Monday, March 4, 2013

It's Been A Fairly Dry 'Ole Wet Season So Far ... My Dry Tropics Garden Journal ... Week 10, 2013.

Date:   March 3, 2013

Season: beginning of Autumn, wet season




Here we are at the beginning of March and the start of a Downunder Autumn once more.  Hallelujah!  It means that THE best gardening time of the year here in the northern tropics is not too far off now.  There won't be any changing of colour in the trees, but there will be lots more work done out in the garden.

Summertime is horrid here, and is not at all conducive to most gardening tasks, aside from the absolutely necessary watering jobs.  Summertime is 'downtime' for this gardener and her garden.  We're barely on speaking terms for those three months of the year!!!!

Now whilst our horrid summertime may officially be over, the hot and balmy summery conditions will continue for a little while yet.  As a result, I will be waiting just a little longer until the daytime temps drop and the humidity levels plummet, before I take up the tools, the potting mix and the mulch bucket once more.

March is also usually our worst time for cyclones, so there's still a chance of catastrophic cyclonic weather happening in the near future.  We have escaped cyclone season unscathed so far, so fingers crossed we can get through this month without one single cyclone.


Our wet season, which can run from November through to April  (late Spring through to early Autumn), has been a bit of a non-event as well.

November 2012 total:  7.8 mm  or  0.3 of an inch   ... less than one-sixth of the average
December 2012 total:  14.4 mm  or  0.6 of an inch  ... around one-tenth of the average
January 2013 total:  286 mm  or  11.3 ins  ... this was pretty average
February 2013 toatl:  81.6 mm  or  3.2 ins  ...  just over one-quarter of the average.

We still have this month and next for the wet season to redeem itself, but the chances of that happening are looking fairly slim.  Despite the poor totals, at least we've had rain and a break from our long dry season.  The showers of rain have been gratefully received.  Thankfully we haven't had to endure the extraordinary deluge that areas further south have suffered in the last month or so.


The surrounding bushland and the property itself looks nice and green after the measly amount of wet season rain we have received, and the 'lawn' (labelled so with tongue-in-cheek) out the front and side of the house really needs mowing.  Unfortunately our ancient ride-on has decided to take a break and seems to be hell-bent on joining in the downtime as well.  What a shame!

The occasional showers of rain that have been rolling in have not only helped change the landscape from brown to green, but have relieved me somewhat of the daily watering jobs in both the shadehouse and courtyard gardens.  Both those spaces are in dire need of some loving care and attention, and are definitely not looking their best.  I keep promising all the lovely plants in those garden spaces that my inactivity will soon be coming to an end, and I'll be out there primping and grooming them all with the utmost love and concern very, very soon.

Of course, most plants growing elsewhere have just gotten on with things.  The Lagterstroemia speciosa that grows next to the fence line has been blooming away beautifully for ages now.  It's a fantastic mid- to end-of-summer bloomer for me.


The display will last for several more weeks yet, but the best is over now.


There are still just a few blooms here and there on the Delonix regias on the property.  They've been flowering all through the Summer.


The Citharexylum spinosum bloomed a little later this year, at the end of the Summer, and so is still covered in blooms,


which are attracting lots of insect life.


If you look closely enough, you can still see a few golden racemes hanging from the uppermost branches of my Cassia fistula.


The trusty Portulacas have been providing most of the colour out in the courtyard, and they seem to be attracting huge numbers of these little black beetles.  So far I haven't noticed too much damage on the plants themselves, as the little beetles only seem to be interested in feasting on the nectar of the flowers.


There are more and more flowers appearing on my Jasminum and the perfume continues to float around the courtyard in the early morning and in the evening.


I see beautiful Water Lily blooms almost every day out in the pond.


There are Caladiums growing beautifully underneath the pergola,


and there are lots of flower spikes on the various Coleus plants around the courtyard.

The courtyard has been inundated with insect life of all kinds over the summer.  There have been hordes of little green grasshoppers munching their way through some of their favourite plants, like the Aralias and the Coleus.


I've also spotted what I think is the larvae of the Common Crow Butterfly feasting on the leaves of a young Oleander shrub.
 

I've also been seeing quite a few of these fabulous Crickets, having a wonderful time gorging on the leaves of my Liliums. 

One of the very few gardening jobs I managed to do a couple of weeks ago was the planting of several packets of seeds that had been sent to me by a fellow gardener who lives not too far away from me here in Queensland.


Thankfully I've had success with the germination of the various Zephyranthes or Rain Lilies,


and, joy-of-joys, the mixed packet of Adenium or Desert Rose seeds have produced quite a few little seedlings.  I think these little seeds have really been enjoying the light sprinkling of rain that blows in every now and then.

That's the wrap-up since my last Garden Journal post over a fortnight ago, and it's a brief one as the downtime continues.


Lastly, I thought I'd just share a photo of this lovely aspect seen over the hills late on Saturday afternoon.  It's always a wondrous sight and I never ever tire of seeing even one end of a rainbow.


