Sunday, May 6, 2012

Just Pottering Around ... My Dry Tropics Garden Journal ... Week 20, 2012

Date:  May 6, 2012

Season: end-of-Autumn, and 'dry' season 



Oh what a glorious weekend we've just had.     (Be warned ... this post is photo heavy!)


The days were clear, sunny, blue-sky days with temps just below 30 deg C, and with lovely soft breezes.  The nights have had the slightest hint of the cooler weather that's on its way.  Our night-time temps are now down around the 20 deg C mark, which is very, very pleasant.  There's no sign of any more rain.  I think that solitary day of showers, during the last week of April, will be it for a long while now, as our dry season rolls on.  Out in the yard and the bushland, it's still fairly green and easy on the eye though.


There were no big gardening jobs to be done this weekend, so I've had the luxury of just pottering around the place, pulling a weed here and trimming a branch there, and enjoying the company of dragonflies, birds and wallabies.



I've so enjoyed just wandering around making sure everything that has been recently planted is looking happy and healthy.  So far, so good!


Both of the rock garden beds in the driveway garden are almost finished now, and seem to be doing well.  The plants installed just last weekend have settled in beautifully, so this weekend I was out there giving them a long drink and a few words of encouragement.


The other section of rock garden, planted up a couple of months back, is coming along slowly.  This weekend, the plants that are already established in this bed were also given a nice long drink and some lovely compliments, just to reassure them that they're doing their job quite nicely.


The two Turnera ulmifolia, which are a brilliant golden yellow, are the stars in there right now.  They've just started to really take off.   I do want to add a Turnera subulata, with its creamy blooms, though.  It will add a little contrast in amongst the yellows.


I'm on the lookout for some more little Scutellaria indica too.  It pairs so well with the Ixora 'Golden Ball'.  The last of the tiny purple flowers on the one that's already planted can be spotted in the photo above.   It will be a few more weeks before the next blooming cycle begins, and hopefully by that time I'll have added a few more of this lovely Skullcap. 


The area under the recently re-constructed pergola, next to the courtyard garden, is starting to pick up now.  The Palms are on their way back, and the newer plantings are settling in.  I've added just a few more dwarf white Angelonias to fill in under the taller plants.


The Cordylines, which had been trampled quite badly during the re-construction work, are starting to recover and look a whole lot happier now.  I still haven't gotten around to draining the pond yet.  Maybe next weekend!


I have, however, finished arranging all the potted plants out in the courtyard.  This was the view out there as the sun was setting late this afternoon.





It's great to see the annuals beginning to bloom.  This is why I so love this time of the year.  End of Autumn through to early Summer is the time for annuals in my garden.  They do brilliantly through the cooler months here.  Summertime is just too harsh for them.


Sitting on the old broken woodwork around the pond (still not replaced!) are pots of lovely colour, and I'm looking forward to seeing them fill out in the coming weeks.


A new plant for me that I've just added to this collection near the pond, is this gorgeous Salvia farinacea 'Strata'.  It has the loveliest bicoloured flower spikes carrying  blue blooms with white calyxes.  It can take the full sun that drenches this particular spot of the courtyard, so it's well suited to this area.


As is  my old favourite Salvia farinacea 'Victoria White'.  This particular Salvia has never let me down when positioned in full sun.  Both Salvias are perennials here and only require a bit of a trim back when each flowering cycle is over.


Another of my old favourites, which has also joined the pot collection in this corner of the courtyard, is my Impatiens hawkeri 'Celebrette Series'.  The flowers on this contrast so well with the dark foliage.  It's a striking combination.


Alright ... continuing the view around the courtyard, this is the back section which is bordered by a raised garden bed filled with shrubs.


I just have to have a pot of Snapdragons ...


 ... and some Portulacas sitting over on this side.


Now we keep on turning around to the right, towards the house and back verandah.  The Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender' look a little blue in this afternoon light.  They really are a lovely lilac purple though.


There's a little pot of Schlumbergera, sitting on the courtyard garden table, as it does every year at this time.


Now, swinging further around to the opposite side of the courtyard ...you might be able to see the first flower spike on my Cordyline 'Purple King' if you look up high next to the arching fronds of the Cycad.



These flower spikes are a beautiful rich purple, while the flowers have purple petals and yellow stamens.  They are just spectacular up close.


It's great to see the colour of the Amaranthus Tricolor once more.  I had thought I'd lost this lovely thing, but it's self-seeded in the pot for me.  What a lovely surprise!  There were a couple of other little surprises I've also noticed out in the courtyard during my wanderings.


My Pilea cardierei is blooming ...


... and so is my Dracaena godseffiana.  Can you see those green spikes at the end of the stems?  I've never noticed blooms on either of these plants before, and I've had them for a few years now.  Isn't nature grand?


Out in my shadehouse garden, I finally had the time to pot up my little baby Aeschynanthus lobbianus or Lipstick Plant.  You can see it in the brown hanging pot to the left.  I think it will handle the weaker Autumn-Winter sunlight in this location, but I will have to move it into a far shadier spot when Spring rolls around.


