Sunday, April 15, 2012

Snapshots of Mid-Autumn ... It's An April Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

Continuing my Snapshots series ... highlighting each mid-season here in my dry tropics corner of Australia.

Conditions during April?


We've been having our typical mid-Autumn weather lately.  Every morning we wake to blue skies and slightly cooler temperatures, usually around the 25 deg C  (77 F) mark.  Whilst it's still rather hot during the middle of the day, reaching anywhere between 28 deg C (82 F) and 31 deg C (87 F), the evenings are getting slightly cooler as well.


One of the biggest differences between our mid-Autumn and the Summer/Early Autumn that's just passed, are the humidity levels.  It's so refreshing and invigorating when the humidity drops from the 80-98% down to the 60-75%.  What a difference it makes!   You can work outside without the sweat pouring down your forehead, neck and arms after only ten or so minutes of gardening effort.


The glorious Autumn days are most certainly here and the plants no longer look heat-stressed.  The only drawback are the rather gusty mid-Autumn winds.  Out here in the foothills we do tend to get some very, very windy days at this time of year.  I often wake to find potted plants tipped over, and Eucalypt branches scattered around the front yard.


Occasionally, during the day the skies cloud over, but we've had no rain at all so far this month, which is typical for most years.  Yes ... you can search all around Madam Laughing Kookaburra, but there's no sign of rain.  Last year was a little different, with record-breaking rainfall totals for the beginning of April.  This year however, it appears that our 'dry' season is back to its usual schedule.

As a matter of fact, the entire rainfall total for the beginning of this year has been considerably different to the atypical beginning of year we had last year.  This year the pattern definitely seems to be back to the usual ... we've had around 1050 mms or 42 inches of rain ... so no records broken so far this year.


I've been out in the garden every day over the last week and a half, enjoying this wonderful time of year, and finishing a lot of clearing out, cutting back, digging up and weeding that needs to be done after a long 'wet' season is finished. 

These are necessary jobs though after months of rain, heat and high humidity, but it means the garden beds around the place are looking a little naked. So many of the plants get a little out of control at the beginning of the year and need taming.  While I've been out there doing my taming act, there have been loads of little insects, butterflies and bees out and about, all doing their best to help the garden along as well.








There have also been the usual gardening buddies hanging around while I've been trimming and weeding and feeding and watering.

Agile Wallabies,

Pheasant Coucals,

Peaceful Doves,

 Figbirds,

Forest Kingfishers,


and Spangled Drongoes.
 
Unfortunately, the first term break is now over and I've already been back at school for pupil-free days, so I'm back to gardening mostly on the weekends once again.  At the moment, the garden is still reviving from the 'wet' and the summer, so there's only a little on show out there.

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


The rather understated flowers of the Tabebuia pallida are on show again.  These trees have now fully recovered from last year's ordeal and are looking wonderfully healthy and happy once more.


The same is true for the Citharexylum spinosaum or Fiddlewood tree, which still has flower sprays on display and still leaving just a whiff of perfume in the air.


There are spiky lemony yellow rods on my Acacia in the tiered garden beds.  It's been a while since it bloomed, as it took ages to recover from being striped of all its foliage at the beginning of last year.


The Melaleucas in the bushland on the little foothill opposite to us are all in bloom and look fabulous right now.

Next, out in the Courtyard Garden ... what's blooming?


Not very much at all at the moment.  I've recently done a fair bit of trimming back or dead-heading of nearly all the potted plants out there, so the courtyard garden remains rather a dreary spot for now.  The pots of annuals are not well advanced yet, and they will not be moved out onto the courtyard until they're beginning to bloom.  


Here's the Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender',


and the Cleome spinosa 'Senorita Rosalita', up close.


The only other plants providing a little colour are the Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' and Wrightia,


and the Torenias, the Angelonias and the Begonia semperflorens.

Under the pergola,


there's a few Jasminum officinale blooms showing,


and one of the newly planted clumps of Spathoglottis plicata is blooming.

The first blooms on two of the newly planted Salvias have appeared.


