Friday, April 15, 2011

Snapshots of mid-Autumn ... April 2011 ... It's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

Continuing with my Snapshots series, highlighting each mid-season here in north-eastern Australia.

Conditions during April?

On the very first day of this month we received heavy rainfall and the rain continued to fall for the rest of that week.  We received about 86 mm (almost 4 ins) in those five days.  So it looked like the 'wet' season was going to continue for another month.  Then, finally, the skies cleared and we began to see the familiar bright sunny blue-sky Autumn days.  There has not been a drop of rain since!  It sure looks like our interminably long 'wet' is over for this year.  The heavens dropped close to 1300 mm (50 ins) for the period January to April ... a record for us!

But now it's time to get ready for our 'dry'.  This usually lasts until December ... although 2010 was an exception.  Our 'dry' is characterized by low rainfall, slightly cooler temperatures and clear skies.  Our daytime temperatures have dropped just below 30 deg C and the nights have been a little cooler, hovering in the low 20s.  This is the start of our best time for gardening here.

Now, as those who read my blog will know, we were hit with not only a long and intense 'wet' season over the last four months, but we also experienced Cyclone Yasi, rated as a Category 5 cyclone ... the highest rating possible.

So my garden this mid-Autumn is still very much in recovery mode.  There will be some changes from my last mid-Autumn snapshot post.

Starting with the trees around the property .... what is flowering?

After Cyclone Yasi cut a sway through here a couple of months back, most of the trees had their leaves stripped away, their branches were torn off and they suffered considerable damage.  It's taking time for them to recover.

One thing that is noticeably different to this time last year, is the lack of blooms on the Acacia trees growing in and around our property.  Most of them were also stripped during the cyclone of course, and I can only find one in bloom out in the surrounding bushland at the moment.

... but none of the Acacias growing on our property are flowering.  They are, however, covered in new leaf growth.

Both the Citharexylum spinosaum or Fiddlewood tree and the Tabebuia heterophylla are recovering from cyclone damage and are only showing the occasional spray of flowers on their broken branches.

Neither of my Lagerstroemia speciosas are flowering as yet.  The one that was significantly damaged by the cyclone is breaking out with new growth though.

Next, out in the Courtyard Garden ... what is in bloom?

The potted Cleome spinosa 'Senorita Rosalita' continues to flower profusely.  The potted Azaleas are throwing up the occasional flower, while the Curcuma australasica 'Anita' is dying down.  I rather like the colours on its' flower spike as it dies off ... it reminds me of dying Hydrangeas blooms from other parts of the world.

While one Curcuma is starting to die down, another is starting to bloom again.

Here it is on the left of the photo ... Curcuma 'Voodoo Magic' is starting to open up.  Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' is flowering again and there are blooms appearing on the Streptocarpus caulescens.

The Crossandra infundibuliformis, shown in the centre of the photo, looks lovely even when the petals on some of the flowers start to fade and start to turn pale orange.

There are a few splashes of white out in the courtyard right now ... Angelonia angustifolia, Tabernaemontana corymbosa 'Sweet Love', Begonia semperflorens and Wrightia antidysenterica 'Arctic Snow'.

My potted Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender' is really showing off.  I only have one left after the long 'wet' season, but I have every intention of getting a couple more as they really do add such brilliant colour out in the courtyard during the Autumn through to Spring.

There are no pots of annuals scattered around the courtyard yet, but as I now have a week's end-of-term break, they won't be far off!


Now, which shrubs around the property are flowering?

Cyclone Yasi damaged every single Duranta repens shrub on the property and usually quite a few of them are covered in flowers at this time of year.  Right now they are all still stumps throwing up new bright green growth and it will be quite a while before we see any flowers.

So I had to look elsewhere for flowering shrubs.

Starting at the top:  Ixora coccinea, Hibiscus schizopetalus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Ixora 'Raywards Pink' and, in the middle, Mussaenda philippica 'Aurore'.  All such commonly used subjects for photos of my garden.


My ever reliable Pentas lanceolata are all in bloom.

Salvia madrensis spires are looking quite majestic.

Turnera subulata and Allamanda cathartica 'Sunee' are adding bright golden splashes in the garden.

There was an unexpected show of blooms on this shrub that has been growing in our driveway garden bed for years and years without any sign of flowers.  Obviously it has enjoyed the removal of the overhanging tree canopy ... courtesy of Cyclone Yasi ... and the drenching from the monsoonal rain season.

This is Pseuderanthemum carruthersii syn. Pseuderanthemum atropurpureum.

Then I stumbled upon this ... 

as I was strolling past my Phyllanthus myrtifolius or Water Fall Plant.  
It's the first time I've ever noticed these lovely dangling red flowers on the Phyllanthus.  Have they been there before and I've just walked by without noticing?  Or is this the first time they've flowered as a result of the long extended heavy 'wet' season we've just had?  

Well, whatever the explanation might be, these arching shrubs are putting on a display that’s only noticeable when you get up close and personal. I find these tiny flowers quite pretty and I’m hoping they’ll come again soon.

Here and there in the garden beds ...

There's Neomarica longifolia or the Yellow Walking Iris.

There's my old, old red Gerbera.

 There's my new Iris domestica or Leopard lily.

It's lovely to see to Hibiscus schizopetalus hanging over the hillside driveway once again ...

