Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Trimming Back and Ripping Out in the Shadehouse Garden - My Downunder Dry Tropics Garden Journal - Week 1, 2011.

Today's Date:   January 5th                        

Season:   mid-Summer

Gardening Zone:  'Dry Tropics' area located within Tropical Zone/Australia  (comparable to U.S. Zone 11)

30°C / 86°F     Currently: Partly Cloudy    Wind: NE at 19 km/hr    Humidity: 70%   Feels like:  33°C

Today actually began with sunshine ... so rare this Summer!  Finally, that bright golden orb made a welcome appearance and not only that, the sky was blue ... and filled with lovely puffy white clouds.   The Garden and I were so sick of pale dull grey!   OK ... there were a few dark clouds looming, but upon spotting those golden rays, I was determined to get out into the garden this morning.

I headed out to start the clean-up in my Greenhouse/Shadehouse Garden.  It's been weeks since I've been able to get out there ... weeks of endles dreary grey skies, drizzling and sometimes driving drenching rain, as well as thunderstorms and lightning. The Greenhouse/Shadehouse Garden was a veritable jungle! You needed a compass and a survival pack to make it back to the house if you ventured out into it!

The almost constant rainfall all throughout our Spring and early Summer has resulted in the Giant Sword Fern becoming almost gargantuan and not just giant! Each fern frond can reach two metres in length during the Summer 'wet' season and the other plants get swallowed up!

So, out I went this morning and spent quite a while trimming back that overgrown jungle.   I actually enjoyed it! 

Well I began by trimming back all the Dragon Wing Begonias in hanging baskets, as well as the Barleria, the white Begonia semperflorens and the ivy Pelargoniums. The hanging baskets were so saturated that when they were moved slightly, water would drip from the bottom of the lining.  All the plants got a 'short back and sides' trim ... it's rather severe but so necessary.

Next I began to mercilessly hack at loads of Nephrolepis biserrata (Giant Sword Fern) and Neomarica longifolia (Yellow Walking Iris).   This is the pile about halfway through the clean-up.

At last, after all the trimming back I could now use the pathway again ... and I could now access the potted plants that were scattered in amongst all the foliage of the ferns and irises.  I trimmed back the Inky Fingers Coleus, New Guinea Impatiens, Dragon Wing Begonias, the various other Coleus and Hypoestes.

Now I can move about the Greenhouse/Shadehouse once more without getting lost in amongst all the Neomarica and Nephrolepis.  Aren't they fabulous words!!!

My final job was to move all the pots of newly propagated plants into patches of sunlight ... Stictocardia, Hoya, Streptocarpus, Shrimp Plant, 'Frosty Pink' Brugmansia, Gloriosa Lily, Begonias and Bromeliads. 

I swear I heard whoops of joy from them all!!!  They have been craving decent sunlight for a while now.  I think I also heard cries of ecstasy from all the plants released from their ferny prison ... they could once again feel the sunshine on their leaves.

Alpinia vittata, Cordyline 'Red Wings' and Calathea ornata.

Stromanthe 'Triostar'.

Calathea medallion.

Alpinia zerumbet.

Dracaena marginata 'Tricolour', Schefflera arboricola and flowering Neomarica longifolia.

Globba winitii.

As I write this blog it's now afternoon and the clouds have covered the sun once more.  There's a forecast for thunderstorms and rain again this evening, but I'm felling so good after getting down and dirty at last, that even that can't wipe the satisfied grin off my face!

Must trim back Giant Sword Fern growing around the hanging pots of Impatiens walleriana.

Fertilise all potted plants.


  1. You have been a busy girl! It's looking good.

  2. All of the green is such a pleasure to see right now as we are in winter...

  3. Hi Bernie - enjoyed your tidy up and the before and after photos. Your plants looking releived to have their own uninvaded space back. What a fabulous array of Begonias. I've a Calathea Ornata in my bedroom (and its large!) but seeing yours makes me realise how much happier it would be amongst it's own kind - especially the Ornata.

