Sunday, March 11, 2012

Finally Breathing A Sigh Of Relief ... My Dry Tropics Garden Journal ... Week 11, 2012

Date:  March 11, 2012

Season:  beginning of Autumn and 'wet' season

I've finally reached the stage now where I can wander around the place and actually enjoy what I see, rather than cringe at every turn!

I no longer feel like hiding inside the house and trying to avoid looking out.  This weekend has been the first time that I've felt absolutely over-the-moon to be out in the garden in a very long time.  Those who follow this blog will know exactly why that has been the case.  Finally there was a fantastic change of circumstance, with all the re-construction, repairing and cleaning up done.   All the rubbish has been removed and all the garden areas are now looking so much better.  Both my darling husband and I commented how lovely the place feels once more.  It seems like even the wildlife are little more relaxed and at-home when visiting our place these days!

The rain has continued.  So far this month we've had at least seven days of heavy rolling showers and have reached 63 mm or 2 ins in that time.  Of course, even though Autumn has officially begun, the temps have continued to be high, up around 32 - 34 deg C  (89 - 93 F).  It's not too bad on overcast days, but once those clouds part and the sun starts streaming down, things get rather sweaty and uncomfortable.

Thankfully, the weekends tend to be marked primarily by lovely overcast days, so that means I've been able to get out and do some much needed weeding.  Wet season means lots and lots and lots of growth, and particular plants tend to become overgrown very quickly.

I've now got a handle on the weeds down the driveway at long last.  I still have to patrol and catch the remaining escapees, but on the whole it's looking pretty tidy down the long entrance driveway.  I can't wait for all the new plantings to take off.   While they've certainly had a great start with all the end-of-summer rainfall we've received, with, thankfully, no torrential monsoonal downpours, I will need to coax them along during the coming dry season.

I spent a few hours this weekend battling with the overgrown patches in the tiered garden beds outside the shadehouse garden.  The Giant Sword Fern and the Salvia madrensis were choking most of the other plants in this corner of the garden.

I pulled out most of the fern, gave the Salvia madrensis a nasty haircut and then trimmed back all the unruly straggley plants growing underneath.  In their quest to reach sunlight, they had grown into all sorts of strange forms.  The end result of all the trimming back and tidying up doesn't look all that great, but  ...

... now the Dietes, the Pentas, the other Salvias, the Ixora, the Cuphea, the Euphorbia, the Scaevola and the Scutellaria that are planted in there, have some room to breathe.  It looks like I've lost the Kalancoe blossfeldianas and the dwarf white Euphorbia pulcherrima though.  Obviously, it was one wet season too many for these plants. 

Form a distance though, while the garden bed itself is now much tidier, it can be seen that the poor block wall needs some attention.  It's certainly did a mighty job holding out through all the horrid weather last year, so I can't complain too much.

For now though, there are no extra really-pressing jobs in the garden any more.  I can get back to the usual gardening jobs, like planting up annuals in pots to put out around the courtyard.  Early Autumn is always the time I start this particular job, and I've already begun planting out some little Cosmos 'Purity Dwarf' and 'Tall Mix', Zinnia 'Summer Brilliance', Nasturtium 'Alaska Mix' and Torenia 'Clown Magic'.

They're sitting in pots down in 'potting alley', where I'm trying my best to protect them from the heavy showers of rain that roll in every couple of days.

I've also planted up some Rain Lily seeds sent by a wonderful garden blogger 'Frangipani Gardens'.  There's Zephyranthes primulina and Habranthus robustus well on the way, and the Zephyranthes verucunda and Zephyranthes andersonii seeds have just begun sprouting.  Thanks so much, Pitta. 

Aside from a little more planting and some regular weeding, I get to wander around enjoying the foliage in my early Autumn garden...


Epipremnum aureum syn.Scindapsus aureus or Pothos,

Schefflera arboricola or dwarf variegated Umbrella tree,


the Sprial Gingers,

and ferns.

There's also a few flowers to enjoy in my early Autumn garden ...

an unknown Orchid,

the fabulous Cosmos,

Costus productus or Orange Sprial Ginger,

 a Marigold that's soldiered on from last year's Autumn planting,

my beautiful Mussaenda philipipca 'Aurore',

 Ixora 'Twilgiht Glow'

and Ixora 'Raywards Pink'.

The Koelreuteria formosana or Golden Rain Tree is flowering for the first time since we moved to this property over ten years ago now.  The flowers are quite lovely.

There's also some berries and fruit to be seen in certain spots.

Here's the bright orange berries on a Duranta repens, and the maturing fruit of the Ardisia elliptica or Shoe-Button Ardisia, which will eventually turn bright red and then black.

