Sunday, August 14, 2011

Snapshots Of Mid-Winter ... July 2011 ... It's The Dry Season.

I'm taking the opportunity to catch up with my Snapshots series, highlighting what's flowering each mid season here in my corner of north-eastern Australia, whilst joining in Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  Even though it's mid-August now, things are almost exactly the same in my garden.

Conditions during July?

Yep, dry is the word.  This was (and still is) the view out onto the bushland surrounds during mid-winter.  The theme ... brown, brown with a smattering of grey-green.

The 'dry' season was well and truly underway by the beginning of July.  We did receive a little rain during June (our beginning of winter month), but that was mostly light showers.  The total was around 15 mm which is only half an inch!!  For July the total rainfall was 1 mm, which is the usual here during our winter, spring and early summer.  Compared to the same time last year, it seems our 'dry' season weather is back to normal.  The 2010 'dry' season was unseasonably wet ... one of the wettest on record ... but that has not been repeated in 2011.  This is what our winter is typically like.

Daytime temperatures mostly hovered around 25 deg C (77F) and the night-time temps dipped to around 12 deg C (53 F), although we did have a rather chilly 7 deg C (44 F) one night!!! That was a definite winter PJs and doona night!

Skies were mostly clear and blue ... 

... although there were a few hazy days during the last couple of weeks of July, as there had been a few controlled burn-offs in various locations on the outskirts of our city, including the ranges that circle our outlying suburb, seen in the photo to the left.

Starting with the trees around our property ... what was flowering?

Not much!  That's pretty much the short answer to that question.  My usual winter bloomers include the Bauhinia variegata 'Alba', the Spathodea campanulata and the Tabebuia impetiginosa, but thanks to Cyclone Yasi, none of these trees were putting on their usual winter display this year.

On the left is my Bauhinia in full bloom last winter, on the right is the stump this winter.

On the left is my Spathodea or African Tulip Tree top covered in flowers last winter.  On the right is the upended stump lying on its side sprouting new growth.  This is a one tough tree.  Despite the fact that most of the rootball is exposed, this thing is still trying to grow.  We've tried digging it out, but it's growing in a hard-to-access spot so all our efforts have been in vain.

The Tabebuia was left a little lop-sided, with one side rather damaged after the cyclone.  The other half was showing just a few flowers here and there though, which was delightful.

At the top is the Tab in bloom last winter.  Looking to the bottom of the collage, over on the left, you can see the lop-sided Tab this winter with just a smattering of the lovely pink blooms.

Now onto the shrubs ... what was blooming?

The many Duranta repens shrubs growing down the driveway were growing taller very slowly, and at least one of them was showing the gorgeous purple and white flowers once more.  I really have missed the view of all the flower sprays on the Durantas as I drive in after work.

Whilst the Pink Calliandra, Calliandra surinamensis, was recovering beautifully and really starting to fill out once again, it hadn't shown any of its usual winter blooms.

The red Calliandra, Calliandra haematocephala, escaped damage during Yasi and had carried on as usual, showing lots of beautiful powderpuff blooms this winter. 

It's also a great food source for the nectar loving Dusky Honeyeater.

Out in the courtyard, the Euphorbia leucocephala or Snowflake Bush did put on its winter show, although not quite as full and lush as usual.  Still, it's always wonderful to see those brilliant white bracts and teeny tiny white flowers.

The dwarf Azalea in the front garden bed, though, really outdid itself this winter.  I've never seen so many flowers on it before.  It rather took me by surprise considering the lashing it received during the cyclone.  It is one hardy little plant.

The Euphorbia pulcherrimas were in bloom.  My favourite is the pink, and it is just forging ahead very well.  It's now reached around a metre in height and was literally covered in bracts and flowers.  The red Poinsettia did flower, but it suddenly took a turn for the worse a couple of weeks later.  The prognosis is not good and I'm not sure what the problem might be.

The newly planted dwarf white Poinsettia, seen above in front of the white Cuphea, has settled into its spot well and did show its very first bracts and blooms this winter. 

Pentas were not in bloom as they had been totally infested with some horrible pest and had to be cut back drastically and treated.  I'm sure they'll be back in full bloom by the spring.

The only Ixoras showing blooms were the pink in the front garden bed and the orange in the courtyard garden.

The white, yellow and red Ixoras were all still on vacation.

There were a few flowers on the Hibiscus schizopetalus, or Japanese Lantern Hibiscus, out in the courtyard,

and the Malvaviscus arboreus, or Lipstick Hibiscus, was showing blooms after being cut back post-cyclone.

