Saturday, March 5, 2011

Snapshots of mid-Summer ... January 2011 ... in my garden.

(Here I am, catching up again with my Snapshot posts.  Whilst I had started this post in early February, completion was interrupted by the the mayhem following Cyclone Yasi and the aftermath of that experience.  Nevertheless I decided I really need to finish this ... mostly so I can keep a record for myself.)

Conditions during January 2011?

January is mid 'wet' season and not my favourite time of year.  The days are mostly dreary and overcast with millimetres of liquid sunshine!  Around 180mm of rain fell over the month.  Not only is January mid 'wet' season, of course it's mid-Summer as well.  The days are long, hot, humid and hard to bear.  We did have a few clear days though, when we finally got to see blue sky and bright sunshine.

Starting with the trees on the property ... what was flowering?

At this time of year it's always very difficult to find blooms on the trees here on my property.  But this year even the usually reliable summer bloomer, Delonix regia, were all conspicuously devoid of flowers.  A Poinciana completely covered in vivid red blooms is one of the most common sights in mid-summer most years, but not this January.  I suspect this has a lot to do with the unseasonably damp 'dry' season last year (from March to November) with its high rainfall totals and the large number of dreary overcast days.   Obviously too overcast and too wet for the Poincianas.  They like it hot, sunny and dry.

Without Poincianas to show off, the photos of mid-summer blooming trees is restricted to the Lagerstroemia speciosa or Queen's Myrtle.  Now, usually, she is well finished flowering this time of year, but it seems like she stepped up in the absence of any display from Delonix!!!   Mind you, both the Lagerstroemias are only showing the odd spray of purple delight, but it's a pretty sight anyway.

Again, I think this display is the result of the out-of-the-ordinary wet conditions during last year's 'dry' season ... there seems to be some confusion amongst some of our plants with the change in the usual weather pattern.

Another two commonly summer-flowering trees that were not on show this mid-summer were the Plumerias and the Cassia fistula.  Obviously more casualties of the unusual weather patterns during 2010.

Now, which shrubs and climbers around the property were flowering?

Not many!!  The gorgeous Mussaendas were strutting their stuff, thankfully. 

Here's Mussaenda philippica 'Bangkok Rose'   ....

... and here's Mussaenda philippica 'Aurore'.

The ever reliable Hibiscus shrubs are always in bloom ... no matter what!  Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Snowflake', Malvaviscus arboreus and Hibiscus schizopetalus.

Another year-round bloomer are the Pentas ... one of my favourites for adding splashes of colour in amongst all the green.

There were a few blooms on my still rather immature Mandevilla ... it's taking a long time to really develop, but it seems to be doing better in this location than the previous ones.

But  that was it!  Noticeably devoid of any blooms were the Bougainvilleas.

Next, out in the courtyard ... what was blooming?
At the beginning of January I took advantage of a rare couple of sunny days to really take stock of all the potted plants out in the Courtyard Garden.  After weeks of endless heavy rain and grey skies through the beginning of Summer (December) they were in a pretty bad way.  So many of these plants had rather severe trimming back which, of course, means there's not much to show in the way of blooms.   Summer out in the courtyard is NOT the best time to enjoy a brilliant display of blooms.

The reliable Dragon Wing Begonia was still flowering and really didn't need much of a trim.

The Crossandra infundibuliformis and Ixora 'Twilight Glow' were all still blooming despite being a little unkempt.

The pots of Salvia splendens looked so scraggley.  They had gotten very leggy but I couldn't bring myself to cut them back as I really wanted something out there showing flowers!

Both the Wrightia antidysenterica 'Arctic Snow' and the Tabernaemontana corymbosa 'Sweet Love' received only a little trim here and there, so they were showing just a few blooms.  Both these plants are still quite young and I'm looking forward to seeing them mature considerably and be absolutely covered in flowers. There were just a few little flowers still showing on the Argyranthemum frutescens or Federation Daisy as well ... to continue the white theme.

