Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Flower Flaunt ... On This Last Day of Summer.

Today is officially our last day of Summer.  While the summery temps and humidity levels will continue for some time yet, our seasons are defined by a grouping of calendar months and so our summer officially ends on the last day of February.

Out in the garden at the moment I can spot ...

the last of the Cassia fistula flowers

the very last of the Delonix regia blooms

Torenias and Water Lilies

Clerodendrum ugandense or Blue Butterfly

Duranta repens

Hibiscus schizopetalus or Japanese Lantern Hibiscus

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Hedychium coronarium or White Ginger

Plumeria pudica

Pennisetum rubra

Mussaenda 'Calcutta Sunset'

Zephyranthes or Rain Lily

Jasminum officinale

Now while this is not a shot of a lovely flower, I thought I'd share anyway.   It is a lovely photo of something I've been discovering out in my shadehouse garden every morning and the sight does bring a smile to my dial just like the sight of gorgeous flowers.

This is a mother Agile Wallaby.  She's been living in and around our place for quite some time now with her joey.  The joey has grown and can no longer fit in mum's pouch, but still stays with her all the time.  They seem to have moved into my shadehouse garden to sleep at night and I often find them out there first thing in the morning.

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

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mosaic Monday ... Splashes of White.

I've been trying over the last two to three years to add more white-blooming plants to various corners of the garden.  It's now possible to spot splashes of white almost wherever I wander. 

Now I know those who garden in the northern hemisphere are probably not all that keen on seeing lots of white right now and I do apologise but I couldn't resist sharing some of these lovely white blooms.

I'm joining Mary for her Mosaic Monday  meme.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Flower Flaunt On This Drizzly End-of-Summer Friday.

It's been a grey, overcast, drizzly day today.  Yes we have all loved the soft rain that's fallen over the last week, human and animal alike, but it's certainly not exactly what we expect during our wet season.

While it's been absolutely great to hear the soft rain falling on the tin roof, and taking shelter from the gentle raindrops, we're all wondering what's happened to the true wet season. The sun-baked, hardened ground needs driving, pelting monsoonal rain so that all the established plants can get a decent drink.

We did see some heavier falls on Sunday, at the beginning of the week, and there have been a couple of days when very light showery rain fell through the week.  However, the total so far for February is only 51.6 mm (2 inches), which is quite significantly lower than the usual rainfall total for the beginning of February.

I've woken to some lovely sunrises this week,

and the plants out in the garden have certainly brightened up a little in appreciation of the showers of rain.

Here's a look at some of the blooms to be found out and about today.  The Rain Lilies are popping up.


Zephyranthes verecunda

Zephyranthes primulina

The heavenly perfume of the Murraya paniculata blooms hangs in the air. 

The rather tall Murraya specimen that grows opposite the pergola is absolutely covered in flower sprays, and the driveway and garden bed beneath is strewn with the old blooms that have fallen from the shrub.

These stunning white flowers will appear when the rains begin, and fill corners of the place with their heady scent.  You know there's some rain around when you smell their perfume.

There's also the faint perfume of Jasmine in the air. 

The first of the summertime blooms of my Jasminum officinale or Poet's Jasmine are starting to appear.  It seems rather late, given that this is the last summer month, but I welcome their appearance.

My Gingers have finally started rising from their dormancy, again it seems rather later than expected.

Globba capicola, also known as Golden Dragon blooms have appeared at long last.

So have the blooms of Globba winitii, or the Mauve Dancing Ladies.

There are a few other blooms scattered here and there, but nothing is absolutely covered in blooms here at the moment, apart from the tall Murraya.

Hibiscus schizopetalus or the Japanese Lantern Hibiscus

Gloriosa rothschildiana or Gloriosa Lily

Lagerstroemia indica or Crepe Myrtle

Clerodendrum ugandense (apparently now Rotheca), or Blue Butterly Bush.

Trusty old Gerberas

Cleome spinosa 'Senorita Rosalita'

Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender'

Double white Impatiens walleriana


Allamanda cathartica 'Sunee'

Plumeria pudica

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

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Still Waiting for Decent Rain ... Even The Cyclone Didn't Help All That Much.

We had a little cyclone action this week.  On Thursday we were waiting with bated breath to see where Tropical Cyclone Dylan was headed. At 1.00 pm it looked like he was aiming straight for us.  It was only a Category 1 at that stage, and we were all looking forward to the arrival of some really decent heavy rain at long last.

Thursday afternoon at work was a little wild and woolly.  The winds whipped up significantly and it started raining quite heavily.  Everyone gave up walking between school blocks with an umbrella as they were turned inside out in an instant as soon as you stepped outside the classroom door. I drove home from work, along the highway, very slowly because visibility was low.  The rain was so very pleasant though.

By 4.00 pm the forecast was that TC Dylan would cross a little further south of us, and it might make Category 2 just before landfall.  As the sun set late Thursday afternoon, we stowed the courtyard garden potted plants in the safety of the alley between the house and the pergola.  We took down the shadecloth sails out in the courtyard.  We strode around the yard one last time making sure there was nothing that could pose a danger if it became a flying missile.  Then we bunkered down inside the house waiting to see what would happen.

Well, in the end, Dylan was a bit of a dud for us.  The rain had stopped at about 7.00 pm, and the wind dropped to nothing at around the same time.  The rest of the night was still and quiet, and not a drop of rain fell.

Dylan made landfall early on Friday morning about 270 kms south, near Bowen, as Category 2.   Down there and in the surrounding area, TC Dylan certainly uprooted a few trees, blew a few things over and caused some localised flooding, but that was the extent of it. 

Now I don't want to sound as if I was wishing for a cyclone, because obviously they can be horrid destructive forces of nature, as we found out almost exactly two years ago.  But ... we could have done with some of the heavy rain that was associated with a Category 1/2 cylcone.  Apart from an afternoon of heavy showers on Thursday, we didn't get any of the really good stuff. 

The next day dawned fairly bright and clear.  There were a couple of grey clouds, but they cleared pretty quickly.  All those teachers and students wishing that schools would be closed on Friday, were bitterly disappointed. 

The sun came out and shone brightly and happily for the rest of the day.

The raindrops had evaporated overnight, although the plants did all look a little brighter.

There were a few Eucalypt branches scattered about from the high winds, but that was the only evidence there had been a cyclone threat the day before.

So as February begins, we're now in the midst of a very, very dry wet season.  Considering that our wet season can begin in December and last until early April, this wet season is not looking all that promising. 

Our rainfall total in December was around 9.4 mms  (0.4 of an inch).  Our average is 130 mm (5 inches).
The rainfall total in January was around 74.7 mms  (2.9 inches)   The average is 276.5 (10.9 inches).

Another cyclone has developed today, but it's a lot further south and out to sea.  Tropical Cyclone Edna is expected to remain offshore and not make landfall at all.  She's expected to weaken completely by Sunday morning.  There does seem to be some activity behind her, but at the moment that doesn't look like it will eventuate into anything much either.

So, while it seems our cyclone season has certainly begun, we're left wondering just when the true wet season will begin! 
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