Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Flower Flaunt ... The Day After Our Winter Solstice.

Yesterday, June 19th, was Winter Solstice for us Downunder.  Whilst Winter Solstice celebrates the beginning of Winter in many places around the world, particularly the northern hemisphere; here in Australia our seasons officially begin on the first day of a particular calendar month.  Our Winter officially began on the first day of June, and not yesterday. We simply recognise Winter Solstice as the shortest day of our year and the time when we start looking forward to longer days and shorter nights. 

Yesterday was a glorious day here in my north-eastern tropical corner, and a very mild winter's day.  The temps last night were almost summery and then something even stranger occurred just as our Winter Solstice day was drawing to an end.  We heard soft tinkling splashes of rain on our tin roof all through the night!

The view from the verandah this morning was rather dreary.  The hills were hard to spot in amongst the grey cloud coverage and the rain has continued falling softly all morning.  It's still falling as I type up this post.  We're in the midst of our dry season here, and rain during our first winter month of June is not all the common.  We did get a few millimetres back at the beginning of the month, and admittedly the rain that fell overnight was very light indeed, but still it's a little out of the ordinary for this time of year.  Delightful, all the same!

The courtyard garden is splashed with little raindrops,

as is the shadehouse garden.  I'm afraid I didn't venture any further to take shots of what's blooming this week.

 Out in the courtyard I can see ...

Petunia 'Hot Lips'

Salvia splendens 'Dusky Hues'

Petunia 'Giant Victorious'

Petunia double white


Angelonia angustifolia

Justicia carnea - white

Impatiens walleriana - double white

Pansy 'Faces Mix'

Streptocarpus caulescens

Euphorbia leucocephala

and Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender'.

Out in the shadehouse I can see ...

more Streptocarpus caulescens

Barleria obtusa

 Impatiens walleriana


and Dragon Wing Begonias.

There are a couple of really beautiful blooms inside the house at the moment.  I was given a couple of Orchid blooms just the other day and they're adorning the bench in my kitchen at the moment.  They are simply lovely.

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

Nix for Floral Friday Fotos

and Weekend Flowers

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mosaic Monday ... The most spectacular crab claws!

It's Zygocactus time here in the tropics.  You know it's our wintertime when they begin blooming.   Now I know Schlumbergera truncata are commonly called Christmas Cactus or Holiday Cactus in many places across the world, but not here.

Schlumbergeras are winter bloomers and, of course, our winter happens in June, July and August.  Hence the common names used here are Zygocactus or Crab Claw Cactus.  Anyway, whatever they're commonly called, they are such beautiful things when covered in their unusual blooms.  Both mine are blooming now.

I'm joining Mary for Mosaic Monday

Saturday, June 9, 2012

It's Award Time! ... and it's a double whammy!

Yes it seems that there are readers out there who appreciate my blogging efforts and find my little corner of the world and my take on it, quite interesting. Both my blogs have been chosen for little awards and I'm extremely grateful for the recognition and somewhat humbled because I have to admit, I just do this for fun, and I don't really put much thought or planning into my blogs at all.  

It's taken me a long time, but I've finally gotten around to returning the privilege bestowed on me by Helene many, many moons ago.

I received the  Versatile Blogger Award   from Helene at Graphicality-UK back in January!!!  She listed my blog amongst so many fabulous blogs and it was not only a lovely surprise, but an encouraging lift to my blogging spirits.

For those who are in the dark about this particular award, let me quickly outline what it's all about.  I'm not sure where this award originated, but the sentiment behind it is quite simple.  It's a call-out, a mark of recognition for those who really add a bit of this and a bit of that to their posts, and show a many-sided aspect to their blog.

The rules once you've accepted the award:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award  ....  check!
2.  Include a link to their blog ... check!
3.  Select 15 bloggers that you follow or have just discovered who you would consider fit the bill of a 'versatile' blogger ... check!
4.  Tell 7 random facts about yourself ... check!
5.  Include this set of rules in your post ... check!
6.  Inform each of your nominated bloggers of their nomination ... check!

So, after following rules 1 and 2, let me now move onto my selection of great versatile bloggers.

Aussie bloggers first:

diane b @ Adventure Before Dementia  full of wonderful tales of their travels both here at home and abroard.

Liz @ The Greatest Of These Is Love takes the most fantastic photos and showcases loads of spectacular Australian scenery from her corner of Oz.

Titania @ Lavender & Vanilla does not only have a great gardening blog, but has several blogs where she writes and shares her thoughts on many varied topics. 

I love popping by visit Marisa @ Onslow and Miss B to see what's happening in her sub-tropical garden down in the south-east corner of our state of Queensland.  She also loves to chat about her two best dog pals, Onslow and Miss B, and her travels to parts near and far.