There were still some gorgeous flowers on the Cleome spinosa 'Senorita Rosalita' ...

... and the wonderful Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' was in show-off mode!

That was the end of the story out in the courtyard ... a very poor showing for the potted plants!  But hopefully, with the trimming and feeding there will be something to see by mid-Autumn.  There was no show from any of the annuals as none had made it through the arrival of the 'wet' ... this is actually quite normal. THE most noticeable thing missing from the courtyard though, was the blanket of flowers on the Jasmine which covers the pergola.  There has not been any sign of even one flower yet ... that is extremely unusual for this time of year.

Last of all, what was blooming out in the Greenhouse/Shadehouse Garden?

The stunning Globba winitii ...

the Curcuma australasica 'Anita' ...

Curcuma 'Voodoo Magic' ...

an unknown Bromeliad and unknown Orchid ...

the purple Anthurium ...

the Tricyrtis x Empress or Empress Toad Lily.

So, all in all, the finding for this mid-Summer 2011 was ... far less blooming than the previous year ... by far!  The 'dry' season of 2010 turned out to be almost non-existent and this definitely had an effect on quite a few plants in my garden.  

(Note:   As this was completed and posted well after mid-Summer, I have the benefit of hindsight.  What seemed at the time ... mid-Summer ... to be a pretty poor showing around the garden, has in fact turned out to be as good as it was going to get for the entire Summer.  It just went from bad to worse, as the 'wet' season intensified and we experienced the arrival of a couple of lower rated cyclones and then one quite intense tropical cyclone.)

To see what was blooming in mid-Spring ... the season before ... click on this link: Snapshots of Mid-Spring ... which is October. 


  1. In spite of the unusually wet season and the cyclones, you still have beauty surrounding you. I believe your unknown bromeliad is called a matchstick brom.

    Happy Gardening one day at a time ~ FlowerLady

  2. This was a great recap. I should do the same to document what each season looks like compared to others, it's great for perspective and record keeping.

    You did have some great beauties despite an overall tough season. Lovely! It's hard to sit back and appreciate what's so good when you've been focused on disasters and adverse conditions and what needs to be done!

  3. Flowerlady ... yes, you're absolutely right, it's one step at a time. Thanks for the identifying the bromeliad ... I really don't know much about them.

    Laurrie ... I started keeping these records on this blog so I can learn more about just how my garden works given the weather events and conditions through the years. I only started this back in 2009 and it's been quite a learning curve! I've never really taken much of an interest in any of this before.

  4. Such a good idea to document the garden in each season. We don't have the dramatic changes they have in some parts of the world and they could easily blur into each other. They are very different though.

  5. I still can't get used to you talking about mid-summer in what is our mid-winter, lol. Nevertheless, your blooms are lovely, even if there aren't as many as in previous years.

  6. dear bernie, despite very tough conditions so many beauties are still doing OK. most of the plants are unfamiliar to me - - i especially love the last one with the delicately patterned petals. cheers, c

  7. Wow, despite of all those interruptions, you still have lots of beautiful flowers in your garden, and some of them are so familiar to me since I also grow them in my garden :) That Globba winitii is surely stunning! Never seen it before. I love your Mussaendas and different salvias too! We really always can rely on the dragon wing begonia blooming!
    LOVE, LOVE your purple Anthrium and the Empress Toad Lily, very exotic and gorgeous!

  8. Bernie - your photos are just awe-inspiring! I know you've struggled with incredible odds and storm destruction, but what beauties you have in spite of it all. :)

  9. Spoiled or what!!(: You show us a whole raft of gorgious blooms, while we wait for the first cheerful buds of snowdrops and crocuses to open, and you complain! LOL

  10. Beautiful flowers. Glad you had a moment from the chores outside to recap them for us.

  11. I hadn't heard about the cyclone. I am glad that you are alright. These flowers are lovely. I love being reminded that there is spring in other parts of the world. I am glad I stopped by today!

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