Monday, August 29, 2011

Mosaic Monday ... Birds and Blooms.

Well, Spring is almost upon us.  There's only two Winter days left and hat's not something I'm rejoicing over.  Springtime here is really just an early Summer.  The days have already started warming up considerably, with the mercury edging closer and closer to that 30 deg C (86F) mark.   The night time temps no longer drop below 15 deg C (59F).  So, before the conditions get warmer, I'm out and about the garden as much as possible.

It's lovely to see so many birds returning to the tree tops around here now.  After so much of the canopy was either stripped or ripped off during Cyclone Yasi back in February, the bird population seemed to dwindle a little as they took off in search of food.  They seem to be returning now as the canopy recovers.

(Starting top left)  I'm seeing Rainbow Lorikeets, Little Shrike Thrushes, Spangled Drongoes, Pheasant Coucals, Figbirds and Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos.  It's lovely hearing all the different bird songs throughout the day.

Out in the courtyard I'm really enjoying the sight of some great annuals flourishing.  Plants such as the Vanilla Marigold and the Bumble Bee Petunia make a great combination.

I'm also enjoying the plentiful blooms on the potted Azaleas.  I love how the flowers start off as dark pink buds, open up to show off their gorgeous dark pink petals and then start to fade to light pink as the flower ages.

Our 'dry' season drags on.  We haven't received rainfall for a few months now, which is usual, but as I gaze out onto the parched landscape that surrounds us here ...

... my mind goes back to the view out over the ocean that I enjoyed last weekend.  It was a refreshing change of scenery.

I'm joining Mary for Mosaic Monday.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Flower Flaunt ... On This Dry, Dry End-of-Winter's Day.

Well, after having some trouble with the internet connection, I'm back to posting once again.  It's dry as a bone around here these days.  Some of the well-established plants around the place are starting to suffer as the 'dry' season rolls on.  The mercury is starting to rise as Spring approaches, so it doesn't take long for the potted plants to dry out as well.

Let's see what's blooming despite the parched conditions.

The first blooms are appearing on the Vanilla Marigolds and they look great in amongst the Bumble Bee Petunias.

I've grown these 'Bonanza' Petunias now for a couple of years and they are most definitely the longest flowering, easiest to keep going Petunias for the climate and conditions here.  I love the ones with the white tips on their petals.  They do make a great show.

More of the 'Bonanza Series' Petunias.

I've only managed to get one pot of Verbenas going this year.  All the other plants succumbed to some sort of fungal problem which I just couldn't get on top of.  Never mind, the ones that have come through are certainly putting on a pretty display.

The Lobelia is mingling wonderfully well with the Lavender.

It's marvellous to see the variegated flowers on this double Impatiens walleriana return.  Last year the flowers had reverted back to just plain red, but obviously the change in position must have done some good.  Those pretty red and white splotches are back.

The display on this unknown variety of Begonia is a gorgeous sight through my kitchen window.

Finally, there's something afoot in my pots of Asiatic and Oriental Liliums. 

I just have to be patient a little longer!

Join in the Fertilizer Friday / Flaunt Your Flowers meme by popping in to visit Tootsie at Tootsie Time

I'm joining Weekend Flowers for the first time.  Thank you for the invitation Tina!

I'm also joining Today's Flowers

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mosaic Monday ... My Hometown By The Sea

While I realise that Mary is taking a break from hosting the Mosaic Monday meme this week, I thought I'd use some mosaics in my post today anyway.  Over the past weekend I made a quick trip to my home town for a family do.  When your baby brother turns the big 50, you begin to realise you're not a spring chicken anymore!!  Anyway, it was a treat driving around my small home town and taking in the views once more.  It's a spot that's surrounded by coastline and the views are great.

There's nothing quite like standing on a high vantage point, gazing out over sparkling blue sea and sky, and having the cobwebs blown out of your head by a refreshing sea breeze!  I didn't want to leave.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Flower Flaunt Friday ... As The End Of Our Glorious Winter Draws Nearer

Here in the southern hemisphere we're halfway through our last month of Winter.  Whilst that might be cause for rejoicing further south, here in the north we're a little saddened by the thought.  Springtime here is the beginning of the end of the fantastic cool, clear sunny Winter days and the beginning of the plunge into the horrid Summer temperatures and humidity levels.   Ah well, it's time to enjoy every minute of the little Wintertime that's left.