 There's the hot pink


and the white.  (Thanks Titania ... if only I could remember their names!!!)


Now, which shrubs around the property are blooming?

Out in the front and side yards ...


Pentas lanceolatas continue blooming.


The first blooms on my dwarf Azalea  have appeared ... a little early this year.


The dwarf Allamanda cathartica 'Sunee' continues to bloom.  It's been blooming happily for months now.


There are still blooms on the Mussaenda philippica 'Bangkok Rose' and, of course, the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Snowflake' has blooms.

Down the driveway ...


The first of the Calliandra Haematocephala or Red Powderpuff flowers have appeared.



Right at the end of the hill driveway, there are still bracts and blooms on the Mussaenda philippica 'Aurore'.


In the top bed of the tiered garden beds, there are bracts and blooms appearing once more on the unusual Mussaenda 'Calcutta Sunset'.


Here and there in the garden beds ...


The Cuphea and Galphimia glauca make a great pair.


There are some pretty Impatiens walleriana blooms to be seen in some shady spots.


The Dianthera nodosa has started showing it strange Lady Finger flowers again.


The native Cordyline cannifolia in the tiered garden beds is throwing out flower sprays.


One of the real surprises out in the tiered garden beds was the unexpected blooming of my Hemerocallis 'Picotee Bubbles'.  This is not usual for mid-Autumn!!


Last of all, what's blooming in the Shadehouse Garden?

Not much.  The Curcumas have finished blooming a little early this year, and all the hanging pots of Impatiens walleriana are still springing back from the drastic haircut they all received a few weeks ago.


The ever-blooming Dragon Wing Begonias are still carrying on doing their thing,


as are the Costus productus.


The Globba winitii flowers still dangle from the end of the stems,


but the stars out in the shadehouse at the moment are my Dendrobium and Anthurium.


I'm joining Carol's Garden Blogger's Bloom Day,


Gesine's Blogger Bloom Day

Tootsie's Fertilizer Friday / Flaunt Your Flowers,




and Nix's  Floral Friday Fotos


53 comments:

  1. Aaaahhh, what a great tour of your whole place. Really a wonderful selection you have growing there and the critters are great too. I'm so glad things have come back after being almost destroyed by last years' storm.

    Have a lovely weekend ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Flowerlady, it's becoming harder and harder to tell that we had such a bad start to the year last year. It's fantastic to be able to wander around and see things happy and healthy in the garden once more. It's rejuvenating!

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  2. Just loved all the wildlife photo's, must be the teacher in you that get's them to sit still while you photograph them!

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    1. Huh, Garden Girl, you should see just how many photos I have to delete! There's not really that much cooperation from the wildlife when it comes to taking photos. I just shoot away hoping I'll get something decent.

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  3. Bernie you have so much still in flower. It's amazing for Autumn. I'm about to have a wander around our garden to see what's in bloom (when the sun comes up enough to take photos) but I know there won't be half as much.

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    1. Thanks Missy. I suppose given that there's not all that change from our Summers to our Autumns up here, the garden just carries on. It does take a while to recover from the wet though, so I'm looking forward to seeing more colour in the next month or so.

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  4. Your garden is so beautiful. I am so sad I don't have my own bit of dirt to sculpt any more. My heart aches when I see what others are able to do with their patch of dirt. Oh one day, one day.....
    Weather here down sth, we had one morning in the past week where it got down to 3C, (some snow already up in the alps)daytime temps have been ok, in the low 20's, time to wear light jumpers again, when I am not working anyway. As the schools where I work are in 2 different states, the school holidays for me are staggered by a week. Queanbeyan are in their second week and A.C.T. have their first week starting now. So, school holiday cleaning for me.At least I get home early enough to cook tea now for a while. Yay. Cheers.

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    1. Linda May, I don't know how I would go not having a garden of my own. I can understand completely just how you feel not having your own little garden space. Fingers crossed this will be the year!

