Saturday, January 29, 2011

Flower Flaunt on Friday/Mosaic Monday - in the midst of cyclone season!

Yes I know I'm late, I'm late for this very important date ... again! ... but I really do have a good excuse!  It's been a terribly hectic time at work preparing my room for the school year.  Even though the students have already returned, my new room was still in the throes of re-construction.  It's been quite an effort in diplomacy and patience trying to set up with workmen in the room and plans being changed almost every second day!

So it's been a full week!  Not only that, but a cyclone is now bearing down on my particular stretch of the Queensland coast.  It's due to hit our region sometime on Monday, so hubbie and I have been doing little bits here and there after work to prepare for that as well!

Now to what's flowering.  Well after the rather intense 'wet' season we've already had, the flowering potted plants in both the shadehouse and courtyard gardens have all been trimmed back severely.  Most are far from being in their best form, but there are small splashes of colour.

In the courtyard garden I found the orange of Crossandra infundibuliformis and Ixora 'Twilight Glow',

the soft purples of Streptocarpus caulescens, Viola hederacea and Torenia,

and just a couple of brilliant white flashes from Tabernaemontana corymbosa, Wrightia antidysenterica and Argyranthemum frutescens.

In the shadehouse garden, there's the pinks of my Curcuma australasica and Dragonwing Begonias.

I then took a walk around the outdoor garden beds and found just a couple of sprays of blooms on two of the tallest trees, the Citharexylum spinosum and Tabebuia pallida.

There's an entire bed of Vinca major that's popped up over the 'wet' season.  This plant is considered a weed in my region and I'm forever pulling it out!  I shall wait until the end of this 'wet' before pulling out all these.

I've also found lots of little Cockscomb Celosia plants popping up in one of the downstairs garden beds.  There was originally two large trays of these on the outdoor stairway and the seeds have obviously been blown on the breeze to a nearby bed.

Both my Mussanedas are still in full bloom.  They just power on through all the gloomy overcast, stinking hot and steamy, rainy days of our 'wet' season.

Of course, there's always lots of red in my garden from all the different varieties of red flowering Hibiscus ...

... and the Pentas lanceolata have returned from their rather drastic cutbacks earlier in our Summer.

Finally, there's a few bright bursts of gold around the garden from the Cassia fistula, the Neomarica, the dwarf Allamanda, the Glaphimia glauca ... and the many St. Andrew's Cross spiders that are hanging out in my garden right now.

I'm joining Tootsie's meme, Fertilizer / Flaunt Your Flowers Friday,so please visit to see what's blooming in other gardens.

I'm also joining Mary's meme (a little early, but I thought I should given that I'm not sure how things will be here on Monday as the cyclone draws nearer!).  Please do pop over to Little Red House and check out all the terrific mosaics for Mosaic Monday.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's Australia Day ... Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!

Today is the day we celebrate what's great about Australia and being an Australian.
It's our official national day.

Australia is such a vast and diverse nation ... a country of incredible beauty and stunning landscapes.   I'm not going to share images of our iconic landmarks or famous spectacular scenery though ... I thought today I would just share some of the sights I'm fortunate enough to see in my garden here in the bushland of north-eastern Australia. 

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I'm heading off to celebrate with friends ... a fun-filled afternoon.  Barbeque, damper, lamingtons and pavlova ... and today the sun's shining brilliantly.  Finally there's a vast blue sky above us, the sun's beating down relentlessly and there's a gentle breeze gently blowing the puffy white clouds around!  A perfect Aussie summer day ... right on cue!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Flower Flaunt on Friday - another soggy, muggy mid-Summer week.

Well I'm running a teensy weensy bit late with this post ... but I know it's still Friday in quite a few spots in this great world of ours, so I'm gonna post anyway! 

The rain has continued to fall ... the sun occasionally pops out to remind us that it's still around ... and the humidity continues to suck the sweat and the energy out of our bodies! 

Most teachers have returned to school for student-free week, including me, and we've all been hard at work pumping our minds with fabulous ideas and getting ready for the excited arrival of students next week!   A lot of my school is still pretty much a construction site which has presented a whole different set of difficulties for the beginning of a new school year ... hence the delay in posting!  Sometimes life just gets in the way of blogging!

Anyway ... back to flowers.  As a result of the drastic trimming back of all those rather haggard and exhausted looking potted plants out in the shadehouse and courtyard, there aren't really that many blooms around right now, but here's a few of the flowers I did manage to spot this week.

Dianthera nodosa or Pretty In Pink ... a relative of the Shrimp Plant.

Allamanda cathartica 'Sunee' ... the dwarf variety of the Golden Trumpet.

Elsewhere in the garden, I keep finding Allamanda cathartica flowers scattered around the courtyard floor ...

 ... but the vine itself is hard to see as it's now wound its way up the Sterculia tree right to the top branches. 

The Malvaviscus arboreus or Sleepy Hibiscus continues to throw out a few blooms.

