Sunday, May 20, 2012

Have I Told You Lately? ... My Dry Tropics Garden Journal ... Week 22, 2012.

Date:  May 20, 2012

Season:  last month of Autumn, and dry season



You may know the classic "Have I Told You Lately?"  written by Van Morrison.  It actually became part of my life's soundtrack when Rod Stewart made it a hit back in 1993, but my favourite version is definitely the one recorded by Van Morrison with the Chieftains back in 1995.  I've included the music track as part of my post today.  So, if you want to hear it while reading through this post, just scroll right down to the bottom of the page and stop the usual Soundtrack from playing, then come back here and click on the play button to enjoy a beautiful song.

video


Well now that' done ... let's move on.  What is it I'm rambling on about ... oh yes ...

Have I told you lately how much I love this time of year here in the north-eastern tropics?  The weather is simply glorious.  There's a slight nip in the air first thing in the morning, then there's usually lots of bright blue-sky daylight hours, followed by lovely cool evenings.  No torrential rainfall ... no sweltering heat ... no fierce furnace-like blasts of sunshine ... no biting insects ... no need to cower indoors with the air-con on high.


I'm absolutely smitten with this time of year.  Most of the hard work that needs to be done in the garden after a long wet season, is now well and truly done and dusted.  This is the time of year when I can just enjoy strolling around, hosing spots that need a drink as the dry season rolls on, and planting up a few annuals here and there.  So here's what caught my eye as I wandered around this morning.



The two not-so-long-ago re-vamped rock garden spots are doing just fine.  The newer plants all tucked in for the long dry season that's ahead and seem to be making the space their own ... if a little slowly!


The Thunbergia erecta 'Tru Blu' is starting to come into its own now and throwing out more and more of those lovely purple blooms.


Turnera ulmifolia is also taking off and showing more and more of those golden flowers which are so attractive for the pollinators.


Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum' is starting to bloom again after I had cut it back.  The feathery purple spikes always catch my eye as they wave around in the soft breeze.  


As I wander further down the driveway to the front gates I notice the spiky pom-poms on the Calliandra haematocephala.  Then as I turn and wander back again,



I see lots of flower spikes on the Crotons,


a new shoot on the Licuala ramsayi,


the last blooms on the last remaining clump of Cosmos sulphureus,



and the shedding bark of the Eucalyptus platyphyllas.

All this is very usual for this time of year, but then I noticed something a little out of the ordinary.


Yes, it seems the unloved lemon tree tucked away about half down the driveway is fruiting.  There was only one lemon hanging from the branches, but it was a delight to behold.


 Back towards the house now, I look down upon the front tiered garden beds,


and notice the new blooming cycle of the Justicia brandegeana has begun.


There are flowers on the Mandevilla again.


 The Scutellaria suffrutescens and the Salvia madrensis make a great combination


and the first blooms of the Ixora chinensis 'Splash' are almost ready to show themselves.

It was at this point that I had a lovely surprise.  I heard some rustling in the bush just over our fence, which is a common occurrence.  It's usually an Agile Wallaby or a Pheasant Coucal moving around, or sometimes a very large snake!  But this time it was none of those.  Can you see her?


Yes, there's a new creature on the block.


It's our neighbour's children's gorgeous little pony.  She often comes over to say a quick hello!   I obliged politely, and then kept on my wanderings.


Looking down to the front yard, it's becoming noticeable that the dry season is here.  The 'grass' out in the yard is starting to brown off now, and it won't be long before it's looking pretty dead and gone.  We don't waste precious water trying to keep the grass green.  It will come back when the wet season rains arrive.


Walking on into the shadehouse now where everything is always green and lush.  There are splashes of other colours here and there as well.





I see that my new Iris domestica syn. Iris chinensis seeds are powering along wonderfully well.  (Thanks Marisa!)


I need to pot them up soon.  I already have the orange variety of this lovely Iris, but these new plants will have creamy white/red splotched flowers.  I can't wait.


I can also see the first buds appearing for this year on this Schlumbergera.  I love watching the development of the flowers at the end of these peculiar cactus.


Turning around I take a moment to enjoy the cool lushness of my shadehouse garden, then I wander on out to the courtyard garden.


That's the little alleyway that connects my shadehouse on the western side of my house, to the courtyard at the back of my house.  This alley is usually filled with sick plants, cuttings that have to be potted up or new plants waiting to be planted.  Right now though it's empty.  There's no potting up to be done or patients to tend to.  I'm very pleased when everything is growing happily in its spot out in the garden.


Looking over the courtyard from the back, I'm feeling a lot happier with the way it looks from this angle.


Heading onto the back verandah, I turn and look out from the other side and I'm quite content with the potted plants in their places now. 







I'm waiting now for the annuals to really take off and fill the place with colour.


 The courtyard garden is my favourite garden space and this is the time of year when I spend a lot of time out there, just sitting enjoying a cuppa or quietly reading and listening to music playing on the record player inside the house.  Ooo ... have I mentioned that I just love this time of year?


Even the space under the pergola is starting to bring a smile to my dial after all this time.





It's been a long haul getting this spot to a point where it no longer makes me cringe and wince at the same time.


The star is this newly planted section is definitely this wonderful Salvia, sent to me as a cutting by a lovely fellow garden blogger (thanks Titania!)  I think it's either Salvia puberula / Roseleaf Sage or Salvia involucrata / Rosebud Sage.  Hoping someone can help with this!  The colour is such a draw card, and it works so well in amongst the Ipomea batatas 'Sun Kisses'.