... and to spot the flowers returning on my oldest Hibiscus rosa-sinensis as it recovers from the drastic post-cyclone trim back.  I love the way the petals on these flowers start becoming spotty and streaky as they wilt and die.

Last of all, what is blooming in the Shadehouse Garden?

Coleus flowers, Impatiens walleriana and Rex Begonia in bud.

Thunbergia erecta, Dendrobium bigibbum, my long flowering Globba winitii, more of my Streptocarpus caulescens or Nodding Violet and my white New Guinea Impatiens.

Our 'dry' season is now about to begin as our weather fines up and cools down slightly.  This is the time of the year when I get out into the garden any spare moment I can find.  Roll on Autumn's end, our Winter and then our early Spring.

I'm joining Carol's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day meme

Tootsie's Fertilizer / Flaunt Your Flowers Friday  meme,
and the Today's Flowers meme.

 Please pop over and join in the fun at these wonderful blogs.


  1. Everything is looking great and will just keep getting better now with your winter weather. Flowers everywhere. Enjoy the Easter break.

    I'm glad you found out what your mystery plant was called.

  2. Wow that's a lot of photos today, and you are so rewarded in all those work you are doing for your garden, typhoon or cyclone or heavy rains! How so beautiful, and the photos and collages are gorgeous too.

  3. I'm in love and what’s captured my heart Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender' so many stunning blooms a feast for my eyes!
    Have a good weekend.

  4. Gorgeous! I especially love the Mona Lavender, Pseuderanthemum carruthersii syn. Pseuderanthemum atropurpureum (thank goodness for copy and paste) and Phyllanthus. Hope you have a great gardening season!

  5. Despite your losses from Yasi, your gardens are blooming with abundance of beauty. It is always a treat to see what you have growing there any time of the year. I love your waterfall plant, one I've never heard of before.

    Hugs and happy gardening ~ FlowerLady

  6. It is a treat to visit your garden. So many plants which are new to me. I have grown 'black and blue' salvia though. It is a beauty. I have never had a plectranthus with such blooms. Yours is lovely. Well done!

  7. It is so much fun to think of you being in autumn when I am in the middle of spring! That's what I love about GBBD. You have some plants I know well and others that seem soooo exotic. Thanks for sharing you garden today.

  8. So much fun to once again see all the tropical flowers blooming in your garden. It is hard to imagine that you had cyclone damage with all the beauty you have pictured.

  9. Missy ... I can't wait to spend the next week out in the garden potting up lots of annuals.

    Thanks Andrea. Most of the garden is recovering nicely and it's a little bit easier on the spirits wandering around the garden now.

    Sue ... I just adore this Plectranthus too and that's why I'm on the lookout for more now.

    Mac ... I'm really looking forward to the gardening season after the dreariness of the last few months.

    Flowerlady, thank you once again for your lovely kind words. The Water Fall plant is a great choice for rock gardens and as a background planting.

    Layanee, I'm glad your enjoyed a little look at what's happening in my mid-Autumn garden.

    Christina, glad to see you! It is fascinating to see how the seasons around the world play out.

    Carolyn ... oh yes there's still lots of evidence of the cyclone damage, and I purposely avoided any shots of that.

  10. Thank you for your wonderful comment on my blog Bernie and thank you dropping by.
    You have a lovely blog. Not only are the pictures beautiful but you have placed them in such an interesting manner which I think is so difficult to do with blogger!
    I love the delicate hanging Hibiscus and the Leopard Lily. Was great visiting your blog!

  11. what a spectacular show of color you have in your autumn. Enjoy.

  12. Wow, you have so many beautiful flowers and foliage in your garden regardless that terrible Cyclone Yasi. I have lots of same plants as you have. You can easiliy get new plants from the cuttings of "Mona lavendar". Love your 'Voodoo Magic', so beautiful!

  13. Oh Bernie that water fall plant is so beautiful with those little droplets hanging down and my other favourite is Plectranthus Mona Lavender. You always have a feast for the eyes every single GBBD.

  14. Wow! Your garden is still going strong!

  15. Hello. There, autumn, spring here and together we are happy with that. Took a walk after your beautiful garden, so many beautiful flowers and all I liked. May also smell of really wonderful. Yours

  16. Loved the tour of your garden. That lavender is the prettiest plant I have ever saw. I am gonna have to find out more about it.

  17. Lovely blooms! But that plectranthus is absolutely stunning. The color is breathtaking.

  18. Even with disaster damage your garden is wonderful. I too love the Mona Lavender

  19. Beautiful weather you got. You got lots of flower blooms too. Pretty! My Fertilizer fridayHope you can visit mine too.

  20. Bernie - that Plectranthus is like nothing I've ever seen before! The flower color and shape is a show stopper - wow!! I love your photo style, with the collage and photo insert features - very sharp.

  21. Wow, your gardne is looking beautiful! Plenty of blooms there. I love the Mona Lavender! Have a wonderful week!

  22. Hi Bernie, from what I hear, we're lucky to have the (cyber)opportunity to visit your garden without the need for an umbrella. Interesting how some plants got destroyed, many survived Yasi and some like the phyllanthus actually thrived. I adore those delicate hanging flowers. Good post. cheers, cm

  23. I'm sorry to hear about the terrible weather, but it looks like everything is recovering very well. Beautiful pictures!


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