  4. I would love to have a portion of the rain you are getting, we need it. I can feel your pleasure in getting out to do some trimming, that's what I did the other morning and it was wonderful. Your gardens and shadehouse are always a treat to behold.

    Happy Gardening ~ FlowerLady

  5. Hi Bernie ~ Glad you are getting some sunshine. It looks great and you have such a variety of foliage. I actually enjoy trimming stuff back....sounds like you did too. It is a satisfying feeling when it is all done.

  6. Wow, it really is a jungle in your lush greenhouse. Even with the best of conditions here we'd never get that kind of exuberant full growth. How nice to have a little sun finally for your plants (and for you!)

  7. Ooh, that globba ginger, the stromanthes, and calatheas...all so beautifully tropical and lush. Glad to hear someone enjoys garden chores. I am one who more enjoys looking at the garden than working in it. Admittedly, there is much satisfaction in seeing a job done, though. (Sword fern keeps me on my toes here as well. I've never even planted pops over from the neighbor's garden.)

  8. That's a lot of work you did,Bernie. Your begonias are looking very happy - they seem to like the wet.

  9. You have so many beautiful plant.

  10. Oh Bernie, What a lovely time of it you've had - how I dream of the days of hacking back. Glad you're enjoying midsummer down there!

  11. Hi Sue ... it was jus fantastic to be able to get out there again after weeks of rain kept me inside!

    Darla ... there's lots of lovely green everywhere here right now after all the rain we've had.

    Hi Laura ... for some reason the Calathea ornata loves that particular spot in the Greenhouse garden. I've moved it to different spots a few times, but this place is obviously just right. Luckily I can see it from my kitchen window.

    Flowerlady ... we've lots of rain to spare so I'll do my best wishing that some of it gets over your way.

    Amy ... yes it really is satisfying getting in and doing some decent gardening once again.

    Laurrie ... it was just fabulous seeing bright blue sky once more!

    Floridagirl ... the attraction of gardening chores varies quite a bit with me. Right now, when it's usually difficult to get out into the garden, it seems like heaven when you finally have the chance to do some hard work. At other times of the year, it's not that much fun.

    Lotusleaf ... yes, at least the Begonias have been enjoying the overcast, rainy weather.

    Thanks Ellada for dropping by.

    Cyndy ... it was a joy to get out and do something finally. Of course, today it's back to dreary grey skies with the chance of rain!

  12. Wow, that's a big job Bernie, sometimes i pity the plants when i am trimming them. Your conditions are definitely better for the plants than in ours, judged from the luscious growths there. I can't imagine the many man-hours to be spent on trimming and arranging. I love that Globba winitii, i havent seen it here yet.

  13. Bernie,
    everything is looking so good in your garden - that is what I intend to do this weekend - get out there and cut back...... that globa wintii is georgous! as are your rex begonias!
    Oh well at least we dont have to water :)

  14. Your weather now is same as us. But we don't have winter here. I was trying look at your Hypoestes in the pics but couldn't find. Do you plant them under in the open or in the shade?

  15. Dear Bernie, Your DT garden is certainly not DRY right now. I have been hearing about your rain on the news and wondering how your were coping! What an enormous amount of work you did! It looks wonderful, and I am sure you must have a great feeling of satisfaction. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2011! P x

  16. Your garden look so luch and green. The scenery picture with the dark clouds is very well taken. We are also having cloudy skies and little sun for the past month or so. Wishing you more blue skies and everything nice.

  17. Bernie - this post had me wistfully thinking of late Spring/Summer here! I fell in love with your Calathea medallion.... what a work of art!

  18. I love all the plants and flowering plant in your garden.

  19. Your jungle looks glorious but I know what you mean about having to clear a path through. I can't even get into mine because it wont stop raining. You have so many wonderful varieties of plants.
    I hope your son's house will not be damaged.

  20. Your background mountains look a lot like ours! Enjoyed seeing your blogs outside of Folia.

  21. So much hard work! but I am sure it will all pay off


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