Sunday, December 22, 2013

Season's Greetings To All

Wishing all of you a very Happy Christmas.  May your Christmas season be filled with the joy and laughter.

I'm taking a little break to spend time with family over this time, but I will return in the New Year.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Flower Flaunt ... As Our Summertime Sets In

December is our first Summer month and the heat and humidity have arrived.  The arrival of our wet season has stalled for a few weeks now it seems.  My last Flower Flaunt post was posted at the end of November, and I excitedly told about what appeared to be the early arrival of our wet season.  Well I think Mother Nature was teasing just a little as it's been dry since then.

Even though we get a glimpse of dark grey off in the distance, it disappears from view as quick as a wink, blown away somewhere else.  It's so disappointing watching the grey sky turn to bright blue and puffy white within a matter of minutes.

Here's a classic example from this morning.  The first photo was taken at around 11.30 and the second was taken just before 12.00.  Damn those blue, puffy-white-cloud-filled skies!  I do get tired of seeing them after a long dry season.

Ah well, the photo brings me back to the original topic, blooms for the week.  My Cassia fistula, commonly known as Golden Showers, has finally bloomed.

It is always the last one to bloom in my neighbourhood, it seems.  Every year I watch with envious eyes as all the other trees around here break into bloom and show their fabulous golden racemes.  Then I wait patiently for mine to catch up.  It seems to wait until the first or second week of December before joining in the Golden Shower bloom party.

Another thing that has been particularly late in blooming this year are my Hemerocallis that are planted in the tiered garden beds.  Usually the collection begins blooming in mid-Spring, which is October here, and the last of blooms are on show into late December.  This year has been completely different.

Hemerocallis 'Jamaican Midnight' threw out a couple of flowers just last week, but only a couple.

Then this morning my little Hemerocallis 'Velvet Eyes' has one beautiful bloom on show, with a couple more waiting in the wings.  But that's been the extent of the Hemerocallis show so far this year.  I haven't quite figured out why yet, and I'm watching eagerly to see just how many bloom given that our horrid summer is already upon us.

One very unexpected sight in the tiered garden bed this morning, was this Gloriosa rothschildiana or Gloriosa Lily.  I can't tell you how blown away I was when I spotted it.

I had been given a little baby plant a couple of years ago, and had popped it in the top tier of the tiered garden bed.  I really thought I had lost it during Cyclone Yasi.  That part of the garden was flooded in biblical proportions, blown to shreds by fierce cyclonic winds, and an enormous Duranta was blown over and demolished quite a few plants during its downfall.  But then to add insult to injury, during the clean-up, there was also a lot of unavoidable trampling and crushing of lots of plants in that section of the garden.

Having had no sight of the plant at all afterwards, I had written it off as another of the losses of the great cyclone of 2011.  Well, apparently the Gloriosa Lily turned out to be a survivor after all.  I'm constantly amazed at just how resilient some plants are.  Gardening is always a world of surprises, because here it is climbing its way up the branches of an Aralia and the neighbouring Mussaenda.  How wonderful is that!

The colour of the Gloriosa Lily certainly matches the gorgeous oranges and yellows of the Mussaenda 'Calcutta Sunset' bracts and blooms.   They go well together.

Elsewhere, in the shadehouse garden, the Spathiphyllum is blooming.

There's something quite refreshing about the sight of bright pristine white spathes on a blazing hot and sticky summer's day.  Maybe that's why I do so love splashes of white in the garden.

I also have a beautiful little Orchid that's blooming out in the shadehouse garden at the moment.  The white flowers on this are quite tiny, but absolutely lovely.

This is Dendrobium crumenatum, commonly known as the Pigeon Orchid.

At the moment, I can also see the fabulous white flowers of the Tabernaemontana corymbosa 'Sweet Love',

and the white Impatiens walleriana, out in the courtyard garden.

One of the lovely sights on a balmy summer's evening is the display of the night-blooming native Planchonia careya, or Cocky Apple tree, out in the bushland as well.

The flowers start to open as the sun sets, and they have dropped just after the sun rises.   It's those lovely splashes of white in the twilight that I just adore so much.

I've just realised this is my 400th post.  Well time flies!

With this post, I'm joining Today's Flowers

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like A Tropical Christmas.

The sun is starting to swelter.  The days are sultry.  The temps outside have climbed to very, very uncomfortable.  The humidity levels have risen to stifling.  The cicadas have started singing.  The Poincianas are blooming.  It must be nearly Christmas time here in the tropics.  Hot, steamy and sticky is the way we like our Christmases!!  That's the weather, not the food.

