Friday, July 8, 2011

A Flower Flaunt on this mid-Winter Skywatching Friday.

July is our mid-Winter month and the weather has turned rather warm.  We're not getting the cool nights we were around a fortnight ago and the days have warmed up a notch too.  The daytime skies have been mostly cloudless and bright blue.

The early morning sunrises and evening sunset skies have been stunning.  This was the sunrise viewed from my verandah just this week ....

... and this was the early evening sky on the very same day.  Such fantastic colour!

I've recovered enough from the seemingly endless battle with some nasty virus I had picked up recently to finally get out to do some of the much needed clearing out and trimming back.  I have to admit that the poor Shadehouse/Greenhouse Garden looks like a huge mess!  Some crazy lady has been in there unmercilessly hacking and yanking in between bouts of uncontrollable coughing and  spluttering. 

I've managed to create the same sort of chaos and mess out in the tiered front garden bed as well, but I made some lovely unexpected finds out there. 

Around two years ago I planted two lovely Kalanchoe blossfeldianas ... each in a different tier.  They both struggled.  I kept breaking off bits and shoving them in the soil, hoping one of the slips would take.  I don't know how, given just how much water rushed through this whole area of the garden during the 'wet' season, but one of the slips has rooted and grown and it's just beginning to bloom!!!  Wonder of wonders.   Look at this hardy little thing!  I almost trampled on it in the midst of my tidying frenzy, but my surprising little survivor is intact.

Right behind this little trooper, one of the red Salvia splendens I had planted in the top tier suddenly made a re-appearance as well.  Don't you love it when plants seemingly rise from the dead?

But there was more!  About a year ago, Hubbie gave me a piece of a plant that was growing in the garden beds at his workplace.  He'd thought I would like it a lot and had pulled out a piece to bring home.  I just shoved it in a spot on the middle tier and promptly forgot about it, not expecting it to do anything really as hubbie had just yanked the poor thing out without much consideration about actually leaving roots on it. 

I hadn't really noticed it in amongst the ferns that had taken over, and just like the Kalanchoe, I was not expecting it to survive the river of water that swept over the tiers for weeks and weeks.  But ... guess what!  Here's another of my lovely surprises this week.

It's my first ever Dietes bicolor bloom.  Isn't it a stunner?  Well, I think it's Dietes bicolor, although those petals are definitely not pale yellow.  People who read my blog regularly know just how much I love white in my garden, so I'm over the moon with the colour of this eye-catching beauty.

Out in my Courtyard Garden I found another surprise this week.  I've had a Tree Begonia sitting in a pot under the pergola for some time now.  It's been knocked over by wallabies that like to come into the sheltered pergola area for a snooze.  It's had its' arching branches broken off by dive-bombing Kookaburras coming in to drink at the pond.  It's been ignored ... by me ... and given very little attention aside from the infrequent watering when I finally remember it's there.  Well, I certainly noticed it the other day when I saw its' flowers.

Yes ... more lovely white flowers.  I do love the foliage as well!

But even that wasn't the end of the surprises this week. 

I've had a Strobilanthes dyerianus / Persian Shield for a little while now and it just has not done well.  It's been a sickly looking thing ever since I bought it over a year ago.  I've moved it ... re-potted it ... tried to keep it moist because I know it doesn't like being dry ... done a little bit of pruning to try to encourage new growth. 

Yep, none of these things worked.  So, feeling fed up with it after it was really knocked about during the cyclone earlier this year, I hacked it back almost to soil level.  It's been sitting at the back of my 'plant hospital' spot out in the courtyard and when I finally starting clearing this area out, this is what I found.

My stunted tiny little Strobilanthes is flowering.  The plant itself has just two stems around 15 cms high and there's flower atop both of them!  What?  When the plant was around a metre high it just kept losing leaves and looked bare and unloveable, but when I hack it down to almost nothing it responds with blooms!!!!!

It's a never-ending challenge figuring out what to do with some plants.

Anyway, now for some of the plants I was fully expecting to be in bloom right now out in the courtyard and are doing what I think they should be doing.

My gorgeous Pelargonium 'Caliente Series' and Impatiens hawkeri / New Guinea Impatiens 'Celebrette Orchid Star'.

Gomphrena globosa / Bachelor's Buttons and Crossandra infundibuliformis / Firecracker Plant.

More of my Pansies are making an appearance.  These are the 'Swiss Super Giants'.  This name has to be just wishful thinking, considering their size!

My Spathoglottis or Ground Orchid continues to put out more flower spikes ...

and the double blooms on my Begonia 'Elatoir' are still looking pretty good.