I'm really impressed with the unusual looking red flowers on this plant.  It will make a stunning display when the plant matures and fills out the pot.


 Outside the shadehouse, in the tiered garden beds, 


I found my first ever Adenium obesum bloom had finally opened up ...


... and close by, the Justicia carnea is blooming once more.  They sometimes go unnoticed down under the Lagerstroemia indicas.


It's just been the perfect weekend.  Have I mentioned how much I love this time of year?


Just in closing, I'm adding some short video clips captured over the weekend.  You will have to scroll right down to the bottom of the page and stop the Playlist from playing first before going any further.  That way you will be able to enjoy the background bird song that accompanies these clips.


Right ... now the first clip shows a rather young Agile Wallaby joey grooming itself while sitting in the safety and comfort of its mother's pouch.   This is definitely a baby as it is looking a little bald and hairless.



The second clip shows a young Agile Wallaby joey out on its own for the first time.  It's no longer allowed in its mother's pouch and has to fend for itself.  Such a darling thing.  You will also hear the screeching of some Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos in the background.



Last of all ... this clip shows some of the Agile Wallabies munching on the 'grass' (for want of a better term!) out in our front yard.  You will hear the Laughing Kookaburras and the Figbirds in the background of this clip.  You might even pick up the sound the Sunbird towards the end of the clip, if you listen carefully.

You will also notice that the older Agile Wallabies are in a group further away from the house, while the younger ones are romping around close to the front verandah.  Perhaps they're just not quite as wise in the ways of the world!  Of course, they're perfectly safe at our place.  We never try to befriend them or get too close without a very good reason.



So that pretty much covers my lovely weekend at home here in the foothills as our last Autumn month begins.

36 comments:

  1. What a feast of photos. Everything looks just gorgeous, Bernie.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Marisa. Can you tell that I really enjoy this time of year? Lol!

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  2. Wow, what at weekend! I think you have more pots and flowers than most green houses. ;) It all looks quite lovely.

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    1. Yes Ignorant Gardener, that's what happens when a plant nut has limited space for actually planting in the ground. I just can't resist having colour and variety out on the courtyard, so the price to pay for that is having quite a few pots!

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  3. My goodness Bernie, you have so much lush, tropical growth to enjoy there! And with winter coming, you will still have so much to enjoy. Our winters are so cold that there is nothing outdoors to enjoy except evergreens. I only recognize a few of your flowers, most are quite new to me. Thanks for sharing your slice of heaven!

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    1. RobinL, our winters are so mild here that they really don't deserve the name of 'winter' at all. It's more like an English summer during out winter. We're fortunate to be able to garden all year round here.

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  4. I know how you feel. Your heat is leaving and ours is just arriving. I do so love your garden....love the plants you've chosen and they look very happy. Now you can actually sit outside and enjoy the temps. Thanks for sharing the vids of the wallaby. We don't get to see those guys around here:)

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    1. Rohrerbot, I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to the heat in our summers. It's also depressing that I can't get out and spend time in the garden during the summer. Right now though I'm out there all the time just wandering around. We able to sit at the table out in the courtyard for our morning cuppa these days, and for meals during the middle of the day! It's wonderful. I'm glad you enjoyed the clips of the wallabies. They've been out and about a lot lately too.

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  5. I love all your pots full of color how do you keep them all watered? The wallabies are so cute!

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    1. Jayne, I'll have to do a post on my containers one of these days. I've finally figured out the most waterwise potting medium for most of my plants, and that's why I stick with the plants that do right by me! Lol!

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  6. Your garden is looking beautiful! Such gorgeous blooms. Just like a little slice of paradise.

    The white salvia farinacea is one for my list. It's probably a partial shade plant here, but I'd like to give it a try in the sun.

    Those Joeys are just too cute. We try keep the deer in our yard at a distance, but the pair we have now are too tame. Perhaps someone else fed them in the past.

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    1. Shirley, that white Salvia is definitely a winner for me. It gets through our long hot summer days, as well as the days when the rain is teeming down. It needs only a little extra attention during the long, long dry season days. Given that it sits out in our summer sunshine, it may not need as much shade as you think. Definitely worth a try.

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  7. Wow, what a wonderful time of year indeed! Your garden is so alive and colorful, just beautiful! I love seeing so many old fave's that you would never find over here in Seattle. I love visiting your garden when ever I feel homesick, it brings me so many joys from home!! Love the cocky, hope he's not being to destructive in your garden =) Cheers Julia

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    1. G'day Julia. Yes, here in the northern tropics, this is the best time of year and we all spend out days outdoors as much as possible. The days are just glorious at the moment. I'm glad that my post help settle the homesick feelings for a bit. As for that Cocky ... there's a whole flock of them that live here in the foothills but they are not destructive in our garden as they have the whole bush to forage. They do like our Cadaghi Gum blooms though and make a real mess down the hill driveway once a year, every year. I can put up with that though.

