Season: end of Winter and 'dry' season
So, as we head into the really warm part of the year, I've taken the opportunity to do some planting in the new rock garden now to let the new plants get a little settled in. This was the spot where opportunity knocked after the cyclone and I had the chance to create a new garden bed which is a rare occurrence on this property. After all the prep work, including carting in some of the readily available rocks scattered around here, I had an area ready for some tough sun, heat and humidity hardy plants.
I'd taken some time to think through what would survive in this new garden bed. There's no irrigation system in this section, so apart from the watering it would receive in the establishment phase, this bed would have little chance of sustaining anything other than extremely waterwise plants. So, I bought a few things from a local nursery and I had a couple of plants I'd started from cuttings to throw into the mix. They are all in their new home now.
At the back of this new area, next to the Pseuderanthemum, I've planted a marvellous Melaleuca linariifolia, sometimes referred to as 'Snow In Summer'. It's a small tree that's native to my home state and when it eventually grows up, it will be covered in creamy white flowers all during our summer. It's a baby now and hard to spot, but I'm hoping it will settle in well.
Off to the right of the patch in the photo above ...
... the Pseuderanthemum has little Alternanthera 'Tricolour' planted around it.
The 'Sahara' Gazania is middle top row of the collage. It's a relatively new variety and has been bred in Australia as a plant that can withstand extended periods of dryness. It's been billed as tough and reliable, so I'll be interested to see how it goes.
Galphimia glauca, seen on the far right of the second row above, is an extremely robust little shrub that tolerates full sun and high humidity very very well. It has already proven how drought tolerant a plant it is as I've already got one little shrub in the front garden bed.
Turnera ulmifolia, seen on the far left of the bottom row, is known as a reliable drought tolerant plant and should do very well. The Rudbeckia and Ixora 'Golden Ball' featured in the collage can be seen in the centre of the patch in the photo below. I have no worries that they will both survive and flourish.
At the back of this section of yellows, off to the right there's this lovely Verbena ...
this gorgeous Thunbergia erecta 'Tru Blu' ...
and this Scutellaria ... which I picked up at the markets without a label unfortunately. I'm not sure of its varietal name.
I'm looking forward to seeing how this new garden bed develops. Sadly, there's already been a bit of a set-back ... thanks to a few hungry wallabies.
As it's our 'dry' season right now, the grasses in our yard and the surrounding bushland have withered and browned, and a lot of grass was also burnt off in the bushfire that swept across the adjoining hillside.
It's difficult for the little group of wallabies living around here to find a decent patch of grass to nibble on these days.
So, they've started searching for other little goodies to eat. They do seem to like the leaves of the Gazanias ... not the flowers for some perculiar reason ... and they have nibbled all the Alternanthera plants down to a stub. Having tried a product called 'De-Ter', which is supposed to deter creatures from nibbling on my plants and which failed miserably, I've decided I will have to erect some sort of barrier around this new garden bed to these poor plants have a chance of growing up!
I'll have to do the same thing with the bottom tier of the tiered garden beds outside my shadehouse. It seems that Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' is a treat no self-respecting hungry wallaby can resist ... oh and apparently while they were busy gnawing away at that it seems that they thought they might as well eat the white Pentas to the ground and actually dig out and ravenously consume the Creeping Charlie as well.
It's not a great sight at the moment.
The wallabies also managed to eat the Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' growing in pots in the Courtyard Garden, and they found another delicious treat ... my Gomphrena globosa. Again, apparently the flowers are not all that tasty, but the leaves and stems ... mmmmm!!!! All this means I've had to do a bit of re-arranging of pots out in the courtyard, but I'm pleased with the way it's looking at the moment.
I'm managing to keep on top of the watering needs for all the pots out there, and wallaby damage aside, most of the plants are flourishing.
The potted Azaleas always put on a great display towards the end of our Winter. The Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender' is flowering beautifully and those Shock Wave Petunias are a fabulous addition to this corner.
The Salvia 'Dusky Hues' are carrying on with their show, as are the Crossandras. The Lavender is just now showing the first tiny little flowerhead and the two Plectranthus 'Mona Lavenders' are beginning to put on their next display of flowers. The foliage plants in the background are adding lots of great colour.
Out in front of the pergola the potted annuals have started flowering and will be in full swing in a matter of weeks.
I can't wait for those double 'Bonanza' Petunias to fill out and for the Gazanias to bloom.
In front of the Cycad the New Guinea Impatiens and the Begonia semperflorens are putting on their best effort.
I planted up a whole heap of Oriental and Asiatic Liliums just three weekends ago ...
... along with some Cosmos seeds I had been sent from a couple of kind fellow bloggers.
They have all started pushing their heads above the soil.
One of my gorgeous Begonias is in full bloom ...
... and the beautiful double Impatiens walleriana hybrid I bought last year has finally shown the variegated blooms it was covered in when I originally purchased it. After that first flush of lovely red and white splashed flowers, the Impatiens reverted back to just plain red blooms and I had almost given up hope of seeing these variegated ones again. But it seems, re-potting and moving into a slightly sunnier spot has changed its mind about which flowers to show off. I'm pleased to see these particular blooms back once more.
Elsewhere around the place, the cyclone-damaged trees and shrubs continue their slow, slow recovery, but it's good to see the signs of canopy growth once more in the tall trees left behind. These trees, though still standing after Cyclone Yasi, were stripped of almost all their leaves and looked decidedly naked for months. The leaves have returned and so have some of the birds that forage amongst these trees.