As I wander up the steps under the pergola and turn back, I'm so pleased to see the Jasminum officinale on the right side of the steps, almost ready to start spreading across the top beams,


and to see the area around the pond filled with plants once more.


The end of May (and our Autumn) is a wonderful time of the year.

26 comments:

  1. The song is a favorite of mine and this version was beautiful with the orchestra. I also love Rod Stewart's version.

    Thank you again for this absolutely wonderful tour of your gardens. I'm drinking coffee, am half awake and am itching to get outside to work in our gardens. Our hot and humid summer is just starting and I try to get to things outdoors early.

    Enjoy all that beauty that is surrounding you.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Glad to hear someone else loves this particular version too, Flowerlady. I hope you did get out for a day in the garden, although it sounds like it might not have been a full day with those summery conditions. I know how horrid summers can be. I'm jumping for joy that ours won't be here for another six months at least!

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  2. Your garden is looking lovely, Bernie, and I'm glad you are finally getting respite from humidity. Also very pleased (and impressed) to see how well the seeds have done.

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    1. G'day Marisa, yes the humidity levels are decent once again. It's fabulous weather now. I still have some seeds that I couldn't fit in the seeding tray, so I'm going to try planting them in some pots this coming weekend ... and hopefully I will then have some of those lovely Irises in pots for the courtyard. Thanks once again for your lovely gift.

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  3. Such a lovely time of year for you, and your gardens look like they love the weather now too. I really like the shots of your verandah and patio and pergola, the spaces are so restful and casually designed with an easy look to all the plants spread about. Very nice!

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    1. Laurrie, it's just wonderful out on the verandah and on the back patio right now. We're so lucky to live in such a wonderful place and I'm just so appreciative at this time of year.

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  4. Today Mr Itsnotagarden was wandering around happily saying - The garden is coming on!

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    1. Huh, snap Diana! My gorgeous hubbie is definitely no gardener and has never really appreciated the gardens we've had before. Now however he's wandering around saying exactly the same sorts of things. Patience is a virtue!

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  5. I love your shade house. A comfortable chair and a book and I'd be set for the day.

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    1. I've often had people suggest that I should have a little table and chairs out in the shadehouse, Mary. So you're not alone in your suggestion. I guess I've never done it because we have the courtyard and the verandah spaces for relaxing and chilling out. Maybe one day, if I find the right little setting.

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  6. Oh how healthy and vibrant all your plants are, every time I settle down to look at your lovely garden I think. "I would love that flower, and that one," and then I realize I couldn't fit them all in! Luckily I can just pop over here and enjoy yours :) I do wonder if I could grow iris though, if you can. Hanging out in the garden is just perfect at this time of year, as you say, thanks for sharing your beauties.

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  7. I love autumn, too. The cool breezes are always so welcome after our hot and dry summers. Your garden is looking so lush and gorgeous. It's very easy to see why this is your favorite time of year.

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  8. Bernie your house, garden and yard are beautiful. You can see that lots of work has gone into all this. It didn't happen overnight either. I would love to walk thru your garden and see all your pretties but you must promise to run the bad beasties away before we do!

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  9. Your garden is beautiful at this time of year and I can fully see why you are smitten. Great images too!

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  10. Your garden is beautiful at this time of year and I can fully see why you are smitten. Great images too!

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    1. I appreciate your kind comments, Donna. It truly is a lovely time around here right now.

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  11. Love all your tropical gardens! And the paths and pergola are very inviting. We've just added a pergola to our garden, and the landscaping is torn to bits right now. Can't wait to get it "just right" back there. Probably will take years.

    By the way, as florida flower fotos, I've been trying to like your FB page, but I can't find a "like" or "subscribe" button. Help!

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    1. Floridagirl, thanks for bringing the missing 'like' 'subscribe' button to my attention. I'm not sure what's going on there, but I'll look into it. I know something about the long wait until garden areas return to an acceptable state. It's really taken over a year for everything to get back to a state where I'm happy with it after last year's horrid beginning.

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  12. Everything is looking great Bernie! Yes, even if your grass is turning brown. ;-P You must feel much fulfillment now that you are reaping the rewards of all the work you put in.

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    1. Thank you Bom. I am quite pleased with the way things are finally starting to come together here. There are of course still a whole lot of things I'd love to do, but I'm quite happy with it all at the moment.

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  13. Your garden seems to be gorgeous in all seasons, but I can appreciate the time of year when all the heavy work is done. It is so nice to just enjoy the garden! I love your courtyard. I would spend a lot of time there, too!

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    1. Thanks Deb. Right now is definitely the time we can sit back and enjoy our surrounds. Things are looking pretty good.

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  14. Your collection of plants is so diverse with the garden is looking great with all your nurturing. you really did a fine job.

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    1. Stiletto, it's all little steps. There's still quite a lot to do around here but we can only do it slowly as we can afford it. Everything that's done is done by us, so it can be rather slow going at times!

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  15. OMG Bernie...I want to visit you soooooooo bad!!! I am even in the process of the passport thing! lol
    your gardens are gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  16. Hi Bernie, it is always fascinating to see your plants and your wide garden. How i wish i can manage planting that wide area. I envy most the Schlumbergera, which i can't grow to flower here in our tropical style. Maybe you should qualify your "north-eastern tropics" to Australian north-eastern tropics, hahaha, because we are still at your most north-eastern side, and we are in the tropics too! Definitely, your tropics is much-much kinder than ours. And i always love to visualize lounging on your veranda while sipping coffee with some scones or cookies, plus some laughs from the cookooburras and wonderful colors from the rainbow lorikeets!

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