Then, of course, there's the wonderful wildlife that accompanies me on my wanderings ...

the Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly or Papilio aegeus,

the Forest Kingfisher or Todiramphus macleayii,

the laughing Kookaburra or Dacelo novaeguineae,

female and male Figbirds or Sphecotheres vieilloti flaviventris,

Rainbow Lorikeets or Trichoglossus haematodus,

Agile wallabies or Macropus agilis  (this is a little joey),

... oh, and then there's the snakes, like this Spotted Python or Antaresia maculosa.

All these creatures were spotted over this past weekend, doing their thing in and around the garden that makes up part of their natural habitat.  I think we've all had a fabulous weekend.


  1. What wonderful pictures and I'm so glad things feel and look more normal after Yassi's wreckage last year. I really love that white tree trunk by your driveway and all of your flowers and foliage are just fantastic. I am inspired once again.

    Glad you had a great weekend ~ now have a great week too.


    1. Thank you FlowerLady. That white tree trunk is just one of the many Eucalyptus trees in the bushland around here. There's two more further down the driveway as well. They are magnificent things.

  2. Oh Bernie…I just loved this post! It is so much fun to see what is going on in your garden. It is always nice to see plants we have in common as well as the ones we don’t. I was thrilled to take this tour of your garden. I also loved the wildlife photos. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. So glad you enjoyed your visit, Lucy. It's nice being able to share wider shots of my place finally. Things are definitely on the up.

  3. Bernie, no wonder you are feeling so happy, everything is looking so fabulous. I love that tree with the white bark, 5th picture down I am thinking it is a eucalyptus.

    1. Alistair, yes that's the trunk of a Eucalyptus platyphylla. The bushland surrounding our home is full of these magnificent trees. It's a spectacular sight in the evenings when that white bark seems to almost glow.

  4. A wonderful entry for your journal. You have such a beautiful garden.

    The variety and color for your plants and wildlife is just amazing. Those Rainbow Lorikeets are gorgeous, we have a bird called Painted Bunting with similar colors.

    1. Thanks Shirley. The Rainbow Lorikeets may be small but can not go unnoticed with those fabulous colours. They also make quite a bit of noise!

  5. Dear Bernie.
    Thank you for the beautiful photos. You´ve done a great job on your garden, and it looks absolutely marvellous. I really do admire it, very much indeed. And what wildlife you have, so close to you, wuaw!
    Have a nice week.
    Best regards, Iris.

    1. Thank you Iris. We are so lucky to be surrounded by such terrific wildlife. It's part of why I love living here so much.

  6. All your plants looks so lovely and healthy, so good to see how it can all come back better than ever. I love how you have those rocks looking like they are naturally falling into a waterfall effect. Thanks for sharing your lovely garden.

  7. It's all looking so good now. That photo of the driveway really shows how much everything has come back in the past year....and the "locals" appreciate it too obviously.

  8. Hi Bernie, I do think Autumn is a fabulous garden time of year for you. The pic of the driveway is stunning. I love seeing your photo's of the wildlife that lives in your gardens. I agree that your bright yellow cosmos are incredible, such color! I'm so pleased for you to hear that things are mended and the work is finished. I hope you have a wonderful week. Cheers, Jenni

  9. Your garden looks so lovely! As you move into autumn, we move into spring...and I am looking forward to embracing the garden. I so enjoyed the tour of your garden and those cosmos are so beautiful.

  10. I would never leave my garden if I lived there. Stunning. Do kangaroos eat your plants? The deer here help themselves to pretty much anything they can get to. The birds are gorgeous as well. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Aloha Bernie,

    Wow, I've never seen the front of your house and there it is finally...i understand what your saying, my front, side and back yards are also getting an overhall and i'm not quite ready to show the house in this public forum...although i have disclosed the ugly side yard....i'm would be completely content to walk around your perfect garden everyday, thanks for the fun tour...its really rainy this week so i've got alot of weeding to also do...ugh!

  12. Your garden look so lively! All of greens and flowering plants too! That's very cute Kangaroo!

  13. Great work, Bernie! Enjoyed the walk around with you - glad you spotted the snake first, lovely as it is!
    Jane (Gardener's Click)

  14. You have a real oasis in your dry tropical area, filled with the most amazing flowers.

  15. dear Bernie, what a wonderful post, reaching a stage of peace and satisfaction and at one again with nature after the violent disruption. Just looking and re-looking at the photos gives me a much - needed lift. Unfortunately the Google+ thing seems a bit daunting but maybe I am just being a slow learner.


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