      Yes I've seen the temps down there, looking a little chilly. I bet there's some fabulous Autumn colours though. I have heard just how beautiful Canberra is at this time of year. One day I hope to get down there during the Autumn to see for myself. Lol, I had a little chuckle about getting home early enough to cook tea comment ... I know how that is. I find it harder and harder now to return to school after a break.

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  5. Ooohhh, you have so many wonderful plants I haven't even heard of! Loved your Hemerocallis, which I do know, have several myself, but also loved the lectranthus 'Mona Lavender' which I have never seen before. Your birds and butterflies are probably more welcome guests than what I have at the moment (squirrels and pidgins), they make for amazing photos :-)

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    1. Hi Helene, yes we get to see some wonderful wildlife here and we never tire of the experience. Of course there are some visitors we don't want to see, but they keep turning up all the same ... cane toads, brush turkeys and snakes!

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  6. What a wonderful post! Such a different world than mine :) Thanks for sharing...

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    1. So glad you enjoyed your visit, Rebecca. It's great fun popping into gardens all over the world to see what's going on.

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  7. everything looks amazing. Love that red powderpuff. I can't get over the wildlife! To see a wallaby just lounging around - boy, I'd have to be at a zoo - on a really lucky day to see that!

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    1. Yes Wendy, we get to see wallabies every day here and loads of other wildlife. It's a real joy.

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  8. Thanks for the interesting post, I enjoyed reading about your usual weather for April. We may live in the same hemisphere but that's so different from our weather here in NZ! I can imagine the humidity must be hard to deal with, so I'm glad to hear it's on the way down. Your garden is looking great.

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    1. Hi Ruth. I imagine it's getting quite cool over there by now. The humidity here is really hard to live with, and that's from a north Queenslander born and bred!!!! It can be very hard on tourists and visitors.

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  9. Another wonderful and spectacular selection of shots from your paradisiacal garden, Bernie!

    Thank you for participating in Floral Friday Fotos!

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  10. Wow! Your blooms are so diffferent from my Mediterranean ones, here in Italy. Your weather patterns too are so different. I find the humidity we get in the autumn is what brings the garden back to life - more really than any rain we might have. In spring it is the soil warming that sparks my plants back into life. I so enjoyed your bloomday post, Christina

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    1. Christina, it was interesting to read your comment about the humidity there. I guess it's the humidity and the heat combined here that makes it all rather horrid. The rain here definitely makes the garden come alive, because we have a very long 'dry' season every year.

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  11. Great pictures you show.
    Wishing you a good Sunday.
    Hanne Bente / hbt.finus.dk

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  12. The garden sure is blooming though so many of your plants are unknown to me. I'm interested that you still have Impatien w. as that's the type that we've got terrible problems with here in the UK as the seed has even has mildew in its dna now. Do you get mildew with yours?

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    1. Rosie, no mildew with the Impatiens walleriana seeds here. The Impatiens self-seeds all over the place here and I'm forever pulling it out. It's such a shame you're having so much trouble growing it over there. It just doesn't seem fair.

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  13. I enjoyed the tour of your gardens.
    I especially like the Red Powderpuff!
    Have a blessed day!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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    1. Thanks Lea. The Red Powderpuff will now bloom for a couple of months. It's always great to see the unusual flowers.

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  14. Bernie, i cannot grow our pentas that prolific and healthy! Maybe because ours are all just self supporting except for some watering sometimes. And you just reminded me I have some orchids which flowered out of sync with its normal flowering time. Oh and how lovely, the kookaburra actually alights on your rails!

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    1. Andrea, that's a real shame about the Pentas. Over here they're such a hardy plant and are so easily grown. They get through our summers, our wet and our long dry. As for that Kookaburra, yes there's always one or two that seem perfectly at home sitting on the stair or verandah railings.

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  15. Bernie
    Loved your beautiful garden tour.
    Thank you allowing me to see your paradise!!
    - Cheers Gisela.

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    1. You're most welcome, Gisela, although it doesn't look much like paradise to me at the moment. I guess that's true for most gardeners ... never quite happy enough.

