Friday, January 27, 2012

Flower Flaunt ... On This Hot and Humid Mid-Summer Friday.

I haven't posted a Friday Flower Flaunt for a couple of weeks as I've been very caught up with the beginning of the new school year.  It's always a very hectic time and there never seems to be enough hours in the day!  Thankfully I've got some time to myself today, so I get to share some of the blooms out in the garden right now.

January is a mid-Summer month for us and we've finally had decent rainfall over the last two weeks.  The downpours have not been torrential, but quite heavy and most welcome.

The rain clouds usually roll in during the afternoon and the rain begins to fall and continues through the night.  We do get the occasional clear evening, but then it's painfully hot and steamy.  Yes, those brown lumps out in the front yard are the Agile Wallabies that help us out with the lawn mowing during the wet season.

They're a great source of unpaid labour and thankfully they're enjoying the abundant grass and not my garden plants now!

The Torenia 'Violet Magic' are both thriving and looking fabulous out in the courtyard.  I'm very happy to see them lasting so long.  This particular variety seems to be handling the summer rain very well.  Usually Torenias shrivel up and fade away during our wet season, but thankfully we haven't had the horrid driving rain yet.

Another plant that really doesn't like a heavy wet season are the Pelargoniums.  At the moment, while they're not exactly flourishing, they are doing quite well.

The back of the courtyard continues to look bright and colourful.

My favourite Salvia splendens hybrid 'Dusky Hues' just power on from year to year now.  They just need the occasional cut back and they're as happy as Larry!

The ever pleasing Cleome spinosa 'Senorita Rosalita' just loves this weather, as long as the rains are not too heavy the slender flowering stems stand up straight and tall.

I love the simplicity and purity of the snow white Wrightia antidysenterica 'Arctic Snow' flowers out in the courtyard.  Soon it will be time to pot up to a larger container and I'm looking forward to even more blooms as it matures.

Elsewhere around the property ...

... the gorgeous Lagerstroemia speciosa or Queen's Myrtle has been flowering beautifully.

The Murraya paniculata down the driveway has bloomed again and this time it's absolutely covered in flowers.  I've never seen so many blooms on this shrub.  It's the oldest Murraya on the property and is now around 3 metres in height.

The scent from the gorgeous flowers is simply heavenly.

One of the Celosia cristata plants growing in a pot on the side stairs has re-seeded and the new babies are starting to bloom.  We call these lovely things 'Cockscomb'.  The new babies look a little different to their mother ... they have this fabulous yellow running through the comb.  I'm going to have to try and keep this one going!

The very last of the Hemerocallis is on show.  Hemerocallis 'Archangel Eyes' has been weighed down by the heavy rain but still shows off it's lovely bloom.

Out in the shadehouse garden, Curcuma 'Voodoo Magic' is blooming

and Costus productus is still flowering.

I'm pleased to say that one of the Salvia cuttings I was sent by a very generous gardener (thanks Titania!) has taken off and is flowering for the first time.

I think I'm going to like this hot pink!

I'm joining Tootsie for her Fertiliser Friday / Flaunt Your Flowers

Weekend Flowers

Floral Friday Fotos

Flowers On Saturday

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! You Know The Rest ... Happy Australia Day!

January 26th is Australia Day here in Oz and it's a national holiday.  It's our official national day when we celebrate everything that is great and good about living in this lucky country of ours.

In our nation's capital city of Canberra, Australia's Federation Guard raise the Australian National Flag in the presence of the Governor-General, the Prime Minister and other distinguished guests. The Prime Minister then conducts the Australian Citizenship Ceremony and welcomes Canberra's newest Australian citizens.

 A similar ceremony happens in towns and cities all across our country ... and then it's time to celebrate in our uniquely Aussie way.  Usually this involves cooking snags on the barbie, throwing down a few tallies or stubbies, and chomping on some pav!

Part of the celebration is the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards during a ceremony on the lawns of our Parliament House in our nation's capital city of Canberra. Our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard presented the awards yesterday, on the eve of Australia Day. Our Prime Minister stated the Australians of the Year represent our nation's best qualities.

Australian of the Year this year is the acclaimed actor Geoffrey Rush, known around the world for his roles in movies like 'Shine' and 'Pirates Of The Caribbean'.  He was recognised for his distinguished 40-year acting career and award-winning performances, having achieved the rather rare distinction of winning an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony! Aside from all that, he was lauded for his role in mentoring young Australian actors, for his work as an ambassador for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and UNICEF Australia, as well as his work as patron of the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Rush says he hopes to encourage more people to enjoy Australian-made cinema and theatre.  "We live on an island that boasts the oldest nation on Earth. There is inspiration right there, where performance rituals are at the heart of its being - our dreaming," he said. "The stories we tell ourselves as adults and to our children, in the communal dark, have a serious importance."  (Of course, we Queenslanders are extra proud as Geoffrey was Queensland born.)

