Monday, May 30, 2011

Mosaic Monday ... As Autumn Draws To A Close.

The weather has just been fantastic and I can't get enough of the glorious blue skies and the bird song at the moment.  Our nights are certainly getting a little cooler and our days shorter as our rather wimpy Winter approaches.  I, unfortunately, haven't been able to do much around the garden ... in between national literacy and numeracy testing, school-based assessment and reporting, it's been very hectic at work.

I have been stumbling home and only managing to do the watering of all the potted plants in both the shadehouse and courtyard gardens as the sunshine fades around 5.00 pm in the afternoon.  Fortunately, a lot of the plants seem to be powering on despite my lack of attention.

My few surviving Pelargoniums are flowering again.  It's a real treat to see these beauties as it means I finally got just a few through the long wet summer.   That's something I've never managed before.

Bracteanthas and Barlerias are blooming.

Torenias are back.  I love these plants.  Not only do they have the cutest little flowers, but they re-seed themselves every year.  These are the original varieties and I've had them for such a long time now.  The newer hybrids don't re-seed much at all, so I often just purchase new seedlings when they appear in the nurseries. 

My potted Azleas are beginning their Winter display once more.  There are also one or two blooms on my one and only Azalea growing in a garden bed.  I always enjoy seeing these beautiful flowers through our Winter here.

For other fantastic Mosaic Monday posts, visit Mary at Little Red House

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mosaic Monday ... Leaving On A Jet Plane

My baby boy is heading off overseas again.  Last time he was away for over a year, but this time I think it will probably be a lot longer.  He and his partner are heading back to her home on the Emerald Isle and they're both looking forward to this adventure together.

Thankfully they were able to come and visit for a while.  Our baby boy hasn't lived at home for around eight years now and so he made sure he visited all the family and the old haunts.  On the last day of their little break with us, he asked if we could all take a drive up into the ranges to the north of our city ... about 60 kilometres from our city centre and way on the opposite side of where we live.

It's a wet tropics area in these northern ranges and, appropriately, it was a dreary drizzly day where we were able to reach out and touch the low-lying clouds whilst driving through the small township at the top of the ranges.

We had a very pleasant drive, stopping to have a picnic lunch and a wander around.   Not only was it a great opportunity to get the two young city-dwellers out into a rainforest area, listening to the sounds of nature and feasting their eyes on the birds and butterflies living in that area, it was a chance to remind our son of one of the links that exists between previous generations of his family and the area here in north Queensland that was his home for so many years.

Mt. Spec Road, which stretches for approximately 18 kilometres up into the Paluma ranges, includes the concrete arch bridge over Little Crystal Creek.  This road was constructed between 1930 and 1936, at the height of the Great Depression, using mostly unskilled labour.  It was the largest Unemplyment Relief project in this region.  Not only was it an extremely difficult and ambitious project, that eventually took six years to complete, it turned out to be quite dangerous as well, with some loss of life.

Our baby boy's great-grandfather was one of the labourers who hacked out the original road up into the rainforest-covered ranges, and build the concrete arch bridge, dressed with stone, that arches Little Crystal Creek.  The teams of labourers had to live in rustic camps in the mosquito-infested rainforest while they were employed on this project, and they didn't get to see their families for anything up to a year at a time.  Working conditions were hard and these men were mostly living in isolation.

My husband's dad can remember his father talking about waiting for the horse-drawn carts that would take a week or more to get up the ranges to deliver a bag of 'goodies' sent from the family living back home. 'Goodies' were things like tobacco, soap, home-made griddle cakes, socks and blankets. 

It was a fabulous day ... great surroundings, great stories and great company!

I'm joining Mary at Little Red House for her Mosaic Monday meme, so please drop over and visit.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Flower Flaunt on Friday ... on a drizzly end-of-autumn day.

I've haven't written a post for two weeks ... how time flies when you're busy at work!  The last couple of weeks have been extremely hectic, but I have managed some time in the garden over the weekends.  I couldn't miss flaunting some flowers today, so here's a quick look at some of the blooms out in the garden right now.

I've finally started potting up some annual seedlings and a few have started flowering.

The winter-blooming Euphorbia leucocephala or Snowflake Bush out in the courtyard garden  is showing its' first flowers.  If you look closely you will see the tiny star-shaped flowers in the centre of the white bracts.  This shrub makes a terrific sight when it's in full bloom.

Torenias or Wishbone Flowers are in bloom.  I love growing these beauties!

The hanging baskets of Impatiens walleriana out in the shadehouse garden have recovered very well from the long wet season earlier in the year, and are finally showing lots of blooms.

This New Guinea Impatiens hybrid has also started throwing out flowers once more.

Then there's my gorgeous hybrid Pelargonium.  It's pulled through so well and is flowering away beautifully once more.

For some fantastic Fertiliser / Flaunt Your Flowers Friday posts, visit Tootsie at Tootsie Time

Friday, May 6, 2011

Flower Flaunt on Friday ... our end-of-Autumn month.

May is the last month of our Autumn and the Acacias have started their dry season blooming.  Already there's a further little drop in our daytime temps (expected high of only 27 deg C / 80 deg F today) and the nights are certainly getting cooler.  Last night was a lovely 17 deg C / 62 F.

On the garden front, not much has changed from my last Flower Flaunt post.  Pretty much the same things are flowering.  Unfortunately my back and neck had a little disagreement with the job I tried, and seized up!  So that's resulted in a further delay in potting up the annual seedlings.  So the courtyard remains bare of that potted colour.

Never mind, there have been just a couple of new blooms.  My one and only surviving Ivy-Leaved Pelargonium is showing some lovely flowers.  All the others succumbed to the unrelenting wet season and withered away to nothing.  So this particular Pellie is obviously made of hardy stock.
Ivy-leaved Pelargonium

The Calliandra that only had to be trimmed back a little after the cyclone has also started flowering.  So we're beginning to see these lovely fluffy red Powder Puff blooms again.  We won't be seeing the pink Calliandra blooms for quite a while as that shrub is still pretty much a stump at the moment.
Calliandra haematocephala

Here's a few other things blooming right now.
Duranta 'Geisha Girl' ... this Duranta, which is a potted plant on my courtyard, is the only Duranta flowering as all the others in the outdoor garden beds are still just stumps with bits of new growth sticking out here and there.

The Bachelor Buttons self-seeded in this container, so I'm very pleased with them.  These brand new plants have just begun their flowering.
Gomphrena globosa

My dwarf white Salvia is putting on a pretty display and showing more and more spires every day.
Salvia farinacea 'Victoria White'

I have a few Spathiphyllums scattered in little corners of the garden, and one of the potted Peace Lilies has just thrown out its first spathe.  It will, of course, unfold soon to reveal the flower inside.

I've spotted the first ever flower spray on my Palm Lily, which is a native of the north of Australia.  I'm eager to see the flowers and I have to congratulate this poor plant on its' effort.  After being munched on by hordes of grasshoppers and then whipped mercilessly by cyclonic winds, the last thing I expected it to do was flower!!!
Cordyline cannifolia

I've always very pleased to see these intricate beauties.  This is the inflorescence and tiny flowers of the red Shrimp Plant.
Justicia brandegeana

For lots more terrific Flaunt Your Flowers / Fertiliser Friday posts, go on over to visit Tootsie at Tootsie Time

I'm also joining Today's Flowers
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