Anyway, the school year is over and I'm on holidays.  Yahoo!  I've been busy adding some Christmassy touches to the place.

The tree is up and covered in ornaments collected over many years.

The verandah has a few Christmassy touches here and there.

There are many, many little gifts, given to me by students over many years, all scattered about the house.  Of course, I did receive bucket loads of chocolates, smelly soaps or lotions, and coffee/tea cups over the many years of my teaching career.

I've been very appreciative of all the presents presented by happy-faced students over the years, but I have to admit that the gifts that were not chocolate, not smelly and not made of china have become very precious to me.  Even though they're not the most sophisticated or classy looking things, they can be brought out every year and add that special touch of Christmas joy.

What does your place look like this Christmas?  Do you have special things that bring back lovely memories?  

Note:  After I had published this post, Google Auto-Awesomed one of my collages  (not sure that's a word, but what-the-hey!)  I love what 'they' did with my collage.     Here's the link.

Friday, November 22, 2013

It's Friday Flower Flaunt Time ... On This Rainy Almost-Summertime Friday.

It certainly seems like the wet season has arrived early this year.  Just this morning we've had it all ... heavy rain, lightning and thunder.  How fabulous!  We get very excited when the long dry season ends.

Here's a little clip ... you do have to wait a while for the lightning and thunder crash.

It's still raining at the moment, so I can't get outside to take shots of the blooms out today.  I'm restricted to sharing a few photos of the rain-splashed flowers I can see from my verandah.


double Gerberas

Salvia madrensis and Russelia

Mussaenda philippica 'Bangkok Rose'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Snowflake'

Pseudomussaenda flava

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

Monday, November 11, 2013

First Ever Blood Lily Bloom ... The Year In Photographs ... November 11, 2013

It seems rather appropriate that my one and only Scadoxus multiflorus or Blood Lily, given to me as a pass-along plant earlier this year, should show off its first ever fully open bloom on Remembrance Day. 

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month has special significance around the world, including here in Australia.  We observe one minute's silence at 11.00 am every Remembrance Day, to remember all those in the armed services who have died or suffered whilst serving for their country.

This spectacular fiery red flowerhead is a fitting reminder about the sacrifices made by so many in the past.

Lest we forget!

Friday, November 8, 2013

It's Time For A Friday Flower Flaunt

Well today is my birthday, and it finally coincides with my day off work.  Fabulous! It's a great excuse to just have the day to myself, and not do the housework that usually gets done on my day off.  I bought home a tiny bouquet of Roses from the school rose garden yesterday afternoon as a special treat for myself.

This is one of my favourites from the garden.  I have no idea of the varietal name of this beautiful Rose, but I do so love the colour change as it slowly fades.  The perfume is exquisite as well.

Out in the garden here at my place,

I have noticed a little Rain Lily, Zephyranthes primulina, opening this morning.  I've grown these from seeds sent from a very kind and gracious fellow north Queensland gardener (thanks Pitta!).  I absolutely adore the gorgeous pale soft yellow flowers.

It seems I missed a couple of other blooms that had already opened up.  We've had some showers of rain recently.  The inner city area received quite a heavy downpour last week, but we seem to have missed that here in the foothills.  Still, it was lovely to have some rain finally.  Our wet season is still a long way off though.

 I also spotted the very first buds on my Scadoxus or Blood Lily.   This plant will be going into a corner of one of my new garden beds and will add a splash of terrific colour in Spring and Summer after it rises from dormancy.

There are still just a couple of Lilies blooming in the big pot out in the courtyard.  There's a rather pretty Asiatic Matisse Lilium and a huge Oriental Lilium on show this morning.

The stark white flowers of my Tabernaemontana corymbosa 'Sweet Love' are brightening up the courtyard space. 

 The pinwheel shaped blooms certainly draw attention.

The potted Salvia farinacea 'Strata' is blooming in the courtyard,

alongside a couple of Pelargoniums,

and the potted Duranta 'Geisha Girl'.

The first of the blooming season's flowers have started opening on my Gardenia shrub out in the courtyard as well.

Under the very tall Corymbia torellianas, the Plumeria rubra and Plumeria obtusa have both started their end of Spring/Summertime display.  You know summer is not far off when the Frangipanis start blooming at my place,

and you see the Delonix regia or Poincianas blooming at our front gates, with our neighbour's Jacaranda on show in the background.

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

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