Monday, September 26, 2011

Mosaic Monday ... On A Mission.

My better half and I were on a mission over the past weekend.  We whisked ourselves away to our favourite get-away spot to celebrate another milestone in our marriage ... our 33rd anniversary.  It's amazing how quickly the years pass and I think we often overlook just what an achievement it is to still be together and happy after all this time.

Mission Beach is only a three-hour drive away and we always love to stay at one particular resort right on the beach front.  The Castaways Resort has been a favoured destination of ours for well over ten years now, and it never fails to disappoint.  Luckily it came through Tropical Cyclone Yasi very well despite the fact that it was located within the very destructive centre of the cyclone when it made landfall.

The views from our room over the coconut fringed sandy beach right in front of the resort are just spectacular whether it be early morning, midday or evening.  The sound of the ocean waves splashing onto the beach and the breezes blowing through the palm fronds is just instantly calming and relaxing.  If only the weekend could have gone on and on!  Unfortunately I'm about to head off now to visit my beautiful grandchildren, my son and daughter-in-law!  Ah, the sacrifices we have to make!

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

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Flower Flaunt ... Nearly The End of Our First Month Of Spring

Where did that first month of Spring go?   It just seems to have hurtled past and it's primarily been about fighting battles in an effort to win the war against the loss of many of my plants.  There have been battles with sneaky, hungry Agile Wallabies, which suddenly seem to want to eat everything in my garden.  This has never really been a problem before, in all the years we've lived here.  I've also been hand watering every day out in the shadehouse and courtyard, sometimes twice a day, in an effort to help some of the poor thirsty plants get through this dry season that's been characterized by endless windy days.

The garden areas around the property are not much to look at right now.  There's far too many sad and sorry looking plants and not many flowers to be seen outside the shadehouse or courtyard.   There are however, still some Hibiscus rosa-sinensis blooms way up high where the wallabies haven't yet been able to reach.

Of course there are no leaves left on the bottom half of most Hibiscus shrubs at the moment.  I have visions of them dragging in trampolines to help them jump higher in order to reach more leaves.  But let's focus on the flowers instead.

The pots of Gazanias are sitting up on the table out in the courtyard now, along with quite a few other potted palnts, to keep them safe from nibbling wallabies.

The Bonanza Petunias had to be cut back as they were getting far too leggy.  So they're not looking their best either at the moment.

My Bumble Bee Petunias are the saving grace out of all the potted plants in the courtyard right now.  Along with those gorgeous Vanilla Marigolds.

Although there have been a couple of interlopers pop up in amongst those Vanilla Marigolds!!!

The Torenias are retuning slowly after being nibbled to stubs by the aforementioned eating machines.

Thankfully the wallabies don't seem to have acquired a taste for Snapdragons  ....   yet!

A few blooms have re-appeared on the Tabernaemontana out in the courtyard as to help cheer me up ...

... and look, finally a flower spike on my Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'!  That was a lovely surprise this week.

The sweet flowers of the Streptocarpus caulescens are another little delight that can be found out in the munched and mangled mess that is the Courtyard Garden at the moment.

This tuberous Begonia under the pergola is showing its first every little pink flowers.

So is this Cane Begonia out in the Shadehouse Garden.

Out in the tiered garden beds, the Euphorbia pulcherrima and the Salvia splendens are both coming to the end of their flowering ...

... but the Ozthamnus diosmifolius is putting on its best display.

Out in the Shadehouse Garden, my ever reliable Impatiens wallerianas just keeps on keeping on.  Thank goodness the wallabies haven't found a way into the shadehouse as yet.  I don't think they've worked out how to lift the latch on the doors!  But give them time and you never know.

I'm off on a weekend break with my darling better half, to celebrate 33 years of wedded bliss ... that's right isn't it darling?!! ... and then I'm heading off to spend a week with my darling grandchildren ... oh and my eldest son and my daughter-in-law.   They're always complaining I only ever come to see the grandchildren.  I'm hoping while I'm away that the wallabies don't learn how to take pots off the table or decide that absolutely everything they haven't tried yet is now worth a little taste test. 

For fabulous Fertilizer Friday / Flaunt Your Flowers posts, go on over and visit Tootsie.  You'll enjoy a look at what's flowering from gardens all around the world.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wildlife On Wednesday ... A Lesson On Getting Down A Tall Gum Tree

(Check out the slide down, the side-step, the face-first and grab, the quick leap and the backwards glide!  All you ever needed to know about getting down a tall gum tree without actually trying to fly down!)

My almost Wordless Wednesday post ... lesson courtesy of Professor Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mosaic Monday ... Leaves And Lorikeets.

It's almost five months into the 'dry' season now.  Annuals and perennials are starting to struggle because of thirst or they've suddenly become the main dish for the hungry wallabies.  The re-growth of trees and shrubs recovering from cyclone damage has pretty much stalled and the property is looking not only parched and brown, but rather unkempt and unloved.  Keeping things going through the Springtime here can be hard work and the gardening spirit starts to wane just a little. 

It's about now that I do, however, start to really appreciate the brilliant leaves of the many foliage plants scattered here and there ...

... and the fantastic plumage of the Lorikeets that I've been spotting when I'm wandering a little despondent and dispirited through the parched landscape. 

It's enough to sustain this dry tropics gardener for a little bit longer.

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

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's A Wordless Wildlife Wednesday.