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  16. I'm pretty much speechless. Fantastic post. I like seeing the birds and insects and assorted flowers in the garden as well as info on the weather. With that high humidity, your skin has to be gorgeous. : )

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    1. Thanks for you lovely comment, Mary. There's always lots of wildlife to be spotted around here. We're very lucky. As for gorgeous skin ... exactly the opposite I'm afraid. The fierce sunshine with its very high UV factor means lots of sunspots and the high risk of skin cancer. My poor skin has suffered a lot with being outdoors gardening and on playground duty at school.

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  17. What a fabulous array of flowers and creatures you have living in your garden! I especially love that dragon wing begonia. So interesting to see the plants that grow on the opposite end of the world from me!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed your visit, Spurge.

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  18. I loved the grand tour, Bernie. You really live in a heavenly place with the most beautiful of flora and coolest of fauna.

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  19. I will try a comment again since I have little luck commenting thanks to WP and Blogger.... I loved the grand tour, Bernie. You really live in a heavenly place with the most beautiful of flora and coolest of fauna.

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  20. What beautiful blooms and wonderful animals you have. Your photography is amazing! I always love visiting your garden.

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  21. Loved seeing all your blooms. Your courtyard garden is just lovely. I purchased a Mona Lavender the other day - such a sweet plant. Unfortunately, it's only an annual here. :( I especially enjoyed seeing all the pollinators and birds. Great photos!

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  22. My goodness Bernie, that's a lot of blooms! But I love the wildlife pictures even more. Happy gardening.

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  23. aloha bernie,

    i love the conditions intro you give to your readers, especially since we aren't familiar with weather and patterns south of the equator, i'll definitely have to do the same for my area. i love all the wildlife including that very interesting first bird, wow you have alot of unusual animals in your area. Your garden is really shining at this time of the year, loved especially your native cordyline in bloom, its stunning!

    thanks for the amazing tour, great job :)

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  24. Your blog always fascinates me lots of plants I have never heard of here in the Uk. Particularly love the Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender

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  25. What a gorgeous garden! I really enjoyed reading your post and seeing the variety of plants you grow and your animal visitors. Found you through Floral Friday Fotos. Looking forward to seeing more of your great blog!

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  26. so many to view and enjoy walking through your lovely gardens. Many I knew, many I didn't; thanks so much for sharing your beautiful part of the world

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  27. Now that is one great GBBD showing! I remember your old videos and could imagine myself going around your property as I was reading through your post. Looking at the pictures, it is hard to believe you are heading into winter, so many blooms compared to those in spring even.

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  28. Dear Bernie.
    Once again I´ve enjoyed your post tremendiously. Beautiful beautiful flowers, and wildlife too. Brilliant photographer.
    Looks like you have had loads of gardenwork to do! But the result is magnificent, and I do admire you, ;o) in a positive way. Thank you so much for sharing. It´s always a thrill to visit your blog. Have a lovely week. Best regards, Iris.

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  29. what a wonderful garden you have! thanks for sharing with us at weekend flowers :)

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  30. Bern, nice post and a fabulous garden along with the birds. thanks for sharing. G.

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  31. You have a plethora of blooms and wildlife...I am in awe. It is a true pleasure to walk through your garden and see all the beauty. The kookaburra seems so at home on your railing...a beautiful bird.

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  32. You have wonderful collection of trees and flowers! It's so amazing on how you maintain them!
    Kookabura bird looks so cute! salme goes to wallabies!

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  33. I enjoyed all your photos of the wildlife! Most especially the little green fly. Your gardens are wonderful, and your courtyard garden is very beautiful. Looks like a lot of blooms to me!

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  34. So much still going on in your garden, but different to an Irish Autumn. Love all your wildlife pics. Great post!

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  35. What do kookaburras eat? They remind me of kingfishers, with a top-heavy beak.

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  36. I nominated your blog for The Versatile Blogger award. Here’s some information: http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/vba-rules/

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  37. Kookaburra! I haven't seen one of them in years, since I was in your part of the world. Wonderful collection of flowers. Makes me want to go back.

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