It's great fun visiting Bronwen @ A Snail's Eye View to check out the goings-on up in the tablelands area up in the north of my home state.  She writes on such a wide variety of topics and always with a wicked dose of wry humour!  I also love her music clips 'Music For Writing', which are often Aussie made!

Pacific Neighbours next:

Mama Nene of Mama Nene's Garden has the most spectacular collection of Orchids and Cacti.  I just love popping by to see what her latest highlighted plant is ... great photos too!

Aaron @ Aaron's Gardening Blog is a young man with a love of plants in general, but carnivores in particular.  He shares his wonderful photos and posts in between hours filled with study and school work.

Steph @ Steph's Green Space is a gardener from Malaysia who has a passion for plants and grows a surprising number in quite a small space.  She shares successes, disasters and her learning along the way.  She also shares aspects of her culture and her travel experiences.

J.C. @ My Sunny Happy Garden is yet another of the Malaysian garden bloggers who loves to share not only photos and information about great tropical plants, but also photos of the beautiful country of Malaysia.

Then there is the lovely Andrea @ Andrea In This Lifetime.  She is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to tropical plants and writes great posts about her travels, her garden and the beautiful butterflies and birds of her country, the Philippines.

Now to the other half of the world:

Eileen @ Gatsbys Gardens writes about her beautiful garden and shares her expertise in garden design, as well places of interest around her home state of Illinois.

Sue @ My Garden And Me who posts about her various interests from gardening to sewing to baking, and her travels to places in the sun.

Flowerlady @ FlowerLady's Musings also posts about her lovely garden, her favourite plants and she shares her beautiful stitched creations and re-cycling projects.

Bridget @ Arigna Gardener will teach you all about her sustainable way of life over in Ireland and she shares environmental issues that are close to her heart, and close to the heart of all of us who worry about our world's future.

Lastly, but definitely not least, is Shirley @ Rock-Oak-Deer who shares not only her own fabulous garden in San Antonio, but also other stunning

O.K., it's time for 7 random facts about myself.  I found this bit difficult at first, but after a bit of deliberation I decided to go with ... well  I never!

1.  I've never watched Star Trek, Kill Bill, It's A Wonderful Life or The Grapes Of Wrath!
2.  I've never smoked!
3.  I've never worn stilettos, a bikini, a fur or a tiara!
4.  I would never have believed I would be a Grandmother before I turned 50!
5.  I never stepped onto an aeroplane until I was in my 30's!
6.  I never stepped outside my home state of Queensland until I was in my mid 30's!
7.  I never stepped outside my country of Australia until I was in my late 40's!

In closing I'd really like to say once more ...

to Helene.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Flower Flaunt ... On This Early Winter's Friday.

June is officially our first Winter month here in Australia, but up here in the northern tropics our Winter is vastly different to most of the southern half of our great country.  Today it's a beautiful 22 deg C (71 F) right now at midday, and we're expecting a low tonight of around 11 deg C (51 F).  It's a gorgeous early Winter's day!

While we had another rather unusual day of rain last Friday and overcast conditions through last weekend, the weather predictions for this coming long weekend are for lovely clear blue-sky days.  So, as we head into the Queen's Birthday long weekend, let's see what's blooming around my place today.

Calliandra surinamensis or pink Powder Puff has begun blooming.  This shrub always blooms several weeks after the red Powder Puff begins blooming.

A couple more blooms are appearing for the next blooming cycle on the Polygala.

Celosia argentea or Cockscomb are beginning to fill out and show their wonderful flower heads.

The tiny white flowers of the Tradescantia spathacea or Rhoeo spathacea, the Boat Lily, are poking their heads out of the boat-shaped bracts that enclose the flower.

My oldest hardiest double Gerbera is still showing off.

There's a lot more colour out in the shadehouse garden these days with the Dragon Wing Begonias, Streptocarpus and Impatiens walleriana blooming.

Salvia madrensis continues to show it flower spikes.

 In the courtyard, the Euphorbia leucocephala or Snowflake Bush is still displaying it bracts and blooms.

Mussaenda philippica 'Aurore' is also still showing off its white bracts and tiny flowers at the back of the courtyard.

My other pretty little Schlumbergera is finally full of buds and the first blooms have begun to open.

I love the soft peach pastel colour of this Zygocactus.  It's interesting how this particular Zygo is never ever the first of my two Zygos to bloom.  It's always the follower!

The frilly double Petunia blooms are now all on display out in the courtyard as well.

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

Nix at Floral Friday Fotos

and Tina at Weekend Flowers

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