Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Flower Flaunt ... As Mid-Winter Comes To An End!

Our mid-Winter month is coming to an end and here in my northern tropics garden it's time for some of the Begonias to strut their flower stuff.

Now, the Dragon Wing Begonias flower pretty much all-year round ...

... as do the Begonia semperflorens or Bedding Begonia.

But around this time of year I get to see flower spikes again on my

Begonia 'Tiger Paws'

and on the Cane Begonias, also known as Tree Begonias.

I'm also starting to see the colourful bract on my Vriesea Bromeliad ...

... and the flower spike on my Aechmea gamosepala or Matchstick Bromeliad.

The first stark white flowers of my still stunted / recovering  Bauhinia variegata 'Alba' have appeared.

It's a joy to see the blooming cycle return to normal on this poor tree.  It's still got a bit of growing to do to catch up to what it was like in its glory days, but it's looking quite healthy and happy.

While I'm on the topic of still-recovering trees on my property ... it's perhaps not all that surprising that it's the old right side of the Tabebuia impetiginosa that's been flowering this Winter.  The left side of the tree was significantly damaged by cyclonic winds and falling branches from our neighbour's trees during Yasi last year.  Almost every limb on that side of the tree had to chopped back to the trunk.  There's significant re-growth on that side now, but not one single bloom yet.

The right side though has carried on as usual though and has been showing off the beautiful pink yellow-throated flowers.

Last Friday I showed off my favourite big, blousy, frilly, double Petunias, so I thought I should show the lovely singles that are blooming at the moment this week.

I'm joining Tootsie for her Fertilizer Friday / Flaunt Your Flowers  meme.

I'm joining Nix for Floral Friday Fotos.

and I'm joining Tina for Weekend Flowers

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wildlife on Wednesday ... Some Mother Do Have 'Em!

Mother Agile Wallabies (Macropus agilis) can have a busy breeding life, and they can live for up to 10 to 14 years of age.  After I've related some facts, you'll understand why I think these girls love having a bit of a rest ...

... even if getting a comfy rest is almost impossible!!  I'm thinking this little joey is probably a little uncomfortable, but it's the mother who looks far more uncomfortable!!!

Female Agile Wallabies can start breeding when they generally around 18 months of age ... talk about child brides!!!  I guess the rewards are great though.  Not only is the species healthy in numbers, I've observed that mothers and their offspring can have a seemingly very close relationship.

Breeding happens any time throughout the year for our northern tropics Agile wallaby females.  It's almost a continuous cycle ... what is termed 'aseasonal'.

A joey is born essentially in a 'fetal' state, at a very early stage of development.  It's blind, has no fur and is about the size of a jelly bean.

(Photo courtesy of Google images).

What's simply amazing to me is that this neonate can then crawl from the birth canal, across it's mother's very furry abdomen and into the pouch where it finds a teat that it can attach itself to.   What an incredible feat!

 While gestation only lasts for a month, pouch life for a joey can last seven to eight months. The mother plays a very important role in protecting and nurturing the young one until it is able to fend for itself.

Some joeys seem to overstay their welcome though.  This fellow seems a little big to be still trying to get back into his mother's pouch.  Ouch!

Although ... with such a sweet face, could any mother say no!

Most joeys are weaned at around ten to twelve months, but will then follow their mother around for about another twelve months before they become fully independent.  This is termed being a joey 'at foot'.

Females will often mate shortly after giving birth to a teeny joey.  The fertilised egg that results from the mating remains dormant ... this is known as embryonic diapause ... which means its development is temporarily halted until the older joey actually leaves the pouch and the 'vacant' sign goes up!  This little one becomes a joey 'in waiting'.

All this means that female Agile Wallabies can actually have three babies at a time ... a joey 'at foot', a joey 'in the pouch' and an 'embryo in stasis'.  Now that's one very busy Mum!!

The female in the photo above had both the joey 'at foot' and a joey 'in the pouch' ... but it was impossible for me to tell if she had a teeny tiny dormant embryo in waiting.  It's certainly a possibility, if there was a male handy at just the right time.

