Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Mid-Summer's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day ... January 2012

I'm beginning my 2012 Snapshots series with this blog post for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  Be warned.  My 'Snapshots' posts tend to be rather lengthy and photo-heavy.  A huge mug of coffee or tea might be needed!

Let's have a look at what's going on around my place in the mid-Summer month of January.

Conditions during December-January?

Well the 'wet' season has most definitely NOT arrived yet.  We've had no rain at all for quite a few weeks now.  The last recorded rainfall was back in mid-December.  This stretch of dry weather is not really typical of January, as it's supposed to be almost the middle of the 'wet' season.  Endless weeks of clear blue skies is usually a more common sight during the long 'dry'.

Of course, the one thing that is constant about the 'wet' season here is the "hit-and-miss" aspect of it.  There's always considerable difference from year to year, and really no particular set pattern at all.  Essentially our 'wet' supposedly starts around December and ends around April, and we sit around waiting to see whether it will actually turn up!

It seems like just yesterday that I was complaining about how wet one of our 'dry' seasons was. Now usually the 'dry' season is very predictable.  You can pretty much bet your life savings on just how it's going to turn out.  Lucky I didn't in 2010.  We had record rainfall during that particular 'dry' season, very atypical!

This Patrick Young quote is so applicable in my corner of the world:  The trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it.

Some things stay the same though.  Our summer temps have not strayed much from around 33-34 deg C during the day, and 26-28 deg C at night. We've had endless clear sky days and the UV factor has remained constantly at 'extreme' since around mid-November.  Humidity levels are up around 80% most of the day.  Summers here are hot, sultry, sticky ... and they leave you feeling very listless!

I don't go out to do very many gardening jobs at present.  One thing that does take up quite some time though is the watering.  It's a regular job every day, sometimes twice a day, as I make the effort to keep the plants going, especially all the potted plants.  I don't mind that particular job though, as it gives me time to slow down and really take notice of what's around me. 

One thing I have been noticing is just how many dragonflies, butterflies and ...

... spiders suddenly appear when I'm hosing.  They pop by to drink up the water drops left lying on the plants, but they have to be quick before the fierce sun dries up everything!

Here's what else I've been noticing.

Starting with the trees around the property .... what's blooming?

The last of the Poinciana flowers are hanging on,

while the seedpods start to develop.

The Cassia fistula's blooming time is also coming to an end, and I just love the way the flowers look as they start to fade away.

I have three Lagerstroemia speciosas, or Queen's Crepe Myrtles, on this property.  Not to be confused with the more common Lagerstroemia indica or Crepe Myrtle, the Queen's Crepe Myrtle is a much larger tree.

Two of mine have started showing buds.  One in particular has a canopy full of buds ready to burst.  The other Queen Crepe Myrtle had to be trimmed back drastically because of cyclone damage last year, so I'm not really expecting it to bloom this summer.

This is a terrific summer bloomer.  The flowers of the Queen's Myrtle are a lovely lavender, have a wonderful texture and last for ages.

One of the large trees is covered in sprays of brilliant white flowers right now.  It's Citharexylum spinosa or the Fiddlewood Tree.  These flowers have the most beautiful sweet perfume which hangs on the sultry evening air and really does lift the sagging summer spirit.

Another of the lovely fragrances out in the garden at this time, is the perfume from this Plumeria's flowers.  Only one of my Plumerias is blooming right now.  The other two continue their recovery from the stress of last year's damage.

A gorgeous sight out in the bushland in the last week has been the unexpected appearance of some flowers on a couple of rather small and young Acacia trees.

That's not a common sight during our summers here.  The Wattles usually bloom during our Wintertime, so it was a wonderful surprise.

Now onto the shrubs ... what's blooming?

The dwarf Allamanda cathartica 'Sunee' is showing off in spectacular fashion out in the front yard garden bed.

It's terrific to see blooms on the young Lagerstroemia indicas or Crepe Myrtles.  They were only planted in the tiered garden beds in Spring, late 2010.  The young saplings were soundly thrashed during the cyclone in February 2011, and then really struggled through the 'dry' season last year.

