Monday, March 14, 2011

Garden In Recovery ... My Downunder Dry Tropics Garden Journal - Week 10, 2011

Date:  March 13, 2011

Season:  beginning of Autumn and end of 'wet' season

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

The post-cyclone clean-up is finally over ... thanks to the hard work of my other half who has put in a marathon effort!  The broken trees and shrubs have been trimmed to within an inch of their lives

... the last of the debris has been cleared away and piled dizzingly high onto our firepit

... and all rotting plants have been ripped out without prejudice!

There are many spots that look downright terrible ... but at least the mess is all gone.

Thankfully, there are now signs of recovery in our dismal pathetic looking excuse for a garden ... and it's an absolute joy to see evidence of re-growth.

In the photo above, on the left hand side, you can see the split stump of my Bauhinia variegata.  The tree had been around 4 metres high, but had split right down the middle during cyclone Yasi.  Well, here it is now.

My white Bauhinia variegata seems to have risen from the dead, as can be seen in the photo above.  We didn't even attempt to bind the two halves of the broken trunk as it was simply too wide and wouldn't budge!  I was not expecting the tree to recover at all ... having been split in two ... but look what happens when you're not expecting it!

Now I'm not sure it's a great option to let the tree re-grow as I'm worried about the wound left behind and the impact this will have on its' health.  But it is one of my favourite trees and it's certainly making a valiant effort to come back, so I've decided to just wait and see.

The poor Plumeria obtusa that had been snapped in two by a falling 20-foot Tabebuia from our neighbour's yard has also suddenly sprung back to life.  Hopefully it will return to its' former glory and be in flower again in a couple of years.

The other two Plumerias luckily escaped the wrath of the falling Tab and only had a few branches snapped off by the cyclonic winds.  There's new growth around most of the trimmed branches now.

Almost all the 15 stands of Duranta repens shrubs down our gravel driveway, except for one, are now all showing bright green re-growth and should make a full recovery quite quickly.

The Courtyard Garden is still looking rather bare, but the potted plants that did come through the horrid Summer are looking a whole lot better.

The rainy overcast days have continued so the plants are not madly flourishing just yet ... but I'm sure they will last until we get those fabulous sunny days we're so used to having during our Autumn.

The raised garden bed at the back of this Courtyard Garden had a severe trimming back and has not recovered yet.  To me it just seems too bare and drab, so I can't wait until the Ixora and Acalyphas fill out once more.

This is the section at the other end of the Courtyard Garden and again, it's looking horribly bare.  There was an enormous Aralia which blocked out the view of our carshed roof but it was completely knocked over by Yasi's winds and is now a short little stump of a thing.  There are signs of re-growth but it will take a while to reach its' former height ... and I'm not all that pleased with the view we have now!!!!

One thing I am rather pleased about though is the great excuse I now have to visit some of our nurseries.  So many of the potted plants around the courtyard didn't make it ... and I just have to replace them so I can brighten up this dreary courtyard!  I'm going to have such fun next weekend!

My oldest Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, the old-fashioned red flowering tropical variety, suffered an undignified trim back as it was covered in broken branches after the cyclone.  It was cut back by two-thirds, but there's a profusion of young branches already reaching for the sky and it's produced one huge gorgeous bloom on one of these brand new branches.  Great to see!

The Ficus benjamina is also recovering, as is evidenced in the photo above, and will be looking terrific in no time at all.

In the centre of the photo above is the recovering Lagerstroemia speciosa or Queen's Myrtle sprouting once more from its' trimmed back branches.  It had to be cut back by two-thirds as well.

The new fronds of the Giant Sword Ferns are starting to pop up in amongst the debris of the flattened older ferns and old broken tree stumps.

There's gorgeous new ruby red leaves on one of the Graptophyllums along the gravel driveway.

Despite missing its' top and most of the leaves on the upper branches, the Citharexylum spinosum or Fiddlewood has a few sprays of white flowers again.

Even the Cassia fistula is trying hard to cheer me up by showing a glorious raceme of golden yellow flowers.

The Tabebuia heterophylla has joined in the recovery effort too and is now showing a few dainty pink flowers here and there amongst the broken branches.

What really took my breath away though was the sight of these two stunning blooms.  My Bletilla striata, on the right, has suddenly bloomed for the first time ... and beside it is this other gorgeous thing, pictured on the left.  I'm not sure what it is, as it was a pass-along plant given to me without any label or tag.  Both these beauties are showing off in the outdoor garden bed that's been almost constantly flooded by rivers of water flowing down the hillside right over the top of them.  What absolute troopers they are!   

Another lovely surprise was waiting for me in the Shadehouse.  I have started cleaning up in there in between showers of rain as the plants have really taken off during the 'wet' season.  Last year I had played around with bulbs for the first time ever ... some may remember my Out In The Twilight Zone post all about the great bulb experiment of 2010.

Well, after a poor showing of blooms from all the bulbs I planted back then, I never really expected to see anything of them ever again.  The pots have been sitting on a shelf out in the Shadehouse Garden, neglected and almost forgotten.  That  was until I cleaned up just last week!  Some of the bulbs have sprouted again ... my jaw dropped .. it's a wonder the clunk wasn't heard world-wide!  What a huge shock it was to see these spikes breaking through the soil.  I can't wait to see what happens this time around.

So, as Autumn begins, and the 'dry' season approaches there are several damaged plants on the road to recovery.  It will be interesting to see how they get through our 'dry' and whether the recovery will be as speedy once the rains have stopped.   I'll have to play the waiting game now.


  1. Dear, dear Bernie ~ I am so pleased to see new growth in your gardens.

    Pruning by nature can give us even more beauty than we had before.

    Hugs ~ FlowerLady

  2. Bernie, what a lot of hard work you have put in! Glad to see your trees springing back to life. That bauhinia is a marvel! The Frangipanis will not be any worse for wear, I am sure. The spotted orange flower is called a 'Leopard lily' here.

  3. Hello Bernie,
    All that re-growth is amazing after Yasi had dealt your garden such a savage blow. I am going to have to work backwards through your posts to catch up with events. I'd be willing to bet that this will be one of the most welcome autumns that has arrived in a long time!

  4. You have a huge task to recover but it looks like you are making a good start! I hope you have a wonderful week! ♥

  5. Your plants have nice big root systems. They will be up big again in no time at all. The good thing about all those empty pots is the shopping for new plants. Hope you find some new treasures to try.

  6. Bernie - I am amazed at your garden recovery. What a testimony to 'green miracles'!

  7. Isn't nature an anomaly. It can destroy and then renew. All the rain will help the plants along. Hope it doesn't cause you more problems.

  8. So sorry to hear about your terrible damage, but you got right to it. . Gardeners move on and the garden moves on with those gorgeous Bletilla blooms. Yes you have a tropical garden.

  9. I am happy for you that your trees are growing back :-D Those new shoots are pleasant sight to behold. I hope those pass-along plants will recover nicely. Happy shopping for plants at the nurseries. I am sure you would have plenty of wonderful plants for those lovely pots there. Meanwhile, have a wonderful Wednesday!

  10. Wonderful garden despite calamities! Nature's power of regeneration is amazing isn't it.
    By the way the purple orchid is Spathoglottis plicata (similar colour to a Bletilla striata).
    Keep enjoying and tending your little piece of paradise Bernie! As a poor, garden-less apartment dweller in San Francisco I am quite envious - but in a good way!

  11. Dear Bernie, I know how hard it is to see your beloved plants and shrubs torn apart by winds . . . not that I know your extreme winds! It is heartening to see the new growth coming. Your paradise is so rich in diversity. I am sure you are happy the clean up is over.


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