You have to look closely to spot the flowers of the Kaempferia elegans or Peacock Ginger.  They hide in amongst the beautifully patterned leaves.

The tiny flowers of our native Violet, Viola hederacea, often go unnoticed but I think they deserve to be on show.

My Celosia have re-seeded all over the place and have powered on through the Summer despite the lack of sunshine, constant rain with regular torrential downfalls.  They have now gone to the top of my list of 'annuals suitable for my garden'.  I shall be encouraging them far more now they've proven their worth.

When the sun does make an appearance around here, the butterflies suddenly appear from everywhere although some do look like they've been in the wars!  (Apologies for the scenic background of my hubbie's 'outdoor work' shirt!)

I've also been seeing quite a few snakes crawling out to find a spot in the sun!  This shot was taken from inside my kitchen looking out to the shadehouse where I just been!

The weather, work and wildlife are all conspiring to keep me from gardening these days!  So unfair!

For more great Fertiliser/Flaunt Your Flowers Friday posts, make sure you visit Tootsie's blog  Tootsie Time

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mosaic Monday ... mid-Summer flowers and foliage.

There seems to be no end to the dreariness and sogginess of this 'wet' season we're experiencing here in the north-east of Oz.  More grey skies ... more rain ... negligible sunshine ... no reprieve.   This is the tough time of year for so many of the drought and sun tolerant plants out in the garden.  But there are a few tropical beauties doing very well, so I thought I should single them out and give them their due!

Fabulous foliage plants like Alocasia x amazonica, Acalypha wilkesiana, Stromanthe sanguinea, Alpinia zerumbet , Codaieum variegatum, Calathea 'Medallion', Alpinia vittata, Cyathea spp.

Fantastic flowering tropicals like Anthurium, unknown Bromeliads, Calathea Medallion, Curcuma australasica,Costus productus, Curcum 'Voodoo Magic' and Guzmania lingulata.

For more fabulous Mosaic Monday posts, please visit Mary's blog Little Red House

Friday, January 14, 2011

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

After the terrible events that have unfolded here in my home state of Queensland recently, it's a pleasant diversion to be focussing on what's blooming in my garden. 

As many of you already know, most of the blooms in my garden are on potted plants.  The garden beds here are totally dominated by palms, the old-fashioned red-flowering Hibiscus, the Giant Sword Fern and Duranta repens.  Whilst these plants certainly offer a lot in the way of terrific foliage, they don't really provide all that much variety when it comes to blooms.

So I started adding potted plants to both the Courtyard and Shadehouse Gardens in my effort to add colour other than green.
Here we see some of the potted plants out in the courtyard just as the 'wet' season began in early December.

After an unseasonably wet Spring in late 2010, they weren't doing too badly.  But as the 'wet' continued and worsened, with many, many gloomy days and lots of heavy rain over December into early January, most of my potted plants got very very leggy as they searched all over for some sunlight.  Sunshine has definitely been at a premium here in north-east Oz during this Summer.

Not only did these plants get scraggly, they started looking a little starved, which of course they were.  It's futile trying to keep up the regular feeding schedule during a wet season as the heavy rain simply leaches all the goodness out and it's not all that much fun standing out in driving rain with a watering can!

Added to all this, they had been attacked by the usual summertime visitors ... greedy gnawing grasshoppers.  These plants had what I refer to as 'the wet season woes'!  So, I spent some time over the weekend giving most of these plants a drastic trimming back, hence the lack of blooms in both the courtyard and shadehouse.

As a result, I had to look very carefully to find blooms elsewhere.   Out I went with camera in hand, during some breaks in the showers of rain today, to see what I could find in some of the other spots around the property.

As expected, there were the usual year-round bloomers - Hibiscus, Russelia, Neomarica, Evolvulus, Ixoras, Pentas. Such stout sturdy plants.  Then there were the trusty wet season bloomers, the Mussaendas and Salvias.

One thoroughly unexpected find were the two tiny Azalea blooms ... can't explain it!  They're slightly confused obviously, thinking it's still Spring.

The Mandevilla which really suffered from something during last year ... still haven't worked out what ... has recovered well finally and showing off some flowers.

Then there is the magnificent Tricyrtis x Empress - the Empress Toad Lily.  I had almost forgotten about this beauty as the Giant Sword Fern has all but taken over in the Shadehouse Garden and the potted Empress was languishing in a corner.  After the big clean-up out in the shadehouse, she has come back to life!

Here's what's going on in my garden today ... I did include some of the other sights out in the garden today.  See how many pesky grasshoppers you can spot!

I'm joining in Tootsies' meme Fertilizer Friday / Flaunt Your Flowers today with this video clip!  Make sure you go on over to Tootsie's blog and have a look at what's blooming in other gardens around the world as well.

I'm participating in the Today's Flowers meme and encourage you to pop over the see some outstanding flowers.

I'm joining the Blooming Friday meme and ...

... I'm also joining in Carol's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - GBBD meme.  There will be many gardeners posting about just what's going on in their gardens right now in mid-January, so make sure your visit and find out!

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