Now while in other parts of the world the solstice indicates the beginning of a new season, here in Oz our seasons officially start on the first day of the appropriate month. So our Winter began about 3 weeks ago.
The temps. have become decidedly cooler here though, as our first Winter month gallops towards a close. I don't want you all to worry too much however, as our Winter temps here in the tropical north are rather mild compared to so many other corners of Australia, and indeed the world.
The mercury has been dropping down to between 10-14 deg C (50-57 f) overnight, so we've actually had to turn on the electric blanket for a couple of evenings this week.
It's been difficult getting up early in the mornings, but I try most days just so I can take in the stunning sunrises we get at this time of year. It always seems to me that the sunrises and sunsets during our wintertime are just far more fabulous than at any other time of the year.
The daytime temps have been a lot warmer, between 23-27 deg C (73-80 F), which means I haven't as yet had to throw on a jumper or cardigan during the day.
Out in the courtyard garden, the native Sterculia quadrifida or Peanut Tree has been busy dropping most of its leaves, being a winter deciduous tree. The leaves have been carpeting the courtyard pavers and creating a bit of a mess out there lately. No sooner do I finish sweeping up piles of them, then I turn around to see more of the blessed things.
Never mind, it means I'm forced to spend more time out in the courtyard where I can enjoy the lovely potted flowers and foliage.
There are a few things blooming out there right now, like the Salvias, the Cleome, the Marigolds, the Impatiens, the Angelonias, the Celosias, the Violas, as well as the Ixora.
The first flowers have appeared on my Petunia 'Bumblebee'. It's one of my all-time favourite Petunias. I'm afraid the poor light out in the courtyard today means this bloom looks rather purple and green, when in fact it's black and yellow. Never mind, I'll take a better shot for next week's flaunt when hopefully it will be a brighter, sunnier day.
My particular favourite at the moment if the brilliant Justicia carnea. I adore the white plumes of this plant.
Another favourite is the Salvia glechomifolia, but you need to get up close and personal to see its beauty. It does get a little lost in amongst all the other plants.
The Cleome spinosa 'Senorita Rosalita', on the other hand, demands attention from appreciative eyes.
The Salvia splendens have been attracting quite a few visitors lately, like the Yellow-bellied Sunbirds ....
.... and our native bee, the Blue-banded Bee. These bees are loners, and this morning this little chap was busy feasting on the nectar ...
... as well as drinking the waterdrops that remained on the plant after I had watered.
Well at least, that's what it seemed to be doing to me.
Elsewhere in the courtyard, the winter-blooming Euphorbia leucocephala or Snowflake Bush, is still putting out bracts and blooms behind the Cycas revoluta and Cordyline 'Morning Sunshine'.
There are also a couple of flower spikes on the Dracaenas that grow under the pergola.
I'm joining Tootsie for Fertilizer Friday / Flaunt Your Flowers