Senior Australian of the Year was awarded to an Aboriginal elder, Laurie Baymarrwangga. Ms Baymarrwangga was described as an "extraordinary elder", from the Murrungga, in the Northern Territory's East Arnhem Land.  She is now in her 90s and unfortunately was unable to attend the ceremony in Canberra.

She has dedicated her life to preserving her culture and environment through the Crocodile Islands Rangers and an online Yan-nhuangu dictionary project.  In the 1960s, Ms Baymarrwanga established a housing project on her homelands and started a bilingual school under a tree to educate her people. In 2010 she donated back-payments from rent owed to her in order to establish a 1000 sq km turtle sanctuary on her estate and establish the Crocodile Islands Rangers Program that created jobs for her own people.

While Laurie was unable to attend the award ceremony, she did share some of her thoughts on video for the occasion.  She stated, "My name, the names of these places, the languages of islands and the seas were given to us. These were given to us by the Ancestors when they made the world,'' she said.  "These are the places and the things I have taught generations of young people."

The Australian Day Council judges said, "Laurie has shown extraordinary commitment to maintaining her culture, the environment of her beloved Crocodile Islands, and ensuring younger generations continue to keep their heritage alive."

Young Australian of the Year went to engineer Marita Cheng.  She was recognised for her role in encouraging women to pursue careers in engineering having founded 'Robogals Global' in 2008, which is a group that teaches secondary school girls about science and technology.  By 2010, her organisation had run workshops for 3000 girls in Australia, and has since expanded with branches in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Australian Local Hero of the Year was awarded to foster mother and carer, Lynne Sawyers.  The judges said Ms Sawyers has shared her home for 15 years with over 200 lost, abused and heartbroken children.  "Having experienced a happy childhood herself, she wanted to give back," the Australia Day Council said.

These winners were chosen from more than 5,000 nominations across the country.

There are other awards presented on Australia Day too, known as the Australia Day Honours.  439 people have been recognised for their diverse contributions and service to their fellow citizens and for the international community in this year's honours list.  This list included civic leaders, scientists, sportsmen and women, artists, and Defence Force personnel.

A High Court judge, Justice Virginia Bell;  the former head of the Federal public service, Terry Moran;  a conductor, Richard Bonynge; and the governor of Victoria, Alex Chernov;  were among those receiving the nation's top honour appointed as Companions of the Order of Australia in the 2012 Australia Day.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Flower Flaunt ... On This Mid-Summer Friday.

Well here it's mid-Summer and 'wet' season, although it's been a dry ole 'wet' season so far.  We've had no rain for weeks now, so the garden has been sizzling and frying in the fierce sunshine and drying out in the high humidity.  Apart from the trusty common year-round bloomers, there are only a few other flowers around at the moment.

The Fiddlewood Tree at the end of the hill driveway is almost covered in sprays of white flowers ....

... and the perfume from these brilliant blooms is absolutely heavenly.

The Courtyard Garden is not its usual colourful self at the moment, but

the pots of Torenia 'Violet Magic' are still blooming nicely.

There's some colour from the potted Pentas,

and the potted Cleome spinosa 'Senorita Rosalita' is still showing off wonderfully well.

It helps that there's quite a bit of great foliage out there at the back of the courtyard.  At least that's one spot that's a little more cheery.

The Shadehouse Garden is looking rather overgrown and untidy once again, and there are only a few blooms to be found out there in amongst the chaos.

There are still a few Spathiphyllum spathes to be seen,

and a few flowers on the Impatiens hawkeri and Impatiens balsamina, if you look very closely.

Then there are the dying blooms of the Curcuma australasica 'Anita',

and the newly opened pendulous flowers of the Globba winitti or Mauve Dancing Ladies.

Out in the tiered front garden beds, the young Lagerstroemia indica or Crepe Myrtles have been blooming for the first time,

and a few of the Hemerocallis are still blooming, including ...

Hemerocallis 'Sabine Baur',

Hemerocallis 'Blackberry Jack',

and Hemerocallis 'Jamaican Midnight'.

The Mussaenda 'Calcutta Sunset' is still showing its brilliant bracts and tiny yellow flowers,

and there remains a few blooms on the Justicia brandegeeana.

Elsewhere around my place,

there are a couple of Lagerstroemia indicas or Queen's Myrtles that have just started their blooming.

There are so many buds on these trees, but they seem to be taking their own sweet time in opening.  They've been sitting atop one of the trees in particular for a couple of weeks now.  Hopefully soon they will all open up and put on a pretty display.

I'm joining  Fertilizer Friday / Flaunt Your Flowers

Floral Friday Fotos,

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