The tall Hibiscus rosa-sinensis in the hillside driveway had also been damaged during the cyclone and trimmed quite a bit, but was throwing out just a few little single crinkly-edged red blooms.

My oldest Hibiscus, growing in the front garden bed, had also been cut back severely, but was blooming again.  You just can't keep a good old girl down!

Out in the Shadehouse Garden ... what was flowering?

The answer to that question is ... not much! 

Apart from blooms on the non-stop flowering Dragon Wing Begonias, the only plants showing off flowers were the Impatiens walleriana, the white Impatiens hawkerii ... seen above ..

... and the white Ivy-leafed Pelargonium.

Elsewhere around the place ...

My original planting of red Kalanchoe has died off, but a slip I shoved in the ground took off and was in flower, as seen to the left of the photo above.  I also planted an orange Kalanchoe blossfeldiana at the same time as the original planting of the red, but it didn't flower this year and is looking rather sick ... it might be time to move it.

There are also some flowers appearing on my potted Pelargoniums ...

... and Bracteanta bracteata sitting out on the verandah stairs.

Now, out in the Courtyard Garden ... what was blooming?

I did a quick walk around the courtyard garden with my camera to see what was going on mid-winter.

Lots of pots spot.

Palm Alley.

Around the Cycad.

Towards the pergola.

Looking over the courtyard from the seating area.

I also did a wander around with the camera video to record the state of affairs out there.  I do apologise for the squeaky voice in places.  I was just getting over some horrid winter virus when I filmed this clip.  At one point, I had to stop talking because I knew I would start coughing and spluttering, which wouldn't be a fabulous addition to the clip. 

Anyway, here's a look around the courtyard in July ... mid-winter.  (NOTE:  before you play this clip, you will need to scroll down and turn off the Playlist at the bottom of the page).

I'm joining Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day at Carol's May Dreams Gardens blog.


  1. Dear Bernie, what an impressively detailed midwinter review. We are both Australian but the gardening conditions and possibilities could hardly be more different. I've joined GBBD too! I especially love the photo with the honeyeater. Hope you've recovered from the virus by now. cheers, cm

  2. Hi Bernie
    Your garden is stunning even in winter, breathtaking shots!
    There are plants included in this post that I have never heard of or seen before, many thanks for allow me to visit and wander around for a while.

  3. Catmint, yes I've found these Snapshot posts of mine have been really useful to me as I get to know this garden of mine better. As I've only really become interested in serious way about what's going on out there in the last two years, these posts have helped me keep track of events.

    Maggie, thanks for visiting. My place in winter is lovely in spots, but overall it's just very dry and parched looking.

  4. You have a huge garden and an amazing collection of plants. I especially love the poinsettias. I just can't imagine them growing in the garden. Here we buy the for Christmas and throw them away afterward. I always have hopes of keeping mine until the next year, but I always forget to water them and they die. Love your winter garden.

  5. Wow, lot's going on in your garden! Love the hibiscus. Happy bloom day!

  6. Your garden really does have that elusive thing that most of us can't achieve called "year round interest". I love your courtyard area.

  7. Your selection of blooms this month is amazing. So much is blooming and I did not realize how big your gardens are. So many places of interest. Happy GBBD, Bernie.

  8. Everything in your garden looks absolutely stunning, even with little rain. SO many beautiful flowers and some great photography.
    Happy bloom day, Bernie.

  9. Hi Bernie, great photography...I love taking pictures of flowers and birds. Enjoyed the relaxing especially here in the USA South Georgia where the temps are hovering @ 100. Thanks for sharing your home photos.


  10. W naszych ogrodach nie ma wielu kwiatów, które są u Ciebie, dlatego z przyjemnością oglądałam. Pozdrawiam

  11. Wow...there is so much to see in your garden despite your dry conditions. I am struck by the beauty of the caliandra interesting and colorful! Happy GBBD!

  12. Wow! Not much, eh? ;-P
    The trees really do seem to have been the hardest hit. Your shrubs look great but I'm sorry to hear about your red poinsettia. Great showing, Bernie! Happy GBBD!

  13. Your winter may seem brown and gray to you, but it really is quite colortful! I think you have an all season garden. A lot of your flowers would be welcome in spring here, for example the azaleas, and the hibiscus would be a summer bloomer here. The poinsettias, of course, belong to Christmas, though they come via the hot houses. It is fun to compare climates!

  14. Ahh, nice! How do you keep all the pots watered, by hand or drip irrigation? Like the Calliandra very much. I forgot, my Duranta is blooming as well -- left that off my list! Happy GBBD.

