Friday, June 24, 2011

Just A Little Flaunt!

I'm joining Tootsie for her Flaunt Your Flowers/Fertiliser Friday meme, Mary for her Mosaic Monday meme and Today's Flowers with my post today.

I would encourage you to pop over to these blogs and enjoy the posts.
The moon won't go to bed today and is still hanging around our winter sky at 10.00 am  in the morning.  It's another beautiful blue-sky day with just a hint of a chill in the air.  So let's take a quick peek at what's blooming around my place on this winter's day here in north-eastern Oz.

As I was strolling along the little pathway to the courtyard ...

off to my right, I noticed the first coloured bracts on my variegated Bougainvillea, which had to be trimmed back severely in the post-cyclone clean-up.
Very soon those bracts will open up to reveal the tiny white flower that generally goes unnoticed inside. 

To my left I noticed the Sanseviera trifasciata is showing a spike of greenish-white fragrant flowers.  This plant is regarded as a weed in my area of the world, but my patch is contained in a garden bed at the back of the courtyard and hasn't spread anywhere else as yet.  The patch has been flowering sporadically now for around two years.

Around the courtyard there are various potted plants in bloom.

The Impatiens hawkerii 'Celebrette Orchid Star', Azalea, Spathoglottis, Petunias, Gomphrena globosa, Antirrhinum 'Strawberry Crush' and 'Velveteen', as well as the Osteospermum are all in bloom.

My Zygocactus is showing off at the moment and makes an eye-catching display on the wooden table in the centre of the courtyard.

There is quite a bit of colour from foliage plants as well, and not just from the annuals which are starting to make themselves known at long last.

There's a little pot of Lavender and Lobelia which just can't go unnoticed.

As I wander on into the house and out into the shadehouse garden,

I notice the various Impatiens walleriana are flowering wonderfully once again.  I missed their colourful display during the long wet season and it's terrific to see their colours peering out between the fronds of the Giant Sword Fern.

The Dragon Wing Begonias power on in all conditions, wet and dry.  I just wouldn't be without them.

Wandering through the shadehouse garden, I stop to take a look at the tiered garden bed just outside.

The Iresine herbstii 'Blazin Rose' is simply covered in spikes of white flowers ....

... and a few of the old faithfuls are still carrying on as usual.  Mandevilla 'White Fanstasy', Euphorbia pulcherrima, Cuphea hyssopifolia, Pentas and Gerbera.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mosaic Monday ... Busy Bees At Work In The Garden

It seems the bees are enjoying this glorious winter weather as much as the plants and flowers are.  Now that the sky is clear and bright blue, and the sun is bathing the garden with its' brilliant golden rays, the bees have been out and about.

I haven't been out in the garden as much as I would like lately ... hectic other life! ... but when I have had the time to take a quick stroll around, I've noticed the hum of the many bees busy at work.  I have to say the photos in the mosaic are old, most were taken last year, because I simply haven't had the time to get my camera out.  But these are the bees I have spotted busily seeking out nectar in my garden in the last few weeks.  The only bee in these shots that I can name is the one with the fantastic blue and black stripes ... that's our native Blue Banded Bee - Amegilla cingulata.

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

Friday, June 17, 2011

Foliage Follow-Up and a Flower Flaunt For This First Winter Month.

I'm joining Pam's Foliage Follow-Up  meme and Tootsies' Fertiliser Friday/Flaunt Your Flowers meme today. 

Right now it's our first month of Winter here in the northern tropics of Oz.  You know it's Winter here when you see the Poinsettias showing off and my Euphorbia pulcherrimas are showing their stunning bracts right now.  People often think the bright leaves or bracts look like flamboyent flowers.  But if you look closely in the centre of these bracts, you will see the rather insignificant yellowish cluster of true flowers.  Therein lies the reason for my posting about Poinsettias as part of Foliage Follow-Up and Flaunt Your Flowers.

Originally I had an enormous red Poinsettia growing in my front garden bed ... you might just be able to see it to the right in this old photo, behind the Russelia.  Unfortunately I lost that to drought conditions just over six years ago now.

It took me a while, but I finally have a couple of immature ones growing in my outdoor tiered garden bed.  I can't wait for them to mature and see them absolutely covered in their coloured bracts and tiny little flowers at this time of year.  For now though, they're quite young but they still put on a great display.

Here come the bracts on my red.  This was back at the end of May.

Now there are little flowers in the middle as well.

Here's the baby of the family.  It's my newest addition and it has creamy-white bracts.  You can see that the flowers have only just begun to show.

Here's my dwarf pink just coming into flower as well.   The pink Poinsettia is just a little behind the others with its' display, but very soon it will look like this.

Make sure you pop over to visit Pam at Digging and check out all the foliage follow-up posts listed in the comments section.  You won't be disappointed!

Then go to see what's in flower at Tootsie Time.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Break From The Everyday!

