Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Return To Fairly Dry ... My Dry Tropics Garden Journal ... Week 7, 2013

Date: February 10, 2013

Season: end of Summer, and wet season

Well our wet season seems to have gone off track once more.  After reporting lovely decent falls of rain in my last journal, two weeks ago, we've had only a shower or two since with the miserable grand total of 4.2mm (0.2 ins).

The monsoonal low that brought us heavy rain back at the end of January, was ex-cyclone Oswald.  It travelled all the way down the eastern coast bringing torrential rain and catastrophic flooding to many of the towns and our capital city along the way.  Up here in my corner of the north however, the conditions turned very very still, disgustingly hot and humid, and  pretty dry once old Oswald had moved on.

The skies turned a brilliant shade of blue once again, and there have been lots of fluffy white clouds floating by.  This past week has felt a little bit cooler though, after the atrocious temperatures experienced the week before.  The mercury has now dropped back around the 30-31 deg C mark, but along with this slight drop in temperature, there has been a drop in humidity levels, and this has made the conditions far more comfortable.

At this time of year I don't do much in the garden.   Of course, there is the necessary task of hand-watering all my potted plants and hanging baskets, but the plants growing elsewhere in the outdoor garden beds have to rough it pretty much on their own.  I might turn on the watering system in the front-of-house garden beds once a week (if I remember to do so when I come home from work), but the other garden beds are watered by sprinklers only every three to four weeks.  Everything really needs another damned good drenching.

This weekend I did manage to get a couple of other jobs finished though, primarily because it's been a slightly cooler time and there's been a lovely breeze around the foothills here.  So firstly, I had a pleasant time hacking into many of the container plants out in the courtyard and giving them a rather severe trim back.  Consequently, the courtyard is not at its best.

Then I planted up various seeds that I had received from some generous nearby gardeners.  I have sown Zephyranthes citrina and primulina, Habranthus robustus, mixed Adenium and Agapanthus seeds.  I have to admit that I'm not a gardener who's had much experience growing anything other than annuals from seed, so fingers crossed I get good results.

Finally I potted up my two new purchases, a Curcuma alismatifolia (top) and a Globba capicola (bottom), and a couple of punnets of Cosmos seedlings that I just couldn't resist when I visited the local nursery during the week.

It's been a while since I've planted anything, so it was a great feeling to get my hands dirty.  Actually it was just wonderful to get outside and not be sitting indoors in the air-conditioning.

Now as you can see, there's one big job that really needs doing, and soon.  I need to get into the shadehouse and do a big clean-up. It's like an overgrown jungle in there.  Everything took off after the couple of downpours we had at the end of last month.  Now the jungle needs taming.  I'm hoping that the daytime temps next weekend will match those we experienced this past weekend, and I'll be able to get out there with my gardening shears, thin out the ferns and Walking Irises, and be able to see what else is growing out there.


  1. Hope you get some rain soon, we need it too. I love your shade house jungle. :-) Hope your seeds all sprout and thrive for you.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

    1. Thanks Lorraine, I'm so looking forward to seeing all the seeds sprout. I especially want to see the Adenium seeds thrive, but we'll see.

    2. It is a very strange year ,seasons all mixed up and monsoon does not know what its supposed to be doing..Good luck with the seeds ..Your new Cucuma & Globba are both new to me and are beautiful as is the Athrurium[ purple one ].

  2. OOOwww seed planting how exciting. There is nothing like planting a seed and watching for those first green flecks emerging from the dark compost then nurturing a seedling to full flower so rewarding. You must better good for getting out side and getting your hands who has a smile on their dial!
    RAIN!!! Well you can have ours non stop pouring rain. It's far to wet to get outside and do anything. It's almost as bad as your high temperatures and high humidity levels. I can’t wait to get outside in the warm spring sunshine and get my borders in order. I have spent an hour sorting out seeds and making a list of plants I would like to put in this year now the garden centre is calling …..come and see what I have ….come ….come …..OK then!

  3. I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed that you get 100% germination from your newly planted seeds.
    Absolutely LOVE your two new purchases...totally agree with your "couldn't resist" them at the nursery sentiments.
    Take your time with cleaning up the shade house, don't try to do it all in one day, you may tire yourself out, and after all, "Rome was not built in a day."
    Keep us posted on your efforts, and I hope you get some more rain soon. We could use some too, until then I'm off to do some much needed watering.

  4. I'd send you some of our rain, but I don't know how. Oh well. I like getting the hands dirty and planting things (its about the only time Lucy doesn't mind getting "messy"), I think there is something therapeutic in it.

  5. I love your shade house, even if you think it looks like a jungle -- looks like heaven to me :-) As VirginiaC says, take it a bit at a time. Something I have to keep telling myself too -- don't try and get EVERYTHING done on the weekend, if it has to take several sessions, so be it :-)

  6. This post and the last one about cyclone season in Queensland have been fascinating. Living through a long cyclone season as you do, has to be a challenge, although hopefully it will never as bad as the terrible one two years ago. And it has to be hard to garden with only two real conditions --- extremes of wet or dry, and no constant in between! In spite of it you have made your area look great.

    We are digging out today from 27 inches of snow, it buried us, and there will be no garden sights to see for a month or more! I'll come visit here to enjoy some summer respite, pretty flowering things, and even a little of your heat (but not your cyclones).

  7. I too have been very happy with slightly cooler temperatures and slower humidity. I found most of last month very draining. It is so hard to keep things cut back at this time of the year - everything seems to grow overnight :) good luck with your seeds.

  8. Hi Bernie, i love your description "disgustingly hot and humid" because i always say that with our dry season. I guess your Delonix regia will be showing off again in a little while. At least you have good water system, or you have water for plants. In my case they are sacrificed for humans needs. Your new plants are growing beautifully and flower so fast at that small stage. We had slight rains still in November and i guess it will still resume in May, when the rainy season starts. It is my turn to say our climate is "disgustingly hot and humid".

  9. Good luck with your seeds. I bought some fancy varieties of cosmos seed last year, but have had little success with growing them in seedling trays. They germinate okay, but keel over after a few days. They seem to fare a little better when sown direct, but I am going back to seedlings from the nursery, at least for the cosmos. It might be a more limited range, but at least they are reliable.

  10. Your shade house jungle looks interesting, just the kind of thing where you might get a surprise or two before you are finished cutting back :-) Cyclone weather sounds bad, dry still, hot weather sounds bad too, when do you have something in-between-weather? Just right?

    I have had enough of our weather now, can't wait to get a proper spring here!
    Good luck with your shade house jungle!


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