For loads of fabulous posts showing what's in flower around the world, go on over to Tootsie at

I'm also joining Skywatch Friday     

and Today's Flowers


  1. Oh my gosh Bernie, you have some gorgeous flowers at the moment. How big does that tree begonia grow? My persian shield and kalanchoe are also in flower, although someone told my yesterday that my ground orchids need more sun in order to flower. gosh I will have to think of moving them. I sent off your cosmos seeds today - enjoy them.

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  3. Hi AA. My Tree Begonia, or Cane Begonia as it's also known, is now around a metre tall. It was given to me as a little piece just last year.

    It's a very old-fashioned type ... my Grandma always had them growing under the stairs of her high set home. I have no idea of the botanic name or varietal name of it, but it's a stayer.

    My Ground Orchids are in two different spots ... one gets morning sunshine and one gets pretty much full sun ... and they both flower really well. I'm so looking forward to receiving my little gift, thanks once again for that.

  4. Your skyshots have such incredible colours! I liked your dietes, which I have not seen here. The treatment for strobilanthes brought a smile :)

  5. Going from image to image, so many pretty blooms. I never heard of Dietes. It really is a wonderfully interesting flower. And I too love white. The sky shots are beautiful in those striking colors.

  6. Your efforts have turned out well, so many absolutely beautiful blooms. It is joyful to see what's growing in your garden. Thanks for the photos in Queensland. Lori from the Jarvis Garden

  7. Gorgeous sky and blooms!

    My Sky Watch, have a happy weekend!

  8. Sky shots are stunning love the evening
    colour's. My,that is a big leaf you have chopped in the shade house! What some fantastic surprises you found my favorite is M’s gift. (Ah what a sweetie he is.!) Sometimes plants respond well to being chopped back hard it shocks them into flower your stunted strobilanthes is beautiful. I’m pleased to hear you have beaten that nasty virus into submission but don’t go overdoing it out in the heat.
    We are back on top summer form it raining dark and cold!
    Have a good weekend.

  9. Oh Bernie ~ I always love visiting your blog. The sunrise/sunset photos are stunning and vibrant. Your flowers are always gorgeous and you have such a wonderful variety.

    I do hope you are feeling much better soon.

    Hugs ~ FlowerLady

  10. You have some fantastic gardens and blooms going on there. Really lovely! I am your new follower. Would appreciate when you have time your stopping by and following. Have a nice weekend.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  11. Hi Bernie, I love your sky shots, especially the third one. Your shade garden is lush and tropical, and the Dietes is stunning!
    Hugs, Beth

  12. I always love coming here, your flowers are just gorgeous. Awesome colors in your skies, lovely captures. Happy skywatching and have a wonderful weekend!

  13. That Dietes is gorgeous. I love finding unexpected surprises in the garden, especially beautiful ones like that. I'm glad you're feeling better!

  14. What a beautiful pink sky Bernie.I wish my winter garden looked as good as yours. LOL! Snow is not that colorful.
    Girl I love your Dietes. What a knockout. Have a wonderful weekend.

  15. Wow! Your mid-winter is stunning!! Love all the blooms, the gorgeous skies and your musical accompaniment! Have a terrific weekend!

  16. Hope you feel better soon.
    Such beautiful skies, in Ireland this Summer we have had so many grey skies, too many, I want some Sun.

  17. Bernie!!! what a beautiful post! It is so nice that I get to see what the other side of the world looks like...and it it beautiful! Every photo is more beautiful than the first....I would love to visit and walk your garden in person one day!
    Thanks for linking in and sharing your flaunt today!!! I always love seeing all the pretties everyone shares! Have a great weekend friend

  18. Well, I loved the skies--absolutely gorgeous color, but then I went on to the lovely flower photos and found those gorgeous too. Beautiful, beautiful!!! Mickie (Forgetmenot)

  19. Bernie, what a fascinating climate to garden in, winters here are just snow, snow and yes, more snow. All of your flowers (and so many I have never seen before) are so beautiful. The sky pictures are amazing, too, love the pink.

  20. Bernie, the sky shots are beautiful! Your garden is so different from the ones I am used to. Very tropical and lush! Thanks for sharing your beautiful blooms! ~~Rhonda

  21. The photos of your sky are beautiful.
    All the flowers are magnificent.

  22. such gorgeous collection of photos. from your pink and purple skies to your beautiful garden. you're surrounded by beauty.

  23. Gorgeous blooms!

    Today's Flower at my end, hope you can drop by,. Have a blessed Sunday!

  24. Beautiful Shots! Your garden is lovely :)


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