I'm just loving the first pretty pink and purple blooms on these hardy things.

Of course the faithful old year-round bloomers are still strutting their stuff.

Out in the shadehouse ... what is blooming?

There aren't many blooms to be seen apart from the flowers appearing on the Dragon Wing Begonias which were trimmed back a couple of weeks ago.  They are the predominant bloom out there in the midst of all the overgrown ferns.

But if you look closely, you can spot just a couple of other things.

The Neomarica longifolia or Yellow Walking Iris are all throwing out blooms again.  There are some flowers on the two Curcumas.  Impatiens walleriana has a few blooms, and the Globba winitti or Mauve Dancing Lady has started showing its beautiful flower sprays.

Now, out in the courtyard ... what is blooming?

The courtyard is looking a little dull at the moment, due to the work that's going on out there and the fact that many of the potted plants suffered in the heat and dry conditions while I was away recently for a short holiday.  So many plants had to be trimmed back, watered very liberally, and fertilised generously.  They're not looking their best right now.  The only bright patch is the section right at the back of the courtyard where the foliage plants add some lovely colour and interest.

There are some flowers still on a few of the potted plants though.

The Crossandra infundibuliformis, the Spathoglottis plicata, the Wrightia antidysenterica, and the Portulaca are all showing some blooms.

Elsewhere ...

Well out in the tiered garden beds, there are still a few of the Hemerocallis in bloom.

Down the driveway there are some flowers to be seen ...

such as the Gerbera, the Pseudomussaenda flava, the creamy Russelia juncea, the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Roseflake', the red Russelia juncea and the purple Fountain Grass.

There you have it ... a quick round-up of the blooms I've noticed while out on my daily watering trip.

Aside from the watering of course, there are quite a few jobs that really should be done around this place ...

... jobs such as finishing the cleaning out of the pond.  It's drawing attention and comments from some of our regular garden visitors who use it as their private bath or swimming pool.  "Hey, when's this gonna be finished?  I need a bath!"

I'm getting around to these things, slowly but surely.  It's just far too hot and way too muggy to get serious about many gardening jobs right now, other than the absolute essentials.  Anyway, I'm quite happy just to stand around with the hose in hand, having a good ole gander at what's around!

I'm joining Carol for her Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day meme.  Don't miss the opportunity to go on over and view blog posts from all around the world showing what's blooming right now.

I'm also joining Gesine for her Blogger Bloom Day

(Would you believe it???  Since putting together this post earlier this week, and then scheduling it for publication on the 15th, the heavens opened on the 14th.  After going on and on about the lack of rain so far this 'wet' season, we had an entire day of rain on Saturday!!!  Not that a day of rain makes a 'wet', but it was just wonderful to hear those raindrops on the roof. )


  1. Just lovely!

    Referencing the daylilies, bottom row, what is the name of the very dark, almost black one?

    Sooo glad you had a good rain!

    1. Sandy, that Daylily you asked about is Hemerocallis 'Jamaican Midnight'. We did have very good rain. It rained almost all of yesterday, totaling around 35 mm, which was just fantastic. It's grey and overcast out there again today, but no rain yet. Fingers crossed we get more today.

  2. Hi Bernie! I think your midsummer garden is beautiful. I appreciate all your plant photos, but I really enjoyed the last two of the kangaroo and Cockatoo? ( I don't know tropical birds!) I don't get much work done during my own summer, which is also hot and very humid. You have many more blooming plants than I do during that time of year. Our summer faithfuls, however, that are always beautiful no matter what summer dishes out, are the crepe myrtles.

    1. Thanks Deb. Yes the birds at the end are indeed Cockatoos. The white one is the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, and the other is the female Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo.

      The summer faithfuls are just wonderful aren't they? They can be relied upon to cheer up a hot, weary and flustered gardener.

  3. our winter is like your wet season - there is no predicting how cold it will be. Last year lots of snow this year barely a frost. I do enjoy your blog, I feel much warmer and its good for my SAD syndrome

    1. Hi Patientgardener. Yes it seems the winter in most of the northern hemisphere has been most atypical this year. I'm glad I could help relieve some of those SAD syndrome symptoms today! : )

  4. Lovely garden with so many beautiful flowers and wildlife visitors. Many plants are familiar, yet slightly different.

    The creamy Russelia is new to me and I will have to find it as I am always looking for white and cream to mix in.