(Please scroll down to the bottom of the page and stop the Playlist.  Then you will be able to hear one of my favourite bird's song)

(Song of the Little Shrike Thrush - Colluricincla megarhyncha)

I'm joining Wordless Wednesday today.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mosaic Monday ... Australians Remember!


A commemorative service was held in our nation's capital, Canberra, yesterday evening.  Our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, joined the United States Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, at a twilight ceremony to remember the September 11 attacks and to honour the victims of that terrible day.

The Australians who perished

Ten Australians are known to have died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US.

They are :

- Alberto Dominguez, 66, from Lidcombe. A Qantas baggage handler on holidays who was on board
  American Airlines Flight 11 which crashed into the World Trade Centre (WTC) in New York.

- Yvonne Kennedy, 62, from Sydney, who was on American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the
   Pentagon in Washington.

- Craig Neil Gibson, 37, from Randwick in Sydney, who was working on 94th floor of the WTC north
   tower in the offices of insurers Marsh and McLennan.

- Steve Tompsett, 39, from Merrylands, NSW, who was in the WTC north tower.

- Elisa Ferraina, 27, from Sydney. She was born in Australia, but had just taken out UK citizenship.  
   She was on the 106th floor of the WTC north tower.

- Lesley Anne Thomas, 41, from NSW, was in the WTC north tower.

- Leanne Whiteside, 31, a lawyer from Melbourne who was in the WTC south tower.

- Peter Gyulavary, 44, was born in Geelong, Victoria but had moved to the US 20 years ago. He was
   working on the 91st floor of the WTC south tower.


- Andrew Knox, 29, from Adelaide was working with a building construction company on the 103rd
   floor of the WTC north tower.

- Kevin Dennis, 43, was originally from the Gold Coast, but had become a US-based stock broker with
   Cantor Fitzgerald and was working on the 101st floor of WTC north tower.

Our Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard with the US Ambassador to Australia Jeffery Bleich during a remembrance day service for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks held in Canberra on September 11, 2011. 
(This photos is taken from The Telegraph Newspaper and credit given to AFP PHOTO / Mark GRAHAM  Source: AFP)

Here's another figure ... 29.

That's the number of Australian soliders (we call them 'Diggers') killed in the war in Afghanistan, which is of course inextricably linked to that fateful day in September.  We will remember them  ...

...  and we will not forget all the Diggers who are in harm's way right now over there in Afghanistan.
My city here in north Queensland is a garrison city and is home to a major Australian Army base, Lavarack Barracks.  My school has many defence families and there are quite a few of our students with one or both parents overseas in Afghanistan.  We deeply respect the sacrifices made by these brave men and women.

I'm joining Mosaic Monday  with this post today.  Do click on the link and have a look at all the fantastic mosaic posts.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Flower Flaunt On Friday ... Our First Week Of Spring.

Yes, it's our first week of Spring and that onwards march towards the searing summer heat and horrid humidity has started!  As you can probably infer, I'm not all that excited that Spring has actually arrived.  Luckily the conditions here are still cool and comfortable, so I'm still able to wander around the garden during the daylight hours.  That will change during Summer.

Here's a little of what I can see at my place right now.

In the surrounding bushland, the enormous Eucalyptus platyphylla or Poplar Gums are flowering.  The fluffy white flowers attract not only bees and birds, but also the fruit bats at nightime.

I'm hearing the squawks of the pretty green Scaly-Breasted Lorikeets ...

... and the Rainbow Lorikeets

almost every morning and evening as they feast on the nectar of these flower sprays.

In my driveway garden, I've finally spotted the first flower spray on one of the Duranta shrubs that had to be severely trimmed back after Yasi.  Even though most of these shrubs are still ugly looking stumps with just a few branches here and there, it's a delight to spot even this one lonely little flower spray.

Elsewhere, in the cyclone affected garden beds, the Russelias continue to bloom.  They are looking a little parched in these dry conditions though.

This poor Russelia flower spray is literally covered in spider webs.  The spiders have had to move into new premises since so many of the tall trees and shrubs were either cut down or cut back.

The first clusters of flower buds are appearing on the Murraya paniculata down the hill driveway garden bed.  Very soon the shrub will be covered in beautifully scented white flowers.

Out in the Shadehouse Garden ...

... the Tradescantia spathacea or Boat Lily is flowering.  You can see the little white flowers cradled in those boat-shaped bracts at the base of the plant.  Another common name for this plant is 'Moses In The Cradle' or 'Moses In A Boat'.

I'm also seeing the first bracts on my Stromanthe sanguinea 'Triostar'.  Very soon the first cluster of flowers will appear.

The gorgeous flowers of this double Impatiens walleriana are still on show.

In the Courtyard Garden ...

...  the Impatiens hawkeri or New Guinea Impatiens are continually in bloom.

They are fast becoming the mainstay of the pots out in the courtyard.  They just never seem to miss a beat!

My favourite Pelargonium continues to show off.   I love this 'Caliente' hybrid.

The Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender', Crossandras and Salvia splendens 'Dusky Hues' continue their lovely display.

The first flower head of the Lavandula dentata or French Toothed Lavender has appeared.

My Salvia farinacea 'Victoria White' has begun its second flowering for the year.

Elsewhere ...

... my dwarf Azalea is still flowering ...

... and my Ozothamnus diosmifolius 'Radiance' is putting on its best show since I planted it just over a year ago.

Now for many more fantastic Fertilizer Friday / Flaunt Your Flowers posts, go over and visit Tootsie at Tootsie Time

I'm also joining Blooming Friday,

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

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