Sleep on Mum, I say ... sleep on!  You need all the energy you can possibly muster if this is your life for over ten years.

I'm joining the Windows On Wildlife meme for the first time today.  I'd encourage any other bloggers with a post about wildlife that you'd like to share to join me on this relatively new blog meme.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mosaic Monday ... Sunbird Magic!

The bugs are out and about and partying wildly.  No, not garden bugs, but the horrid virus bugs.  One of the downsides to our glorious winters here, is that it's also the time of year when the virus bugs are partying.  I've been laid low for a few days now with some awful virus, but something that's helped to lift me out of the sick doldrums is the sight and sound of these wonderful little creatures.

I've been enjoying the visits of a pair of Yellow-Bellied Sunbirds.  They've been dropping in a few times a day to enjoy the nectar of the Salvias and Schlumbergeras out in the courtyard, and the Pentas in the downstairs garden bed.

The male is magnificent with his metallic blue chest and throat.  The female, not quite as stunning, but lovely nonetheless.  They are tiny little things and  have the most impressive long curved beaks.

I'm joining Mary for her Mosaic Monday meme.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Flower Flaunt Friday ... On This Glorious Mid-Winter's Day

Well the conditions seemed to have returned to our usual mid-Winter and dry season experiences ... bright sunny, blue-sky days.  Today is definitely one of those glorious mid-Winter days, with the mercury up at around 25 deg C (77 F) right now, just before midday, and only a low of 14 deg C (57 F) expected tonight.  Ah, winter!  There really is nothing quite like a tropical winter!

There's nothing different on show today, compared to last week or the week before, or the week before that.  Well, you get the idea!

The huge frilly, showy Petunia 'Giant Victorious' and 'Double Whites' really cheer me up when I come home form a long day's work and step onto the courtyard.

The brilliant double white Impatiens walleriana looks wonderful as a backdrop to all the colour of the Petunias.

I don't know what I'd do without Impatiens around the place.  They are such a fabulous plant for the tropics.  I really adore the blooms of the New Guinea Impatiens, Impatiens hawkeri 'Celebrette',

and I love the way the old-fashioned single-bloom Impatiens walleriana just pops up around the place ...  in pots out in the shadehouse,

or in the potted Asiatic and Oriental Lilies when they have died back.  I don't mind these volunteers at all.

I'm also loving the usual wintertime display from my potted Azaleas out on the courtyard,

and my dwarf Azalea out in the front garden bed.

One of my favourite sights is this Salvia splendens hybrid in bloom out in the courtyard.  This is Salvia 'Dusky Hues' and I just love the range of beautiful reds, pinks, apricots and purples.

I think they look fabulous even when the blooming cycle is coming to an end.

They are firm favourites with the resident Yellow-Bellied Sunbirds, who are feasting on the nectar of these flowers every day at the moment.  The photo above shows a female enjoying here early morning sip!

She also enjoyed snacking on the blooms of my Schlumbergera.

Here's the male, with his fantastic metallic blue patch, also enjoying the Salvia blooms.

My reliable Begonia semperflorens or Wax Begonias are doing their thing, as usual,

and my Begonia 'Tiger Paws' has started its blooming cycle once more.   I do so love seeing these tall flower spikes appear.

The dwarf pink Euphorbia pulcherrima is showing its first bracts and blooms.  Unfortunately I lost both my red and my white Poinsettias during the cyclone last year.  I'm missing their wintertime display very much this year. 

One sight I haven't seen in a couple of years is the bloom spike on one of my Dracaena fragrans, commonly known as the Happy Plant here in Oz or the Corn Plant in the U.S.  I can't wait for the blooms to open and I can once again catch a whiff on its wonderful perfume gently wafting around the courtyard.

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

I'm joining Nix for Floral Friday Fotos

I'm joining Tina for Weekend Flowers

and I'm joining Alicia for Open Garden

Related Posts with Thumbnails