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  8. Yes, nature is grand! I enjoyed the video clips with all your background sounds! Sound really makes the garden come alive. I treasure the days I can spend just puttering around the garden without major work to do, and i especially enjoy it when the weather is cooler!

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    1. Hi Deb, yes it's great to take the time to just enjoy the garden. The bird song goes pretty much all day here, so I rarely turn on the TV during the day when I'm at home. It spoils the lovely soundtrack that's provided by Mother Nature and her creatures.

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  9. Dear Bernie.
    Once again I´m truly amazed by all your beautiful photos. Lovely lovely flowers and such cute Wallabies. Adoreable. Just love your wildlife. And you´re a great photographer, perfect in ´catching´ the animals when they´re in their right element. Just cannot get enough of the aussie nature! Love your blog.
    And smashing music goes with it too ...
    Wish you a wonderful week.
    Best regards, Iris.

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    1. I'm only too pleased to share the sights at my place, Iris. I'm so glad you enjoy your visits. I've only just recently added to the Playlist, so I'm happy to hear you're enjoying the music as well.

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  10. I really envy your conditions now there. I remember my Australian friend saying that Cairns and Townsville area is the hybrid climate of the Philippines and Sydney, with that i can relate. Schlumbergera cannot thrive here, only in our highlands with lower temperatures. Bernie, i haven't seen your reply to me earlier when i asked about the progress of your jadevine, I am so interested with that. A friend will give me a seedling, i wonder if it can grow in our hot temps in the province.

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    1. Hi Andrea, here we don't get quite as cold as Sydney or get quite as much rain as Cairns, but we do have a few things in common, so maybe 'hybrid' is pretty close. I suppose we only get a few really really hot days when the temperature rises above 32-33C, so the Schlumbergera make it through our summers. It's a real shame you can't grow it there. The Jade Vine is coming along, but very slowly. Newly established plants are notoriously slow to take off at my place anyway, so that's not unexpected.

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  11. Your courtyard garden is my favorite. Thanks so much for taking me on a short vacation to prettier places. It is cool, overcast, and rainy here today. And I need to wait a few more weeks to plant annuals. Our last frost date is May 21.

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    1. Mary, right now we're out enjoying the courtyard quite a bit. It's the perfect weather for it, and time to enjoy lunches and evening meals out there as well. I'm still planting up a few annuals, but I'm running out of space, lol!

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  12. Bernie your garden always looks beautiful and always something blooming in it. From the looks of your pots we have been shopping at the same store! Pond cleaning rings a bell with me. I have spent several days trying to get the oak fuzzies that drop everywhere out of my pond and to clean the filter and pump to no avail. It has been a real problem this year to even keep the water halfway clean for the fish. I never give up tho. Good luck with yours!

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    1. Jean, my pots are rather cheap. I can't really afford clay or terracotta pots, so I go for the look-alikes. They do much better in our climate anyway. I find the plastic ones don't dry out or bake quite like the clay/terracotta ones. They're also so much easier to move around!

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  13. I really liked all your images and video. You really have a lot of pretty containers, but I could never take care of that many. My hats off to you.

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    1. Donna, I don't have to take care of large garden beds here. The established ones pretty much look after themselves. I'm just working on a few empty holes in those, so I'm happy to spend more of my time looking after the container plants. They provide colour in places where I can no longer plant, so that makes me even happier.

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  14. Good to know about your blog i really liked all your images and video. You really have a lot of pretty containers, but I could never take care of that many. My hats off to you.

    Thank for sharing with us..

    Garden centre Isles of Scilly

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Garden Centre. I find looking after the containers quite manageable because I don't have to spend a whole lot of time looking after the other areas of the garden here. Most of those are well established and take care of themselves. I'm happy to tend to all the containers.

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  15. The flowers of the Cordyline Black Knight is very sweet and beautiful. Your garden now is full of blooming plants but the arrangement is neat and tidy.

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    1. Thanks Autumn Belle. I can't wait now for most of the new container plants to fill out and be covered in blooms.

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  16. Your annuals are blooming well and pretty. You have an Eden of a garden and you've captured it well in your images.

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    1. You're very kind, thank you Stiletto. Some corners of my place look good, but overall it's a rather difficult place in which to create an Eden. It's simply too dry most of the year, and the soil is too poor. I'm lucky I have two garden areas close to the house that are lush all year round.

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  17. I love your blog and the pictures are spectacular!

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    1. I appreciate your lovely comment, thank you Angela. It's great to see you dropping by to visit.

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  18. Bernie - If you had a vegetable garden, would the Wallabies eat you out of a garden? I love coming here to look at the Wallabies but I wouldn't be too keen on them if they ate all my hard work.

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  19. everything's looking very tranquil. I love the photos, esp the photos of the dragonfly and very interesting video clips. Certainly seems like a perfect weekend.

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