Well I've been away for a little while ... so apologies for what probably appeared to be neglect in acknowledgement of comments.  I have been away on 'retreat'.  I am quite lucky to have an employer that offers the chance to get away on these breaks every few years.  It's an opportunity to leave our everyday life and classrooms for a while, to spend time reflecting on and contemplating about some of life's big questions.

My 'retreat' was a silent retreat.   We were discouraged from taking phones, laptops, ipods or anything that might prove to be a distraction.  We were even discouraged from turning on the television!  Sounds harsh, but it was in fact quite a peaceful, serene escape from my busy day-to-day life.

Here are some of the early morning views I had to put up with from my balcony, before I headed off to meditation sessions down on the beach front!

Oh yes!  It's hard to be very, very quiet all day, but after the initial withdrawal symptoms, I settled into the daily routine fairly easily!   I spent a great deal of time wandering up and down the long, long stretches of beach.  It was a very picturesque location and the perfect spot to slow down and be still.

It's amazing how, when you really slow down and take the time, you start to notice all the details in your surroundings.  Here's a collection of some of the many, many photos I took during my contemplative wanderings.

The location for my retreat is a place known as Mission Beach and, unfortunately the centre or 'eye' of Cyclone Yasi crossed the coast in this area earlier this year.  The devastation wreaked by Yasi is still in evidence, especially in the nearby small town of Cardwell.  The rainforest areas around Mission Beach itself, were all stripped and flattened.

As you can see from the photo above, the garden areas around the resort where I was staying were looking rather bare.  Having stayed at this resort just last year with my husband, it was evident that lots of trees and shrubs had been knocked over and damaged ... there were lots of bare patches.  But, even in the midst of all this I did find just a few flowers on some Hibiscus shrubs that had survived.

Upon noticing the lack of blooms in the resort garden, I was inspired to add flowers to the mandala that our group was creating during some of our sessions together.  Artistic flair is a hidden talent in me ... as you can tell, it's hidden way down deep, lol!!!

Despite posting a little early, I'm joining Tootsie for her Flaunt Your Flowers / Fertilizer Friday meme and I'm also joining Mary for her Mosaic Monday meme.  Be sure to visit both these memes to enjoy some terrific posts.

I'm off again ... this time I'm off to visit my family down south ... so, I'll be back to regular posting, on the right days, next week.   If I miss comments in the mean time, I will make sure to try and catch up upon my return.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Flower Flaunt on a Skywatch Friday ... first month of our Winter.

 Winter is here!  Although many would never call what we experience here a ... Winter!!  Northern Hemisphere folks would not consider our daytime or even our night-time temps even slightly cold!

To us, of course, this is what Winter is all about!  Today it's been a very pleasant 26 deg C (86 F) and this evening we're expecting a slightly cool 16 C (60 F).  During the week the mercury dropped to 10 C (50 F) on a couple of nights, so we donned our winter pj's and even threw a doona on the bed!

The morning skies have been quite beautiful lately, but it's getting harder getting up early enough to see all these glorious colours ... it's a little chilly before daybreak!

The garden is still taking a bit of a back seat because of my work commitments at the moment, but hopefully that will change in a couple more weeks.  So, lets see what's blooming around my place this week.
Out in the Shadehouse Garden, there are a couple of hanging baskets of Barleria obtusa and they are all full of blooms right now.

There are around ten hanging baskets of Impatiens walleriana as well, and they're putting on a great display.

There are also five hanging baskets full of flowering Dragon Wing Begonias.  They are really looking terrific right now.

Another lovely sight at the moment out in the Shadehouse Garden, are the first buds on my Zygocactus which has grown wonderfully well from a piece given to me by a lovely old lady last year.  I'm still waiting on the various Orchids she gave me to bloom, but I think that's going to take a while.

Out in the Courtyard Garden there are a few flowers on the potted plants, brightening up that space.

Elsewhere, in outdoor garden beds there are some lovely blooms.

That Salvia madrensis sure does need a trim back, but I do so love the curls and swirls of the spent flower spikes.

The Scutellaria suffrutescens really does stand out in this patch, while the Angelonia angustifolia and Salvia leucantha provide a soft pretty background.  It's hard to spot the fans of the dwarf Scaveola next to the Scutellaria, but I swear they are there!

The Iresine herbstii is in bloom but the flower spikes are rather inconspicuous amongst the flashy foliage.  You have to get up close.

Now here's a sight that tells you it's Winter here!

The coloured bracts and teeny tiny flowers on one of the Euphorbia pulcherrimas out in the garden are making an appearance!

The nights have started drawing in early ... the sun disappears around 5.30 now, so our days are getting shorter.

It's almost time to start cooking the Corned Beef with lashings of mashed potato, cabbage and greens ... and, of course, the white sauce! 

Then it'll be time for the Ugg boots!

For more great Fertiliser Friday / Flaunt Your Flowers posts, make sure to visit Tootsie at Tootsie Time

I'm also joining Skywatch Friday and encourage you to pop over to see some outstanding sky shots.

Be sure to check out the wonderful flower shots at Today's Flowers as well.
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