There were just a few little hot spots left burning over the past weekend after the bushfire swept through the hill opposite our property.  Now all spots are dead and gone, so the threat is completely over.

Out in the garden I've been doing quite a bit of hand-watering, as it's our dry season here, and the drying winds have whipped again.  I don't mind spending time watering though.  To me it's the most relaxing time of the day.  Here's a little of what I see while I'm out there.

Scutellaria suffrutescens

 Rhododendron simsii

 Gazania rigens

Pansies 'Super Swiss Giants'

The first double blooms on the Petunia 'Bonanza'

The first blooms on the Rudbeckia 'Tiger Eye'

Unknown variety of Cane Begonia or Tree Begonia

Nasturtium 'Alaska Mix'

The Pentas are blooming once more, after being cut back severely and treated for mealy bug infestation

The Asiatic Lilies are sprouting.

But now ... for some flowers or plants that are suddenly missing from my garden.

Just last week I had noticed there was something wrong with the lowest tier of the rock garden beds.  My patch of Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' appeared to have been eaten.

Supposedly, the branches of this plant are poisonous if ingested.  The sap is rather nasty.  Well apparently this assumption does not apply to ravenous wallabies who are finding it difficult to locate grass to eat in the dry season.  They literally ate the whole shrub, which was standing at around half a metre in height.

I then started noticing branches missing from the potted Euphorbias up on my courtyard garden.  Well, I couldn't have that, so I barricaded the courtyard.  Or so I thought.  Wallabies should never be underestimated when they hungry and they find something rather delectable to their taste buds.

The shot above shows not only the blooming Rhododendron simsii or Azalea, but you can see the Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' in its full glory to the left, filling out the pot with my Wrightia.  It was looking fantastic for months!

Well, despite my best efforts to protect this delicious plant over the last few days, this is what I found this morning.

This is what's left of my other Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' potted up with a Justicia carnea ... which apparently is not all that tasty!!

Then I found my poor Gomphrenas.

Obviously the stems are delicious, but those flowerheads ... yuk, I can keep those!   Wallabies, apparently have discerning tastes!

The Gazania flowers are not good enough either, but the leaves are to-die-for!  I now only have little stumps left of my newly planted Gazanias out in the new rock garden bed.

Yes, you horrors!  Turn away from me and hide your faces.   Don't you dare look me in the eye.  Thieves!  I've been sticking up for you for ages.  Whenever anyone asks whether you are pests in my garden ... destructive little creatures ... I have always said 'NO!'  Well that's all changed now.  Even your friend the Kookaburra is ashamed of you.

Thankfully, there is a little bit of good news from my garden and I can end on a more cheery note.  There's actually a bloom appearing for the very first time on my Callistemon ‘Pink Champagne', which has been in the ground now for almost two years and has done very, very little.   But this is the promise of things to come.

For lots more fabulous flower flaunt post, visit Tootsie's meme Fertilizer Friday / Flaunt Your Flowers

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Today's Flowers ... Begonias.

Begonias are a common sight in my dry tropics garden.  They are so well suited to the conditions here and simply thrive in the shady spots around the garden.  When you grow a lot of Begonias, you start to take notice of the beauty of their tiny little flowers.  Whether it's the every-blooming Dragon Wing sprays or the tiny dainty flowers of the Rexs, Begonia flowers have an undeniable beauty.

For Today's Flowers I'm sharing some of the beautiful blooms that are appearing on the various Begonias growing in my garden right now.

 Unknown variety

Elatoir Begonia and Begonia semperflorens

More Begonia semperflorens, also known as Wax or Bedding Begonias

Cane Begonia or Tree Begonia

Dragon Wing Begonias - red and pink

Rex Begonias

To see lots of beautiful flowers, make sure you visit Today's Flowers

I'm also joining in Mosaic Monday  and I would recommend a visit to that meme as well,

and I'm joining Macro Monday for the first time.

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