  15. Bernie, You are too modest when you say "not much" is blooming! I see a lot of beauty even amidst the drought. I love the durantas and the calliandra and the hibiscus. Loved seeing your bird photo too - great shot!
    Blessings, Beth

  16. It looks like you have some amazing gardens. It's nice to hear of someone else who is familiar with the Dorstenia genus. It's also nice to see someone who appreciates Clerodendrum and Scadoxus. Clerodendrum are considered old fashioned here too so they're really hard to find, which is odd because I think it's my most complimented plant. I'm completely jealous of your Hibiscus schizopetalus, it's a plant I've wanted for years now.

  17. Bernie, thanks for the wonderful comments. Man, what a cornucopia of color. Looks sooo tropical. lol. It must be rewarding to keep up. lol thanks for the tour. happy gbbd

  18. Nice to see the tropical take on things. Your garden reminds me of my mother's California flowers. You really have a nice selection though. Thanks for stopping by MacGardens too.

  19. Enjoyed your video, and your commentary. You are very gentle care-giver to your plants!Looking forward to the next tour.

  20. I love the vibrant red colors in your garden. They seem to thrive in the dry conditions you have. Beautiful pictures. I like the one that contrats the blue skies with the smoke from the burn-offs.

  21. I loved that photo of the Dusky Honeyeater but my favourites have to be from your courtyard garden - it's so tidy and all of the different shapes of the leaves make for a really interesting and eye catching display and in dappled shade too! Lovely :)

  22. That's an awful lot of flowers for wintertime, and I adore that red Calliandra--I've never seen one of those before.

    But... I know it's not a flower, but the showstopper of this post for me was that HUGE cycad. WOW! I'm pretty sure that I'm still drooling over that. Amazing. :)

  23. Bernie, I am so impressed with how you manage to grow such gorgeous, lush looking plants in your climate! And "palm alley" and your entryway are lovely!

  24. That's good looking garden in winter! You have good collection of plants!

  25. Bernie what gorgeous blooms for a dry month...I love the trees in the first few pictures with the smooth white bark...such fascinating flowers we just don't see here...lovely

  26. I like your area's vision of winter...looks floral than anything here in our monsoon season, esp this year. Thanks for the excellent photos of so much!

  27. I saw "winter" and thought that's an old post! Obviously it's winter in the southern hemisphere. Well it that's whats blooming in winterin your garden all I can say is poor you. Lovely blooms. I like the hibiscus especially and you can grow it outside....will you swap ir for my pot grown one that hasn't flowered this year?

  28. Such an inspiring garden, Bernie you really are such a talented gardener!

    I must say I envy your weather conditions: when we have +7°C in spring here in Finland, we walk outside in T-shirts because it feels so warm after -30°C winter temperatures. Having a winter like you guys have is just a dream - unless we move to Australia :)

    So beautiful flowers (I can't even pick my favourite one), thanks for the post.

  29. Wow! You have more blooming in your winter season than I have in my summer season! Thanks for the lovely tour. You have plants that I can't have in my planting zone. Such beauty.

  30. hi, this is my first time to your blog and i'm in awe of your garden! mid-winter? wow, incredible. i'm just back from california (i live in nc) and i see some similarities to the plants there. they're so interesting and just gorgeous.

  31. Australia is really different, maybe you are the only place that a lot of tropical plants are thriving in winter, LOL, because you have a also a summer when others have their winter! I love your different species of hibiscus, i know them but i dont know why i have not be planting them even if i like them. haha.

  32. Bernie, what a terrific garden, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. I had to laugh, your Winter temperatures are higher than our Summer ones.

  33. Lovely photos. It´s nice to get a view to the other side of the globe. If you like join us at Weekendflowers today. You are warmly invited :)

  34. I am a little late in getting to you and, for that, I do apologise. Since we adopted our two rescue pups and became a home with five dogs, life became very much more demanding. In addition, our daughter has also adopted a rescue pup and she's been with us quite a bit since the pup moved in with her. Currently, we are looking after her pup while our daughter is on holiday at the Kruger National Park viewing elephant, lion, zebra and a host of other game :)

    I think it would break my heart to lose any of our trees the way you lost yours! I realise we have no control over events like hurricanes, but it's heartbreaking nevertheless! The plants that weren't affected though are looking very healthy and there's still enough colour in your winter garden to put on a pretty show!

    Even the view into the bush looks attractive to me. I love the gray-white (bleached) trunks of the trees (eucalypts?) and that blue sky is lovely. All in all, a jolly enjoyable and worthwhile tour. Thank you!


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