20 comments:

  1. Życzę żeby w najbliższym okresie nie było u Was cyklonu. Pięknie jest w Waszych ogrodach cały czas. Zawsze coś kwitnie. Miło było czytać i oglądać zdjęcia, dziękuję Pozdrawiam.
    I hope that in the near future was not with you cyclone. It is beautiful in your garden all the time. There's always something blooming. It was nice to read and look at pictures, thank you. Yours.

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    1. We're watching a tropical low system off the coast as I type, Giga. Fingers crossed it doesn't develop into much of a cyclone!!! We've been very lucky so far this year.

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  2. Bernie, I had no idea you could grow Adenium from seed. Keep us posted on their progress please. That's amazing.

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    1. Missy, I had no idea until about a year and a half ago either. I had limited success then though. I think that was because I waited too long to sow the seeds after they had arrived in the mail. This time I was onto it almost immediately. I've been really pleased with the number of little seedlings that have developed so far. Let's hope I can keep them all growing nicely now.

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  3. Hi Bernie,
    You may not like the weather but I have to say you have some great views and spectacular plants to look at. Not so sure about the bugs though, hope they don't do too much damage. I am attempting to grow some frangipanis this year, as we are now into our spring I though I would have a go. Sylvia has given me all the instructions so I am hoping to go a bit tropical soon.

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    1. Best of luck with those Frangipanis, Bramble! You're so right about the wonderful views we have here. I love our little corner of the world here in the foothills. Those bugs are not causing too much damage, but the grasshoppers certainly are. That's fairly common for the summertime here though, and I'm used to it now. The plants always recover.

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  4. What views you have. The rainbow pictures are beautifully intriguing, and your garden looks happy, especially that graceful purple lagerstroemia.

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    1. Thanks Laurrie. I simply love the views over the hills here, and I'm very appreciative of them that's for sure. There are a few things that need doing around the garden, but it's doing OK for now.

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  5. I hope you get nice gentle rains, and no cyclones. Your blooms are beautiful, but I was mostly intrigued by the adorable Common Crow Butterfly caterpillar. To think that he was eating on an oleander was amazing to me. I won't grow oleanders here because I've read they're so poisonous, they will kill a cow (and the neighbor has cows that sometimes escape to my garden). Maybe I'm being too cautious! Love that last photo of the rainbow against the background of the mountains. Gorgeous view!

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    1. HolleyGarden, we did get a little more rain yesterday, so that was lovely. The Common Crow Butterfly is also known as the Oleander Butterfly, and they seem to love munching on Oleander leaves! Obviously that horrible sap doesn't bother them.

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  6. Once again, great photos on your blog today. I also liked reading about the moisture and rain for you area. Always enjoy learning about other places on the globe. Good posting today. jack

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    1. Jack, I think the topic of weather is popular amongst gardeners all over the world. I just can't help myself talking about the conditions here, especially the amount of rainfall!

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  7. So pleased to see the Zephyranthes and Adenium seedlings doing well,sowing seeds as fresh as possible pays off.The Adenium seeds can be pooted on in tiny succulent pots with succulent mix when the have 4 leaves.I potted mine a week ago.

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    1. Pitta, the Zephyranthes and Adenium seedling are doing very well. I've been over the moon with the result. Thanks so much. I'll be taking your advice about potting up using succulent potting mix.

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  8. Bernie, I'm so happy that the adenium seeds germinated well for you. What colours are the rain lily seeds that you planted? Here we have white, pink and yellow.
    Even though you are not getting as much rainfall as you would like, your garden is still putting on a show for you.....lovely.
    Loved the rainbow photos and that adorable cricket......ours here are a dull brown and VERY noisy.

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  9. Love seeing your tropical blooms...amazing how extreme our 2 seasons are...waiting for the change to spring .....I do most of my heavy work in fall as well as it is cooler

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  10. Well you may be entering Autumn, but here on Long Island we are desperately waiting for Spring. We had a snowfall of over 29" a month ago, and this week another 5 1/2" fell. That rotten groundhog was wrong, really wrong. The winds here and cold temperatures have wreaked havoc on all of our trees and shrubs. The last heavy snow bent everything down to the ground and I had to wade out into the snow to bop the bushes with a broom. How lucky you are to look as those beautiful blooms, not to mention the lovely and amazing rainbow. Even in March, we still have winter on the North Shore of Long Island. Oh well, thanks for the photos, I can dream of re-planting and Spring. Lovely post.

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  11. Awesome photography, especially the shots of the rainbow on the mountain. You've inspired me to try and get some nice pictures of Mount Macedon where I live. I'm in Victoria so its always amazing to see what's growing up north in the tropics.

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  12. The photos of the rainbow are enchanting - I've not seen one in a while. That seems to be such a long antenna of the of a beautifully-patterned cricket. My adenium seedlings recently died due to too much rain :(

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  13. It all looks great Bernie, especially considering how little rain you got over the 'Wet' season. I love that the little Adenium seedlings are already recognisable despite their tiny size. The jacaranda-coloured water lily is so beautiful.

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