-of-gardening-related choice!  Looks like I just can't stray too far from my passion.  One of my favourite parks is the Roma Street Parklands in our capital city here in Queensland.  I visit Brisbane quite a bit ... to see my children and grandchildren ... and whenever possible I visit this fabulous Parkland area.  If anyone is coming Downunder, it's a must see when you get to Brisbane.

10.  I like having family photos all over the house ... I'm actually running out of places for them.  This is what makes my home a home for me ... being surrounded by loved ones who are gone and loved ones still here.  It's comforting being surrounded by one's own history ... at least I find it so.

Well ... there you have it ... ten things I like.  Now it's my turn to invite ten people to post about 'Ten Things I Like' ... please don't feel obliged to do this, only join in if you wish.

1. Flowerlady at Flowerlady's Musings
2. Stephanie at Steph's Green Space
3. Genie at Buttons For Baga
4. Tootsie at Tootsie Time
5. Lavinder Lady at My Garden and Me
6. Eileen at Gatsby's Gardens
7. GrandmaK at A Bit Of Blarney
8. Laura at Patio Patch
9. Floridagirl at Peace In The Valley
10. Deb at Deb's Garden

Now for other fantastic Mosaic Monday posts, make sure you visit Mary at Little Red House

Just a little extra:  It was a question from Pondside that made me realise I have used a term that not everyone would be familiar with ... squatter's chair.  So just to clear it up, here's a shot of my classic and distinctive piece of Australian furniture made of wood and canvas  ... often found in old Queenslander homes like mine. (It needs a bit of a polish!!)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Flower Flaunt on Friday - it's mid-Spring on this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

October is the middle month of our Spring season here in Oz ... and in my corner of north-east Oz it's been another strange start to the new month.  Following on from the unseasonal rainfall during September, this weather pattern has continued into early October with more showers of rain.  So far this month, we've received 25mm of rain.  Now I know in some parts of the world that's not considered much of a rainfall total in 15 days, but here it's considered a terrific amount during our supposed 'dry' season. 

The potted plants in my garden ... which contain most of the flowering plants ... have relished in these conditions and have been showing off some beautiful blooms.  I'm posting today's Friday Flaunt as part of the Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day meme as well.  Here's a little look at some of the beauties out in the garden today.

Two little notes before you click on the button below:
- please scroll down and stop the Playlist music before you open the Smilbox as the Smilebox has accompanying music
- if you wish to have a closer look at any of the photos on the Smilbox show, you just click on the photo and it shows an enlarged version.  Enjoy!

Click to play this Smilebox photo album
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For other great Friday Flower Flaunt / Fertiliser Friday posts, join Tootsie at Tootsie Time  and for more Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts, join Carol over at May Dreams Garden
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