November is our last month of Spring Downunder and the conditions here in the north-east have remained remarkably comfortable and mild for this time of year. The daytime temperatures are definitely up around the 30 deg C mark, but the humidity levels have remained quite sensible which means we're not sweating profusely just getting out of the shower in the morning.
Of course, it's still the 'dry' season and there's been almost no rain for over six months now. I say almost, because we have started to get some late afternoon or evening sprinkles every now and then. These little dribbles don't penetrate the ground here in the foothills, but hopefully it's a sign that decent rain is on its way. Only 23 days until summer begins and the 'wet' usually starts around mid- to late December.
In the surrounding bushland, the Eucalypts, which drop most of their leaves during the dry season, are sprouting their new spring growth. We're starting to see some new bright green leaves on those stark white branches.
Here you can clearly see the Eucalyptus platyphylla on the left is still in dry season mode, while the Eucalypt on the right is well and truly in the springtime mood!
I've been rather pleased that most of the garden has made it through the 'dry' of 2011, given the problematic start to the year for so many of the plants here. Whilst the recovering plants are still not exactly flourishing, at least they're still growing!!
The enormous stand of Tabebuia heterophyllas, at the bottom of the hillside driveway, are now looking a whole lot better, with loads of leaves covering their damaged branches and ...
... lots of the delicate pink flowers bursting into bloom.
Nothing quite screams out "Summer is on its way!" more than the appearance of the Poinciana flowers. I've been very pleased to see these gorgeous red flowers this year. Last summer none of my Poincianas bloomed much at all, but that was probably as a direct result of the rather out-of-the-ordinary rain we received during our supposedly 'dry' season. Poincianas like the dry and they seem to bloom so much better when the dry season is very, very dry.
But this year ...
this is the view down towards the front gates
and this is the view in the other direction, to the end of the driveway.
The brilliant splashes of bright red are a welcome distraction from the rather dry and parched landscape here in the foothills. When you look across the dry bushland from our front verandah, you can see just how these blooms stand out. Can you see those splashes of red in that neighbour's yard?
Some plants are flowering a little out of season but that's excusable, considering all that they have suffered this year. It's still delightful to see the bracts and blooms appear on my poor stunted Mussaenda philippica 'Bangkok Rose' ...
... and I never tire of seeing the occasional brilliant white bloom of my recovering Bauhinia tree.
Winter / Spring, our dry season, is mostly about getting the watering regimen working for the various garden spaces around our place. This is the primary gardening chore during those months, apart from some dead-heading of annuals and fertilizing. Thankfully, there are many drought tolerant plants growing in the old established garden beds and I only need to turn on the irrigation a few times during that six month period.
Plants like the fabulous Crotons ...
... and the Golden Cane Palms, are happy with an occasional drink every month or so.
I've been watering the tiered garden beds a little more though, and there's been a brilliant display of blooms at the 'Daylily' corner of the top tier.
Half of these Hemerocallis were planted back in the winter of '09 and the other half were planted during the winter last year. This is the first time I've had all the different varieties blooming. I can't wait for the little clumps to fill out more in the coming years and put on their fabulous display. Here's a few of the Hemerocallis that are in bloom right now.
Starting top left .... 'Picotee Bubbles', 'Maleny Tiger', 'Jamaican Me Crazy', 'Sabine Baur'.
Going down to the second row ... 'Archangel Eyes', 'Velvet Eyes', 'Jamaican Midnight', 'Sweet Summer Heat'.
Bottom left ... 'Blackberry Jack' and 'Francois Verheart'.
Bottom right ... 'Wedding Band'.
There have been some beautiful Oriental Lilies in bloom as well. I just had to bring them inside the house where they filled a few rooms with their stunning fragrance.
Around the property the Gerberas are blooming, along with my Callistemon 'Pink Champagne', my variegated Bougainvillea, the Allamanda sunee and the Salvia madrensis.
Out in the Shadehouse Garden, the Asiatic Lilies are on show. The Begonias are showing off their rather small blooms, and my Hoya bella is blooming for the very first time.
While in the Courtyard Garden, my Gardenia augusta is also blooming for the first time. The Spathiphyllum and Duranta 'Geisha Girl' make a great pair, and the vibrant colours of the Salvia splendens and Crossandras make a wonderful contrast with the soft and delicate purple of the Cleome spinosa 'Senorita Rosalita'.
Summer is oh so close now, so I'm enjoying every moment out in the garden before the dreaded heat, humidity, torrential downpours and possibly several cyclones arrive.
For more fantastic GBBD posts, please go and visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens
I'm also joining Gesine at Seahorse Garden for her Blogger Bloom Day meme.