    Gorgeous post!

    1. Shilrey, there a few new Russelias now. There's a lovely peachy coloured one too that's on my list of must-gets when I'm next at the nursery. I'm also getting more of the cream. It really does look fantastic in amongst all the green here.

  5. I loved seeing all the flowers you have blooming there! So many pretty ones, most of which wont' grow here. Sounds like so many places have had unusual weather over the past year. Here it is finally feeling like winter and snowing.

    1. G'day Catherine. We certainly had some extreme weather last year, unusual weather the year before that, so we're now due for some of the usual and normal stuff! I know your garden probably needs a decent winter in order for many of your plants to really flourish, so I'm glad to hear you're finally getting some of the usual winter weather.

  6. Good happy Sunday morning Bernie. I opened your post before opening another site, yet when i come back i still can't see any photo but one, but i am consoled by your nice music. Lovely for this lazy Sunday morning. Maybe i should just see again your photos tomorrow in the office because my laptop at home cannot cope with its weight. Never mind, i will be back tomorrow.

  7. Morning Andrea. Sorry to hear you didn't get to see most of the photos today. At least you got to enjoy the music for a while anyway. I'm sure you will recognise most of what's blooming here right now.

  8. Hello,
    I enjoy your blog. It is fun to see what is blooming in the Southern Hemisphere while we are in the midst of Winter here in the USA.
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
    Mississippi, USA

  9. Thanks Lea. Yes we really are experiencing opposites right now. It's been quite a dry summer so far, and we're waiting on the rain.

  10. Beautiful blooms, your garden looks so pretty. But I especially loved seeing all the creatures - the dragonflies, the birds (that white one looks like a real prankster), and the kangaroos!!!! Now, that is something I don't see every day! Glad you got some rain. Happy GBBD!

    1. Glad you enjoyed a peek at some of the wildlife we're lucky enough to see around here. The Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos are very cheeky things, and make a whole lot of noise. You mentioned Kangaroos ... we don't see Kangaroos around here, those creatures are Wallabies which are slightly smaller and have different colouring to Kangaroos. We see lots of Wallabies almost every day.

  11. Gorgeous pictures! Gorgeous blossoms! Thanks for sharing your mid-summer garden with those of us stuck in winter.

    1. Thanks Dorothy. I'm only too glad to brighten your day. Hope your winter is not too dreary.

  12. Great blog post! Love seeing everything down under. You definitely win the wildlife award, not a lot of us garden bloggers have kangaroos nearby. Tell me, do you encounter any of the very scary snakes that exist in your country?

    1. Rhonda, yes we most certainly do see snakes but most of the time they're the relatively harmless Tree Snakes or Pythons. Occasionally we get some of the nastier types such as Taipans, but thankfully that doesn't happen all that often. I give every snake a very wide berth as I'm not a big fan of them at all.

  13. Wow. Your garden is an absolute paradise. I'm amazed by it, and might never have found your blog but for GBBD. Truly beautiful.

    It is funny that our climates have their "rainy" season at the same time, December-April, but yours is summer and mine is winter! And like you we never know if we will get rain or not.

    1. Welcome to my blog, Hoover Boo. It's great to see you visiting. It is strange to think we have our wet seasons at the same time of year, but during opposite seasons. It looks like ours is going to be quite dry this time around.

  14. My goodness... you do bring a touch of sunshine into our cold northern hemisphere lives! Beautiful... Larry

    1. Thanks Larry. I'm only too happy to spread our fierce sunshine around! At the moment though I'm pleased to say we've had a couple of overcast days and a break from the harsh sun! It's been wonderful.

  15. Hi Bernie, I'm very late visiting for GBBD this month. Your garden is a real treasure trove as always. I love the fiddlewood. There is some nasty bug down this way, introduced to control lantana, that has been causing fiddlewoods some grief. Hope it doesn't get up your way.


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